So the Gilmore Girls revival is upon us and we’ve all had a week to digest it and watch it multiple times. I have watched each episode twice. The first time to enjoy, the second to take notes and catch things I may have missed the first time. Also, once you see the end, the entire 4 seasons are under a different microscope which I will discuss later. What I have enjoyed immensely about this experience is the coming together of the fans to embrace this and discuss it. I listened to the Gilmore Guys podcast for the first time. I’ve discovered Gilmore fans I didn’t even know existed among my friends. I’ve read countless articles and reviews of the episodes and it’s been fun to soak in all the opinions. What I find most fascinating is the lens with which an individual watches and takes in something. I have yet to come across a perspective quite like my own and I know exactly why and where mine comes from but its a curious thing to me. So here we go:
I don’t know how to begin this, dissect each episode in order, just rapidly give opinions across the board, or something in between. I may break this up into multiple posts. So we’ll just begin and see where this takes us. I’m not going to recap every thing that happens in each episode, because I am assuming you watched it. My biggest take away from this whole revival was it wasn’t so much (for me) A Year in the Life of the Gilmore’s but A Year in the Life of Grief. Every single story arc for Emily, Lorelai, and Rory is propelled by grief and its funny to me that no one “picked up” on that, or has discussed it. My father died 5 years ago and as I watched the revival, to me, it was more about their individual movement through the grief than just a “life journey” happening at this point in time. And maybe that wasn’t the intention, but that’s how it came across to me. I’ll go further into this later, but Emily is grieving her husband. She’s grieving the life she had and the person she thought she was always supposed to be and is no longer. Lorelai is grieving her father and all of the unresolved feelings that existed in their relationship. She even says “we didn’t get that moment” to the therapist. When my father died, devastated as I was, I could say goodbye to him without a slab of guilt resting on my shoulders because I can tell you that we said everything that needed to be said. We always said ‘I love you’, we always talked about things and so I didn’t have that weight, but Lorelai does. Rory is grieving what she thought her life was going to be. She’s grieving the career she’s wanted since she could talk and she’s trying to mull through “what happens next” which is what all 3 of our girls are doing.
Winter: It opens with a black background and sound bites from the original series, ending with “I smell snow” and we pan to Lorelai sitting in the gazebo waiting for Rory. I start sobbing the second those sound bites begin and cry on and off for most of this episode. Rory shows up, she and Lorelai have a fun back and forth and we are treated to a little nod of “haven’t done that in a while”, “feels good”, “it feels like years”. By the end of the segment, I am transformed. We are back in Stars Hollow, we are back with our girls and it feels almost like time hasn’t passed. Which is how Amy Sherman-Palladino sort of writes this entire revival. She acknowledges the time but it feels very much like our characters have been a bit stuck in Groundhog Day since we left them. But we, as an audience, have to accept this because it’s been so long, this was never intended, and Amy is determined to write the ending that was always supposed to be (even if that ending would have worked far better with Rory as a 22 year old than it does with Rory as a 32 year old).
My favorite Luke and Lorelai scene of the entire revival occurs in this episode when they’re getting ready for bed. “Where are my pajamas’s?”, “Drawer”, “ugh Felix”, “Oscar” and then Luke goes through the DVR reading off all the horrible lifetime movies Lorelai has recorded and its classic Luke and Lorelai and so adorable.
Also in this episode is one of my favorite Rory and Lorelai moments as we get treated to them alone in the kitchen late at night having one of their chats. Lorelai feels “her mortality”, she was considering a cruise and then she “broke a hip”; Lauren delivers this with such perfection. Rory asks if shes feeling this way because of Richard and it is the first time Richard’s death is mentioned (I AM NOT READY YET). I scream “OF COURSE” at the TV because when someone close to you dies, especially a parent, you end up thinking about your own mortality. It’s natural. When my father died, I bought us all cemetery plots.
Luke’s is fairly unchanged except now he has wifi and keeps giving the customers the wrong password (which is hilarious). Equally hilarious is the sign behind the counter which reads: NO Texting While Ordering, Man Buns, Taking Pictures of Your Food, Headphones, If I can hear your music through your headphones, WHY ARE YOU WEARING HEADPHONES. It’s so Luke and so funny.
