News of the infamous CW teen drama Gossip Girl rebooting in 2021 was met with a flood of emotions from former fan Lily Baker-Yee, none of them exactly positive.
“The news of the reboot was unexpected and unwelcome,” says Baker-Yee. “I already lived through one painful Jenny Humphrey arc. That’s enough Gossip Girl for forever.”
Baker-Yee, who willingly endured six seasons of the show’s writers putting universally loathed, anti-ingénue Jenny Humphrey at the center of increasingly absurd, infuriating drama, has three words to say about the HBO Max retooling: No thank you.
“Look, everyone hated Jenny, myself included,” says Baker-Yee. “But all of the show’s most problematic tendencies came out in her development. In the pilot Chuck attempts to sexually assault her and Serena — two attempted sexual assaults — then he’s just a main character we root for, and Jenny’s villainy is displayed by her sleeping with him two years later. Even though it was still statutory. Oh, my God.”
At this point, Baker-Yee had to lie down for a moment with a cool washcloth on her head, but a few minutes later was able to get right back into it.
“Watching Jenny make every worst choice imaginable, become sort of evil, and be forced to have that eye makeup starting in season two?” says Baker-Yee. “Okay the eye makeup actually might have been Taylor Momsen’s idea, but still. They did her dirty and it took a toll on all of us.”
“I’m still tired when I just think of it,” she adds. “I can’t live through all that again.”
While voices of dissent against this perspective have stressed that the reboot will comprise an entirely new cast of actors and characters, Baker-Yee remains firm in her stance.
“I know they’ll have new characters, my point remains unchanged,” Baker-Yee says. “If I had to go do high school again in 2021 there would be different people there, but it would still be doing high school again.”
“The memories would resurface, the trauma would return in full force,” Baker-Yee adds. “I feel the exact same about the idea of watching a Gossip Girl reboot and being flooded with recollections of them making Jenny drug Serena. I can’t.”
And as for the quality of the new show, Baker-Yee is similarly unconvinced.
“The original Gossip Girl was the most problematic television show in the world,” she says. “And that was basically the only thing that worked about it. Let’s just call it a moment in history and let Euphoria live. There are new teens to stress me out, I’m not going back for more Jennies.”