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The Gossip Girl Cinematic Universe
where commodity fetishism meets identity politics
I had planned to meet with friends at 7pm on a Tuesday night, at a bar about half a mile from where I lived. Happyfun Hideaway and Birdy’s are right next to each other, on a stretch of Marcy Ave with the best nightlife in Bushwick—cheap drinks, hip clientele, Cocteau Twins and Galaxie 500 playing softly in the background. At least, that intersection used to have the best nightlife in Bushwick, until the club next door was set on fire as part of an apparent homophobic arson plot. That Tuesday, I had planned to meet up with friends at Happyfun Hideaway, until I got a call en route that the bar was closed.
“That’s strange,” I said, given that Google maps said they opened an hour ago, “but it’s fine. Birdy’s is right next door anyways. I can meet you there.”
“Birdy’s is closed too. They’re doing some sort of film shoot.”
I figured we could still meet outside the bar, then figure out where to go from there. Plus, I’ve always been exceptionally nosy, and I wanted to know what was going on and what sort of production was taking place at some tiny bar in deep Brooklyn. I arrived a few minutes later, waved at my friends, and saw the bright green flyers laminated in plastic sheets that cover all the nearby telephone poles and signposts in New York whenever something is filming. First, I noticed that it was a one-day shoot. That was good; my regular haunts would soon reopen. Second, that the project was Gossip Girl. I loved the original Gossip Girl—an iconic piece of New York City melodrama that satirized the decadent lifestyles of wealthy Manhattan teens—but hated its 2021 reboot. I assumed the new series would be cancelled; it was critically panned, uninspired, and failed to identify its audience or purpose. And, truthfully, I was a bit pissed off. This show, this terrible show about terrible people, was in my neighbourhood. Its glamorous stars were sitting in my local bar, probably pretending to drink White Claws and reciting scripted pontifications about navigating gentrification as an Instagram influencer or getting on the Heaven by Marc Jacobs PR list.
I suppose I should have been flattered. Certainly, if Gossip Girl was supposedly about the coolest, hippest people in New York, and they were filming this show in the spaces I frequent, perhaps that would mean that I myself am cool. But instead, I was just mostly annoyed. After some reflection, I realised that my irritation was not only the inconvenience, but that the production that shut down my evening plans was bad. Maybe if it was good TV, I wouldn’t have minded. There was something about the presentation of these teenage billionaires as with-it hipster types who drink in Bushwick that rubbed me the wrong way, something that tapped into my deeper philosophical distain for the Gossip Girl reboot.
Based on Cecily Von Ziegesar’s novel series of the same name, the 2007 CW Gossip Girl follows five main characters as they navigate mid-aughts New York while students at the prestigious Constance-St. Jude academy. The show chronicles the lives of Serena Van Der Woodsen, glamourous and easy-going though prone to poor decision making; Blair Waldorf, Serena’s Type-A frenemy and Audrey Hepburn wannabe; Dan Humphrey, the creative child of a former rockstar who feels alienated because of his upper-middle-class upbringing in Dumbo, Brooklyn; Chuck Bass, the archetypal closed-off womanizing bad boy; and Nate Archibald, a member of the Vanderbilt family with an All-American charm and out-of-place earnestness. Dan’s younger sister Jenny appears frequently in early seasons of Gossip Girl as someone who aspires to the glamor and prestige of the Upper East Side but feels held back because of her upbringing.
Class is at the centre of Gossip Girl, with its characters obsessed with the concept of exclusivity. In such an elite environment, they can only distinguish themselves by having access to the finest parties, the finest clothes, and the finest apartments. Dan Humphrey frequently discusses his distance from his peers and his partial scholarship to Constance-St. Jude, citing his Brooklyn upbringing and usage of public transport. Unlike his characterization in the novels, CW’s Dan is less of a troubled outsider and more of a pretentious careerist—a choice made intentionally by the writers of the show. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Blake Lively (who plays Serena), said “Dan was supposed to be the goofy, nerdy guy who felt like he never measured up to other people, but Penn decided to play it a little more arrogant. […]Like he’s smarter than these spoiled little brats.”
But it wasn’t just Dan who received a moral re-write for the television adaptation of the novel; the television show shifted the purpose of Gossip Girl from tween entertainment about glamorous people to dry satire about the lives of the empty, egomaniacal bourgeoise. Von Ziegesar’s books, the first published in 2002, were produced and promoted by Alloy Entertainment. Alloy’s catalogue consists mostly of melodramas written for a predominantly female audience, titles like The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, The Vampire Diaries, and Pretty Little Liars, all of which would later spawn successful screen adaptations.
