“Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” review

Gilmore Girls logo

Gilmore Girl’s logo

Clara Freitas

(Note: Contains spoilers)

When I started to watch Gilmore Girls, I didn’t think I would relate much to the story, nor that it actually had a story to tell; IMDB summarized as “a drama centering around the relationship between a thirtysomething single mother and her teen daughter living in Stars Hollow, Connecticut”, and Netflix categorized as “witty” and “feel-good”. It made no mistake there.

When I gave it a try, however, I realized that it was much more than that. It is about ambition, empowerment, family, friendship and, of course, romantic relationships. Although we all had discussions on who Rory should have ended up with, Sherman-Palladino has said that this is not the point of the show. It was very refreshing to watch a TV show that mainly focuses on females characters and addresses their career and education. We have Lorelai, Rory, Emily, Paris, Lane and Sookie, not perfect models, but each has something worth admiration.

I’d always admired Lorelai Gilmore. However, many times, her actions really annoyed me to the point where I’d to vent with my friends about it– which made them question if the amount of thought I’ve been putting into this show is sane. I’ve come to find her an immature, drama queen and, quite frankly, ungrateful. Witty and fun as she was, these flaws always got to me, and I wasn’t sure where I would stand nine years later.

However, in the revival, Lorelai’s character came to be more developed and realistic, with a storyline that captured her essence, but also allowed her to growth and fit her age. The scene after Richard’s funeral, where she had to tell an anecdote about her father, turned out to be the wildcard of the show. Although at the beginning I thought odd that Lorelai had nothing respectable to say about her father, it built (together with the fight between her and Emily, and the joint therapy) space for Emily and Lorelai truly reconcile after decades. It gave them the opportunity to build the emotional connection that has been missing since Lorelai’s youth.

At the beginning of the first episode, we realize that Luke and Lorelai, although living together, still face some communication issues and a desire, from both sides, of being independent. They both keep aspects of their life from each other; Lorelai didn’t tell Luke that she continue the therapy, and he didn’t tell her that Richard left him money to expand the diner.

Then, inspired by the book Wild, Lorelai fly to California, to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in a journey of self-discovery. While I doubt that anyone actually thought that Lorelai would make it, the alternative – the walking to a hill that she found near a coffee place – fit her and led to an emotional moment that she finally tells Emily a story about Richard.

Rory’s plot, on the other hand, just did not sell. Through the entire show, Rory has gone to the end of the world with a notebook and a pen. She has been annoyingly able to achieve anything she truly desires, even if she starts from the bottom. She is the girl that made a dull piece about pavement “bittersweet and creative”. She was the editor-in-chief in the Yale News.

And now, Rory Gilmore has no job, only a handful of published works and no affiliation with any newspaper or website.

I’m not here to defend Rory Gilmore’s career and pledge that everything should be exactly how she wanted. I think it’s interesting to show her at a dead end; it motivates the character to grow. However, the writers brought the worst from Rory and a side that we have never saw before, and frankly, that I don’t think it matches. Even when Rory claimed that Dean was hers and had an affair with him, even when Rory dropped out of Yale, when she and Lorelai had the biggest fight of the show, she wasn’t excessively cruel; she was flawed. And most importantly, Rory would realize that she made bad choices, and even try to make amends. She, for example, apologizes to Dean’s first wife Lindsay.

In this new season, however, she is cruel to her boyfriend Paul, who she “forgets to break up with”. While it was supposed to be simply a joke, it just adds to Rory’s inflated egoistic manner. Many argue that she has always been spoiled. Yes, but she has also been sensitive and hardworking, neither traits that she kept. Rory now has an affair with her college boyfriend Logan. She goes to interviews completely unprepared and even seems to think that they are beneath her. She slept during an interview.

Moreover, her storyline, although interesting,  and even good if it wasn’t for Rory’s attitude,  doesn’t fit her age. It doesn’t match the character to say that after none years, she only have a couple of articles published. And it was never said why and how Rory and Logan got back together nine years after his proposal.

The highlight of the revival was the one and only Emily Gilmore. Sherman-Palladino really worked well on Emily’s grief and how she surpass it,and most importantly, how she and Lorelai finally reconcile. Out of the three girls, the first generation Gilmore was the one who changed the most, but accordingly and positively. Emily, who had a different maid for every episode of the show, settled with Berta, the new maid and her cousins, uncles, aunts and children. Emily, repressed, classy and put together, swears at the Daughter of Revolutions and tells them off in by far one of the best scenes of the series. She quits, then, not only the DAR but the elite life that she has been taking, claiming that “it is not fun now that Richard is gone”, and moves to Nantucket.

Some characters deserved more space in the story – Pa— Paris and Lane, for example. The Sherman-Palladino dropped the bomb that Paris and Doyle would separate and never really got back to it. And after almost four seasons together, they certainly deserved more of a spotlight.

Lane Kim’s ending was, in my opinion, the most heartbreaking. We’ve seen her develop from a teen passionate for music to a drummer in Hep Alien, off to a tour around the East coast. Then, she married the guitarist Zack and got pregnant. And then… Nothing. She continued in Stars Hollow, worked at the Antique Store and occasionally played with her bandmates.

The story ends with Lorelai and Emily toasting to “the circle of life”. Lorelai plans to expand the Dragonfly Inn so she goes to her mom to ask for some loan. Emily, of course, brings up a more soft version of the “Friday nights dinners”, requiring two weeks of summer and one week of Christmas in her new home in Nantucket. And last, Rory Gilmore is pregnant. And after almost six hours of mixed feelings, all the flaws and, frankly, some disappointments, it finally gave the fans the closure needed.

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