Gossip Girl EP Joshua Safran Season 2 Meltdown
Gossip Girl showrunner Joshua Safran breaks down Season 2 Episode 6, spotlighting one of the original show's most famous and beloved characters.
WARNING: SPOILERS for Gossip Girl season 2, episode 6, "How to Bury a Millionaire."
Gossip Girl showrunner Joshua Safran breaks down Season 2 Episode 6, which highlights one of the original show's most beloved characters. With Season 2 halfway through, things are heating up for the Gossip Girl sequel series. As the HBO Max series continues to flesh out the so-called second generation, blasts from the past play a vital role in this week's episodes. Fans of the original Gossip Girl series will remember the wrath of Michelle Trachtenberg's Georgina Sparks.
As expected, Georgina causes confusion when she comes face to face with the new Gossip Girl, aka Kate Keller. The episode explores some familiar territory from the CW show, since Georgina previously played Gossip Girl on the original show. This became one of the most important chapters of Kate's tenure as Gossip Girl, and set Mr. Constance down a fascinating but potentially dangerous path.
Screen Rant recently interviewed Gossip Girl showrunner Safran, who breaks down Georgina's big break and the chaos she's brought to town. Throughout the interview, Safran shared about bringing Trachtenberg back to play the fan-favorite villain, and hinted at Looking forward to the rest of the season. The Gossip Girl showrunner also teased some huge game-changers for the HBO Max series and opened up about Gossip Girl's stance on the Season 3 renewal.
Joshua Safran Talks Gossip Girl Season 2
Screen Rant: Georgina has always been one of my favorites. Was she always planning to be part of the Gossip Girl storyline when you were working on the first season, or did you think about it when you were developing the second season?
Joshua Safran: When I pitched the show coming back, I knew that I wanted Michelle to come back. Michelle and I have stayed in touch over the years through texting or DM a couple of times a year. It was very important to bring her back. The second that the show was greenlit, I actually think she reached out to me, meaning she knew it was in process. But once the announcement came out, she was like, 'Okay, what is it? What is happening?' I said to her, [and to] the writers' room, that Georgina needed to make maximum chaos. In order to do that, we needed to produce enough of our characters first so you'd understand the stakes before she showed up. She quickly understood that it would be best for her to wait till season 2, when she would have the maximum impact. We put Milo in season 1 and had these photos of Georgina to remind the audience that she's never too far from our world. It was great. I think it's right to wait, and I think you enjoy her all that much more.
How funny was it that you told her "In this sequel, the teacher is Gossip Girl"? What was her reaction when you told her?
Joshua Safran: She knew from the very beginning, and she really liked it. I think everybody was on board to not repeat the original on who is Gossip Girl. We did that already, we got so much mileage out of it, and it was time to do something new. I think she really loved that, especially because if you recall the first series, Georgina took Gossip Girl over for a time because she was like, 'I can do this better.' That's where her drive is coming from in this as well. It wasn't a nameless, faceless thing or a computer that she had to steal, which it was the first time around. This time, she actually has a person that she's going to aggravate and interrogate to do things. She likes an adversary, and it was the right way to go. Michelle was really excited about that. Also, Michelle and Tavi really complement each other. It's really funny to watch them go at each other and to be together.
Is the dress Kate wakes up wearing the same as Serena's dress from the original Gossip Girl Season 1?
Joshua Safran: Oh, yes! In fact, Kate is in two different outfits in that scene, and both of them are Serena's. [She] plays dress up with Kate. [laughs]
I think this is the first time this season we've heard that Serena and Dan have a baby, and it made me think, 'What would their baby look like today? Are we getting closer to seeing any of them?
Joshua Safran: I certainly hope so. With Dan and Serena, it was just fun. I love knowing that Georgina hadn't left them alone. I'd say probably one of my most favorite Georgina monologues that we've ever had is her in this episode talking about the ways in which she's become a ghost in their house. All the specialists they've had to hire the try to figure out what's going wrong with their house. [laughs] But it's Georgina, and I knew I couldn't show Dan and Serena obviously. There are characters that we hope to bring back, and if the series continues, we have every intention to. I think it's really good to have one or two returning people per season. But also, Georgina's never too far away.
