It’s been 24 days since Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life came out, and it’s been 24 days since I’ve started to question my taste in TV shows.
Coincidence? I think not.
I binge-watched the original GG series over the summer while balancing my summer job, constantly moving around, and figuring out the plethora of problems I’d created for myself during the spring semester. For me, Gilmore Girls was a respite, a breather from the hectic life I’d created. It could make me laugh, it could make me cry, it could make me scramble for my notebook to quickly scribble down a quote that I wanted to remember forever (“Oy with the poodles already!”). The characters were relatable and lovable, and I was all too content to curl up with a blanket and Lorelai and Rory and Luke and Paris and Emily and everyone in Stars Hollow for an episode or six.
So, naturally, when I found out there was going to be a revival, I immediately laid out my plans: Rory was going to be a successful journalist (I mean, after all, season 7 ended with her going on President Barack Obama’s first campaign trail, and since he was so successful, I thought Rory would be too), single and ready to mingle, Lorelai and Luke would be happily together, Paris and Doyle would be that power couple that everyone aspires to be, Lane and Zach and the twins would be touring the country with Hep Alien, and everything would be so Gilmore Girls that I would hardly be able to stand it.
You know what they say about best-laid plans?
They go awry.
November 25th hit, and at 12:01am, I was refreshing my Netflix queue. Where is it? I wondered each time it didn’t appear. (That should’ve been my first sign. Someone up there was trying to delay my excitement.)
When it did finally load, I pressed play and watched Winter. Almost immediately, I balked. This couldn’t be it.
I watched Spring and Summer with the same amount of doubt, and I found my enthusiasm draining.
For one thing, Rory wasn’t Rory. Out of all of them, she was the character I’d grown to like and connected with the most (even if she was horribly, horribly flawed, but aren’t we all?). Like her, I’m an outrageous book nerd who did well in school, and when it comes to social graces, we’re pretty much the same.
But this Rory was having an affair with her ENGAGED ex-boyfriend who she DUMPED TEN YEARS AGO (I know GG fans don’t really acknowledge Season 7, but c’mon!). She was flying back and forth between Stars Hollow and London nearly every week, maybe even more than once a week (the timeline in each episode is a little hard to follow). And then she goes around complaining about how she’s a Yale graduate with no job and no money to buy underwear. But if she wasn’t spending all her money on last-minute plane tickets to London, she could surely buy some underwear and find SOMEWHERE to live. Rory was also forgetful when it came to her boyfriend Paul—she dated the guy for two years—but literally spent the entire time forgetting he existed. To put the cherry on top, she didn’t read. Rory Gilmore cannot be without a book any more than the tides can be without the moon, and not once does she read—I think it’s a telltale sign that something was off.
Rory used to be relatable, but now she’s chewing out potential employers and just being supremely picky about her job offers. I don’t know how I feel about that. The old Rory would never do that.
Lorelai was better, but not a whole lot. Lauren Graham plays Lorelai wonderfully, but Lorelai was, for a lack of a better word, über selfish this time around. I don’t know if people get more selfish as they get older, but I found myself wanting to shake her by the shoulders and say, “Get your act together!” Lorelai’s always been flighty, but man—I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t string together a story for her grieving mother during her father’s funeral. I know she didn’t have the greatest relationship with him, but geez. She’s the queen of improv; she definitely could have done it.
Emily Gilmore was, perhaps, one of the three or four characters that didn’t change in all the wrong ways. I used to HATE Emily. I used to not be able to find a singular bone in my body that felt an INCH of sympathy for her (in the original show, I pretty much always sided with Lorelai over her), but in the revival, I loved Emily. She transformed from this narcissistic, angry, selfish woman into this beautiful something that I can barely even describe. I think that Emily Gilmore saved herself, which is a pretty powerful statement coming from a character whose entire existence was based on how she appeared to her husband and to society. I would have figured that Lorelai and Rory, being the two protagonists, would be the ones who changed for the better, but instead it was Emily, and I loved it. She was finally at peace.
There were many other characters that I loved (Paris and Jess will ALWAYS remain my favorites), but weren’t given proper credit where it was due. It didn’t quite feel like Gilmore Girls anymore—I felt as though these were former friends turned strangers.
I had a hard time watching Fall. The final four words were fitting, but I didn’t like them. I didn’t like the message it gave—that Rory, educated and wonderful, would end up like her mother. History doesn’t always repeat itself. It was a rather negative message to tell viewers who loved Rory and aspired to be her when growing up—that no matter how hard you work, you’ll end up back at where you started.
I could just be picky, but I was disappointed, and I love Gilmore Girls. If this is where Gilmore Girls wants to lead, then maybe I won’t follow.