‘Gossip Girl’ reboot will tackle characters’ privilege in a way “the original didn’t”

The new look at the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s young elite arrives on screens next month

One of the creators of the upcoming Gossip Girl reboot has revealed that the show will tackle the privilege of its characters in a way that the original series didn’t.

In a new article published by Variety which examines the depiction of wealth in TV and film, Josh Safran, showrunner on the upcoming HBO Max series, discussed “privilege porn” and how the new show differs to its predecessor.

“These kids wrestle with their privilege in a way that I think the original didn’t,” Safran said of the characters in the forthcoming reboot. “In light of [Black Lives Matter], in light of a lot of things, even going back to Occupy Wall Street, things have shifted.”

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The characters in the Gossip Girl reboot are aware of income equality. According to the article, they “take Ubers, not limos”, and “they’re (mostly) not rude to service workers”.

Also, the implications of being a scholarship student at an upscale school will be explored in almost every episode, through the character of Zoya Lott, played by Whitney Peak – who is essentially the new iteration of the original show’s grounded, middle class, fish-out-of-water character Dan Humphrey (played by You‘s Penn Badgley).

“I think the first [Gossip Girl] showed a little bit of wealth porn or privilege porn, like, ‘Look at these cars, or here’s a montage of the best plated food you’ve ever seen,'” said Safran.

In the new series, instead of desiring the material items on display, Safran thinks viewers will be “more in wanting to be like the characters”. He also warned that “looking at it through Zoya’s eyes, you get a little bit of, ‘Careful what you wish for.'”

Gossip Girl is set to air on HBO Max on July 8.

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An official synopsis reads: “Eight years after the original website went dark, a new generation of New York private school teens are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl. The prestige series will address just how much social media – and the landscape of New York itself – has changed in the intervening years.”

Names attached to the project include Emily Alyn Lind (Revenge), Thomas Doherty (Legacies), Tavi Gevinson (Scream Queens), Adam Chanler-Berat (It Could Be Worse), Zion Moreno (Claws), Whitney Peak (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Eli Brown (Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists), Johnathan Fernandez (Lethal Weapon) and Broadway vet Jason Gotay.

The original Gossip Girl ran from 2007 to 2012. It launched the careers of many of its core cast, including Blake Lively, Leighton Meester and Penn Badgley.

Of those who starred in the original series, Kristen Bell is the only actor confirmed to make a return, reprising her role as narrator and the voice of the Gossip Girl blog in the upcoming series.

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