So first of all, I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving. Mine was full of family traditions, way too much food and alcohol, and both the mourning and celebrating of Texas football (Welcome, Coach Herman!)
But if you’re like me, your holiday also included six hours of binge-watching Netflix’s newest revival show. Yup, Rory, Lorelai and Emily are back in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. It’s been a long time (or ten years) coming.
Well, the verdict is in. My mind is made up, and… I’m conflicted.
Each of the four episodes is dedicated to one of the four seasons in (you guessed it) a year in the life of the Gilmore girls.
WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!
While sweetly reminiscent, “Winter” served mainly as a welcome back to Stars Hollow. We see old fan favorites – like Kirk, Lane, and Michel – interspersed with seemingly random and needless scenes like Luke and Lorelai’s trip to the fertility clinic. The opening episode was too vague surrounding Rory’s life since Yale and Sookie’s disappearance, and I was devastated to discover that despite their wonderful parting in the season 7 finale, Lorelai and Emily are once again in a bitter fight.
“Spring” continued to drag on with long, drawn out scenes in Emily and Lorelai’s therapy sessions and all of Rory’s various failures. A little bit could’ve gone a long way. The various old school references to the town meeting and picnic basket auction felt contrived, although Kirk’s latest movie was a hit.
Again, Ms. Sherman-Palladino doesn’t seem to understand “a little bit goes a long way” especially considering the multiple pool scenes, the entire weirdness of the Stars Hollow musical, or April Nardini. But Rory’s running of the Stars Hollow Gazette and Jess’ return to once again inspire her was a solid improvement. We finally get to see a little bit of plot.
And in a stunning return to the true Gilmore Girls, “Fall” was purely magical. First and foremost, Emily Gilmore says both “tits” and “bullshit.” Magical. Sookie returns to bake a cake. Magical. Rory writing her book in her grandfather’s study. Magical. Lorelai and Luke’s gorgeous and long-awaited wedding. Magical.
And those final four words? I’ll get to those in a minute.
So now that we have recapped the episodes, I think you can see where my internal debate lies. Just not a enough plot for six hours of television. But I am, after all, more character driven, so my take on show all comes down to the infamous Gilmore girls themselves.
When “Winter” begins, Emily is her typical self with one major change: she is heartbroken. Richard is gone, and as far as she is concerned, nothing will ever be the same. But her eventual realization that her life can’t be over just because his is, brings her to a place of true happiness for the first time on her own.
And in a scene parallel to the pilot, this time Emily gets to write Lorelai’s check.
We all know that Lorelai has mommy issues, but now we see how deeply her father issues run as well. A disgusting outburst in “Winter” leads to a beautiful wrap up in “Fall” where she chronicles her favorite moment with her father. And after that, everything seems to fall into place. Her reluctance to commit to Luke ends with a marriage, her angst toward her mother dissolves into acceptance, and her refusal to let Rory write their story switches to support. Lorelai has finally accepted who her parents are/were, leading to the acceptance of herself and her choice.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
I can get on board with Rory’s professional struggles. Sure, it’s disappointing considering the high hope we had for her. But it’s hard out there, folks, and if everything was perfect, then we wouldn’t really have a story. So fine.
But the personal choices she makes as a result of those professional struggles? Unacceptable.
Her journalism career doesn’t play out, so she enters into a relationship with an engaged man (Did she not learn from Dean?). She uses a potential biography with a crazy woman to drag a sweet – albeit forgettable – man through the mud for two years (Again, did she not learn from Dean?). Her lack of inspiration for the Conde Nast article leads her to have a one-night stand… with a WOOKIE. And a fight with her mother excuses her to traipse across the Eastern coast with her engaged boyfriend and his loser friends. Has she matured AT ALL in the last ten years?!
And then… She dumps Logan. She pursues her new project – aptly entitled Gilmore Girls – and everything seems like it may just right itself. But then come those final four words.
And it’s over. A series that focused on a mother’s hard work, sacrifice and journey to improve her daughter’s life. And Rory screws it up. She’s coasted through life with the help of everyone around her, yet when life get gets a little hard, she folds. She lets her story mirror her mother’s, despite how much Lorelai, Emily and her dead grandfather wanted better for her.
Oh and top of all of that, she totally steals Lorelai’s thunder on her wedding day.
Way to go, Rory.
And now it looks like we will have a fourth Gilmore girl. Maybe she’ll get it right.
So to wrap things up, I miss Sookie. I miss Richard. I am beyond thrilled that Emily and Lorelai are finally living their own lives instead of living for Rory and her expired golden child status. Now she’s just a sad Millennial stereotype.
I feel the same kind of shock that I did when I watched the season finale of How I Met Your Mother.
Am I being too harsh? What do you think of Netflix’s newest revival? Let me know below!