WARNING, MAJOR MAJOR INTENSE SPOILERS AHEAD.
So, it’s been a week since Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life went live on Netflix. The internet has had a lot of opinions and emotions about it, and Boshemia babes Q and L are no different (E is still on Season 2, sweet summer child that she is. Oh the things you have to come!). We got together to discuss our fresh-off-the-box, knee-jerk response thoughts on the revival.
L: OMG THE ENDING OF GILMORE GIRLS!! So unsatisfying.
Q: I KNOW.
L: Like fuuuuuck TELL US MORE. Also, I hate Logan. Why was she still fucking around with him for so long??
Q: fuck Logan. Total tool. It’s 2016 why does she have to go so far for some peen?
L: I am pissed that Rory is pregnant with (probably) Logan’s baby. Like come on put the guy down already. (Also it totally should have been Jess).
Q: It’s been so long, come on woman. (I 100% agree. I swear they were like one of my first ships).
L: Very over Rory’s whole bit being ~the other woman~. I kind of forgave her the first time around with Dean because she was young and it was kind of viewer gratification for the audience to see her losing her virginity to her first boyfriend (albeit years after the fact). However, I very much feel that at 32 years old flying out to a different continent with the express intent of staying with / sleeping with her engaged-to-be-married ex-boyfriend is doing herself a gigantic disservice. She is not being good to herself or to Logan or to Logan’s fiancé. Bad human award.
Q: Side ho. Transatlantic side ho none the less.
L: I mean, I’m glad that when Odette moves in with Logan and Rory realises that she’s leaning on him too much for emotional comfort that she breaks it off. A lot too late, mind you. She earns back at least half a brownie point for that. But then of course he comes smarming along again with his classic big-gesture “don’t be mad at me I’m rich look at what I can do for you to make you forget you’re upset hahaha!” moves. Done. With. That.
Q: I feel like Rory is what people think of millennials. Entitled and lazy with too many phones, compared to their hard working older generation. Like totally passive with jobs and wasting money even though like every other millennial in the world is working their ass off she’s just like “eh whatevers I’ll mooch for a decade”. Like whatever, get a job.
L: Or at least bloody LOOK for one!
Q: And prepare for interviews, dumbass.
L: Oh and she did the classic “oh lol there’s this job offer which is too beneath me so I won’t go for it unless it’s my last last resort by which point it’s too late and that ship has sailed and now I’m broke and jobless” thing. We’ve seen her do that before at the end of Season 7.
Q: Fuck Rory Gilmore 2016. Terrible character, terrible human. Honestly, fuck her. Like online start ups have so much potential.
L: Right?! But it was quite satisfying seeing her get put in her place by the editor. Gurl you’re not so special that you can just walk into a job. Put down your Gilmore rich-white-girl privilege and prove yourself like every other struggling journalist/millennial.
Q: Why on earth would the New Yorker want you permanently? She wrote one good thing one time and has barely experienced anything. Even Jess had to give her the book idea. God what a terrible person / character. Redeeming features: pretty eyes. End of list.
L: I’m sad because I wanted to like her so badly. I was rooting for her. I loved teenage her. Seasons 1-3 Rory are the best hands-down.
Q: But I have a theory about why people are so upset about where her character went. Season 1-3 Rory was quiet, not particularly popular, smart but not in a gross way, bookish, introverted, pretty but not in an obvious way. That’s right, teenager who’s at home watching TV, she’s just like you. So when good things happen to her we’re ecstatic cause we think they can happen to us. But when she strays from the mould of nice self insert, we’re horrified, we would never do that! You’re ruining this for all of us Rory. That’s why we’re more disappointing in her than, say, the characters off the OC. We had no pretensions that we could be them. But Rory’s non-descript characterisation is why she’s so beloved and why her bad actions make us so angry. In the end, Rory’s not a character; she’s a trope of spoiled millennials from the elder generation, of self inserts from the younger millennial generation, and a thematic warning about destiny and the inevitability of history repeating itself from the screenwriters / TV nerds.
L: Nail on the head. What did we love in the revival?
Q: Lane, Jess, Paris. Although none of them had enough screen time.
L: Too true. They started off great picking up threads but then dropped a load and went on weird detours which wasted storytelling time (Stars Hollow Musical, anyone??).
Q: And I loved Emily’s storyline. Her bit was the saving grace; the way they dealt with Richard and with her trying to figure out who she is without him.
L: I did weep real tears. You could really poignantly feel his absence on the show. I was so thrilled to see her in a good place at the end of the revival, finally taking a huge chill pill and figuring out what it means to be just Emily Gilmore rather than “Mrs Richard Gilmore”.
Q: Agreed. A+ mourning. I loved her badass calling out the DAR’s bullshit too. So so good, really worked that swearing.
L: She deserved it.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life had a lot of Very Good Bits. It paid a lot of fan service and walked us back through some of the Gilmore Girls classic bits (basket auction, real Paul Anka / dog Paul Anka dreams), feeding the nostalgia bug which drew back most of its original audience. We got to revisit all of our beloved Stars Hollow residents (how different does Miss Patty look?!) and locations and generally just take a good ol’ stroll down memory lane.
However, the revival also had a lot of Very Questionable Bits. Some of the fan service stuff seemed a little forced and shoe-horned in. There, I said it. Also the storytelling seemed uncharacteristically slow for Gilmore Girls. Four feature-length episodes sounds like a long time, but when you start setting up long-term story arcs which then unsatisfyingly don’t resolve or pay off (therapy which brings up some meaty bits about a mistaken letter and then never really gets addressed and peters out; a very long-winded boring search for ‘lucky red outfit’) it feels like no time at all and you risk not being able to fully do justice to the existing story arcs which fans want to be addressed and tied up. Which, sadly, is what this revival seems to do. It leaves an unsatisfying finish on your palette. If this is a teaser for another series following the revival, then it’s quite cleverly done. If it’s not, however, it just leaves you with a weird taste in your mouth and nothing to show for it. (And from Sherman-Palladino’s comments, it doesn’t sound like there’s anything planned).
The revival didn’t feel like it showed us anything new. It even felt a little bit as though the writers ignored the characters’ growth throughout the final series. At the end of Season 7, Rory was floundering and not really sure what to do with her life, then at the end breaks up with Logan and proceeds to get a lead on a job which seems satisfying and we’re left at the beginning of a hopeful new adventure for her; Lorelai and Luke get their happy ending.
At the end of Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life, we are left in almost the exact same scenario; if anything, it’s a little regressive from the place we were left at in the original series. Rory floundering and unsure what to do, just broken up with Logan (again), just started on a new lead (a book), but doesn’t really have her shit together (arguably less so, given those last four words); Lorelai and Luke get their happy ending (again). I know there’s that whole ‘life comes full circle’ theme (“where you lead I will follow” – the theme song was telling us the ending all along), but in terms of storytelling for Lorelai and Rory this revival does just feel like a repeat of the latter half of season 7. I know they’re pulling the whole Jess = Luke, Logan = Christopher, Rory = Lorelai parallel, but for me the way the revival panned out just didn’t quite cut it. That made me sad.
Watch this space.