Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
3 minute read
6 Dec 2021
5:20 pm

‘Gossip Girl’ reboot available to stream in South Africa

Kaunda Selisho

Pop culture classic Gossip Girl is back to gives us a look into the sordid lives of a new generation of New York private school teens.

Gossip Girl reboot. Savannah Lee Smith as Monet, Jordan Alexander as Julien Calloway and Zión Moreno and Luna La | Picture: Supplied

If you’re the kind of person who prefers a few episodes to be available before you get stuck into a new show, you’ll be happy to hear that the first 10 episodes of HBO’s Gossip Girl reboot are now available to binge on Showmax.

You can catch up just in time for the final two episodes which will be coming to Showmax express from the US on 10 December 2021.

According to the streaming platform, the reboot’s launch saw it trending at #1 on Twitter and generating over 15 billion total social impressions, pulling in a record number of viewers over Part 1’s first weekend on HBO Max in July this year. 

Based on the bestselling novels by Cecily von Ziegesar, the original 2007-2012 Gossip Girl won 18 Teen Choice Awards and helped launch the careers of the likes of Teen Choice winners Leighton Meester and Blake Lively, not to mention multiple Teen Choice nominee Penn Badgley.  

Now, this extension of the pop culture classic takes us back to the Upper East Side, finding the next generation of New York private school teens about to start the school year at Constance St Jude’s. But this is 2021, and social surveillance has become a very different beast in the nine years since the original blogger’s website went dark. 

“[The new Gossip Girl] exists in the same world,” explains Eli Brown, who plays Obie.

“It’s very wealthy teens living on the Upper East Side in New York and living these crazy lives, but there’s a lot more representation. It’s more progressive. Social media plays a [part]. So it is the same show, it’s the same universe, but it’s an entirely new way of seeing things,” he adds.

Newcomer Savannah Lee Smith, who plays classic mean girl Monet, says: “It gives you all you want from Gossip Girl. It gives you sex, it gives you queerness, it gives you drama… just deliciousness. But it’s different because there’s social media now. In 2007 it was a blog and now it’s Instagram and Twitter.”

“The biggest difference is social media,” says showrunner Joshua Safran, who was also an executive producer on the original.

Social media didn’t exist the first time around. So we’re actually looking at how they curate themselves, how they put themselves forward in the world, and Gossip Girl’s actually going to blow that up, which is a whole new level.

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The question of authenticity is at the heart of the show.

“Everyone’s trying to be authentic, but what is authenticity if your entire life you’ve been raised to put forth a false sense of who you are?” Joshua points out.

“The show deals in that – what, truly, does it mean to be authentic? Can we really be authentic in this day and age? And should we be? Is authenticity reality, or is it how we protect ourselves? There’s a lot in there.”

Gossip Girl reboot
Cast of the Gossip Girl reboot. The new Gossip Girl is available to stream on Showmax | Picture: Supplied

The ensemble cast includes Uganda’s Whitney Peak, Jordan Alexander, Thomas Doherty, pop-culture and style icon Tavi Gevinson, pink-haired model and surfing star Evan Mock, and Young Artist Award winner Emily Alyn Lind.

Adding to the show’s clout are Emmy winner Luke Kirby, Emmy nominee John Benjamin Hickey, Golden Globe nominee Malcolm McDowell and Laura Benanti. 

Another thing the showrunner decided to keep the same is People’s Choice Award winner Kristen Bell, who returned to voice the anonymous blogger and “Gossip Girl”.

Gossip Girl has already been renewed for a second season so you may want to get into the new season and catch all 122 episodes of the original Gossip Girl for a limited time as it will only be available on Showmax until 31 March 2022.