Friday, December 2, 2016

Let's Talk About...Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Let's Talk About... is a chance for us to talk about anything and everything. It's a way for me to get some of what I am thinking and feeling out onto the page and to engage in real, honest discussion about it with you. I hope these posts can be fun, interesting, educational, and, more than anything, a chance to learn from each other. 

Welcome to my first Let's Talk About... post! This series has been months in the making. My poor husband bears the brunt of my mental ramblings, but he's not always interested in whatever happens to be weighing on my mind. Case in point: today's topic.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

How we Gilmore fans have longed for this day. It has been literally years of wishing and hoping. Now, here we are... and boy, do we have a lot to talk about.

I became a Gilmore fan in college. My best friend introduced it to me and we binge watched the early seasons together. The final seasons aired during those college years and we often watched together. When the show hit Netflix last year, I was thrilled and immediately re-watched the whole series with utter delight. When news of the revival came out, I, like thousands of others, freaked out just a little.

And now, here we are. I've seen the revival. I watched all six hours within three days despite the fact that we were on a trip to see family and enjoy the Thanksgiving holidays. Priorities, y'all.

I'm fully aware that there are already about a thousand think pieces regarding the revival out there on the interwebs. Please bear with me through one more. I have a lot to say.

(btw...there are MAJOR spoilers ahead, so if you continue reading, it's at your own peril.)

I feel like this needs to be broken into chunks to make sense, be organized, and to prevent me trailing off into emotional nonsense. So let's try that. First and foremost:


I have loved Rory for so long. She is a character to whom I have felt so connected. She's smart, driven, organized, and a big reader. While I'm well versed in the complaints about her and Lorelei's selfish behavior (and they are more evident here than ever before), she's always been a character I enjoyed.

In these episodes, though, she seemed different to me than her original character. She has no moral compass, little ambition, she's not thinking ahead. Where is the Rory we came to know and love in those early years? There are certainly hints of this unmoored Rory in the original series: she steals the yacht and quits Yale. In that case, her actions are precipitated by perceived failure in her career. So, here, her floundering career seems to have dislodged her from her consistent, determined self. I don't like that at all. The only time I really disliked her character in the original was during those Season 6 episodes. Now, we're faced with that girl times ten. 

I understand that nine years (the purported length between the original and this) changes people. But we never got to see Rory change. We left her on the cusp of a promising career and the doors of the world open to her. She had just gotten Christiane Amanpour's card for goodness sake! We are given so little information on what's happened to her in the intervening years. Because of that, who she is in this series feels unnatural and wrong for her. 

Which leads us to her love life...

Rory and Logan

I can not even begin to describe how pissed off I am about the treatment these two were given in these new episodes. I have been fervently #TeamLogan for years now. It's basically the only fictional relationship for which I have ever ardently argued (other than Katniss and Peeta). I have so many thoughts about why, after the original series, Logan was the best for her. Now, though....

I am suddenly #TeamJess???? 

I think I might be. And I think Amy Sherman-Palladino (ASP) wants us all to be. She made that clear with Jess's longing gaze through the window. We'll get to Jess in a second, but let's stay on Rory and Logan for now. 

The infidelity issue is a huge deal breaker for me. This is not ok. It's not ok for Logan to be cheating on the mysterious Odette and it's not ok for Rory to be cheating on poor, sweet Paul. As much as I desperately wanted them together, this is not acceptable. Now, even if they were proven to be inseparable soul mates, they have both been shown to be unfaithful and that kind of behavior doesn't just dissipate when you're suddenly with "the one." (See: Dean and Rory's virginity debacle of Seasons 4/5)

I fully understand that ASP was not involved in Season 7 and we'll get to that, too. But, as a viewer, I felt that Rory and Logan both made incredible strides in that season. They both grew so much - individually and as a couple. Now, ten years later, it feels as though all that growth was temporary and they are both back where they were in early season six. Nothing has changed. Neither has grown. Logan, in particular, seems to have become his father, something he ardently strove to avoid in the original series. They are making rash, immature decisions based on...on what? Lust? Familiarity? Convenience? Even this affair doesn't make total sense. They have an undeniable connection, but their Vegas agreement seems illogical on so many levels.

Everyone Else

Beyond all the nonsense happening with Rory, there is still a wonderful cast of characters that deserve thought, too.

I absolutely loved Luke and Lorelei's dynamic in this. It was exactly what I wanted. It was perfect and real and complex. It was the closest we've ever seen to Lorelei being in an authentic, balanced relationship. They still clearly have some things to work out, but they are working it out together. Luke's speech in Summer was swoon-worthy. I've never thought Lauren Graham and Scott Patterson have the best on-screen chemistry, but I'm willing to forgive that in order to see them handling things with more steadfastness and commitment. 

