Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life – Revival Review – Revived Or Ruined?

If you’re anything like me and you had to go to work on Friday 24th November 2016 (Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life’s release date) to then rush home to start-up Netflix ASAP – I feel your pain. My mind was racing all day long trying to decide who Rory will choose, or rather, who I would choose… Will Lorelai and Luke end up together? How about Hep Alien, will they make it big? So.Many.Questions. It took me roughly six hours to complete all four ninety minute episodes and the exhaustion for work the following day was real. The question is, was it worth it? Keep reading this ridiculously long review to find out what I thought. Aaaaand if you’re still here by the end, feel free to leave me a comment and let me know what you think too!

S P O I L E R S – seriously, even those last four words!

 

THE GOOD:

  1. Paying tribute to Edward Herrmann/grandpa

For me and I imagine everyone, it’s hard to imagine Gilmore Girls without our leading Gilmore Guy. It’s impossible not to notice the gaping hole that’s left in the cast of Gilmore Girls’ hearts during the course of the revival. The raw emotion of the scenes where he is mentioned is truly heartbreaking and the show pays tribute to him beautifully; from his chair at the dinner table remaining empty, the large portrait of him displayed in multiple scenes and the flashbacks. My throat was all caught up, my eyes stinging from crying. Yet, the show still allowed me to release a fond smile in his memory. Although not physically with us, his presence is strongly felt in his absence. The show presented Edward Herrmann’s passing so honestly and so tastefully that I think would make him proud.

cfedaae6-e9af-4eb2-8921-7a7e6bee5f4c

 Rest peacefully, Grandpa Gilmore.

 

  1. Emily Gilmore

Kelly Bishop’s performance as Mrs Gilmore is absolutely heart wrenching. It’s as if the characters previously well-known traits were scrubbed clean and we’re able to see her journey of grieving, coping and growing as a result or her significant loss. We see our usual early riser, flawlessly kept together, traditional Gilmore Girl sleeping past noon, screaming profanity at the DAR women and perhaps most shocking of all; wearing jeans and a casual short sleeve t-shirt. There’s one scene in particular that absolutely takes my breath away. Emily and Lorelai engage in verbal combat; not unusual by any means. However, this argument in particular undoubtedly proves the on-screen chemistry between the two of them knows no bounds. The argument takes place after Mr Gilmore’s funeral; a group of people share their fondest memories of him. Sounds lovely and harmless? It is… until it’s Lorelai’s turn. Caught up in the moment with her body weight of scotch in her system, having not eaten in days and grief all in the mix made for an unapologetically brutal Lorelai. Whilst everyone tells of their happy moments with Mr Gilmore, Lorelai shares one of her worst. As you can imagine, Emily becomes furious. The two of them have it out in private and the exchange of emotion is truly enchanting. It is made clear to us that Emily feels as though she has lost half of herself and that her whole world is changing as a result. The whole spectrum of emotion floods each and every one of her scenes and her character development as she learns to cope without her husband is incredible. Kelly Bishop’s revival of Emily Gilmore is truly a touching and rare experience to witness as a member of the audience.

fullscreen-capture-01122016-165623

 

  1. Nostalgia

One of the reasons that the revival is so close to every fans heart is that not only did do we have so many unanswered questions but we just simply miss Stars Hollow and its residents so much. The revival gives us the opportunity to revisit our beloved Luke’s diner, see what random occupation Kirk is bothering himself with now and lets us see if Hep Alien are still rockin’.  Plus, the scenery in Stars Hollow is to die for – especially around Autumn/Winter time and it hasn’t changed. There just hasn’t been another show like it. The nostalgia factor in these four episodes is perfect. Rory and Paris went back to Chilton, Taylor’s still being a pain in Luke’s backside, Miss Patty is still having a cigarette out the door whilst teaching dance and Mrs Kim’s still barking orders at anyone that will (or even if they won’t) listen. Admittedly, just seeing all of the Stars Hollow folk attending the town meeting is enough to bring several tears to my eye.

