Hey hey hey, how are my best girl frens? With the first half of 2021's Gossip Girl now released in full I thought it would be the perfect time for midterm assessments! So make sure your number 2 pencils are sharpened, be sure to bubble in your test sheets fully & prepare to pay attention because these WILL count for 1/4 of your grade this season!
For maximum fairness only characters that have appeared in multiple episodes will be judged and as my own personal motif I tried to grab a still from their current last solo shot/appearance (with more time I'd do a first appearance/last appearance thing but GURL, I ain't being paid for this!) . Everyone currently plot relevant is present & accounted for and will be assessed in order of both plot relevance and personal preference. Lastly, in lieu of grades we're doing this in a 'how it started, how it's goin, where it needs to go' format ok??
Now then, adults first since they're supposed to have some damn sense:
How it started: Introduced as one half of Max's married parents it isn't until episode 3 that we get to see a fuller picture. With Max's encouragement Gideon expresses his femininity via a night at a play. Discouraged by his husband's distaste in exploring himself, as well as learning of his infidelity, he quickly reads him and kicks him out
How it's goin': OOF, GIRL! Since that shining moment Gideon mostly seems to be drinking, crying and not adequately parenting his child. Get it TOGETHER boo!
Where it needs to go: Therapy perhaps and definitely less drinking. You are a PARENT SIS, be one!
How it started: The other half of Max's married parents things came to a head when he was discovered by his son on grindr, set up to be exposed and then hastily moved out. Offscreen he also blamed his son for the implosion of his marriage and not his own cheating self, HOW VERY
How it's goin': Well he's moved out and here is where I suppose we applaud him being wise to Rafa and not sleeping with him? The conversation in the diner with Max was at least mostly nice but what I didn't hear was some ownership or a damn apology.
Where it needs to go: Honestly? A real conversation with Gideon if not Couples mediation. You aren't together right now - and that might stick - but you still need to be able to at least talk to each other if only for Max.
How it started: Rough to say the least. With her divorcing her own husband Kiki is broke, a bit depressed and seriously considering a move to Connecticut for her and Audrey due to financial stress.
How it's goin': Things only got worse after Audrey attempted to lift her spirits (more on that with Audrey) and she found herself in a hospital.
Where it needs to go: Just healing honestly, AA, better bangs and hopefully a nice divorce settlement IDK
How it started: The wealthiest adult in the main cast, Davis Calloway is the grammy award winner father of Julien who's realizing now that maybe holding a grudge against the man raising her half sister wasn't the best idea.
How it's goin': Credit where it's due in that we've seen him make efforts since the pilot to be a better father and he usually owns up to his mess when called out. and as of the finale seems to be taking a real interest in his daugter's future.
Where it needs to go: More of the same honestly - making strides to be on good terms with Nick, helping guide Julien in a real way and staying in his lane. It's rare I like a white male character a decent amount so don't fuck it up show!
How it started: The other half of Marion's love triangle Nick is Zoya's father, works as a lawyer and, like Davis, is working through resentment he should've a long time ago in order to not hold a grudge against his daughter's sister's father.
How it's goin': Thanks to Luna and Monet he's currently fighting the housing board since he took over his mother's apartment in order to allow Zoya to go to Constance. He was also entertaining a romance with a 24 year old which, while not illegal, was VV wrong.
Where it needs to go: After this housing deal is finished perhaps a date with an age appropriate woman?! And to just keep mellow in the meantime.
How it started: Living up to the gossip show host of the same name Wendy is a messy teacher who lives for drama and seems to be having the most fun out with running the blog. With how she essentially set Rima up I would keep an eye on her in the future to do more/be worse.
How it's goin': Fine seemingly. She's only up this high because she's one of the in people for the account in the first place.
Where it needs to go: Fired and jail, in that order
How it started: In addition to being another teacher running the GG instagram Jordan is mostly known for snapping that pic of Zoya in her bra - aka child porn - and his hopeless crush on Kate Keller.
How it's goin': In addition to convincing Kate to squash her feelings out for Nick, Jordan seems to be set on keeping up the insta for the merit of it? If nothing else he's a good right hand in that way I guess.
