Friday, December 30, 2016

Fangirl Fridays: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life


In the fall of 2005, through friends at work, I was introduced to the joy that is Gilmore Girls. I was hooked from the start. Rory was my age, though a year behind me in school. Lorelai was the best thing to ever grace my TV screen. I couldn't get enough. I used my brand new DVR to record the reruns every morning on ABCFamily. I watched the new episodes every week and discussed them the next day with my co-workers. Even after the final season, I continued to watch the daily reruns over and over. I've seen all of these episodes so many times, my husband knows them by heart too. And, then, miracle of miracles, a Netflix revival was announced! The heavens rejoiced! Well, maybe not quite, but I rejoiced for sure. The revival was released a little over a month ago and it was A. MAZ. ING! That is why I'm here today, on this Fangirl Friday, to gush about Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Spoilers abound, so be wary and keep reading after the break!

Ok, let's see if I can keep this from becoming a rambling, stream of consciousness diatribe of emotion and fangirling...let's start with a general overview of my feelings on the revival and then move on to specifics. That should keep me from rambling too much....hopefully. Here's my short review, I fucking loved the revival. Fucking. Loved it. I'm not even going ask you to
excuse my profanity. Those are the first and only words that come to mind when I think of the four amazing ninety minute episodes I binged on in a day and a half. To expound on that a little, there were some weak moments, weak story lines even. The Stars Hollow musical comes to mind. Though hilarious and starring the amazing Sutton Foster and Christian Borle, it went on for too long and added very little to the overall story. But, it did give Lorelai the push she needed to get her life back on track. I loved the rest of it, though. Loved it. Let's move on to some of the specific things I loved, before my inner fangirl takes over.

Stars Hollow and its citizenry were back in full force and I couldn't be happier about it. We saw everyone. Miss Patti, Babette, Kirk, Andrew, Gypsy, Taylor, the Troubadour, Lane, Zach, Cesar, Mrs. Kim, the whole gang was there. We even got a brief appearance from the mysterious Mr. Kim! That was a delightful surprise. Anyway, the whole town has returned and their antics are in full swing, as always. There are town festivals and another Film by Kirk. And, of course, the musical. Stars Hollow was exactly the same and yet, different. It really was as though they had all been there, living their fictional lives, while they were off the air. It was great. 

There were, of course, other locales outside of Stars Hollow and other guest stars that are definitely worth mentioning. My absolute favorite guest appearances were Robert, Colin,
and Finn of the Life and Death Brigade. I've always enjoyed those three and their antics. They've always brought out a fun, less serious side of Rory that she needs to be reminded of every once in a while. This appearance did not disappoint. And, then, when they were saying goodbye, we got a glimpse of how the three perpetually joking men really felt about their leader's girl. It was so heartwarming and Wizard of Oz-ian. It was lovely. And, of course, the all two brief scene with Melissa McCarthy was perfect and just what the series needed. Having her in all four episodes, as it should have been, would have been preferred. But, with her filming schedule now, who knows how long it would have taken to get this revival made. I'm glad we got the scene that we did. It was absolutely necessary. Among the many brief visits from past guest stars, one of the most touching ones, in my opinion, was the scene with Jason "Digger" Stiles. I don't know what it was about that short scene that touched me so. Maybe, because it was Richard's funeral. I don't know. But, it was such a classic Gilmore Girls scene. I loved it. There were also a host of new characters that brought some interesting dynamics. Most notable was Alex Kingston as a crazy, drunk, British woman who Rory is trying to write a book about. She was hilarious. The appearances I liked best, though, were Lauren Graham's Parenthood co-stars. Mae Whitman as a girl waiting in line that Rory interviews, and Jason Ritter and, Lauren's real-life partner, Peter Krause as park rangers. I loved that show almost as much as I love this one. It was nice to see them together again.