Gilmore Girls

 

  1. The life and death brigade reunion

In the final episode of Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life, Rory gets a surprise visit to her very own Stars Hollow by none other than Logan, Finn, Colin and Robert. In an effort to lift Rory’s spirits, the group reunite for a night of shenanigans. Seeing Finn, Colin and Robert emerge from the foggy shadows to greet Rory wearing gorilla masks is one of my favourite scenes from the whole series. I always loved the idea of the life and death brigade from ‘in omnia paratus’ to the fancy shindigs to the ever boozy and whimsical Finn. (I’ve always had a soft spot for Finn; could be the accent). Listening to the bunch talk nonsense and jump from place to place feels like coming home. The next morning, Rory said her goodbyes and I have to admit, it feels like their last. There’s a sense of unwelcome but inevitable growing up amongst them all and their upset upon goodbyes measures up with my own – the end of an era.

untitled

  1. Paris, Michel and Mr Kim

We get to see plenty of Rory’s ‘angry friend’ Paris Geller during the course of the revival. Let’s be honest, with Alexis Bledel’s flawless skin, agelessness and Rory’s current train wreck of a career and love life; it’s easy to forget that Rory ‘s in her thirties now. Paris adds some balance and a sign of growth in to the mix. One of the first things we learn when we reunite with Paris is that she has kids. My first reaction: pure shock. Who knew Paris would have kids?! However, after thinking it through, I realise that children were always on the cards for Paris. I recall an episode where Paris mentioned that she and Doyle have discussed baby names and let’s not forget how much she respected her nanny and how obvious it was that Paris didn’t want to end up like her parents. This, in turn, is perhaps what makes the insight we have in to Paris’ life as an adult so heartbreaking. We see her and Doyle going through a divorce and the kids spending much more time with the nanny than they do Paris and Doyle. Liza Weil’s ability to pick right up as Paris, flawlessly representing her after all these years is impeccable. Paris’ driven nature, insecurities and tendency to share too much information shine through in every interaction we see and she’s the real MVP of flawed characters.

Michel Gerard is Lorelai’s male counterpart to Rory’s Paris. Like Paris, we get to see so much of Michel throughout the four episodes and it’s just the best. Due to the fact that we hardly get any Sookie/Lorelai time, I feel like we get to see the true extent of Lorelai and Michel’s relationship. It’s so interesting to see how their friendship pans out without Sookie, especially because I always kind of got the feeling that Michel was best friend third wheeling. We see the strain that Sookie’s absence leaves on Lorelai, Michel and the inn as a whole and it really brings Lorelai and Michel closer. The interactions between the two of them actually become unexpectedly emotional when there’s talk of Michel leaving the Dragon Fly. Get this: Michel and his husband (yes!! Husband!! Michel finally gets to be openly gay!) are planning to adopt.  So, after much build up and Lorelai anticipating Michel’s resignation for a while, Michel finally takes her out, sits her down and tells her that he needs a higher paying job if she won’t give the Dragon Fly an extension and give him a raise. The convo is a huge tear jerker and although I always loved Michel I didn’t really fathom just how much of a key character to the show he is until the realisation of him not being a part of Stars Hollow any longer hit. It’s not all doom and gloom though! Lorelai asks Emily for a loan towards the end of the series so she can put an extension on the inn; meaning Michel stays!

Mr Kim!!! After much anticipation, we finally get to see Lane’s dear old dad. We only hear mention of Lane having a father present in a few episodes but never once got to see even the tiniest glimpse of him. To be honest, I didn’t even think her dad was around until I re-watched all seven seasons a few times and realised he was actually mentioned. Although it seemed weird for Mrs Kim to not have her husband by her side due to her traditional and religious values, I always figured it weirder to picture her with a hubby for some reason. But, there he was! We didn’t get any dialogue and we didn’t see him for much more than a second or so but he gave a gloriously cheery wave and he is adorable. Although looks can be deceiving, knowing Mrs Kim’s character and just from a glimpse at Lane’s dad, I’d wager that Mrs Kim wears the trousers in that relationship, alike everything else in her life, too.

