REVIEW: ‘Gossip Girl,’ Episode 2 -“She’s Having a Maybe”

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Gossip Girl, Episode 2 -“She's Having a Maybe” - But Why Tho

Gossip Girl Episode 2 (2021) aired on Thursday, July 15th on HBO Max, starring Tavi Gevinson, Jordan Alexander,  Whitney Peak, and Eli Brown as our main characters Ms. Keller, Julien, Zoya, and Obie. Following the creation of a new Gossip Girl website run by the teachers of Constance School for Girls, we follow Julien and Zoya as they face the public eye as when they become the target of rumors on the Upper East Side.

Relationship woes are at the forefront of this episode. Episode 2 hones in on Julien and Obie’s deteriorating relationship. Obie feels like he is just arm candy for her influencer work and no longer wants to pretend they’re in love anymore. While the relationship drama is increased tenfold by Gossip Girl sightings of Julien’s half-sister Zoya meeting up with Obie, and it does make for fun, messy TV, there is a giant glaring issue in Gossip Girl Episode 2. Specifically, it’s in the way that the drama has unfolded in the series so far: the teachers of Constance continue to stalk the students to report drama on their Instagram page.

What made the original Gossip Girl series so interesting and fun to watch despite its flaws was the mystery of who Gossip Girl was and why she targeted our main characters. Now, with that mystery element gone from the script, there is no joy in any of the drama unfolding. Instead, there is a bad taste left in my mouth as I try to grapple with why the showrunners decided that letting grown adult teachers interfere with student’s lives gives them any sense of control. The explanation that they keep hammering in throughout Gossip Girl Episode 2 feels weak and uneven in logic.

The purpose of the teacher’s stalking is justified with the notion that they need to keep the students from getting the teachers fired. I suppose while our characters Julien, Zoya, and Obie are wading through their relationship issues, they aren’t focusing on the teachers. However, there is plenty of drama ensuing with characters the teachers aren’t stalking, proving the written drama can be successful without it.

The side plots explored throughout Gossip Girl Episode 2 were hit or miss. Max is very preoccupied with attempting to sleep with a teacher at his school while also trying to hook up with Aki and Audrey. The teacher puts firm boundaries between him and Max, saying that there will not be any interactions of any kind while Max is a student. Although Max’s relationships don’t just stop there, he actively attempts to get together with Aki and Audrey.   The teacher subplot is entirely unnecessary. However, with conversations about consent and polyamory between Aki, Audrey, and Max beginning, I hope the writers will continue to present more open and diverse ideas of sexuality in a positive manner. Previously, I mentioned that it was really great to see Max with partners of different genders and mistakenly thought he was bisexual. Thankfully, it is further clarified that he is pansexual.

Overall, this episode was very disappointing. The excuse they created for why the teachers of Constance are stalking the students and creating the drama was weak. Despite the diversity and interesting side plots involving Max, Aki, and Audrey, Gossip Girl Episode 2 shows how this reboot series lacks what made the original series work.

Gossip Girl Episode 2 (2021) is streaming exclusively on HBO Max.

Gossip Girl Episode 2 -“She's Having a Maybe”
  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10
6/10

TL;DR

This episode was very disappointing. The excuse they created for why the teachers of Constance are stalking the students and creating the drama was weak. Despite the diversity and interesting side plots involving Max, Aki, and Audrey, Gossip Girl Episode 2 shows how this reboot series lacks what made the original series work.