Monday, December 12, 2016

Let's Talk About 'Gilmore Girls'

I think I first stumbled across Gilmore Girls during a ridiculously long marathon that was running on ABC Family over one of my breaks as an undergraduate (I think that was also the Spring Break I watched a metric ton of M*A*S*H reruns.) I had never seen it before. I had never heard of it before. But the writing caught my attention immediately. The dialogue practically crackled at light speed across the screen. Was is it a wee bit soapy, as befit it's presence on The WB? Sure, but it was also brimming with intelligence. This was smart television and all too quickly, I was hooked.

So it was with no small amount of delight that I greeted the news of a special four episode revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life. I figured at the very least, it would be a pleasure to visit this show, these characters and the writing again- and it was. But more importantly, they managed to more than live up to the hype. A lot of these revivals (I'm trying not to look at you, X-Files and I'm for sure not looking at you, Heroes Reborn) talk a good talk but fail to walk a good walk. Gilmore Girls stepped up to the plate and while I won't go so far as to call it a grand slam, I'd for sure say this was an inside-the-park home run.

A Year In The Life picks up a decade or so after the television show ended. Luke and Lorelai are still together, Rory is still running around trying to get her journalism career off the ground and running and Emily is recovering from the death her husband, the Gilmore Grandfather, Richard. The loss of Richard seems to have affected the three Gilmore Girls in very different ways- but it seems to have impacted Lorelai and Emily the most.

Emily has to figure out how to live independently for the first time in her life- and her arc over the four episodes is fascinating to watch.  You honestly get worried about her about midway through, but she gets it together and winds up in a great place by the end of this. (Seriously: Nantucket looks beautiful. I just need a small fortune to afford to live there.)

Lorelai, whose relationship with her parents is a rocky, emotional minefield at the best of times has to fix a rift with her mother, which she does thanks to some therapy, but she seems to be grasping at the straws a little bit as this opens. She and Luke are together, but they're not married. They can't decide if they want children or not. The Inn is doing well, but Sookie has taken a sabbatical to find her inspiration again. Michel, now married and staring parenthood in the face wants more than the Inn can offer. It builds and builds and builds, and eventually Lorelai has to take a trip to get her shit together. (Which she thankfully does.)

Rory seems to be getting most grief out of all of this. Articles like the colorfully titled, 'Rory Gilmore is a monster' are out there for your perusal, but I find that verdict to be a bit harsh. She wanted to be a journalist at the worst possible time to go into journalism and being a freelancer is hard enough. She's trying to hustle and she's making a mess of it, but really, a monster? That seems a bit harsh... a fair criticism would be how she manages to flit back and forth to London as much as she does. She also doesn't seem to have qualms about sleeping with engaged ex-boyfriend Logan and has a totally useless plot thread of a boyfriend named Paul. I think a lot of that has to do with Logan. He tended to bring out the more obnoxious, superficial qualities in her during the television series and once she realizes that she's got to give him the old heave-ho and says goodbye to that chapter of her life, she seems to get her shit together somewhat.

Look, it wasn't perfect. But I think a lot of that had to do with the difference in scope of the series- instead of a whole season of episodes, you had four- and they were about 90-120 minutes long a piece. That means that you wouldn't hit all the moments you might be able to hit if you had a full season- or even a half season to work with, but they hit all the moments that I wanted to see. It got a little abstract in parts, but they tied it all together and those last four words...  man oh man oh man...  they would have blown so many minds had they gotten to use them for the end of the television show. But, they provide a suitable perfect ending here that left fans wanting more- no, screaming for more.

Of course, having watch the revival, I plunged back into a binge of the show itself. I make no apologies. It's like comfort food and I'm already deep into the second season.


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