The 'Gossip Girl' Reboot's Shallow Take on 2000s Culture Is Given Away by Their Choice of Gossip Girl

Warning: This article contains spoilers for HBO Max’s Gossip Girl. 

They say culture repeats on a 20-year cycle: the 1990s brought back the bellbottoms and funky patterns of the 1970s, the 2010s saw the resurgence of ‘90s grunge style in oversized plaid shirts and ripped jeans. Now in the 2020s, we are awash in butterfly hair clips and micro-miniskirts: the cutest, most palatable reinventions of 2000s culture. This 20-year cycle, though, isn’t quite linear: we pick and choose what to remember, what of the past to recycle into an emblem of the present. We favor the aspects of culture that we think will still work, still have relevance to our time. The fault lies not in what we bring from the past to the present, but how we view the past itself: this picking-and-choosing approach rewrites the past in our collective cultural memory, leaving us with a vision of the past that is at once rose-colored and sanitized, devoid of the personality that made the original culture click. The recent HBO Max reboot of 2007’s CW hit TV series Gossip Girl unfortunately showcases this phenomenon perfectly.

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