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The Real Reason Behind That Twist In The Gossip Girl Reboot

Spoilers for the "Gossip Girl" reboot ahead!

The new "Gossip Girl" reboot is finally available on HBO and within the first 15 minutes of the first episode of the show viewers experience a twist that proves that the show intends to honor the spirit of the original (referring to it as well as the characters often, at least in the pilot) while also striking out its own territory. You see, in the original "Gossip Girl," it took the show six seasons for viewers to find out that the anonymous blogger who drives so many of the events in the show is actually Dan Humphrey — whose identity is revealed in the series finale. 

And in HBO Max's version, it's clear from basically the very beginning that the teachers at now the co-ed Constance Billiard school are behind Gossip Girl. They start by talking about the entitled behavior they are seeing in the school's students. "When I was a student, we lived under constant threat. People like Nate [Archibald] were scared straight," fellow teacher and alum Rebecca Sherman (Sarah Baskin, in a subtle Easter egg) explains, telling her colleagues that the blog run by Gossip Girl kept tabs on important students and "kept us all accountable." The teachers are instantly intrigued, jokingly wondering if they should try using this tactic. However, once a teacher is fired because of a student's lies, the teachers, led by Kate Keller (Tavi Gevinson) decide to revive the long-dormant Gossip Girl (voiced, as before, by Kristen Bell) to keep the kids in line.

Yes, it's something of a major twist. It isn't just that viewers know immediately who's behind the online info source (in the current age, Instagram), but that it's not a student at all. But why the change? 

Gossip Girl's twist allows for authenticity and reflects the Gen X background of its showrunner

In an interview with PopSugar ahead of the reboot's debut, actress Jordan Alexander (who plays queen bee Julien Calloway), said that the twist "lets the audience be in on a secret." She said, "They're like coconspirators with Gossip Girl against all of [the characters]."  Savannah Smith, playing one of Julien's best friends, Monet de Haan, noted that the twist "just makes sense" for the reboot. ""It's what was necessary for the show being set in 2021 and being centered around social media, and it really lends itself to be authentic," the actress said. 

Joshua Safran, who served as a writer and executive producer on the original "Gossip Girl" and is the showrunner for the new series, said that the new format required a sea change for the series. "Coming up with the idea of knowing who Gossip Girl was from the top — and having it be a teacher —was the thing that excited me the most, because it's doing the show in a new way instead of just retreading," Safran said (via The Daily Beast). He explained that teachers aren't as old and stodgy as people think they are.

Safran also said that, as he's Generation X, his perspective has changed over the years. "Weirdly, I can actually identify more with the parents of the first 'Gossip Girl' than I did at the time, so this was a way to bring myself into it," said Safran, adding, "I am the teachers, and in a way, I am Gossip Girl."

Well, he's in charge, so he can certainly mold the show in his image. It remains to be seen whether his version will resonate with Gen X, Gen Z — or nobody. The first episode of "Gossip Girl" first episode is out now, with the next five landing every Friday through August 12. The series will take a break after that and return with the final installments (a total of 10 in the first season) in fall 2021.