Back at the Dragonfly, we see Michel, whom I love and Yanic doesn’t miss a beat as this character; hes MARRIED to Frederick and Frederick wants a baby which will be a highlight of Michel complaining this entire series, its perfect. We learn that Sookie is working with Dan Barber at Blue Hill Farm and I pause and scream because I’ve been to Blue Hill Farm and eaten there and its so cool to me that it gets mentioned. Meta moment of my life!
Emily. Kelly Bishop is the greatest gem of all gems and she is perfection. The girls arrive for Friday night dinner (without Richard- sob) and we find a GIGANTIC portrait of Richard. This moment gives some of the greatest reactions from Lorelai and Rory and leads us to a flashback of Richard’s funeral. I will say I was very grateful that Amy gave us 30 minutes of wonderful before pulling us into the inevitable sobfest of acknowledging Richard’s death and subsequently Ed Herrmann’s. The aesthetics of the funeral scene at the cemetery are beautiful and seeing this is just oh so sad. Just knowing how important Richard is to them and Ed was to the actors. A few things struck me about this and it’s Lorelai’s recollection of it and so maybe we have to give some leeway because I can tell you I remember a good portion of people that came to my father’s wake and funeral, but I’m sure I don’t have a clear recollection of it, BUT… no Christopher? Christopher. Is. Not. At. Richard’s. Funeral. Christopher has always been trash and one of my most loathed characters in the entire series, but seriously? No show? Also, Logan? And I say this only because of the significant role he plays throughout this revival. Now… maybe he was there, again this is Lorelai’s recollection. Digger makes an appearance. An awkward and unnecessary appearance. But there he is, asking Lorelai if she’s happy. At her father’s funeral. Anyway, lets not spend time on him. What Rory ends up missing, because shes always flying off to do… work… or something is that Lorelai drinks her weight in scotch and draws a blank when Emily asks her to tell a nice memory of her father. Instead, she ends up word vomiting some awful story about being locked in a steamer trunk and Richard finding her having sex in the pool house. Emily is CLEARLY pissed and this brings us to an Emily/Lorelai confrontation in the kitchen, so reminiscent of the pilot and as Lorelai will say “full freakin circle”. Emily accuses Lorelai of not caring her father is dead, Lorelai tells her shes horrible. What I found interesting during this dragging that Emily gives Lorelai is that I didn’t entirely disagree with what she says. I love Lorelai, but she has created this bubble of hers in Stars Hollow where everyone loves her and everyone thinks shes just so great and no one ever points out her flaws and she is actually a semi-selfish person. She is very stubborn and unwilling to budge on anything. Many times throughout the series, I get mad at Lorelai because it’s like, just admit you’re wrong. She creates almost all of her own problems because she lives in her own world where she’s doing things her way or not at all.
How have I not mentioned Kirk yet? Kirk, always loveable has some great moments in this. His Ooooober, not uber, car service; which Lorelai takes to her mothers because her car is at Gypsy’s. When he’s just at the dinner table at Emily’s and then asks to go outside and play soccer with her maid, Berta’s kids (aside: how long did it take you to figure out who was playing Berta?). We can always count on Kirk.
Luke awkwardly standing at the table because he can’t sit in Richard’s seat was so funny, but I found myself wondering where the 6th chair was. Surely Emily doesn’t have an incomplete dining room set. Wouldn’t the chair be there? Little things. But it made for a funny Luke and Emily moment. This dinner also brings up the Rory career situation. It is explained that Rory has moved from her place in Brooklyn and she has boxes of her stuff scattered between her Mom’s, Lane’s, Emily’s, and Logan’s (really she shipped boxes to London?) and so she has no permanent address. Rory is so cool with this because this is when she gets to sow her oats and go where the story takes her or some such babble and I’m paused on this because… what exactly does she do? Oh she’s a journalist. Does she work somewhere specifically? She wrote a piece for The New Yorker. Slate and The Atlantic get mentioned. Um, ok. So she has had no permanent job all this time? I’m just confused. Maybe I don’t understand journalism correctly, but my understanding is MOST write for a particular publication and then branch out and as they become more well known, they write free lance or whatever. Rory’s situation is weird though because it’s suggested she is known (I think, maybe) but she can’t really seem to latch on to any permanent situation career wise. She has a meeting with Conde Naste that keeps getting pushed and she’s writing a book for this Naomi chick who provides much comedy throughout. But I’m still kind of confused as to what exactly Rory does… or what it is she’s been doing. This, for me, is problematic the entire 4 episodes.