I also loved Emily's story line. The absence of Richard is, of course, a huge change for the show and the Gilmore girls. I wish we would have seen more of Lorelei and Rory dealing with his death (we see it a bit when Rory writes her book in his office), but I am so satisfied with the writing for Emily. At first, I thought her subplot was weird, but the more I watched, the more I came to love it. I think she got some of the best writing of them all, at least toward the end. It's so perfect in so many ways. To see her in the whaling museum at the end gave me all the feels. 

The whole Berta/staff aspect annoyed me, though. The Hispanic maid can't speak English and her whole extended family moves in with Emily? It all felt inappropriately stereotypical for this show.

I hate that Doyle and Paris are divorcing. They were the ultimate power couple and they need each other. The story could have been served just as well with them together. It felt like a strange choice and one I did not like. But, I loved having both of them in the script as much as they were. Paris at Chilton was a highlight of the whole thing for me.

Sookie's absence was really felt. I totally get the Melissa McCarthy scheduling issues, so this feels like an inevitable causality of a revival. Some thing just can't be the same. Ed Herrmann's death and Sookie's absence feel like those things. Sookie should have been at the impromptu wedding. We should have seen her kids. We should have had more Jackson. We just needed more, but we can't always get what we want. If nothing else, I wish they would have done a better job explaining this. I loved that she was at Blue Hill Farm, because that place is on my culinary bucket list, but this whole plot felt like her character was getting the shaft. 

Jess. Let's talk about him. Despite my #TeamLogan proclivities, I've always had a soft spot for his character. Doing my rewatch of the series this year endeared me to him even more. Now, he has ended up being the mature, grounded one. Who would have thought?! I want to know so much more about him and his life and what he's been up to. We get bits of it and I love that he's there for Luke so much; they've clearly ended up with a strong relationship. I also understand that Milo Ventimiglia is a hard man to schedule, but his appearances were like bursts of light in Rory's dark story line. 

The Ending

Speaking of that story line, we have to go back to it once more. I know a lot of people were shocked by those last four words, but I genuinely saw it coming sometime during Summer or early Fall. It was clear Rory wasn't going to end up with any of her original guys in any satisfying way, so ASP needed some way to close her arc. Or, really, start a whole new one.

The whole thing is very obviously a mirror of the Lorelei/Christopher/Luke situation. Logan is her Christopher; Jess is her Luke. It's full circle in so many ways. 

That being said, I feel like ASP jammed the ending she had planned for the original series into place here even though it didn't really fit as organically for the charaters. This could have been a much more believable end to the original, it feels weird to me. It feels like Rory, who was given so much opportunity, has landed back in largely the same place her mother was 32 years previously. 

So, Where Does That Leave Us?

Despite some storytelling choices I did not like and the unfamiliarity of Rory's character and some ridiculous plot holes, this was still so fun to watch. It did not have the same magic, but it was delightful nonetheless. I did miss the original 45-minute format. The casual aspect of their daily life and routine was missing. It felt as though we were rushed from Important Moment to Important Moment and the small moments in between felt random and disconnected. They made some weird choices about what to spend their limited time on - like that musical. Y'all, I am a musical fanatic and even I was tempted to fast forward. In the end, though, it was a chance to return to a place and people we have cared about for years. I'm happy to have watched and I look forward to rewatching these episodes again. 

What did you think? I want to hear all your thoughts! Let's talk!


  1. I agree with literally every single thing you said.

    Though I have always been Team Jess so it was heartbreaking for them to not get any sort of interaction past the basics we got with them.

    I appreciated your piece, I have read (a few) pieces about the revival but I always feel like they're too intense or too formal.

    1. Yes! If ASP wanted so obviously for it to be Jess, I wish the two characters would have had more than 5 cumulative minutes on screen together in the whole 6 hours.

      Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. Everything I've read from major media outlets, papers, etc. has felt formal to me, too. I get that they are professional reviews, but I want to talk about this like we're sitting around drinking coffee. That feels the most appropriately Gilmore :)

  2. I was never a huge fan of Gilmore Girls, but I did watch a fair amount of it in college, so that made me kind of interested to watch the revival. I haven't watched it yet, but I am the worst when it comes to spoilers and I've already read recaps for all the episodes.

    From what I've read, I agree with you about Rory; she just seems too different from what I remember and I'm surprised at how much she seems to be floundering. And those last 4 words - I think they might have been a better fit 10 years ago.

    But I will probably still end up watching and enjoying it, if only to catch up with all the other characters!

    1. You should definitely watch! Despite all my critiques, I really did enjoy it and I'm planning to watch again. It's so fun to be back in Stars Hollow and with those characters.