I had to go back and rewatch the finale because I thought they were on good terms.
Joshua Safran: They were, and then they weren't! Time has passed, and I decided to change that because I don't understand how Georgina could ever stay on good terms with them for a while. Georgina and Blair ended on good terms, but that doesn't mean that she's done with Dan and Serena. She's probably still mad at Dan for the baby thing. Who knows what's happened? I'm not going to say, but we came up with some pretty fun things about what happened in the interim. I'm not going to spoil those, in case they ever come out.
What got me a little excited was that We definitely heard Milo in this episode. We're going to see Georgina and Milo together this season, right?
Joshua Safran: We are not, and we were supposed to. We really wanted to, but Azhy Robertson, who plays Milo, is one of the leads of Apple's Invasion, which shoots in South Africa, and we could not make our schedules work getting him from South Africa to New York in the time that we had. Because with COVID, there's quarantine, there's all of this stuff, and it didn't work. They were actually supposed to be at the wedding together, but we couldn't [make it happen]. That's why there's the Russian model instead, which is funny. What's so funny is when Zoya was on the phone with him, obviously, his voice changed. We had this awkward moment where we were like, 'Do we cast a voice that sounds like Milo from season 1?' Obviously we would not. We didn't do that because we wanted to use Azhy because he is Milo. I was nervous for a moment the audience wouldn't make the connection that it was Milo because his voice had changed. But it's more important to have Azhy than to make it sound like him.
At first I thought, 'Oh, is this an ADR? Is this just a temporary ADR? Because sometimes when we get filters, there's ADR footage. Last year he was a little kid!
Joshua Safran: I know, it's crazy! I didn't know until we got his ADR, and I was like, 'That's Azhy?!' Because no one had said that his voice had changed. But I think it's great because that just means in season 3, he's going to be a real teen and a real adversary for the kids with Georgina. But initially, in the script, it was fun because Zoya asked Milo to be there. Milo didn't want his mother to know he was there. So, there was an added complication of Milo hiding from Georgina, and there was a great moment which unfortunately is gone. I'm glad because we couldn't do it where they bump into each other, and he's like, 'Did you do that?' and she's like, 'Did you do that?' They are both proud of each other, and I think that was the only moment that they met.
Speaking of season 3, do you have any updates? Does it look good?
Joshua Safran: No idea. All I know is that the landscape is shifting pretty rapidly, and Gossip Girl is a very expensive show. I'm very grateful for the ability to have it be as expensive as it looks; to use the locations, the clothes and get the actors. But it does make it, in today's new streaming economy, an uphill battle. But I'm very proud of the season; I think it's better than the last. I think it stands up against old Gossip Girl; I think the characters really come into their own. If this is the end, myself, all the EPs, writers and the cast would be so sad. Because we all believe there's so much left in these characters. I would hate it if this was the end. I wish I had an answer for you, but I think we'll know sometime in January.
If this is the final season, God forbid, is it open ended or do we end with a cliffhanger?
Joshua Safran: Unfortunately, or fortunately, we had cliffhangers. But they're cliffhangers in which I think if it were to end, you could make connections as an audience member, 'Oh okay, I get that.' I don't know how to explain it. You'll have to wait till you see it. But it's not like, 'Oh no, Chuck has been shot. Is he gonna die?' Nothing like that. It's more like, 'Oh wait, there's more.' I guess I'll put it this way: it was setting up stories for season 3, and I think your brain can fill in where the stories would go. It isn't like somebody's face is hanging in the balance.
Yes, it was a long summer and Chuck got shot!
Joshua Safran: I made a deal with myself and doing this version that often streaming shows, there's a year between seasons. You can have Chuck get shot in May because you're going to have the answer in three months. That can work, but you wouldn't have Chuck get shot and leave him for 14 months, which is the duration that happened between seasons 1 and 2. Nothing as huge as that happens, but some other great stuff happens. It'll be sad if it's the end because we definitely did not plan for that.
