Monday Chitchat: Gossip Girl Reboot? + My Thoughts

12:30 AM

You know you love me! 

Side note before I get into this topic: the funny thing is Becca, one of my best-friends who you'll recognize as a guest poster here, and I were talking about the Gossip Girl books recently. They were OUR LIFE, way back when, and was partially a driving force in our friendships origins. In our nostalgia, we talked about doing a reread of the series this year, as well as a few other books, and a few days later the news dropped about a potential reboot.  

Gossip Girl reboot?! There's always been rumors about even a spin-off or a revival or a reboot, so this wasn't altogether shocking.

We all should know by now that I am basically the Queen of the Gossip Girl book series and that my feelings towards the CW show of the same name vary from "Get it the hell away from me!" and "I love this cast so much but how is this an adaptation?" so I'm probably a little biased towards my love of one and hate of the other.

It's been over a decade since the show first aired, I'm still bitter, and I still find myself thinking back to a conversation I had with a friend, Dee, about it years ago. She basically said, "It's like the took one look at the first book, shrugged, and said, let's wing it." Which, incidentally, is the constant thing with the CW and its many book and comic book adaptations.

When it was announced earlier this week that there were talks going on about a possible Gossip Girl reboot at the CW, my initial reaction was: "Keep it." Because, seriously? Who's even asking for this? Thank you, next. I mean... Gossip Girl has only been off the air for a few years. Doesn't the CW have enough on its plate with reboots of Dynasty, Roswell and Charmed?

At least Dynasty was "old" enough to at least mildly warrant a reboot. Roswell, Charmed and Gossip Girl? Not so much. Then there's the matter of Gossip Girl already having a reboot / adaptation in Gossip Girl: Acapulco.

The longer I thought about a potential Gossip Girl reboot, the more I thought about how it could possibly work.

At the end of the day, I'm still trash for those books. Seeing as we already had a pretty spot on cast with the series (although Jenny and Vanessa both looked, and acted, drastically different from their book counterparts) I was wondering how a reboot could improve on certain things.

Plus, that feeling of excitement I had over Gossip Girl being adapted (first when the idea of a film starring Lindsay Lohan came about, then when the pilot episode of the show was free on iTunes ahead of the series premiere) or the release of new books in the series has yet to be fully replicated for me.

While I really disliked the show in the end, Leighton Meester, Blake Lively, Penn Badgley and Chace Crawford all were great picks to be playing their characters.

So, topping the casting would be difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. And as of right now, I'm almost certain that most (if not, all) of the cast would not be interested in reprising their roles... so...

The reboot is one of the only things that seems mildly possible to be developed further. Ugh.

Supposing that a reboot actually managed to be developed, there are a lot of things they could do with the source material and the original adaptation. Whether or not I, or anyone else, wants to admit this, it isn't altogether impossible.

Full on reboot:  
  • All new cast and story lines, same characters. In other words, a different interpretation of our favourite Upper East Siders. Not based wholly on the original books or television series.

    The original series not only trashed every single plot, relationship and character of the books, it trashed their own stories. It's possible to find some sort of even ground on these characters between the books and the show. What could make it work is a better team of writers and an effort in making the show more diverse
  • Adapting the source material better. Listen, the biggest flaw in Gossip Girl on the CW was the lack of coherency. In the books, the character were obnoxiously and undeniably teenagers. They acted like adults... but they also acted like the privileged children they are. On the show, it came to the point where every relationship (whether that be romantic, platonic or familial) was poison and abusive and just Not It. Fans of the books deserve a real adaptation of these characters. We've been there, done that with catering to a specific section of the shows fans, it's time to do something for the ones who made the show possible in the first place.