Gossip Girl functions as a satire of its subjects and their world. Certainly, its presentation of beautiful people with beautiful problems was taken as a face-value celebration of New York City glamour by much of its unassuming audience. But any thoughtful look at the show’s writing and characterization of its cast illuminates the tongue-in-cheek nature of the programme and the underlying ethos of the original Gossip Girl: you are not supposed to feel bad for any of the characters. Despite their differences in personality and taste, the main characters in Gossip Girl are unified by their unyielding, all-pervasive selfishness. The majority of conflict in Gossip Girl comes from backstabbing or lying in pursuit of the right boyfriend or the position of Queen Bee or the perfect college application. Not only are their motivations entirely selfish, their goals are empty and hollow, only seeking to acquire social signifiers for distinction within their peer group of ultra-wealthy, ultra-sexy private school teens.
Gossip Girl is littered with allusions and references typically beyond the scope of a teenage audience; the show frequently references The Age of Innocence and The Bonfire of the Vanities, both satires of wealthy New York City WASP culture, perhaps the most direct indications of Gossip Girl’s own social commentary. The soundtrack to the show stands out as surprisingly tasteful—not only do musicians cameo and perform as themselves within the show, like Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, St. Vincent, and Lisa Loeb—but the non-diegetic soundtrack is filled with indie rock cult classics. When Dan loses his virginity to Serena, he plays “Whatever (Folk Song in C)” by Elliot Smith on his record player. Songs by Beck, LCD Soundsystem, The Weepies, and Vampire Weekend can all be found in the first season of Gossip Girl, and while it’s circumstantial evidence at best, the soundtrack choices hint at the show’s appeal to an audience in their twenties and beyond, approaching the show for its dry humour and critical perspective.
The Gossip Girl novel series was first published in 2002, a post-9/11 New York with a strong sense of identity and a relatively stable economy. The show began airing in September of 2007, two months before the housing bubble would burst and the Great Recession—the worst economic downturn in the United States since the Great Depression—would begin. A year later, in December of 2008, Bernie Madoff would be arrested for running the largest Ponzi scheme in American history. The recession is never explicitly mentioned in Gossip Girl, as the first season was written before the market collapse, but it nevertheless contextualises and colours the world that its characters live in. The Rolling Stone profile of the show (published in April 2009, during the release of the show’s second season) describes this world best,
“Still, it’s good to be a Gossip Girl. Outside La Bottega, New York is imploding, gutted by a financial catastrophe of its own doing. Day traders are now delivering pizzas, and real-life Upper East Side socialites are brown-bagging it out of Hermès, too embarrassed to be seen luxury shopping. But like insects preserved in amber, Gossip Girls occupy a fantasy world where young people don’t blanch at $18 cocktails or $700 Christian Louboutin pumps. It’s the spring of 2007, running on repeat – New York remains a boundless, optimistic place, in which the Dow is topping 13,000, Bernie Madoffs collecting clients and the velvet-rope VIP party never stopped. Right now, you’d rather be Blake Lively or Leighton Meester than the head of Goldman Sachs.”
Not only do the characters in the show continue to live lives of luxury while the rest of the country saw mass unemployment and foreclosures, but many of the characters’ familial wealth comes specifically from the finance systems that caused the recession. Gossip Girl functions as an outlet of schadenfreude for its audiences who saw their parents laid off and their homes foreclosed, the Sisyphusian perpetual torture of its characters a small act of justice against the class that walked away from the recession largely unharmed. It is no coincidence that the characters of Gossip Girl come specifically from this type of predatory, extractive wealth. The Bass family made their money in speculative real estate (even committing insurance fraud to maintain their monopoly on Manhattan real estate), the Archibald patriarch works in investments and securities, and the Van Der Woodsen fortune comes from old Dutch shipping money, implied in the novel series to be the Dutch East India company.