My darling Luke. You were just wonderful in this. I've always liked Luke, though I didn't always agree with his choices ::cough:: April and Anna ::cough:: But, he always comes through for Lorelai and Rory in the end, and he did it again in these glorious four episodes. I was delighted to learn that Luke and Lorelai have been together since we last saw them eight years ago. After all of these years, they finally got their shit together. They are living at Lorelai's, perfectly happy...ish. Luke was his usual awkward, grumpy self. I really missed him. He's just as much a Gilmore girl as Rory, Lorelai, and Emily. You can't have the series without him. He still doesn't know how to act around Emily and he still doesn't know what his place is in April's life. Anna's probably still a bitch, oh, sorry.... Luke. And, just like the first time he gathered his courage, Luke just needed a nudge from Jess to get his act together and tell Lorelai that they should finally get married. I loved their tiny little wedding at the tail end of the revival, but I do wish we had gotten to see the huge, spectacular wedding the town would have through the two of them. It would have been amazing. 


Along with two of Lorelai's past loves, we saw all three of Rory's, at least the ones she loved
back. This is quite the point of contention amongst the fandom. Personally, I'm team Jess, though I sway to team Logan every once in a while. But, let me start at the beginning with Rory's first love, Dean Forrester. Dean's portrayer, Jared Padalecki, has grown into one fucking fine man. But, he is also currently starring in one of my other favorite shows, Supernatural. So, we get just a brief glimpse at Dean on his home turf, Doose's Market. He's living out of state now, married, three kids, a fourth on the way. It was nice to see him happy and not pining over Rory. Dean had some issues, but he was a great first boyfriend for Rory. I'm glad Jared was able to fit in time to film this scene. Now, on to the two major contenders for Rory's heart, Jess and Logan. I like both of these characters a lot. They both bring out the best in Rory, in different ways. Logan has gotten his act together and seems to be working for one of his father's companies in London. He's engaged to a French heiress......and sleeping with Rory on the side. We never see Logan and his heiress, her only apperance is as she's sleeping. It's clear that he still loves Rory, though. Jess has matured quite a lot, something we saw the beginnings of in the later seasons. As far as we know, he's still running the publishing house and writing. But, he's definitely grown into a man Luke can be proud of. Just like in season six, Jess provides Rory with a supportive ear to listen and the shove she needs to send her in the right direction again. He's a great friend to Rory, just like Luke used to be to Lorelai. He's also secretly in love with Rory, just like Luke and Lorelai. It was great to see all three of them, though, I wish we had seen more of Jess. Yes, there's a lot to talk about in regards to two of these men, more on that in a second.


Rory, Rory, Rory....what are we going to do with you? There's been a lot of criticism of Rory's character in the revival. People think she was lost and wandering. That her sleeping with Logan was not something she would do. I disagree. I'm the same age as Rory. I know what she's going through right now. Life isn't turning out the way she expected it to. Journalism is a vastly changed and, some say, dying industry. The good jobs are hard to come by. We've always been told how great Rory is, but she's always been a big fish in a small pond. Even at Yale, after a small adjustment period, she raced right to the top. But, again, that's a limited pool. We got a small clue regarding Rory's future when she applied for and didn't receive the New York Times Reston Fellowship. If she were really as great as we'd been led to believe, she would have gotten that fellowship. She's obviously been working steadily since taking the job on the campaign trail with Barack, but I think she feels like she should be settled somewhere by now, working full time with a newspapers or news channel. She's not and she's starting to panic. It's happening to 20 and 30 somethings all over the country. I don't think there are many of us from my generation that are where we thought we would be. As for the cheating with Logan part, Rory has precedence as a cheater. She kissed Jess while still dating Dean. She slept with Dean several times while he was married to Lindsay. This supposed no strings thing she has going with Logan is not that surprising. That may be an unpopular opinion, but I'm sticking with it. I still love Rory, bad decision making and all. It was nice to catch up with her. And, I TOTALLY called Rory taking over the Stars Hollow Gazette. I think that's a good place for her right now. She can get her bearings and do a good thing for the town. Even working on the paper, she can still take freelance work. As for the men in Rory's life, she obviously still loves Logan, though she's trying to let him go and live his own life. It's not working, but she's trying. Jess has morphed into a sort of best friend for her, but like Luke I think that can change. 