Where it needs to go: JAIL! UNDER THE DAMN JAIL IMMEDIATELY! ZOYA WAS 14, THE AUDACITY!
How it started: After entertaining a flirtation with his underage student - yet again, as reputation has it - he finally 'gave into his feelings' (aka took advantage of an emotionally vulnerable teenager) and had a fling with Max.
How it's goin': With Max now wise to his game of snatching up teenagers he is not taking rejection well, so much so that he asked to join in on Gossip Girl to post a rumor that Max had an STD and, then, attempting to sleep with his dad when his interest was no longer returned.
Where it needs to go: Jail is too good for him, electric CHAIR!
How it started: The main instigator, Kate Keller is a 24 year old teacher who initially started the GG insta to 'guide the students' after they didn't like her Zara blazer but soon became infatuated with finally being semi-relevant.
How it's goin': In her own words - 'Mainly I just wanted to be famous....like anyone really'. What a loser! After rebuffing her mutual attraction to Nick we can only assume she will continue to actively bully students online and counsel them offline as well as be perfectly fine with getting Rima fired but being concerned about Rafa's career due to a sex tape. Class, for your first in exam bonus, please use 'hypocrite' in a sentence somewhere during the written portion of your comment!
Where it needs to go: Jail is fine but not before she's exposed and humiliated first.
Now then, onto the teens!
Monet De Haan
How it started: Beautiful, ruthless and exceedingly wealthy Monet starts the show as one half of Julien's social media team. When not terrifying teachers she spends her free time looking good, kissing girls & scowling, in general but especially at all things Zoya.
How it's goin': After growing frustrated with Julien's desire to change her image without her direction she extracts herself from the main group to work for 2 social media influencers at another school and is notably missing from episode 6, hence her going first here.
Where it needs to go' Here's the things about mean girls - they're necessary and by that regard her actress plays the hell out of her. But Monet has felt one note and now that she is no longer in line as a member of Julien's team it's a perfect chance for us to truly get to know her below the surface. I'm rooting for her to get a spotlight episode in the second half, preferably in the second half opener or the episode directly after it!
How it started: Introduced as the other half of Julien's social media team & Monet's partner in crime Luna is mainly known for styling and being the comic relief.
How it's goin': With Monet now off Julien's team it falls on her to keep Julien relevant and the first task - finding potential brand partners - went off without a hitch.
Where it needs to go' Now that she and Monet are apart the stage is really set for them to become rivalies in some way but in general she also needs more fleshing out & will hopefully get her own extended character focus moment as well.
How it started: Known for being poised, fiercely loyal - but only to friends, OOP - and lightly codependent Audrey has mostly been characterized by her relationships with her mother Kiki, boyfriend Aki and Max.
How it's goin': After some emotional fights with her mother and then hovering over her as she heals an exhausted & emotionally spent Audrey accidently outted her boyfriend to his parents and, at the end of the last episode, is engaged in a threesome with him and their friend Max.
Where it needs to go: Is it obvious Audrey isn't my fave? LOL. Her actress is playing the hell out of her tho so mainly I want Audrey to keep being flawed and making interesting, but less chaotic, choices for herself.
Akeno 'Aki' Menzies
How it started: Much like his girlfriend Aki has been largely characterized by his friendships with Max & Obie, relationship with Audrey, emerging bisexuality and his attempts to be the group's peacemaker & emotional core.
How it's goin': oof, rough! After taking his time to figure out his sexuality in private - via being roped into kissing Max & catfish Roy on Max's behalf (we'll GET to Max soon enough!) - he's used by his father as a deflection of homophobia on a nationwide scale, only getting time to clarify himself as bisexual before being left in the middle of a protest.
Where it needs to go: Aki & Evan is known for being the showrunner's favorite and it shows with him he's both given a lot of time onscreen but not the most to do. That said, his acting has improved with each episode so hopefully there's a lot of interesting things for him in the second half that he can do well with.
Otto "Obie" Bergmann IV
How it started: Initially introduced as Julien's extremely 'guilty rich' boyfriend and crusader for the downtrodden he quickly jumps ship from that relationship to one with Julien's 14 year old sister because she's 'different'. Huh.
