Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life – the verdict

Well, hello there! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? This isn’t really the official end of this blog’s hiatus, but I wanted to repost something here from my Medium page, as this seems like its natural home. It’s a bit of a word-vomit in response to the Gilmore Girls revival – be warned, it contains spoilers!

WARNING: Gilmore Girls spoilers ahead. Major ones. Do not, repeat DO NOT read any further if you haven’t watched it yet and you don’t want to know what happens. On the other hand, if you haven’t watched it and don’t care about spoilers, go right ahead. Also, these are just the immediate thoughts that spilled out after watching. I will, of course, need time to digest and discuss it at length.

So I binge-watched the whole Gilmore Girls revival in one day. Of course I did. It was never going to go any other way. I have been obsessed with the show since 2010, when I was in hospital with an infected ear piercing (I was 24. I have no excuses) and watched the whole thing on Channel 4 just because it was on. In many ways, A Year in the Life it was exactly what I hoped for: I laughed, I cried, I saw all my favourite characters together again. The life choices written for them made sense, for the most part. For the most part.

Now we get to the specifics. There were some great touches (Paris running a fertility clinic, because of course she does; Michel finally, definitively out of the closet, thank God; the WiFi in the diner; Emily using the word bullshit) and it was properly funny and sad and wonderful. The explanation for Sookie’s conspicuous absence for most of the series was very deftly done, and the way they handled Richard’s death was perfect. There was a lot of real, true emotion, a lot of real grief — horrible, even spiteful things said out of pain and loss that can’t be taken back, people dealing with death in that fragile, fallible, human way. None of that is very Stars Hollow, which, let’s face it, was always a bit of a fairy tale world. But it worked, thanks to sensitive writing, good actors, and careful direction.

As an aside, the Stars Hollow musical was genius and should definitely be staged for real.

But it also felt tonally wonky, with some pretty seismic shifts in mood and events: the big, serious, painful row between Emily and Lorelai right at the beginning, that mystery letter that Emily mentions during therapy, neither of which are ever really addressed, the oh-suddenly-we’re-in-a-fertility-clinic, the oh-suddenly-Lorelai-is-doing-Wild (the book, not the movie), the oh-suddenly-Rory-is-back-home-running-the-Stars-Hollow-Gazette-but-wait-no-she’s-writing-a-book. The inclusion of the “thirty-something-gang” and the scene with Babette and Morey barbecuing in the Black, White and Read movie theatre felt wrong, too — they felt surreal in a world meant to be taken as slice-of-life, as if they belonged in another show.

I also really didn’t quite buy the Logan story line. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it involved a shirtless Matt Czuchry scene, because that man is buff, but him having a fiancée the whole time, whom he was cheating on with Rory? I totally buy Logan as a philanderer because that was his personality from the beginning, but Rory going along with it? I mean, obviously, things change in a nine-year period, but it felt like a major leap for her.

All of those things individually don’t necessarily feel out of place (yes, even the Rory sleeping with Logan aspect). They all conceivably could be logical, reasonable events in the lives of any of these characters. The problem was it felt a little bit like there were a lot of things Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino had planned for a full eighth season if there’d been one, and they were all kind of shoehorned in because there wasn’t enough space or time. It meant so many important characters and plot points were reduced to walk-ons and tiny, blink-and-you-miss-it scenes, like Dean appearing to mention being married with three kids and a fourth on the way, and then disappearing again.

It also made me a little bit sad that Lane wasn’t given more room and agency — why couldn’t she have had a life and a career, like Paris, who also, somehow, has two kids? And the Doyle divorce? Just because he became a screenwriter? It was just dropped on us and then breezed past, like so many other things. Rory’s journalism career just collapsing? No way, with all her brains and education and talent, it would fall apart just like that, or at least not without a better explanation. Why wouldn’t she have hit up some of her old contacts from earlier in her career? And why was there a dance number? I would definitely have cut the dance number in favour of giving Jess (Milo Ventimiglia. Still hot) more space, as the screen time he was given made it quite clear he’s still in love with Rory.

Now the really important stuff: the ending. If you’ve been reading up to this point, thinking, “ok, this hasn’t really spoiled anything, I still want to watch it to find out what the hell she’s on about,” now would be a good time to look away.

Rory. Pregnant. And fade to black. Out loud, and in a way that probably scared my neighbours, I screamed, “WHAT?! YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” at the TV. To be fair, I did see it coming — the mystery appointment she mentions in Doose’s, the conversation with her father about not being in her life — but I thought if they really were going to do it, they would’ve got to it a lot sooner. I’ve already read some theories as to the father (could it somehow be Jess in an unseen hook-up? Did she go to Paris and use a sperm donor? Dean through sheer machismo and height?) but let’s face it: it’s Logan. He was the last person she slept with and the one person she was sleeping with regularly, despite having a thoroughly forgettable boyfriend (as in actually — it was part of the plot that people were constantly forgetting him). I’ll grant you, it does make sense: Rory going through the same thing her mother did, albeit as an adult rather than a teenager, a way to come full circle. But just slapping us with it right at the end? I mean, COME ON!

Ok, let’s cut to the chase: I loved it. It was never going to be everything I wanted to be, or everything every other die-hard fan wanted it to be, and it would be vastly unrealistic and unfair to expect that. I loved it for what it was — a look back into the lives of the characters who’ve meant so much to me for the last six years. I’ve watched the original seven seasons countless times, and I rather suspect there’ll be a few goes round for the new ones, too. But I think what it’s really brought to the fore is that there should have been an eighth season, and now it has all of us die-hards praying, wishing on stars, crossing everything we can physically cross that maybe, just maybe there will be, or at least another mini-series. Come on, Netflix, answer our prayers!


About seenitheardit

Music, film, arts and entertainment blog. As opinionated as they come and proud.
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