Uh oh, Upper East Siders—looks like the Gossip Girl fandom is in turmoil after the new series reboot. If it's not a subreddit that's simply on fire, it's vandalism in the fan wiki. Who's the debutante causing all this commotion? Why, Gossip Girl itself, having changed from a charming CW show to a dramatic HBO Max original.
Reviews of the new Gossip Girl have been mixed to negative. While the signature bon mots from the titular character are more or less intact, a lot of changes have come to Constance Billard St. Jude's high school between the original series and now. But much like the characters in the show, there's one character they can't stop talking about: Zoya.
In the show, Zoya is a transfer student from Buffalo, and half sister to Constance Billard's queen bee, Julien. Unlike the glamorous and Instagram-famous J, Z is meant to seem more down to earth and less of an entitled rich monster than her sister. But in the immortal words of Heather Chandler of Heathers, if you want to fuck with the eagles, you gotta learn to fly—and Zoya fucks with the best of them, embroiled in high society scandal from the word go. She even manages to snag the attention of her sister's newly ex-boyfriend Obie, something which a fan who edited the wiki for the Gossip Girl series simply couldn't tolerate before the edit was rolled back by a moderator.
Although the rivalry between sisters has more to it than just ex-boyfriend stuff, the fandom's ire for Zoya also has more substance than just calling her a boyfriend stealer. Fans of Gossip Girl have the same criticisms of her as they did of Dan Humphrey in the original series. Yes, all the children at Constance Billard are selfish, cruel, and dishonest. But you're at Constance Billard too, Zoya, and you wanted it so bad you applied for and received a scholarship. Now that you're in the club, why are you such a hater? Not to mention that the Zoya and Obie pairing has exactly no one pining. They are the representation of the rift between the older series, which was catty and campy, and the reboot, which is slicker and more saccharine.
Gossip Girl reboot haters are really letting Zoya have it. Zoya "gives off bitchy energy" writes one poster; "Zoya and Obie are not nauseating, they’re boring" says another; "Zoya and Obie are so cringe I wish their plot line would cease," reads the title of a thread on the Gossip Girl subreddit that's been upvoted almost 250 times. Some posters characterize the rift as running along generational lines, with Millennials not able to accept that some people like the reboot. People cannot help comparing the new and old characters on the subreddit, which now uses flairs to sort the posts about the new Gossip Girl from the ones about the old Gossip Girl. It has gotten to the point that two weeks ago a poster went out of their way to address members of the subreddit about the nonstop complaining, not that it has stopped much of the complaining.
"Ever wonder why most subreddits have a sidebar full of rules about being respectful to each other and condemning hostility? This is why," they wrote. "The community is splitting and going to shit because no one can handle criticism of any kind (criticizing a show isn't meant to hurt you, nor should it) about either show. It feels very, very black and white, allowing for very little grey. With no moderation or rules either, so essentially every post is allowed to devolve into the same petty arguments over and over again."
While some aspects of the Gossip Girl culture war have died down, like posts pitting Gen Z and Millennials against each other, the controversy surrounding Zoya and her boyfriend stealing ways remains. If fans are that focused on the relationships of fictional characters, at least that means they're talking about the show and not about each other. If nothing else, Gossip Girl is a show about how nasty it can be when we pick each others' flaws online. You know you love me, xoxo.