As such, the original Gossip Girl is not just a show about White people—it is a show about Whiteness. Not only is the main cast almost entirely White (apart from Vanessa, whose actress is one-quarter Black), they are all WASPs. A clear distinction is made between the whiteness of the main characters and groups seen as Other; the only recurring Jewish character is portrayed as inelegant, loud, and out-of-place on the Upper East Side and many jokes are made at the expense of Dorota and Vanya, Eastern European immigrants from Poland and Russia respectively. Blair regularly references “good breeding” and the importance of linage, underscored by her admiration of European royalty (and the ten-foot portrait of Marie Antoinette in her bedroom). The main characters of Gossip Girl are manifestations of the fundamental principle of Whiteness: an individualistic core that prioritizes accumulation and high status above all else. Their familial wealth comes from the intentional exploitation of others. The Van Der Woodsens and the Vanderbilts, through their connections with the Dutch East India company and the Vanderbilt family’s history as enslavers, serve as the most direct examples of the violence inherent to this type of wealth. These families are not just beneficiaries of capitalism but definitional, capital-C Capitalists: their wealth continues to multiply simply because they have it, creating profit not through labour but through the abstract perception of value. As a result of their upbringing, the characters of Gossip Girl are unable to think beyond themselves, unable to connect with their families and friends, and live as empty and unhappy people.
The case of Nate Archibald is an outlier in the Gossip Girl world. His linage is practically American royalty: his mother is a Vanderbilt, descendent from Cornelius Vanderbilt, a railroad industrialist and second-richest man in American history. His father, known as The Captain, works vaguely in the financial sector. Initially, his family dynamic is roughly the same as the rest of his peers; his parents are emotionally vacant and superficial and their only concern for their son is maintaining the family wealth and image. His world quickly unravels when he discovers his father’s cocaine addiction. When the Captain is arrested on a possession charge, the Archibalds learn that he will also be tried for fraud and embezzlement after a long-running federal investigation. The Captain is arrested in season one, episode seven of Gossip Girl, airing on November 7th, 2007, thirteen months before the arrest of Bernie Madoff. It is Nate who eventually convinces his father to turn himself in and go to prison, only after The Captain flees to Dominica and the family’s assets are frozen, leaving the Archibalds briefly homeless and an underage Nate is forced to have sex with an older woman for money.
Nate becomes the only character to experience actual material insecurity and the only character to be directly affected by the exploitative nature of his family’s wealth accumulation. As such, he is also the only character that regularly distances himself from offers of social and financial capital from his family. Nate acts as Gossip Girl’s true moral compass and as such becomes the only sympathetic character in the program, granted complexity because of his relationship to the Great Recession.
In a 2008 essay for The Root entitled “Keep Gossip Girl White”, Black author and cultural critic Helena Andrews writes in support of the overwhelming whiteness of the Gossip Girl cast. She notes that while there certainly are plenty of students of colour in elite academic spaces, their experiences differ vastly from their white peers. She writes that "simply giving [Black characters] more stupid things to say or more blonde-haired boys to do won't cut it,” emphasising that the Black experience at schools like Constance-St. Jude cannot be captured by a team of White writers looking to fulfil diversity quotas.
Gossip Girl 2021 attempted to fix what it saw as the ills of its predecessor: it would diversify its cast, realign its language to an adequate level of contemporary political correctness, and contain “No slut shaming. No catfights. Those are not things I believe need to be in this show for it to be fun. Or any show? GG2 is sex positive and our characters use their brains, not their brawn, to take you out!” according to a tweet by showrunner Josh Safran. Airing on HBO rather than The CW, Gossip Girl 2021 hoped to draw on the steaminess and controversy of the original while maintaining a liberal spirit.
Not technically a reboot by definition, Gossip Girl 2021 follows Zoya Lott, a recent transplant to Manhattan from Buffalo, from a middle-class family secretly living in a rent-controlled apartment; her estranged half-sister and Instagram influencer Julien Calloway; love interest and self-identified activist Otto “Obie” Bergmann IV; and their friends Aki Menzies, Audrey Hope, and Max Wolfe as they navigate Constance-St. Jude. References to the original Gossip Girl are plentiful, from name-drops to cameos to cheeky subversions of its source material: Obie, the richest student at Constance-St. Jude lives in Dumbo, the same neighbourhood that made Dan a source of ridicule in 2007. The episodes follow a similar plot structure to Gossip Girl, where each episode will follow the characters through their day-to-day lives, tracking the drama, secrets, and lies they each get caught up in before attending a large public social event where their interpersonal conflict comes to a head.