    I want to see Blair Waldorf not forget who she is over some creep, and get into Yale, and eventually go on to Harvard Law. I want to see Serena van der Woodsen be a little flighty, but a whole lot of fun and less serious. I want to see their ups and downs; that unconditional love between the two girls that made them choose (a) themselves and (b) their friendship over ANY BOY by the series end. I want to see stoner Nate Archibald, torn between his two best friends, and not at all a ~GOLDEN BOY~. I want to see a chain smoking Dan Humphrey with commitment issues fall in love with a bald Vanessa Abrams. I want to see Jenny Humphrey, pre-boarding school, naive and with that undeniable spark/knack for scandal. Lastly, I want to see creepy Chuck Bass, the minor, bisexual and un-romanticized character, always in the background, often seen with his pet monkey. 
An extension to the Gossip Girl universe. The book series, after all, has two spin-offs and a horror based retelling of the first novel:

  • If we're unwilling to let go of the original characters, Gossip Girl: Psycho Killer would be a great place to start. It's got the standard signature of all CW programming: sexy, stylish, mysterious and a little spooky. This could fit in perfectly with Riverdale. Plus, it's much more of a dark comedy than the original Gossip Girl books and show. It's satirical and completely bloody. Who can resist privileged, fashionably devious high schoolers stabbing each other in the back... literally and figuratively? 
  • Do we want something a little more familiar? We could mess with the timeline a little bit and recast the role of Jenny Humphrey and the other members of the Humphrey family. (The recast of Rufus and Dan would be without consequence, since they are not actually in it-in it.)

    The team behind Gossip Girl could definitely work with it. Either rewind the timeline to the 2009-2011 and set up the plotline of her at Waverly Academy, aka the central story of The It Girl book series. Or just mess with it all around and set it up to be in whatever year it comes out in. Either way, this would cater to the same audience of Gossip Girl, and a newer set. While it would be weird to see someone who isn't Taylor Momsen play Jenny, it wouldn't be that big of an issue.

    Bring in the characters from The It Girl series and you'll have something in a similar vein as Gossip Girl, only it would be set in a boarding school. There was a time I actually loved the books in this spin-off much more than Gossip Girl (I know) but they were just so fun! Brett Messerschmidt, Callie Vernon, Easy Walsh, Brandon Buchanan, Heath Ferro and Kara Whalen, on screen? Yes, please
  • Even more familiar but still new would be Gossip Girl: The Carlyles. Because this spin-off was shorter than The It Girl, it has all the more potential to develop on screen for the long term. The four books in the series had a distinctly similar feeling to the original series. I liked that the series had all the same scandal and high fashion charm as the original. It was dishy and at times cheesy, but the characters we are equally lovable and not. Plus, I really liked the potential that it all had and will be forever bummed that it didn't go further! I actually really loved the Carlyle triplets and the ties to the original series (they live in the Waldorf's penthouse now that they were elsewhere) it all had.

    I think it's pretty self explanatory with this one and honestly? I felt like that little hint at the end of the television series, with the younger generation gossiping all the same, was a bit of a missed opportunity. They missed a good chance to create a spin-off and turn those characters into characters from Gossip Girl: The Carlyles. Bonus points if they go all in with minor characters from the books, including Blair's siblings: Tyler, Yale, Ping and Pong. Just, for the love of all things holy, change Ping and Pong's names I'm forever cringing over that mess.
  • Lastly, off of either the books or the show, a next generation spin-off. This would require some fine tuning to the timeline, obviously, but it's not impossible. I don't fancy this plan, but, it is still a possibility. 
One last misc. idea related to the original show: 

  • Revisit the idea that was explored in season two of Gossip Girl: a prequel series about Lily and Rufus. Now, I was totally on board for this back in the day. They were a change I actually really liked in the page-to-screen process. I'm not sure if I still would be into it, it all depends on what it would bring to the table, but I still think it could work.  

At the end of the day, there are a lot of ways a reboot or revival or continuation of Gossip Girl could go. My question is: is it necessary? Right now, no. I mean, if the CW wants to hire me to help adapt the books then by all means HMU and let me go to town, but that's not going to happen and neither should a reboot.  

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