‘Gossip Girl’ Season 2: New Year, Same Delicious Drama
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‘Gossip Girl’ Season 2: New Year, Same Delicious Drama

The primary season of HBO Max’s Gossip Lady reboot noticed the soapy teen drama revamped for a contemporary age, displaying a brand new group of Constance Billard college students navigating the Instagram period a decade after its predecessor’s weblog first took the world by storm. Season 2 picks up proper the place we left off after final season’s New Yr’s social gathering, and whereas some storylines want this consistency, others really feel like they might have benefited from no less than a short while skip, getting slowed down by some repetitiveness.

Relaxation assured, Season 2 of Gossip Lady is full of simply as a lot campy enjoyable and sharp popular culture references as the primary go-around. Title-dropping everybody from Ansel Elgort to Jeremy Robust to Florence Pugh and together with a pleasant cameo by author Hunter Harris, the present nonetheless has its finger on the heart beat, immersing us in a world that’s as addictive as it’s absurd.

However sadly, a number of the first season’s flaws crop again up in its second installment, too – particularly, the pacing. The connection between Aki (Evan Mock), Audrey (Emily Alyn Lind), and Max (Thomas Doherty) is genuinely refreshing – hardly ever can we get to see a wholesome polyamorous relationship explored. (Or, you already know, about as wholesome as you may get in a present digging into the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite. Bonus factors for the way in which the present handles Kiki’s [Laura Benanti] response. The expansion between her and Audrey has been nice to see.) However at occasions, it could possibly really feel like we’re caught in a vicious cycle. The issues they face, whereas respectable, can begin to appear redundant.

This additionally feels true of Zoya’s (Whitney Peak) character. On the plus aspect, this season does enable us to see extra of her buddy Shan (Grace Duah). Not solely is she a breath of contemporary air, but it surely’s additionally good to see Zoya break outdoors of the core buddy group and wrestle with having Julien (Jordan Alexander) as an actual sister that she has to study to stay – and share her father – with. There’s numerous potential with the Zoya and Nick (Johnathan Fernandez) of all of it, however whereas there are glimmers of fascinating issues, the execution can finally really feel a bit like a repeat of Season 1 patterns, as Zoya checks boundaries and rebels attributable to selections of Nick’s she disagrees with.

The second season shines when it permits initially sidelined characters their time within the highlight. Monet (Savannah Lee Smith) – hilariously nicknamed Attila de Haan at one level – is the prime instance of this, together with her ruthless quest for energy scrumptious to look at. She, it appears, is continually enjoying 3D chess, at all times one step forward of whoever she’s making an attempt to take down. It’s particularly enjoyable to see her be answerable for her personal henchmen (former enemies Pippa [Ella Rubin] and Bianca [Katherine Reis] – a genius selection). One can’t assist however want she had a extra worthy adversary.

As teased on the finish of final season, a lot of Season 2 sees Monet making an attempt to begin a struggle with Julien. Don’t get me flawed, Julien is a likable character. The issue, at occasions, is that she’s too likable, too good, too unwilling to get entangled in battle. Whereas her quest for self-improvement is noble and genuine for the fashionable influencer, she usually feels too passive to go toe-to-toe with Monet in a approach that’s actually satisfying. She’s an intriguing character – the difficulty is that she feels wrongly utilized, each by Monet and the present. The bomb she dropped final season the place she mentioned she needed to work with Gossip Lady isn’t capitalized on to the capability it could possibly be, which feels a bit like a let-down. (Although we do get a hilarious and cleverly directed scene the place she and Kate [Tavi Gevinson] are sending DMs forwards and backwards whereas proper throughout from one another. One other standout scene entails a spa day and secretly utilizing facial recognition to unlock varied telephones. Foolish? Sure. However genuinely artistic, too.)

Thankfully, Monet additionally will get extra depth and materials to work with outdoors of Julien. This season highlights her sophisticated relationship together with her mom, who you might keep in mind dragged Kate inside an inch of her life final season. It rapidly turns into clear Camille’s (Amanda Warren) harshness can prolong far past the academics, and nobody is protected from her wrath – you’ll be able to’t assist however really feel sympathy for Monet regardless of her dictator-like tendencies in these moments. Her sexuality can also be explored a bit of extra, though one intriguing plotline is disappointingly squandered for fast, undercooked shock worth. Right here’s to hoping Monet will finally get the extraordinary, messy romance she deserves.

Different characters I used to be blissful to see extra of are Obie’s (Eli Brown) new girlfriend Grace (Anna Van Patten) – who is probably not fairly as candy as she initially appears – and college admin Wendy (Megan Ferguson), one among this present’s sleeper stars. Each wild line that comes out of her mouth, whether or not she’s referencing NXIVM or getting raided by the FBI, is delivered with informal, comedic perfection. The motivations for the academics persevering with to run the account nonetheless don’t fairly logically work for me, however that is Gossip Lady – who cares about logic? For those who droop your disbelief (a necessity for having fun with this present!), you’ll have a blast with their twisted dynamics.

Gossip Lady thrives throughout its large group scenes, the place domino results trigger one factor to go flawed after one other, pulling everybody in to be collateral in some vogue. Fortunate for us, there are a handful of those moments – every of which feels masterfully executed. One entails a wickedly chaotic debutante ball, whereas one other takes place throughout a vital dinner with a robust conservative lady Max’s mother and father desperately wish to impress. All hell breaking unfastened, set towards a backdrop of old school glamour and custom, is a Gossip Lady staple that by no means will get outdated. Everybody getting collectively and behaving impolitely in well mannered society is what this present is all about and when it is at its most unhinged and gratifying.

Gossip Lady Season 2 doesn’t take any enormous leaps, both by way of the timeline or storylines it covers, however that’s okay. The present is aware of what it’s and what it’s good at, and it’s neatly leaning in to focus on fan-favorite characters we didn’t see as a lot of within the first season. Watching these influential, impeccably dressed teenagers intently scroll their telephones gives a shiny escape if you want a break from taking a look at your personal apps. Truthfully, what extra may you ask for? XOXO.

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