Despite its surface-level similarities to its predecessor, its philosophy and raison d’être is practically the complete opposite. Gossip Girl 2021 intends for its main characters to be objects of sympathy. They are motivated by earnest intentions even when their actions are harmful. Every moment of betrayal or selfishness is followed by a redeeming apology and a promise of accountability. They protest for social causes and carry canvas tote bags brandished with buzzwords. The aesthetics of inclusion in Gossip Girl 2021 do not only ignore the critical nature of its predecessor but actively propagandize massive wealth accumulation. Politically correct language and the inclusion of characters from historically marginalized backgrounds become the primary tools to frame wealth as liberatory.
Unlike Gossip Girl, its 2021 counterpart focuses less on dynastic wealth. Julien’s father is a record producer, Audrey’s mother designs athletic apparel, Max’s family works in the arts. Only two characters fit the more traditional Gossip Girl mould; Aki’s father is a Rupert Murdoch-type conservative media magnate and Obie’s mother is an extremely successful real-estate mogul coming from a historically wealthy German family.
Both Aki’s father and Obie’s mother are portrayed as generally antagonistic characters, with one episode being dedicated to the Bergmann family’s purchase of a homeless shelter, intended to be levelled and turned into luxury condos. Obie and his friends are present at protest against the purchase of the shelter, though this serves as the extent of Obie’s public opposition to the redevelopment—he even breaks away from the protest to rekindle his romance with Julien. While at the protest, Aki’s father is asked about a lawsuit against his company claiming LGBT discrimination. He cites Aki’s bisexuality as reason why neither he nor his company could be homophobic. When the camera turns to his son, Aki begins to speak against his father before changing his mind and walking away. Neither character is able to directly challenge the power they claim to oppose—even in Gossip Girl, Nate regularly rejects his family’s wealth on a matter of principle, even though his issues are less expressly political—rather, they feel their work is complete only when their own egos are satisfied.
It’s worth noting, even just briefly, that Gossip Girl 2021 still fails to deliver on the diversity it promises. The entire cast is thin and conventionally attractive. Of its eight lead teens, only two are shown engaging in same-sex relations, one character vaguely questioning his sexuality while being perused by a bisexual man unable to form serious emotional attachments. All four of the show’s main characters of colour are played by light-skinned, mixed-race actors, even for the characters who are written as fully Black. The only dark-skinned Black character is introduced in detention as a loud-mouthed, lying student who becomes a corrupting force for light-skinned Zoya. Race is named—Julien and Zoya state that they are Black throughout the show—but never discussed. This presentation of race recalls Andrews’s article in The Root. She notes that her own experience at elite private schools was characterized by an understanding that she was moving through a system meant to benefit wealthy, White students and built by exploitative wealth, complicating her relationships with her peers and with herself. The writers of Gossip Girl 2021 have simply—as Andrews warned them against a decade ago—given Zoya and Julien more stupid things to say and one German heir with a receding hairline to fight over.
In many ways, Gossip Girl 2021 is much closer to the Von Ziegesar novels than to the first television Gossip Girl. Its characters are meant to be aspirational. Viewers identify with the characters from their demographic identity to the way they speak, from the music they like to the values they hold. All three pieces of media: the books, the original show, the HBO reboot, center the commodity as a core tenant of characters’ identities. Blair was defined by her adherence to classical elegance; she is constantly surrounded by Laundrée macarons, Miu Miu blouses and vintage Chanel. Serena’s wardrobe was filled with contemporary designers like Georges Chakra and Jenny Packham (who cameos on the show). The reboot is populated with just as many designer handbags and four-figure price tag shoes, but elaborates on a pervasive theme of the original: the commodification of the self. Blair, Serena, and Chuck find themselves the centre of so much tabloid attention they become brands themselves—they receive so much commercial attention that they begin to see themselves as Brands of One. “I’m Chuck Bass.” “I’m Blair Waldorf.” “You’re Serena Van Der Woodson.” These lines seek to reenforce the idea that these characters are not solely extensions of the dynastic wealth their families have accumulated, but also images that their devotees can become… so long as they shop at the same stores, go to the same parties, live in the same penthouses. But as long as these individuals serve as status symbols, their profile will benefit, they will be let into more exclusive circles, and their image will move further out of reach for those seeking to replicate them. Likewise, characters like Dan, Jenny, and Zoya define themselves by their perceived rejection from the structures of Manhattan wealth, but in doing so only contribute to a mutually beneficial dialectic wherein their wealthiest peers have a willing subject for their elitist ire and the upper-middle class characters have justification for their own pompousness and self-pity. Both groups subsist off their perception by the other, all while disregarding the rest of the world around them and the people that are legitimately materially disadvantaged. This relationship is lampshaded within Gossip Girl itself; at the Constance-St. Jude graduation, Dan is labelled “The Ultimate Insider”, an epithet that will inspire the title of his novel Inside, a semi-fictionalized satiric account of life on the Upper East Side.
