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It's too hard to grasp the stakes of nü Gossip Girl, to understand what the consequence of each Instagram ploy or calamity actually is. It all plays pretty meandering and weightless so far; there's no suspense.
It wants to find a way to do a show that is very clearly about bullying while still having its lead stand on a stage in front of her peers and disavow bullying and apologize for doing it to another girl. And I respect that.
HBO Max's reboot of Gossip Girl is half bland rehash of the soapy beats from the original series and half perplexing but semi-ambitious premise-overhaul that the series isn't prepared to fully engage in.
Though it has all the right aesthetic trappings and a young cast chock full of talent, Gossip Girl lacks the fire and the cutthroat mentality of the original that made it such captivating, love-to-hate-it TV.