Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life
Posted November 30, 2016
STARS HOLLOW — If ever there were a fictional town that I wanted to live in, it would be the kooky little town of Stars Hollow. “Gilmore Girls” is, frankly, my desert island show. It is the one I would choose if trapped forever with only one television show to watch on loop.
If you, reader, will forgive me for getting a bit personal, I have always seen a lot of my own life in the Gilmore girls’ experiences. Growing up, I was bookish and definitely weird. I have a couple of excellent friends like Lane and Paris, but am by no means a social butterfly. My mother is vibrant and people adore her. My grandmother is particular and proper.
So, when the creators of the show announced “Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life,” a four-episode event on Netflix, I melted a little. Of course, the episodes were not perfect. These nostalgic revivals never are. But some parts were better than others.
*Editor's note: Spoilers will absolutely follow.
Things that worked:
Lauren Graham is always fantastic, and there was no reason to doubt that her revisiting the role of Lorelai would be an exception. She is always quick and quippy, while bringing moments of extreme brevity to a very complex character. Graham brings her A game, big time.
Rory the character is only a few years older than myself, the writer of this piece. I also went to journalism school and can identify greatly with her wandering, disappointing career. While there are plenty of successful people my age — and Rory’s friends exemplify that — there are still those millennials who are a little lost.
Casual 2016 references
-Lorelai: “I just hit my steps!”
-Taylor: “... YouTubing ‘Zoo’ella …”
-Emily "Marie-Kondo-ing" her life, aka throwing out everything that didn’t bring her joy
-The almost-too-overplayed “wild” jokes, about women in their mid-life needing to “find themselves”
-Any Hamilton reference — whether subtle (Rory saying “let’s have another round tonight”) or blatant (during the musical scene)
Actor Edward Herrmann passed away in 2014, and the show did an incredible job of honoring his character — the only Gilmore Guy. There were many bittersweet moments peppered into the four parts of the story that caused more than a few tears among my viewing party.
Things that did not work:
The Lorelais disdain for nerd culture
They specifically mention hating Marvel movies, Rory has a run-in with a cosplayer that makes her cringe and both make fun of gaming and toy collecting — and it all felt false. Perhaps because the mainstream nature of geekdom makes anyone who still considers it weird look like a jerk.
Sutton Foster There was a frustratingly shoehorned decision by the creators of the show to include their beloved friend, and star of their other show, “Bunheads,” in this endeavor. The result was an incredibly annoying, unfunny series of musical numbers that ran too long and felt weird.
Yes, there is a wedding in the show. But it is very, very oddly staged. In a show that generally sticks to being hyper-realistic (save a few strange dreams and a Kirk short film here and there), this revival separated from reality a little for a bunch of musical numbers. It was an odd adjustment, when you weren’t expecting it. And the way they did the wedding was anticlimactic at best.
Things that were hit and miss:
Bringing back so much of the old cast
Obviously there were scheduling conflicts and some of the original cast was able to do more of the show than others. But where a casual run-in with Dean at the grocery story felt natural and satisfying, one simple conversation between best friends Lorelai and Sookie felt like it wasn’t nearly enough. Story wise, it was a bit of a stretch for some of them to be included in such major capacities (Kirk), while others were barely involved at all.
And, although I pledged not to reveal the last four words here, they strongly indicate there will be more Gilmores on the way.
Based on what we saw during this four-episode revival “event,” do you think that’s a good idea? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below! And find me on Twitter (@appleajuice) to talk about my favorite scene, which involves the phrase “in omnia paratus.”
Amanda is a writer and pop culture fanatic who studied journalism at BYU. She's written for Entertainment Weekly, Deseret News, KSL and many blogs, sites and papers. Currently writing at the U and running Apple Juice Productions. On Twitter @appleaju