In Gossip Girl 2021, social media takes a much more prominent role. All of the main characters have large social media followings, and Julien is practically a career influencer. She frequently talks about her “platform” (i.e. her Instagram following) and her large audience. Julien—unlike the characters of earlier franchise iterations—is aware that she is perpetually watched and surveilled and attempts to use her social media outlets as a way to control her image. In the show’s sixth episode, Julien seeks to partner with brands as an influencer. She signs a contract with Sephora, who sway her by saying they value her individuality and input as a Black woman, but the company later revokes the contract when Julien attends the protest against the real estate redevelopment project headed by Obie’s mother. There’s a particular irony in this plot point. A brand wants to use Julien’s image and semiotic value as a liberal Black woman to increase their profits but doesn’t want to alienate its consumer base through any material political action. At the same time, Gossip Girl 2021 as a program uses actress Jordan Alexander (as well as the rest of its cast) for the same purposes: presenting a façade of solidarity by displaying representation while intentionally obfuscating the structural inequities its characters benefit from.
In “Shop Like It’s 1899: Gilded Age Nostalgia and Commodity Fetishism in Alloy’s Gossip Girl” author Anastasia Ulanowicz argues that the Gossip Girl IP compels readers into a fetishized consumption of the labor-production innate to franchised works. The fictional gossipgirl.net site was posted on the real-life internet by Alloy, which not only worked to replicate the site as the characters would see it, detailing the lives of Serena, Blair, and company, but also linked back to the Alloy corporate website. Those who visited gossipgirl.net could not only find links to buy the character’s favorite products but also DVDs and paperback copies of Gossip Girl itself. In this way, fans of Gossip Girl not only identified with the characters and their consumer tastes, but developed an identity-formation relationship with Gossip Girl as a franchise, a corporate entity, as a production. Ulanowicz notes that while Gossip Girl frequently mentions specific commodities as fashionable or desirable, given the rapidity with which trends cycle the point of these references is not to promote the commodity but rather to create a consciousness of consumption. She writes, “What matters for Gossip Girl—and for Alloy’s literary and televisual offerings more generally—is the cultivation of the reader’s self-awareness as a consumer.” Ulanowicz continues that because readers understand they will never truly be like the New York elites, they understand that they must take action to gain proximity to these characters’ essence and that activity is the act of consumption.
The difference between Gossip Girl and Gossip Girl 2021 is that the characters of Gossip Girl are unhappy. They are petty, shallow, selfish, and unfulfilled. They are certainly glamourous, beautiful, thin, and wealthy and it’s entirely possible to view the show while avoiding its satiric overtones, but any sane viewer would not want to be like Serena or Blair or Chuck or Dan or Nate. None of them have any real friends, any real relationships with their families, any aspirations beyond high school popularity. If there is consumerism born from Gossip Girl, it comes from an attempt to achieve the style or social standing of its characters. Gossip Girl 2021 portrays earnest people doing their best, people who apologize, people who want to contribute to the world around them. The consumerist desire born from Gossip Girl 2021 is to be these people. But their lifestyles are still born from the same exploitation as that of their predecessors.
In this way, the ouroboros of the Gossip Girl franchise is infinite. It teaches its viewers how to be consumers, including meta-consumers of Gossip Girl as intellectual property. The franchise ties the social capital born from consumption with the social capital of viewing consumption; calling viewers to engage with Gossip Girl as commodity itself.
If nothing else, the franchise of Gossip Girl is a production. It is a labour production—the actual process of manufacturing Gossip Girl included Von Ziegesar’s rapid-fire release of the novels and eventual usage of unnamed ghost writers and a 100-day writers’ strike that halted production of the first season of Gossip Girl in 2008 and a media empire that permeated print, cable, and digital steaming media. Gossip Girl produced stars, young and relatively unknown actors launched into the levels of fame and glamour of the characters they played. In the 2009 Rolling Stone profile, a quote from Lively encapsulates up the ironic relationship the original television programme had with wealth,
“I was in Barneys for a shoe sale,” Lively says. “And there was this pair of boots I’d wanted for a long time that were really cheap, and there was another pair in a different color, and this woman says, ‘You shouldn’t dare buy a second pair of boots in an economy like this. You should be ashamed.’ Meanwhile, her face looks like she’s just gone through a crazy wind tunnel, she’s got on big rings and a Hermès scarf. She looked like she’d just rolled around in diamonds and gold. I was like, ‘I can’t believe you’re saying this to me.'”