Downloads1.jpg

 

THE BAD:

  1. Lack of old faces

One of the biggest downfalls of the revival is the severe lack of beloved characters. When Rory visits Chilton with Paris, I assumed seeing what Madeline and Louise are up to would be a given. Nope! They don’t even get a mention. Remember Tristan? Chilton’s popular-everyone-wants-a-piece guy? Well, although mentioned and ‘seen’. (Paris sees him and runs to the toilet freaking out because she used to have a major crush on him and he rejected her or whatever.) It technically isn’t him. It isn’t the original, dreamy Chad Michael Murray. Boo! We see a tiny glimpse of ‘him’ chatting up another girl. It’s so frustrating because it would actually make even more sense for him to show up than it would Madeline and Louise. In the original series, Rory and Tristan had an awkward relationship. The pair shared a love/hate relationship, a kiss and it was clear he liked her and I reckon Rory (even though she didn’t openly admit it) definitely liked him back, at least a little. So anyways, Tristan ended up being taken out of Chilton and sent to military school abruptly by his father and him and Rory shared a cute little goodbye moment. Conclusion: he should definitely have been in the reunion! Liz, TJ and Doula are mentioned a couple of times but again, not seen. It would be so cute to see how Doula grows up and have a little scene between her, April and Rory or something of the sort. We see Miss Patty for a couple of scenes; one from afar and another where she had like zero dialogue and Babette did all the talking. We see Lane a few times throughout but again, barely any dialogue. Considering she and Rory played a pretty big role in one another’s lives, being best friends and all, one would assume that they would at least give us a lengthy catching up scene like they used to when Rory attended Yale. We only see Hep Alien do one measly performance from the comfort of their own home during band practice (still rockin’ tho). Lane and Hep just deserve so much more! Finally, Sookie. Ugh, this one frustrates me the most. We only have one scene with Sookie! One! She doesn’t even to go to Lorelai’s little V.I.P wedding at the end. It would make me perfectly happy if we only see her at the wedding because that’s clearly such a significant moment in the story of Gilmore Girls. It’s just not faaaaaaaaaair!

Downloads.jpg

  1. No big wedding

As beautiful as the last moment in the revival is, as much as it makes me weep and as breathtaking as it all looks with reflecting light playing (which I’ve had on repeat since, btw) We deserve to see Lorelai and Luke’s huge wedding. The notion that there’s going to still be the big wedding the next day doesn’t do it for me. We should get to be there! I get that there are a million possibilities as to why they have to elope, whether storyline or real circumstance based, but still.  Emily, Sookie, Liz, TJ, Jess – the list goes on. None of these people got invited to the VIP elopement and they’re basically immediate family. It just feels like a major cop-out. Especially seeing as it’s the most anticipated event in the whole of Stars Hollow! We were all pretty much preparing for it since the pilot episode. We want to hear the creepy vows!

Fullscreen capture 01122016 124232.jpg

  1. Rory and her men

Dean

Rory has always been written around her men. This is nothing new but you would think that after all these years that Rory’s high school romances would be long gone by now. Nooooopppe. Rory and Dean share a short, cheerful conversation alongside longing, regretful and nostalgic look exchanges. Ignoring the fact that years have gone by since they were together and the fact that they’ve both probs had many a relationship since; meaningful or otherwise.  I wouldn’t really have a problem with any of it. I’m actually fairly #TeamDean myself! There’s something about the high school sweetheart, the boy that’s been there the longest that always gets me. What I have a problem with is that Dean’s married, has three kids and another on the way. After all this, he still has a thing for Rory? Rory has a thing for him too? I just don’t buy it. Soz.

Jess

Rory and Jess’ interactions are much more believable and the intentions much more pure. Jess encourages Rory to write a book about her and Lorelai’s lives and that she does. The next time we see the pair of them share a scene, Jess stares longingly at an unaware Rory through a window after obviously lying to Luke about being over her.  Coming out of this revival, surely the way Amy Sherman-Palladino intended it, I’m a massive #TeamJess advocate. It’s pure, they’re both single and Jess has given Rory the opportunity and encouragement to steer her career in a different direction. You go Jess!