I'd like to see season 3 because I really enjoyed season 2 of Gossip Girl. One of the things I really liked was the fight between Monet and Julien. Can it be said that the war between them is not over yet?
Joshua Safran: Yes, I'd say that Monet's aspirations to be on top and find a way to do that are not over. Julien versus Monet is sort of over, but also, not really. Because Monet's path of trying to go after things is going to go after other people that Julien cares about. You've made it to episode 6, and I guess it happens in episode 7. I think that Gossip Girl realizes that Julien and Monet was a really good story. I don't want to give too much away, but there might be a better story, and you'll see what happens. Monet is still trying; she's still in a battle with her mother, which doesn't stop, and there's some really, really great stuff between them coming up. We have a very strong, multi-season arc planned out for Monet. It's not like she's done by any stretch of the imagination.
This is why I love this version of Gossip Girl so much. Nothing about these characters is black and white. Even though Kate is someone we should always question, you can see what she's doing, but she's doing it all wrong.
Joshua Safran: I think that's what's really fun is that in the first season I think people were really not sure how they were supposed to feel about Kate. I think they thought that we didn't know or we had made a choice. But the truth is we wanted it to be that if you hated her, great. If you agreed with her, great! I think in this season, we literally just unharnessed her. She is doing the wrong stuff, but she is motivated by the right reasons. That doesn't make it right at all. In fact, that makes it worse in a weird way. I really love the moral complexity that the audience is a part of in that storyline. I think it actually goes to some very surprising places, and not just with Georgina, but there's some other pretty big stuff that's about to happen, including Georgia, I would say.
Georgina is just that: In the end, everyone pays Into her in some strange capacity. If you could tell us something about Kate, what was it like for Kate?
Joshua Safran: What I can tease is that, if Kate resists Georgina again, a very bad fate is going to befall her. She can't resist Georgina, who in episode 6 had just gotten started. It's this weird thing where if you say no to Georgina, you may lose your head. If you say yes to Georgina, you may lose your head anyway, because Georgina is going to make you put your head in the guillotine. I think she's in for the ride of her life, and nobody escapes unharmed. I don't want to say anymore because episode 7 is a big turning point.
I'm really looking forward to her seeing the kids meet her, because Georgina acts like a teenager in a lot of ways, which is still fun. I was thinking it would be hilarious but also confusing if she and Monet fought each other.
Joshua Safran: I don't want to spoil anything, but you'll definitely see some really fun stuff.
Is there anything else you'd like to poke fun at for our readers on Screen Rant about the second half of the season?
Joshua Safran: Julien, in her effort to always rise above and do good, doesn't realize that she's crossed a line. The line she crosses she can't come back from; she goes further and further crossing it. It's definitely a dark night of the soul for Julien, I would say. There's really fun stuff. When we loaded the second half of the season, it was the return of the Titans. You have Georgina, you have Malcolm McDowell as Roger Menzies. You have Helena and Heidi Bergmann. There's a lot of manipulation and power from the parents to the kids and from Gossip Girl to the kids. I think the best thing I can tease is that the kids get to a point where they're not going to take it anymore. I'd say, the World War begins. It's a really big end of the season. And then we go to Italy!
About Gossip Girl Season 2
It's the second semester of junior year, and Gossip Girl is going to great lengths to control the shameful lives of Manhattan's elite/invent shameful lies. She learned a thing or two from her first round — that what her audience wants, they get. Time for her to heat up what's been brewing (Julien, have you seen Monet?) and see her own influence and how she makes it even more catastrophic than it was before. Even if it means lying. Old enemies and new allies keep shifting sand—this semester, there can only be one Queen, by the end of the school year everyone will know where the bodies are buried and who is holding the shovel. ^More: Gossip Girl Reboot Needs to Address Book's Biggest Mistakes ^New episodes of Gossip Girl season 2 air only every Thursday on HBO Max.