How it's goin': After being read a few times for being a flip flopper, not supporting his new girlfriend and being clocked by both sisters for mainly paying lip service in the last episode he joined in a protest against his mother's work/company in the morning (by the way, his mother is SO pretty and her hair!!) and ended up kissing his EX girlfriend by the evening during the fall out of the protest instead of, you know, trying to leverage his privilege to descalate the situation. For your second midterm bonus, name when Zoya first felt concern about his politics being performative.
Where it needs to go: If I'm not supposed to hate Obie why is it so easy to do?! Mainly I want him to do better at communicating and sticking to his words. For instance, when you tell your new girlfriend you like that she's outspoken and reinforce liking that version of her when she tried to be different then maybe you should show that support when she needs it! Also, if you don't want your girlfriend to meet your mother because things are emotionally complicated for you then just SAY THAT instead of making both of them chase her down themselves. BETTER CHOICES, more honesty and staying away from both sisters is my ideal for him in the second half of the season.
How it started: The group's resident Dionysus, Max Wolfe is mainly known for being a perpetual flirt who desires to bed Rafa while also bedding Audrey and being Aki's closet key. The good times partying persona cracks a bit as the first half of the season goes on and especially after his parents separate.
How it's goin': After engaging in a bender of drugs & alcohol Max attached himself to Rafa after further emotional manipulation on the adult's part. Having realized what's happening he's mostly been fending off Rafa's attempts to both ruin & bed him again as well as dealing with a distraught Gideon while being there for both Audrey & Aki both emotionally and, as of the end of the episode, physically.
Where it needs to go: The reason Max leap frogged over Obie is because he's both been given the largest range of emotions to play and because so many different things are happening for him. Mainly I want him to get the upper hand on Rafa/get him out and to find a stable emotional place for himself.
How it started: Known for being the queen bee of Constance Billard, Julien is a budding social media star wanting to take her career to the next level while getting to know her little half sister for the first time in a real way,. After arranging for Zoya to get in, however, things are rockier than she wants in several different ways.
How it's goin': Having what can only be described as 'growing pains' in her brand Julien's spent the first season half trying to discover the person she wants to be as her most authentic self outside of Luna & Monet while both trying to get over her ex boyfriend & bond with the little sister he immediately started going out with afterwards. The finale sees her taking her career more seriously, having a misunderstanding with Zoya and - oops - kissing her ex!
Where it needs to go: I've liked Julien since episode/moment one and she's only continued to become more complex as the season rolled on. Mainly I want her to get over Otto - seriously, who leaves a girlfriend for a 14 year old freshman?! - and to keep growing into herself while maintaining and strengthening a relationship with Zoya.
How it started: Newly transplanted from Buffalo to Manhattan Zoya begins to attend Constance Billard both because she entered for & won a scholarship and as a chance to finally know her half sister. Things change, however, when Gossip Girl pops up and she's forced time & again into public attention thanks to it and #Lunet
How it's goin': Let's just say it's a mixed bag? Things can be very spotty between her & Julien, Otto seems to send contradictory signals and her general school experience is marred by being cyber stalked via Gossip Girl. After a fight with her boyfriend she goes to join him at a protest only to see her sister there & run away from the confrontation.
Where it needs to go: Alright now LOOK - Is Zoya a hot mess express at time? Absolutely! Could her delivery have been better at this dinner? For sure. But WAS SHE WRONG? NO! Bear in mind that she's been thrown into a whole new borough & new school, was bullied at her last one & had to leave, is trying to have a relationship with her sister - who seems to do both nice and nasty things to her - and seems to have no real peer support at all! She can be cringe but 14/15 is the age that behavior is for and isn't it refreshing to actually see someone speak truth to power? Mainly Zoya, just by existing in this space, has been the catalyst to both her sister and her boyfriend waking up a bit and her bold sense of self determination has largely come from being on defense mode because everything keeps ending up rocky. All of this is to say that yes I am a Zoya apologist but why should I not be??
Source: my screen caps and original text
Now with the oral part of this exam all done be sure to express yourselves below as, unlike the show's GG, we can usually trust this comment section to be good. Don't forget to cite sources, MLA/MLE format is not needed & don't be afraid to show your work. Good Luck!