Logan

The whole Rory and Logan situation in the revival literally makes me feel sick. Allow me to paint the picture: Logan is currently based in London. Rory visits and stays with him for days to weeks at a time on a regular basis. They have an agreement that ‘whenever they’re together, they’re together. Whenever they’re not, they’re not.’ and ‘Whatever happens in Vegas London, stays in Vegas London.’ To put it plainly, they’re friends with benefits. Which is all absolutely fine! It’s a little out of character on Rory’s behalf in my opinion but fine nonetheless. The gross part? Logan’s engaged to someone else and Rory has a boyfriend of two years. Rory stays at his apartment when his fiancée is out-of-town and shares late night phone calls with him when his fiancée is sound asleep behind him. There’s no obvious guilt or any sense of maybe-we-shouldn’t-be-doing-this. Basically, it seems the only reason the affair comes to an end is after Rory realises they have to move their meetings to a hotel due to Odette (the French heiress that Logan’s engaged to) moving in with him. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for Rory, enough is enough for her. I mean, cheating on/with someone in the comfort of an owned apartment is one thing but a hotel?! That’s just far too sleazy for Rory; a step too far. Please note my sarcasm. As you may be able to tell, I severely judge the two of them. I’ve always been 100% #TeamLogan pretty much up until the revival. Although, I’m pretty sure I just let his suaveness get the best of me. I just don’t understand the need for the way the characters were written for this season. It completely tarnished the characters for me. Has Rory not learnt anything from being the ‘other woman’ with Dean?

Paul

Paul? Pete? Patrick? Upon hearing about Rory having a boyfriend of two years, I literally tweeted ‘Who the HELL is Paul?!’ I thought that a new #Team was about to be created and that we all just have to forget about Dean/Jess/Logan. I thought that Paul would be a new major character that we just had to factor in and accept. I thought wrong, of course. Paul is Rory’s ex boyfriend of two years whom she treated like absolute crap. (He finally breaks up with her in the final minutes of the last episodes). For some reason Rory can never quite muster up enough brain power to remember to text, call or even break up with him like she ‘keeps meaning to’. Even Lorelai, Luke and Emily couldn’t seem to get his name right or even remember the several times that they had met him. I guess it was supposed to have comedic value but it didn’t make me laugh. It was unrealistic and uncharacteristic for all of them. As if Emily wouldn’t remember the guy in Rory’s life, especially one that has been there for two years! As if Lorelai would let Rory treat this guy so badly and forget that Rory’s boyfriend shared the same name as her dog! The way Rory treated him is honestly disgusting and further tarnished Rory’s character for me.

Pictures.jpg

  1. Depressing vibes

The running theme throughout the four ninety minute episodes is this sad, nothing-is-going-anyone’s-way vibe. The previous seasons, although originating from the story of a pregnant sixteen year old becoming a single mother and dealing with her dysfunctional family – still managed to splash lots of colour and banter here and there. Whilst watching the new season, I just can’t shake the blues. Grandpa Gilmore’s death is a major and expectedly devastating storyline, especially on Emily’s behalf. Aside from that – things elsewhere just never look up. All four episodes feel exceptionally heavy and we aren’t really granted any sort of emotional release. Tear after tear after tear. After crying throughout all three episodes, I feel it’s obvious that the final episode will be the one that makes all the tears worth it. Seeing Sookie again grants momentary happiness until realising she’s only in that one scene and it’s the same with the Luke wedding. I get zero closure, no big wedding, no deservedly amazing career for Rory (as much as I love the idea of Rory writing a book on their lives) no love life to speak of for Rory, no Hep Alien making it big, no huge Stars Hollow blow out – nothing. Those last four words? P l e a s e don’t get me started. How is it acceptable for THE Rory Gilmore, a woman raised on the notion that she is not to make the same mistakes as her mother… to make the pretty much identical mistakes as her mother!

‘Mom?’

‘Yeah?’