The current cast has received a similar level of mob stardom. The birthday party of Evan Mock, who plays Aki Menzies, was covered extensively by New York tabloids and profiled by the New York Times style section. The event promoted web3, a reimagined internet based in decentralized finance and cryptocurrency exchange and was attended by Mock’s Gossip Girl co-stars as well as his good friend Ella Emhoff, crown princess of Bushwick and step-daughter of Vice President Kamala Harris.
Perhaps there is a meta-brilliance buried in Gossip Girl 2021 and the show is some sort of high-level performance art piece that skewers the earnestness of liberal capitalists, knowing that its stars would be doomed to perform the same faux wokeness as their characters. Probably not. In function, it serves to remind its audiences that consumerism and wealth are still desirable, even in a landscape where Democratic Socialist rose emojis dot teenagers’ Instagram handles and college freshman line their dorm room bookshelves with Jeremy O. Harris and Elena Ferrante. The primary audience for Gossip Girl has always been young women on the verge of discovering their social and political identity, and the franchise ensures that their consumerist identity is born with it. The stock characters of the original (bohemian Serena, intellectual Dan, classic Blair) are updated in its reboot (activist Zoya, rich activist Obie, Instagram activist Julien, waifish intellectual Audrey, queer drug addict Max) for a more contemporary audience but nevertheless remain images for an audience to identify, points of projection towards which to aspire. And of course, all of these images are mosaics of commodities. Jussi Parikka, writing on sociologist Maurice Lazaratto, describes this cultural phenomenon as the “telematic, informational language of consumer products as clinging to the human host and insisting on it.” The machine that is Gossip Girl, inputting middle-class teenagers and outputting consumerists, reinvents itself as needed in accordance with its market.
It is worth noting that Gossip Girl 2021 was a mass critical failure. In a one-star review from The Guardian, the subheading reads “The original show was fabulously bonkers, packed with awfully rich people being awful to each other. The reboot is fatally earnest, and instantly doomed.” The Independent’s one-star review cites the characterization of its cast as “chronically nice” as an inherent failing of the show. Nevertheless, it has a sizeable online fan culture on sites like Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram. Fans celebrate the seemingly genuine relationships between the characters as a positive shift from the first iteration of the television series. While this seems like an obvious misunderstanding of the satire innate to Gossip Girl, it also reveals a truth about the franchise: despite whatever subversive or critical elements are contained in any piece of Gossip Girl media, a large part of its audience will always take the content at face value. There will always be an audience to watch beautiful, wealthy people steal each other’s boyfriends or spill Veuve Clicquot on their Christopher John Rodgers gowns. And there will always be something seductive about it—no matter how unhappy or empty these characters are written, they do not fret over rising New York City rents or take on extra shifts waiting tables to pay their student loans.
The next night, I returned to Marcy Ave in hopes of a Gossip Girl-free ambiance and an eight-dollar Tom Collins. Production of the show had moved elsewhere, thank god, but the spectre of its presence lingered heavy in the air. As I put on my trendiest, Bushwickiest dissociative pout I could have sworn I saw someone familiar out of the corner of my eye, a Tik Tok vintage fashion influencer or left-wing Twitter comedienne making their way to the bar. Unsure if I was in the presence of a niche internet microcelebrity or just my own delusion, I closed my tab, got on the city bus, and went home.
Andrews, Helena. ‘Keep “Gossip Girl” White’. The Root (blog), 21 October 2008. https://www.theroot.com/keep-gossip-girl-white-1790900283.
Aron-Dine, Aviva, Chad Stone, and Richard Kogan. ‘How Robust Was the 2001-2007 Economic Expansion?’ Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 29 August 2008. https://www.cbpp.org/research/how-robust-was-the-2001-2007-economic-expansion#:~:text=Both%20employment%20growth%20and%20wage,much%20more%20rapidly%20than%20average.
