The 'Gossip Girl' Season 2 premiere contained a hidden joke about the wildest Lea Michele rumor.

You Probs Missed Gossip Girl's Hidden Lea Michele Joke

It's a total blink-and-you-miss-it moment.

by Dylan Kickham

Say what you will about HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot, but it always delivers when it comes to hilarious, cutting-edge pop culture references. In its first season, its standout Jameela Jamil joke blew up on social media, so much so that Jamil even responded to it. Naturally, GG dove headfirst back into dragging celebs... although much more subtly. There’s a hidden joke in the very first scene of Gossip Girl’s Season 2 premiere, and depending who you ask, it may be a jab at Lea Michele.

Season 2 kicked off right where Season 1 ended, as Julien and Kate begin their new partnership to revitalize Gossip Girl. In case you need a reminder, the first season ended with Julien proposing a deal with GG: She’ll send over all of her dirtiest tips about her friends in an effort to rebuild her social standing. But Julien warned GG that some of the tips she sends will be fake in order to throw any would-be detectives off her scent. And in the very first shot of Season 2, that’s exactly what Julien did. She hit send on a full laundry list of juicy goss, and viewers got to see all of it.

The list of tips only briefly showed up on screen as Kate scanned the message, but if you paused to read it all, you know it is filled with some hilarious references. Probably the funniest for those in the know is about Audrey: “Audrey Hope actually can't read. She holds up books in public to look smart.”

Knowing Gossip Girl’s love of some good celeb shade, the statement clearly seems to be a jokey allusion to the conspiracy theory that Lea Michele can’t read.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The silly rumor that Lea Michele is secretly illiterate has been an internet favorite for years now — its origins can be traced back to a 2017 conspiracy theory video made by two podcasters — but it blew up to mainstream attention in the fall of 2022 when Michele addressed the claim in a New York Times interview.

“I went to Glee every single day. I knew my lines every single day,” Michele said. “And then there’s a rumor online that I can’t read or write? It’s sad. It really is. I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn’t be the case.”

Michele wasn’t the only notable person to catch a few strays in Julien’s shady tips list. JC also claimed Monet has her friends sign NDAs, which is a nod to a trendy TikTok controversy at the start of 2022 when a woman on the app revealed she had her friends sign non-disclosure agreements after a particularly gossipy dinner.


Clearly, Gossip Girl is back and cattier than ever, so buckle up for a whirlwind of hookups, backstabbing, and more pop culture references than you can handle as new episodes of Season 2 drop Thursdays on HBO Max.