Life’s short. Talk fast.
In the year 2000, Amy Sherman-Palladino introduced us to the marvelous town of Stars Hollow and the Gilmore girls. Sixteen years later, Netflix has attempted to recapture the magic and relationship of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore along with the colorful cast of characters.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life succeeds in this, but also propels the series forward in a shocking new direction that will hopefully result in a revival of the entire show. Let me first discuss our general thoughts on this four-part special with minor spoilers, and then dig into major spoilers and speculation on that ending. Don’t worry, warning for the major spoiler portion will be provided.
Fortunately for every fan, nearly the entire cast returned to take part in the Gilmore Girls revival, including the hallmark dialogue and witty banter. It was refreshing that the show was able to combine the traditional and beloved fast-talking pace that it was originally known for and also incorporate modern cuts and scene progression. While the original show could sometimes contain redundant fluff for the sake of back and forth discussion, the revival cuts out almost all interactions that do not pack some sort of punchline or necessary aspect of the narrative. The result: a blend of nostalgia for veteran fans, but also an enticing allure for those new to the series.
Throwing Stars Hollow into the modern era provided a little bit of a culture shock. Having Luke’s Diner filled with laptops, tablets, and cell phones galore almost gave me anxiety. It was hilarious to hear Luke constantly insisting on no phone usage, and it was hilarious to hear people demanding the Wifi passwords. Such dynamic scenes made me wonder what it would be like to thrust other early 2000s and ‘90s show into 2016. It would be interesting to see how certain characters from technology-absent shows would handle such changes. Sherman-Palladino handled it well, and even used the modern culture of media and news reporting to further Rory’s story.
Speaking of Rory’s life, things weren’t exactly set up in the way fans may have expected. It is important to note that Sherman-Palladino had most of this Netflix revival as the plan for what we know as season 7. Thus, Rory’s actions may be more in line with 2007 Rory than what we’d expect out of her at 32 years of age.
As a freelance journalist she is living the life of a wanderer. She is homeless and sexually promiscuous. While many may think this is out of character for Rory and an unsatisfactory direction for her career and lifestyle, it actually falls quite in line with the original direction we see for her at the beginning of the original show. More on that to follow in the spoiler discussion.
Thankfully, Lorelai and Luke are both relatively well-off from where we last saw them at the end of season 7. Almost surprisingly, given Lorelai’s track record, they are still together. Praises! Unfortunately, the passing of Lorelai’s father and her own personal mid-life crisis of sorts has caused a little bit of disarray. Luke is presented with new opportunities and Lorelai is attempting to fight a mundane, repetitious lifestyle. Luke and Lorelai have yet to get married or have children and both work their same jobs. Lorelai tries to combat this without harming the relationship she’s grown to cherish and put her foundation in. This conflict makes for suspenseful plot lines throughout the four-part series.
The passing of Richard Gilmore has not only impacted Rory and Lorelai, but his widow, Emily Gilmore. She, understandably, takes his death very hard and is able to express her feelings through the use of flashbacks, heated fights, and oddly enough – therapy sessions with Lorelai. These sessions work wonderfully as a storytelling mechanic to delve deeper into the psyches of both Emily and Lorelai, their relationship, and how we as the audience perceive them. By the end of the four-part revival there is a satisfying resolution for Emily, and Richard as well.
All of this culminates into an ending that has been sitting in Sherman-Palladino’s mind for a decade now.
Warning, major spoiler discussion for the conclusion of Gilmore Girls and other plot points through the four-part revival.
Sherman-Palladino has long teased having wrote four final words for her original vision of Gilmore Girls and we finally had a chance to hear them. “Mom?” “Yeah?” “I’m pregnant.” Credits roll. Hold the phone, what? Our precious Rory is pregnant? Logan is the dad? This is egregious! I want my Netflix money back! This is so out of character! Or is it? And is Logan really the dad? Let us not forget a little one-night encounter with a certain Wookie and Rory Gilmore in the Spring of 2016.
All fan theories aside, I personally think this is the exact ending and dialogue we needed to close out the story of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, and hopefully it springboards a new show or even simply a new season for the original show that hones in on the relationship of Rory and her new child as well as grandma Lorelai. The never-ending cadence of the relationship between Lorelai, Rory, Emily and the audience has asked the question: “Will Rory end up like her mother?” and in the same way, “Will Lorelai end up like Emily?” The answer seems to be yes, and that’s okay.
What we’ve learned throughout the seven seasons and this revival of Gilmore Girls is that even in the face of challenges such as unexpected pregnancy or strained mother-daughter relationships, is that the community and friendship found in Stars Hollow, as well as the relentless love that can be found in the mother-daughter bond can persevere over such hardships.
The year in the life of the Gilmore Girls showed us that they needed change in order to find purpose, and this is the change they need. This is what Rory had coming all along. As early as season 1, Lorelai was telling Rory that she could easily end up like her, throwing away life plans for the sake of a boy. Now this has happened, and her new book writing, journalism career, and relationship with her mother all hangs in the balance.
Hopefully, we get to learn what happens between Rory, her new baby, Logan, Jess, and the long forgotten Paul (did they ever break up officially? I forget) in another show. Netflix has opened up a business relationship with Sherman-Palladino as well as the Gilmore Girls brand, and it would be a shame if they didn’t pursue the financial success that could come with maintaining the deal. Similar to how Netflix has pursued Fuller House, Gilmore Girls (or Gilmore Guys, boy twins anyone?) could be the next thing. However, if that isn’t the case and this is truly the end of the Gilmore Girls story, the message remains the same. The Gilmore Girls will always have each others back, and if ever one or the other is in need – the other will follow.