Ok – so let’s get the first thing out of the way…. the rest of this post will contain SPOILERS… lots and lots of spoilers for the Gilmore Girls revival. If you haven’t watched it yet and don’t want to find out what happens, don’t read any more.
I mean it….Now’s your chance to leave if you don’t want to know…
Now that that’s out of the way – I wanted to share some thoughts on Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I am a rabid Gilmore Girls fan. I watched it when it was on live TV, watched countless reruns on ABC Family, bought the DVDs and have re-watched it at least four full times between the DVDs and Netflix. Like many other GG fans, I was not thrilled with Season 7 – so I was very excited when the reunion/revival was announced.
I waited and anticipated for months… and then it finally came time to watch it. I put on my requisite GG t-shirt and sat down with one of my best friends – a friend that I watched the series with then it was airing live on TV the first time! And we watched…
And I was disappointed. I know that might not be the popular thing to say – GG fans are supposed to love it no matter what. But I was truly disappointed. I didn’t HATE it (well, I hated parts of it), but I also loved parts of it. Overall though, I was left disappointed. And here’s why….
Inconsistent Characters that Were No Longer Likable
I felt like a lot of the characters in the show significantly changed fundamental parts of their personalities. I understand that this show is 10 years later and that people grow and change – but I felt like some of the characters were, at times, unrecognizable from the previous seasons. For example, Rory – yes in the first season she has an affair with Dean while he’s married… however, it occurs over two days and she ends up feeling truly horrible about it. It causes her strife with her mother and enough guilt that she can’t even wait to see him in person to resolve it. It seems completely out of character for her – having had this experience and being an intelligent woman who has learned from her mistakes throughout the show – to carry on a long term affair with an emotionally unavailable Logan who is engaged to someone else. Not only does it seem out of character, but it also makes me not like her.
I also feel like it’s out of character for Lorelai to have allowed her and Luke to have seemingly remained in a relationship-stasis for the past 10 years. No movement or discussion of marriage. No movement or discussion of kids. This from a woman who has done nothing but drive her life forward… from creating a career, proactively raising a child, pursuing and purchasing her own business… all of these things take initiative and going after what you want. Not ignoring major questions or issues for a decade. Not to mention that she basically goes crazy waiting for the issues with April/the wedding to be resolved.
I could go on here with Emily (I won’t even get into the weird maid/household help situation) and even minor characters life Sophie and some of the townspeople. But to sum it up – at times I felt like I couldn’t connect the characters with their past selves. And as I discussed, having likable characters was one of the my favorite parts about the original Gilmore Girls.
Mish-Mash of Content
For having about 6.5 hours of content… not much story is told. I honestly kind of felt like this was a mish mash of every idea that the Palladinos had for Gilmore Girls just all thrown in because they weren’t sure they’d ever have another chance. I mean seriously they spent WAYY too long on the Stars Hollow Musical, and on the Wild segment, and on the swimming pool situation, and on the weird Steam Punk scenes with the Life and Death Brigade. And – importantly – a lot of these sections didn’t really feel like traditional Gilmore Girls, weren’t that entertaining and didn’t add anything to the plot line. I really wish we had gotten more plot and less of this random extra stuff.
And while I’m on this point – I’m going to add to the chorus of people who don’t like the Paul plotline. I think it served zero purpose and just made Rory and those around her look like cruel people.
Played into Millennial Stereotypes
I feel like this show – particularly how it dealt with Rory – played into every Millennial sterotype out there… not being satisfied with a regular job, trying to “find yourself”, having to move home and live with parents, one night stands/promiscuous behavior, etc. For the record, I am approximately the same age as Rory is supposed to and I’m surrounded by people my age who have good jobs, are married and/or starting families, have purchased a house (and have LONG lived in their own apartments paid for by their own income). I couldn’t relate to how Rory grew up – particularly given the fact that she had every advantage in life. I have to say – and I feel weird saying this about a fictional character but it must be done – I expected better. What happened to the girl who chased down leads and connections. Who was about to board a bus to follow the Obama campaign around the country?
Ok, so I admit, I saw the ending coming as soon as Rory started talking to Christopher in his office. So it wasn’t a surprise (although I’m still trying to figure out if the “yeah” from Lorelai was intended to be one of the four words or if Rory was supposed to say “Mom, I am pregnant”… vs. “Mom, I’m pregnant”…). But honestly, I like this ending even less than I liked the ending to the 7th season. Again – it seems out of character for Rory… in the age of many forms of contraception, an accidental pregnancy doesn’t make sense, especially for her character. And again, I expected better. I think the fact that all signs point to the baby coming out of her (frowned upon) relationship with Logan, makes it even worse. I tried to justify the ending by for the Palladinos by thinking about it as coming full circle… but I don’t think this is one of those instances where coming full circle is a good thing. I think that Lorelai would have wanted Rory to learn from her life – and in fact wanted Rory to climb mountains and find the kind of success that she had to struggle more for. I just didn’t see this ending – and I also think it doesn’t fit with the 10 year gap. Maybe it could have fit into a season 7 or the nonexistent season 8. But just doesn’t work for me here.
But It’s Not All Bad for the Gilmore Girls
Having said all of that – there are moments where you can glimpse the amazingness that is Gilmore Girls. The phone call from Lorelai to Emily while she’s in California, the conversation between Luke and Lorelai when they finally decide to get married, pretty much EVERY scene that Paris is in… the witty dialogue, strong characters and distinct flow of the show do shine through at times. I just wish that it had been the focus rather than brief segments which made the whole thing bearable.
When the seventh season ended, I kept hoping for something like this revival that would “fix” what had happened at the end of the show. Unfortunately now I’m left hoping for another revival that will “fix” this one.
Gilmore Girls, I still love you!!