(Here there be spoilers for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Lots and lots of spoilers.)
I first discovered Gilmore Girls probably about halfway through it’s run. I had no initial interest, because as a rule CW/Freeform style teen dramas aren’t my jam. From the outside looking in, it appeared to be your typical mother/daughter overwrought emotion fest. On a whim I had Netflix send me a disc though to see what all the hype was about. I was a single mom with a two year old son. Within two episodes I was completely hooked. I over identify with the shows I love, so I saw myself as Lorelai. I was a Lorelai with Rory’s reading habits, a better relationship with my mother and eventually an ability to cook, but I was Lorelai. I love coffee. I talk too much. I’m terrified of emotional commitment while one hundred percent craving one. I wanted to live in a kooky little town like Star’s Hollow and have my own Luke’s Diner to go to. I wanted to know people like Kirk, Babette and even Taylor Doose.
Suffice it to say that was amongst the people who were very excited when Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was announced. We’d get to go back and see what everyone was up to and relive a little bit of that Gilmore magic. And for the most part it was delivered. There were some awfully awkward moments. There were some tear jerking moments. What follows is my feelings on some of them.
First off, the biggest presence was felt by the man who tragically was not there. Edward Hermann played Richard Gilmore with a quiet balance of humor and panache that made him one of the few standout male characters on what is a very female centric show. Since his passing, the world waited to see how it would be handled. It was probably the best done thing about the revival. Richard has died of a heart attack shortly before the start of “Winter”. Emily is coming to terms with being on her own. Lorelai is coming to terms with herself and her relationship with her father and the man he was. Every single scene centered around anything to do with the man I teared up. It was an incredible tribute to the man and the actor.
Emily, oh Emily. Here’s the thing with Emily: If I knew her in real life I’d think she was terrible. She’s manipulative and derisive and actually pretty terrible. As a show character though she is fantastic and acerbic and witty (in addition to the rest). Emily spends a good chunk of the revival trying to find her footing after losing her husband of 50 years (minus that brief separation). You see her in jeans. She is fragile. She is angry. She finds how to live for herself instead of the opinions of everyone around her and ends up in the most unlikely of places talking about whaling for a job.
She also has the second best scene in the entire movie when she tells the DAR in no uncertain terms how much bullshit she is tired of, from them and everyone else.)
Lorelai was always the star of the show for me (in case you didn’t pick up on that on your own from my intro there). She shines here. She spent the whole series trying to find her happy and outside of a few individual moments, it never really felt like she found it. Now it’s been 9 years and she’s been with Luke the whole time, not married and with no more kids. Her whole arc can come down to she finds her happy. I was always Team Christopher, but I love the way she and Luke came together in the end. He is her forever person and it was handled perfectly.
Best Lorelai moment: The whole going to do Wild (the book, not the movie) to figure things out. It goes as predicted for her in that the hike never happens, but she finds her clarity. And another one of those sob worthy Richard moments.
And then there’s the final Gilmore Girl. Last we saw Rory she was jumping on a bus to go campaign for Senator Barack Obama (maybe you’ve heard of him). Now, sadly, this gif sums up who Rory Gilmore has become. She’s whiny. She’s indecisive. She has no passion. She’s………..kind of fucking awful. From still sleeping with Logan even though she had a boyfriend and he has a fiancé to selfishly pursuing writing a book about someone who doesn’t want her to write about them, she not only has stunted maturity wise, but seems to have fallen backward. There’s pretty much not a thing that I enjoyed about her storyline. So there’s that.
Then there’s Paris. Paris is still lovable, overbearing Paris. Time has softened a few of her edges, but not many. Thoroughly enjoyed every moment she was on screen. I do still find it not entirely believable that she would have had kids though. Especially more than one. Unfortunately Rory’s other best friend (and more consistently supportive one at that), Lane, pretty much got shafted. She had a lot of screen time relatively, but it doesn’t add up to much more than her being exactly where we left her at the end of the series. It says something when the thing that stands out the most is the fact that we finally got to see her father after all this time.
All I’m going to even say about the boys in Rory’s life is that if you weren’t somehow already Team Jess, there is no conceivable way you aren’t now. I mean, just look at him. And he grew up and got his shit together unlike Logan and didn’t have eight million kids like Dean.
So here’s the thing with revivals. They rarely live up to the hype. You have moments like Lorelai and Sookie meeting up in the kitchen and having no chemistry. It happens. These are people who once worked together constantly and now probably haven’t even really talked to each other in years. I can forgive that and overlook it. As a whole, a Year in a Life was as successful as we can expect a revival to be. There are moments that just feel like filler and don’t feel organic in any way. (Examples are my two least favorite moments of the endless musical and the Life and Death Brigade scene. It’s extra unfortunate on the second, because all and all the only thing I liked about Logan for the most part was his crew.)
Now, I guess we can’t finish up without discussing the last four words. A lot of people felt like it was left on a cliffhanger, but in so many ways it wasn’t. We don’t need to see Rory’s story, because in so many ways we already have. Logan is her Christopher. Jess is her Luke. Outside of small details, it’s easy to see how this plays out. My only real issue with it is that it would have made a lot more sense nine years ago when Amy Sherman-Palladino had intended it to be said.
In closing, the only thing I’d really want anyone to take away is this:
Kirk is the MVP of a Year in the Life.
C’mon, he has a pig. He makes that second movie. He even gets something right finally. This is an indisputable fact.