“Gossip Girl” Cast Says Audrey, Aki, and Max’s Poly Storyline Comes From a “Vulnerable Place”


HBO Max’s “Gossip Girl” has been exploring all sorts of new plots in the modern-day reboot, but one of the most refreshing storylines has been the budding polyamorous relationship between Audrey (Emily Alyn Lind), Aki (Evan Mock), and Max (Thomas Doherty).

In season one, viewers met Audrey and Aki as a longtime couple and later witnessed the latter’s struggle to understand his bisexuality, though he’s come to embrace it by exploring his and Audrey’s newfound connection with their partner Max (who has a reputation in the Upper East Side for being a promiscuous pansexual). The trio finally made things official in “Gossip Girl”‘s season one finale; however, the first few episodes of season two largely focus on the ups and downs of their relationship, as Audrey and Aki grapple with embracing it publicly.

“I think that it’s cool the way that we do it because a lot of times on screen, the only time that you’ll see, say, a throuple, is when you’re watching a threesome.”

Watching this complex new relationship dynamic play out feels like a necessary step forward for polyamory on TV, as compared to shows that have previously treated polyamory as a hypersexual, deviant act or shock-value entertainment. As sexually charged as “Gossip Girl” is, the posh teen drama covers the emotional tribulations of polyamory that aren’t often shown onscreen. “I think that it’s cool the way that we do it because a lot of times on screen, the only time that you’ll see, say, a throuple, is when you’re watching a threesome,” Lind explains to POPSUGAR. “Evan was saying earlier that you’re seeing it from the lens of a very vulnerable place because these kids are still kids. They’re still teenagers, so they’re really figuring it out.”

Related: “Gossip Girl”‘s Creator Says the Season 2 Finale Reveals a Major Hint About Next Season

Mock echoes his costar’s sentiments and breaks down the moral responsibility they, along with Doherty, have to make their polyamorous storyline feel real. “The most important part is that it’s relatable to the viewers,” he says. “I feel like whether you’re in a throuple or a relationship with one person, you can see yourself in their relationship and you see how it’s a group effort. They’re all just trying to make it work and things happen, and people f*ck up. It’s mainly [about] figuring out how to navigate [not only] being in a throuple, but in a relationship in general.”

As an onscreen triad, Lind, Mock, and Doherty are tasked with portraying the passionate parts of their characters’ relationship as well as their sexual rendezvous, but the latter says the three of them embrace the challenge wholeheartedly. “It’s really fortunate. We’re [all] close, and we feel really safe and comfortable around each other,” Doherty says. “Being able to be as honest and as truthful with what we’re doing on screen as possible, and so it doesn’t come off as some caricature or cliché idea, it’s as honest as you can make ‘Gossip Girl.'”

While “Gossip Girl”‘s representation of polyamory may not be perfect – the burden of representation is far too big for one show alone to satisfy – it does demonstrate how other shows can expand the conversation. Either way, the cast is pleased with how they’ve portrayed this storyline so far, making sure viewers “feel seen and represented and that their identity isn’t being solely used for entertainment purposes.” “Of course, that’s never going to happen fully because you can never make all the people happy all the time,” Doherty adds jokingly, “but we can only do our best.”

New episodes of “Gossip Girl” air on Thursdays on HBO Max.

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