(It has occurred to me at this very moment that this is already LONG and so I will be breaking these up by season LOL)
Luke and Lorelai have a talk about kids. Did they want another one. Did Luke want one.. and we find them at Dynasty Makers. Owned by PARIS GELLER!!! Liza Weil is just perfection. Everything Paris in the whole revival is great. Her talking about assessing Luke’s balls was one of the most hilarious moments in Gilmore history. I kind of wish this had been more of a plot throughout. It gets dropped oddly later on. Paris brings buy some “prime meat” for Luke to check out and that leads us to Rory and Paris heading over to Lane’s (LANE LIVES IN SOOKIE’S OLD HOUSE) and also lends for this odd “Lane, you remember Paris?” interaction which I thought was soooooo bizarre.Remember Paris? Of course she remembers her. Like. Just weird. It’s clear that Rory and Paris are still friends, so does she never mention her to Lane? Does she not speak to Lane as much? It’s just weird all around. Also. I’ll take this moment to comment on the lack of Lane on the whole in this is SEVERELY DISAPPOINTING.
Rory is worried about Emily and Lorelai drops by to find her mother in JEANS AND A TSHIRT with various folks (all related to Berta) cleaning out the house. Emily tells Lorelai she read this book about going through everything in your life and if it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it. Lorelai reminds her mother that right now, nothing is going to bring her joy and she suggests Emily see a therapist to help with her grief. Everyone freaked out about Emily in jeans and I wasn’t so struck because I recall Emily wearing a tracksuit in the original. Weird to see her in jeans, yes. But not quite the earth shattering moment for me. Emily does decide to go to therapy and talks Lorelai into going with her.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, Rory flies back to London to meet with Naomi about the book. The restaurant scene with Naomi stealing all the food going to other tables was hilarious. Rory goes back and forth to London a lot and I find myself wondering how she pays for it. Does she have a lot of miles? She has no permanent job and we find out later is too broke to buy underwear, but she has money for $1,000 flights to and from London. I suppose we’re not to question the logistics of this. Anyway, the introduction of Logan was great, I thought. Rory is talking to someone about Naomi and we don’t see who for like a good solid minute or so and then we see its Logan. And they kiss. And what? And now I have sooooo many questions. How long have they been together? Always? Was there a break? Wait but Rory has a boyfriend.. whom HILARIOUSLY, I took not one note about and completely FORGOT to mention until I started writing this paragraph. Oh how appropriate. Paul. Paul shows up to dinner earlier at Lorelai’s and this whole gag that neither her nor Luke can really remember him and Rory forgets about him all the time. They’ve been dating for 2 YEARS! It’s funny. In Winter. It becomes a running gag throughout the entire series and its not funny. At all. Not even a little bit. It makes Rory look like such a piece of shit person. So, she’s cheating on Paul, the boyfriend she doesn’t like and can’t remember, with Logan. She and Logan have an “arrangement”. Vegas. When they’re together, they’re together. When they’re not, they’re not.
So I know a lot of people love the townsfolk and Stars Hollow and there was a little complaining about there not being enough of that and them. I LOVE Stars Hollow, I wish I lived there. I love Kirk, Ms Patty, Babette & Maury, Gypsy, and Taylor and the whole lot but honestly for me this story is and always has been about Emily, Lorelai, and Rory. If this entire revival existed as a series of Friday night dinners with the girls, I would have been happy. Not really, but you know what I mean. I thought this episode was lovely. It was the perfect jump back into the story, into this world. I felt very satisfied and excited at the end of this episode. And I realized during this episode, second viewing, that Berta is played by the same actress who plays Gypsy.
About the grief: Emily is in this maintenance phase. She is in defense mode and she’s trying oh so hard to maintain the life she always led now that her compass is gone. She’s still trying to keep up the whole “thing” of it. By the end, she’s feeling sad and restless and unsure and that’s why we find her searching for joy. Lorelai is beginning to question herself and her motives. She trying to be introspective about herself and her relationship with Luke. She sees her mother who lived her whole life for Richard and she’s questioning whether she does that with Luke and if she should or if she wants to. The baby stuff is all about her making sure she isn’t suppressing Luke’s feelings or wants for her own; the way she always did with her father. Rory is in denial. She’s in denial that she’s essentially failing for the first time in her life, across the board and so she exists in this “everything is great” zone.