The Gilmore Girls Revival: A Year in the Life

In one of the worst years in recorded history I was amazed that the gods gave us some grace in the form of what is essentially four movies worth of Gilmore Girls. Something I thought would never happen.

Amy Sherman-Palladino (creator, writer, director) has been telling us for years that she didn’t get to end the show the way she wanted; with four specific words. The world has been trying to guess these words since the show finished its seventh season (without Amy at the helm) and judging by the collection of shock and complaints that is the internet, nobody saw this one coming. This review contains spoilers, including those four fateful words.

A Year in the Life is separated into four parts, based on the seasons and starts with Winter. The winter backdrop brings back all the magical feelings of snow that is so synonymous with the Gilmore Girls.

We pick up with Rory just after a flight from London and Lauren Graham (Lorelai) goes through her lines so quickly that I had to go back and readjust my brain to her highly-caffeinated pace. We find out that Rory’s written for the New Yorker and has a boyfriend that everyone (including Rory) keeps forgetting.

He’s named Pete or Paul or something similar. He’s played by Jack Carpenter who, ironically, I couldn’t place even though he looked extremely familiar. I had to do some investigative journalism of my own on Twitter and Wikipedia to figure out that I’ve seen him in a few episodes of The Good Wife. And then I forgot his name while trying to write this. He’s vanilla and forgettable, but adorable, and it’s terrible that Rory strings him along for two years while cheating on him with Logan. Yes, Logan. Logan also happens to be engaged.

Many of the other men are back, at least for an appearance: Jason Styles (Digger), Dean, Jess and randomly enough, Tristan. The camera scans over to show a tall blonde man that isn’t Chad Michael Murray, but it’s enough to send Paris Gellar (Liza Weil) into a panic. There’s no sign of Max or Marty, but there’s also no place for them in the story.

The biggest male absence however is that of the indelible Edward Herrmann, who passed away in 2014. Always being the wise father and grandfather, the girls feel true loss without him and this is captured masterfully throughout the four episodes. The entire season plays out as a beautiful tribute to Edward.

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The loss even prompts some much-needed long-overdue family counseling between Emily and Lorelai in the Spring episode. Even though there is a resolution between them at the end of the show, I felt that much more could have been done with the counseling sessions and one thing that will now forever be my unanswered question is ‘what was in the letter that Lorelai doesn’t remember giving?’.

Daniel Palladino wrote and directed the nothingness that is the Spring and Summer episodes; from the incomplete counseling sessions to the 20 minutes wasted on the distribution of the Stars Hollow Gazette and the terrible Stars Hollow musical, that doesn’t assist the plot line in anyway. All of this time could have been used more constructively, especially with Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) hanging around waiting for more lines.

What’s worse is that the Stars Hollow musical has actual Tony award winning Broadway stars in it. It’s supposed to be bad in a funny and whimsical way, but it’s just bad. You could literally skip the first 50 minutes of Summer.

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Amy Palladino sets the scene by writing and directing the first episode, Winter, and ends everything perfectly in the last episode, Fall. Daniel was responsible for filling the middle bits with fun and character development, but the Gilmore Universe has again proven that you can’t trust men with anything.

Although still incredibly heart-warming, I didn’t feel the show was as funny as it usually is. Perhaps it was meant to be this way due to the theme of loss. What the Revival didn’t lack however was the constant flow of pop-culture references, most of which I can never pin-point (perhaps everything would be funnier if I could), and it never ceases to amaze me how Amy and Daniel are able to write so much into this show.

Another excess was the amount of cameos in the Gilmore Girls Revival. Most of which are from Bunheads and Parenthood, but there was a need for some celebrity chefs (Roy Choi and Rachael Ray, who happens to be the goddess my housewife persona looks up to), as Sookie was taking a sabbatical from The Dragonfly. This is obviously needed to explain the personification of stardom that is Melissa McCarthy being too busy to commit to four movie-length episodes.

Carole King returns as Sophie, while her daughter appears in the show as a second town troubadour. Mother and daughter recorded ‘Where you Lead’ for the theme song so many years ago, and because of the weird lack of said theme song in the Revival their appearances and few seconds of singing didn’t appease us.

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I understand that it may sound as if I hated this Gilmore Girls Revival but please believe me when I say that I loved it. It’s always difficult to get everything right when a show has so many loyal fans. In my world, Gilmore Girls is the equivalent of a comic book movie: No matter how hard the creators try, we will criticize it and love it at the same time.

My favorite scenes include the return of the Life and Death Brigade, and Luke and Lorelai finally getting married. The sequence was beautiful and the song, Reflecting Light by Sam Phillips, was a perfect match for the moment we’d all been waiting for. I felt happy. Content. All of our favourite characters are back: Lane, Kirk, Michel and Taylor and the show feels familiar, warm and comfortable.

This then brings us to the final four words. The ending of the seventh season brought everyone together and really felt like the end of an era. The end of the Gilmore Girls Revival was an intense cliffhanger.

Rory: Mom?

Lorelai: Yeah?

Rory: I’m pregnant

I gasped audibly at this revelation and then shouted ‘WHAT?!’ at my laptop. Cut to black, straight to credits, the end. I was in shock and immediately took to Twitter to demand that Netflix make more episodes. Since then I’ve calmed down, taken a few deep breaths, and reflected on the four words and their meaning.

When we started the show Rory was 16 years old and her getting into Chilton and her life with her mother was a comparison to her mom being pregnant and running away from home at that age. All Lorelai wanted was for Rory to make better decisions for her own life.

Lorelai was 32 at the time of the show starting, running an inn and raising her 16 year old daughter. In the Revival, Rory is now 32, pregnant and probably just as lost as her mother was at 16. Logan (the presumed father) is a direct reflection of Rory’s dad Christopher, and Jess will always be Rory’s Luke. Like mother, like daughter. The Revival even starts and ends at the same place; on the steps of the gazebo.

There was lots of talk of the circle of life and things coming full circle during the Revival, and it all makes sense in the end. I doubt we’re getting more episodes. I think everything is just as it’s supposed to be.

What did you think of The Gilmore Girls Revival? Let us know in the comments below. Be sure to check out the 15 Surprises from The Gilmore Girls Revival also written by BTG Lifestyle’s newest contributor Jeslyn Coetzee.

jeslyn

Jeslyn is a perpetual sloth, but more importantly, a chocolate and wine aficionado. She likes to write sometimes, read most of the time and watch TV all of the time.

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