And now, for the elephant in the room, those last four tiny, yet trans-formative, words. I
think it's pretty obvious that Logan is the father. Something could have happened with Jess off-screen, but I'm pretty confident in my assertion that it's Logan. There is absolutely no way it was the Wookiee one night stand and I am very doubtful that it's her forgettable boyfriend Paul, as she says it's been months since she's seen him. There was, again, a lot of disappointment in Rory over this revelation. She should have been more careful and what not. But, you have to remember, sometimes birth control doesn't work. She could have been doing everything she could in that area and it could still fail. The general consensus is that Rory has now come full circle with Lorelai. She had a totally different life and made totally different decisions and still wound up just like her mother. However, there's a huge difference being a single mom at 32-33 and a single mom at 16. We are also supposed to believe that Logan is going to be like Christopher, an absentee father that just breezes in whenever he feels like it. But, I have a little more faith in Logan than that. I don't think he would be an absentee father at all, even if he and Rory don't get married, which, personally, I think they would. I feel that he'd be much more involved in his child's life than Christopher was in Rory's. People also think that coming full circle with Lorelai means that Jess is Rory's Luke, so they will end up together. Being Team Jess, that would be absolutely fine with me. However, I recently read an interesting take on this whole situation. It posited that Rory isn't coming full circle with Lorelai. She's coming full circle with Emily. Logan isn't her Christopher. He's her Richard. Here's the link to it. I'll let you read it and draw your own conclusions. Given my assessment of Rory and Logan, I think this is much more accurate than people may want to admit. 


Unlike Rory, Lorelai is firmly entrenched in her Stars Hollow life. She and Luke are living together, the Dragonfly is going well. Everything is going according to plan. And then, in true Lorelai fashion, she begins to overthink and sabotage herself. I love Lorelai and Lauren Graham. In fact, I wrote another Fangirl Friday piece on Lauren. But, god damn, does Lorelai need to get out of her own head sometimes. Regardless of her decisions as an adult, sometimes the rich, only child she was raised as really shows through. She can be very selfish and self-centered. We do love her though. We find out early into the revival that Sookie has taken a sabbatical from the Dragonfly. It was only supposed to be six months, but she is way passed due to return. Lorelai is adrift without her BFF in the kitchen. She's also coping badly with her father's death and she and Emily gotten into the mother of all fights (pun intended) at Richard's funeral. It was awful and their relationship hasn't recovered. Because she is starting to drift professionally, she starts to drift in her personal life too. She and Luke decide to discuss having kids, which results in some hilarious conversations with Luke and Paris, of all people, but doesn't result in any changes. Eventually, Lorelai realizes that she needs to get away and get her head back on straight. She decides, along with a score of other women, to recreate the book and/or movie Wild and go hiking in California. She, obviously, doesn't end up hiking. This is Lorelai, people. She does have an epiphany that leads to her and Luke deciding to get married, FUCKING FINALLY. It also leads to one of the most powerful monologues I've ever seen Lauren Graham perform. It was incredible. Proofing, once again that the awards committees ignoring this show is fucking criminal. Anyway, they end the series married, just as they should be. Lauren Graham was incredible in these four episodes. I can't stress that enough. She was the best thing about this revival. Well, tied for the best thing.

Kelly Bishop as Emily Gilmore is a force to be reckoned with in this revival. She gives an absolutely flawless performance. Her character is also the one dealing with the most change and the biggest growth, possibly of the series, original and revival. She is incredible. She portrays Emily's grief and sense of loss perfectly. Watching some of her scenes was, at times uncomfortable, as viewer, the depth of her pain was so real. I adore Lauren Graham and she deserves recognition for her work on this series, but Kelly Bishop deserves all of the awards for the Emily we see in the revival. All of them. From the beginning, when she's a grieving society wife, to the end, when she sells her house and moves her and her maid and the maid's family to Nantucket and she takes a job in a whaling museum, she is just spectacular. I can't express this enough. She is just incredible. In a way, Emily has come full circle with Lorelai. She's given up her society life and home and moved to a modest setting and taken a job she would have once considered beneath her. Her best scene by far, besides the horrible, horrible fight with Lorelai at Richard's funeral, was when she finally gets tired of the DAR's shit and quits the group in the most amazing fashion. I'm actually going to leave you with that specimen of awesomeness. I can't gush anymore about how dazzling Kelly Bishop is.





I'm sorry I ended up rambling on anyway, despite my attempts not to. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Did you love the revival as much as I did? Let me know below!


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