Hey, Upper East Siders, Gossip Girl here. Just kidding: I’m actually just a millennial who has continued to allow a series about privileged teens define my personality for the last decade. And by “Upper East Siders,” I’m really just calling out to anyone who spends the majority of their paycheck on student loans and Peloton financing, but still maintains that they’re totally a Serena van der Woodsen. On the off chance that your efforts to make your weekly screen time report slightly less horrifying have finally paid off, you may have missed some major news: Gossip Girl is back. But this time, instead of simply serving designer looks and quotes sprinkled with alliteration, the new Gossip Girl is a reminder of our looming mortality. Yes, there’s still fashion and scheming, but make no mistake: These new kids are coming for millennials’ necks.
Gossip Girl has always been savage, but the game has clearly changed this time around. While Blair Waldorf’s punchlines typically targeted out-of-season Tory Burch flats and Tinsley Mortimer, the newest crop of Constance Billard kids are out to get us. I have never felt a gut punch quite like when Luna La declared in the premiere that Zara should be banned east of Lex. Actually, that’s a lie. I legitimately began Googling crow’s feet treatment when I realized Tavi Gevinson—the iconic influencer who came to fame at like, 12, back in the day when we were tuning into the CW to drool over Nate Archibald—was cast as an Old. And honestly, I’m not yet emotionally equipped to discuss the implications of a Gossip Girl that tolerates headband slander.
Manhattan’s elite went from banging out insults on the keyboard of an LG Chocolate to turning their noses up at REVOLVE partnerships, and even with a decade-long head start, millennials can’t compete. I mean, these kids are 17-year-olds drinking dirty martinis at members-only clubs on school nights while you’re hoping a crippling two-day hangover is enough of a distraction to prevent your coworker from realizing you still owe her a Venmo from after splitting a pitcher of frozen peach margaritas and buffalo cauliflower wings at happy hour.
When the original Gossip Girl finale aired, you likely had a dorm room closet full of peplum tops and a dream that someday in the not-too-distant future, you’d be perusing the Chanel flagship store for an outfit to wear in the Hamptons with your bestie that weekend. You probably never envisioned that when you were finally old enough to see the series rebooted, the closest you ever got to becoming Blair Waldorf was that one time you broke 200 likes on a photo of yourself at Ladurée.
If you watched Gossip Girl 2.0 without realizing this harsh reality, I have some bad news: you are not Julien Calloway simply because you force your significant other to pose for content for your Instagram Story. You may think you’re a cool millennial, but you’re most likely wrong. Here’s a quick test: If, in our lord’s year 2021, you still do not know that hashtags don’t really work if you have a private IG account, you have officially aged out of Constance Billard’s ruling class. You are no better than a group of private school teachers who legitimately thought they could go viral with a single tweet from a Twitter account with no followers. (Yes, even if you guffawed at the quip about Olivia Jade gaining followers when Lori Loughlin went to jail. We all should have had Gossip Girl referencing that scandal on our 2021 bingo cards.)
Fortunately, what does not kill you makes you stronger, and I truly believe that the generation that spent months licking our wounds after learning that side parts aren’t cool needs Gossip Girl now more than ever. We can love the series even though it may not love us back, like squeezing a squirming dog that does not want to be cuddled with. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back when a scene in the new series features a song that’s already been on your Spotify playlist for months. I, too, gained a false sense of confidence when I recognized “A Palé” by Rosalia the second it came through the speakers at the Christopher John Rogers fashion show. We all deserve that much. Just don’t forget to stay nimble: have a plan set in place for when these teens inevitably forge a trend that’s simply unsustainable for anyone over the age of 20. Nobody wants to see you roll up to your 9 to 5 with like, shaved eyebrows.
Images: Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max