‘I’m pregnant.’

Although not sixteen, the fact that Rory is out of work, out of love and generally out of luck and having a baby should not be the way the show ends. There’s been so much speculation about one of the Gilmore Girls being preggo before the revival came out (usually not aimed at Emily, though) and I was so on board with it. I just didn’t expect it to happen like this! The popular and more probable opinion is that the baby is Logan’s but there is some speculation that it could be Jess’ – given the lengthy, loving look he gives her from outside the window. Logan is Rory’s Christopher, Jess is Rory’s Luke. I guess Dean and Paul are Rory’s Max and Jason? I don’t know. That’s the word on the street, anyway.

fullscreen-capture-01122016-125514

  1. Wasted scenes

Why oh why. There’s so much wasted potential in the revival. I just don’t see what the point is in the musical, Lorelai’s attempt at ‘Wild’, the sitting by the pool scenes (although, seeing Luke wearing a lifeguard tee gives it some purpose) or Rory’s time at the Stars Hollow gazette. The whole Paul thing? Honestly, what is that about?! All that time spent on a clearly insignificant and unimportant character could be far better invested in finding Rory an actual love interest or at the very least, more Jess/Rory/Logan/Rory screen time. The musical and Lorelai’s hike go on foreverrrrr and literally just feel like something put in place to fill the gaps. Even the therapy sessions – what do we actually get out of those? Although, again, seeing Emily and Lorelai in fits of laugher for a sec is pretty golden.

Fullscreen capture 01122016 125658.jpg

Conclusion – neither revived nor ruined.

As a Gilmore Girls gal, I would say it’s impossible not to watch. Did it end the way I wanted? Partially, but not really. Even after being severely disappointed. If I were to go back in time, knowing what I know now, I would still watch. And I already have, several times. Although the bad outweighed the good for me, it’s still a treat to see so many old faces in unison once more. Forgetting the damage made to some of our beloved characters – the acting and beautifully flawed and real nature of them all are still reasons enough to watch the eighth season. Besides, who says there won’t be a ninth? There’s certainly enough material for it! All in all, each episode is heartbreaking and addictive as hell. It’s definitely worth a watch – just make sure you have some tissues handy.

 

What #Team were you on? What #Team are you on now? What/who do you wish you could have seen? Have you watched it? Will you watch it? Which season is your favourite? Let me know what you think in the comments and thanks for reading 🙂 

 

Posted by

Writing: posts about my life (that may or may not be TMI at times, soz) | current affairs | reviews on film/tv, products and books | any random subject that comes to mind | I also dabble a little in poetry

4 thoughts on “Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life – Revival Review – Revived Or Ruined?

  1. Thank you for the review. I actually had no intention of watching, as I think the series ended well, and you just leave well-enough alone. I loved the ending. It humanized and humbled Rory’s quest for life perfection, for me. I see Jess raising Rory’s child, after he has to prove to her that she’s really worthy of love, and that happiness rarely has a byline. I saw, in that moment, the three generations of written, all strong-willed, flawed, trying to prove something, coming together, as Women.

    1. Completely agree with you! It’s all so frustrating for me at the same time, though. I can’t help but feel a bit gutted at the thought of Jess raising Rory/Logan’s baby as Luke basically did with Rory. Considering how much dislike Jess had for Logan too! Although, of course Jess would probably never like any of Rory’s boyfriends, haha. I definitely agree though, it’s kind of bitter sweet yet so authentically flawed and human. I suppose it is unrealistic for anything to end wrapped up in a neat little bow, no matter how much I would have liked.

  2. I agree with you about pretty much everything (Logan, Paul, Richard…) but as I’ve written, I don’t find it bad or good. For me it just is. It’s strange, but even the lousy way she treats Paul seems like something Rory would do, because let’s face it – her mother wasn’t the best role model when it comes to relationships and how to treat men properly. So repeating her mother’s mistakes makes lot of sense to me, actually. “Do as I say, not as I do” is difficult to apply in real life. And yes, I know it’s not real life – but you know what I mean 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s