Bub, Sydney, and Avi Mediratta. ‘The Legacy of Slavery At Vanderbuilt’. Vanderbuilt Political Review (blog), 5 October 2016. https://vanderbiltpoliticalreview.com/5068/campus/the-legacy-of-slavery-at-vanderbilt/.
Gay, Jason. ‘“Gossip Girl”: Dirty, Pretty Things’. Rolling Stone, 2 April 2009. https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-news/gossip-girl-dirty-pretty-things-184242/.
Gould, Emily. ‘“Gossip Girl” Creator Cecily von Ziegesar Is Pissed At Her Publisher’. Gawker (blog), 11 October 2007. https://web.archive.org/web/20080628084824/http://gawker.com/news/gossip-women/gossip-girl-creator-cecily-von-ziegesar-is-pissed-at-her-publisher-309862.php.
Hargreves, Steve. ‘The Richest Americans in History’. CNN, Big Money, 2 June 2014. https://money.cnn.com/gallery/luxury/2014/06/01/richest-americans-in-history/2.html.
Hawgood, Alex. ‘Evan Mock, the Pink-Haired Skater and Actor, Turns 25’. The New York Times, 14 April 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/14/style/evan-mock-birthday-party.html.
Heather Stewart. ‘We Are in the Worst Financial Crisis since Depression, Says IMF’. The Guardian, 10 April 2008. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2008/apr/10/useconomy.subprimecrisis.
Mangan, Lucy. ‘Gossip Girl Review – Completely Stupid in All the Wrong Ways’. The Guardian, 25 August 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2021/aug/25/gossip-girl-review-completely-stupid-in-all-the-wrong-ways.
Parikka, Jussi. ‘Contagion and Repetition: On the Viral Logic of Network Culture’. Ephemera: Theory and Politics In Organization 7, no. 2 (2007): 299.
Writers Guild of America. ‘Today in Guild History: The End of the 07-08 Strike’, 12 February 2021. https://www.wga.org/news-events/news/connect/2-12-21/today-in-guild-history-the-end-of-the-07-08-strike.
White, Adam. ‘Gossip Girl Review: A Chronically Nice Reboot That’s about as Tedious as an Excel Spreadsheet’. The Independent, 25 August 2021. https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/gossip-girl-review-reboot-bbc-b1908508.html.
 In its discussion of CW’s Gossip Girl, this paper will largely focus on the show’s first two seasons. The first two seasons of Gossip Girl are the only ones to somewhat adhere to the plot of the novel series and the only to focus on its characters experiences in high school, as they graduate and begin university in Season 3. The Gossip Girl 2021 reboot has only released one season, with the second season currently in production.
 Gay, ‘“Gossip Girl”: Dirty, Pretty Things’.
 Aron-Dine, Stone, and Kogan, ‘How Robust Was the 2001-2007 Economic Expansion?’
 Heather Stewart, ‘We Are in the Worst Financial Crisis since Depression, Says IMF’.
 Gay, ‘“Gossip Girl”: Dirty, Pretty Things’.
 Blair’s stepfather, Cyrus Rose.
 Bub and Mediratta, ‘The Legacy of Slavery At Vanderbuilt’.
 Hargreves, ‘The Richest Americans in History’.
 Andrews, ‘Keep “Gossip Girl” White’.
 Gay, ‘“Gossip Girl”: Dirty, Pretty Things’.
 I believe it is beyond my identity to seriously critique how non-White characters in Gossip Girl 2021 are characterized, but Delia Cai’s review of the show for Vanity Fair continues this examination in her piece “Why Doesn’t the New Gossip Girl Feel Like Fun?”
 Another tie between the franchise and Edith Wharton.
 Gould, ‘“Gossip Girl” Creator Cecily von Ziegesar Is Pissed At Her Publisher’.
 ‘Today in Guild History: The End of the 07-08 Strike’.
 Gay, ‘“Gossip Girl”: Dirty, Pretty Things’.
 Hawgood, ‘Evan Mock, the Pink-Haired Skater and Actor, Turns 25’.
 Both authors mentioned by characters in the show, with Harris appearing in a cameo role in several episodes.
 Parikka, ‘Contagion and Repetition: On the Viral Logic of Network Culture’.
 Mangan, ‘Gossip Girl Review – Completely Stupid in All the Wrong Ways’.
 White, ‘Gossip Girl Review: A Chronically Nice Reboot That’s about as Tedious as an Excel Spreadsheet’.