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Stephanie Watches Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

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When Gilmore Girls was on the air many years ago, my mom and I had a tradition: we’d order Chinese food from our favorite place in St. Louis, sit at the coffee table every Tuesday night, and watch the newest episode. We were instantly drawn to the show because it mirrored our own close mother/daughter relationship — right down to the weekly dinner with my grandparents (they had Friday night dinners, we had Sunday nights). Other things really drew me to the show, as well. Rory was interested in journalism, and that’s exactly what I majored in. (Plus, there were a lot of nice boys to look at.) The snappy dialogue was filled with references that you might not even catch the first time. And you ended up loving all the main supporting characters (Sookie, Luke, Lane, Paris, Michel), as well as all of the cooky Stars Hallow residents (Kirk, Babette, Miss Patty, Taylor). And while I didn’t always agree with the choices the Gilmore girls made (Lorelai breaking up with Luke and sleeping with/marrying Christopher, Rory taking a break from Yale to live with her grandparents, Rory dating Logan for way too long, etc.), I still enjoyed the show overall.

Knowing that the show’s creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, didn’t get to end it on her terms in her own way has always been a bit of a sore spot for fans. So, when the news broke that a new season would be made 10 years later, everyone was stoked. And I was even more stoked when Netflix announced it would be launching the new series the day after Thanksgiving — when I just happened to be visiting my mom for the weekend!

So, ten years later, my mom and I picked up our Chinese food — now, from our favorite spot in Iowa City — and watched Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. This is a four-part series, broken up by season (winter, spring, summer, fall) into movie-length episodes.

As my friend said, even if these new episodes had been totally awful, it would not have mattered because I still had a dopey grin on my face for every moment (minus the sad stuff, obviously). Since it would take me 800 years to recap all of it, I’ll just say what I loved about the series and a few things I didn’t. Spoilers ahoy obviously.

What I Loved:

  • The Lorelai/Rory banter is back without a moment’s hesitation. It’s as though we’ve never left Stars Hollow, even if so much has changed for the leading ladies.
  • Luke & Lorelai FINALLY being together. And all of their banter was fantastic as well. Especially Luke not comprehending what a surrogate is. And his final speech to her before they decide to get married had me tearing up.
  • Paris remains one of the best characters. Her delivery is always so dry and furious. Her empty briefcase. Her continued obsession with Tristan. The five-story stairs drama. The Chilton teacher running from her when he spotted her. The fertility clinic.
  • Emily’s story arc was probably my favorite. Her getting accustomed to life without Richard, her unintentionally adopted family from her maid, telling off the D.A.R. and saying “bullshit,” and ultimately, becoming her own person. Life after Richard looks happily bright for Emily.
  • Jess. Jess’s arms. Jess’s hair. Jess drinking scotch. Also, Jess’s long, lingering look at Rory. Sigh.
  • The ever-forgotten boyfriend Paul.
  • The many, many Twin Peaks references, which furthers my belief that Twin Peaks and Gilmore Girls are set in the same universe. Rory saying, “Wrapped in plaaaastic.” Ray Wise (Leland Palmer) being a guest star. The entire montage of Rory finding Colin/Finn/Robert/Logan in the Fall episode. They had the music, the myna bird, the secret messages. Damn you, Huntzberger, you made me like you a little bit there.
  • OOO-ber. Petal the pig. Kirk dressed as Eraserhead. Kirk having dinner with Emily. Kirk being Kirk.
  • Sookie/Lorelai’s reunion. Sookie/Michel fighting.
  • Lorelai telling that emotional story to her mom about her dad taking her to the movies.
  • The secret bar. Lorelai & Michel’s chat.
  • Taylor being Taylor.
  • Luke’s signs at the diners (no man-buns!) and all the fake WiFi passwords.
  • The corn starch.
  • The super fucking cheesy ending montage that still had me grinning like a fool.

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Yo, Rory, can you stop being the mistress of your ex-boyfriends? First Dean and now Logan. Yikesssss.
  • Not enough Sookie, Jess, Dean, Jackson, Lane, Zach, Christopher, Brian, etc. Too much Logan.
  • Lorelai and Emily’s therapist was a terrible therapist. Anyone thinking of going to therapy, that is not how it works. They will lead the conversation so you don’t sit in silence for an hour and waste your money.
  • I thought the musical scene and subsequent musical discussion was too long. But I know that it was Amy’s way of showcasing Sutton Foster from her other show, Bunheads. While Lorelai’s reactions and the Hamilton references were amusing, it was not enough for me to want to watch the entire musical.
  • I just want Paris to be somewhat happy and have some sort of happy ending. She and Doyle always come back around after they break up, so maybe they could again. (Not that she needs her man to be happy, but y’know.)
  • The Rory/Lorelai fight seemed like a bit of a stretch. I don’t see Lorelai being THAT upset about Rory wanting to write a book about their lives. It seemed out of character. But it all worked out.
  • In general, I’d say Summer was my least favorite episode, while Fall was my favorite.

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At the end, we finally got to hear the “final four words” that were meant for the original ending of the show. So, how does everyone feel?

I obviously feel like I want more. But you can pretty much write your own ending since things have come full circle, which is fun. But damn, Logan is like a bad rash you can’t get rid of. I actually don’t hate Logan as much as I used to, and I was annoyed at how much I loved that ridiculous thing he cooked up for Rory in the Fall episode. He mostly just sucks during the time when Rory is out of school, and he treats Jess badly. I also don’t like that Rory let him off the hook for sleeping with someone else when “they were on a break,” like Ross & Rachel. Plus, Jess has his shit together when he pops up during season 6 and 7. Writing books, working for an indie publisher? Be still my heart. Logan can’t compete with that. But as much as I love Jess, I think I am on Team Find Someone New, Rory. Given her track record, she’d likely cheat on him with Logan or a Wookie. (Damn, you’re real bad at dating, homegirl.)

ANYWAY, I could go on about Rory’s love life forever. Overall, I’m very happy with the revival. Hell, it even made me feel better about where I’m at in my journalism career. Rory’s character is four years older than me, so I always looked at her progress as somewhat of a guidepost for where I was supposed to be at. That might sound silly, but there were not many other shows out there when I was in high school that showed someone in that kind of career trajectory. Turns out, I’m doing better than her now, so that was a bit of a pick-me-up. Thanks, Rory. Ha. But we are both writing a book now, and I’d probably enjoy being the editor for the Stars Hollow Gazette, so she’s getting it more together at the end.

And as I mentioned earlier, I think I enjoyed Emily’s journey this season the most. And I’m glad that Luke and Lorelai will get their happy ending. And Lorelai may get even more with finding a bigger location for her inn so she can keep Michel by her side.

If there are more episodes, then that’s fantastic! I’ll gladly be on board and watch the moment they come out. But if not, then I am satisfied with this ending. It leaves it open for possibilities, while giving closure to some of the bigger doors that were left open.

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