Slight spoilers are ahead. Of all the questions raised by the new Gossip Girl reboot, one of the most intriguing for those who grew up with the original series certainly has to be why the teachers hold Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford) in such high regard. Apparently a lot has happened to Nate since Gossip Girl first ended.
We know this because Constance teacher Kate Keller (Tavi Gevinson) name-drops him in a list of the school's most accomplished and impressive alumni alongside Caroline Kennedy and The Underground Railroad author Colson Whitehead. We also learn that Dan Humphreys (Penn Badgley) is a well-known novelist, but that's much more specific and much less surprising.
The last we saw on Gossip Girl, per the original series finale, Nate was the Editor in Chief of The New York Spectator and considering a run for mayor. Does this mean that he had a successful career in politics? It doesn't seem like someone like Kate would have that high of a regard for any former or current mayor of New York City, given current attitudes towards Bill de Blasio and Rudy Giuliani, but who knows. It's also just kind of funny. If anyone was going to be the famous alum named in the same breath as a Kennedy, who would have guessed it would be Nate, of all people?
Another reason it's difficult to imagine how Nate Archibald could have made a good name for himself in 2021 because our attitudes about the rich and privileged white New Yorkers have frozen over after the sordid stories about Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein went public, not to mention all the members of the Upper East Side elite involved in the Trump presidency. We now live in a society where billionaire is a dirty word and it's beyond gauche to idolize rich men like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos.
So for Nate to be mentioned in the same breath as an author like Whitehead, he needs to have done something good... right? Even John F. Kennedy's daughter Caroline Kennedy, the other person Kate mentions and an heiress from a family even more rich and famous than Nate's fictional one, served as an ambassador to Japan and is known for writing books on civil liberties. It's probably safe to assume that Nate doesn't just have, like, a really great podcast.
In my mind, instead of getting too deep into politics, he continued his journalism career. He's now a Ronan Farrow type, using his privilege to speak truth to power to take down those who abuse it. Knowing Nate, he could also definitely be a charismatic broadcast journalist in the vein of Anderson Cooper. Sure, the original Gossip Girl characters don't really overshadow the new generation of New York's elite, so we may never know for sure, but what I wouldn't give to see a glimpse of this genius among geniuses at some point.