I watched Gilmore Girls every week with my mom. The original show made me wish I had that kind of relationship with my own mom, and I had an emotional investment in and connection with the show. I was very excited about the revival, and watched the new episodes on the day they were released. Thank you, Netflix for your whole-season releases! Here is my review of the 4 new seasonal 90-minute episodes.
SPOILER WARNING. Why are you reading a review if you haven’t watched it yet??
Those final four words:
So, Amy Sherman-Palladino has always known what the last four words of the series was supposed to be, and because she wasn’t involved in the oft-lamented 7th season of GG, she didn’t get to use them. Thanks to Netflix and fans around the world, GG has been brought back with the original cast, and we got to see how everything turned out years later.
Personally, I think those last four words were inevitable. It brings the show full circle, and continues the parallel of Lorelai’s life, though Rory is older and has more support than Lorelai had. She will of course, have a little girl who is surrounded by the best women in the world, will be disastrous at relationships, and have a mom-best friend.
At the end of the original GG, Rory was a Yale graduate ready to take on the world, and heading off to cover the Obama campaign as a journalist. In the revival, we see Rory at 32, working as a freelance journalist and trying to find steady work. She is unsure of her career path, she is unhappy trying to write a book with a crazy person, and she is mostly unemployed and bouncing from couch to couch while she travels and writes.
This feels so quintessentially real. So many of my peers, so many millennials share her crisis of career faith, feel rootless (though maybe not so literally), and struggle with freelancing and working for themselves. Rory feels a bit more relatable in this new iteration, but she also feels somewhat wrong. I was aghast at her on-and-off Huntzberger affair. Rory wouldn’t do that! Not with an engaged man! She is clearly somewhat conflicted about it, and she does eventually end it after a grand adventure with the Life and Death Brigade, which was a very fun tribute, but it felt so wrong.
But what of Rory’s big dreams and go-getter attitude? Why isn't she a successful New York Times writer? I don't know. But we have seen her insecurity before, with quitting Yale and questioning herself, and we’ve seen her make bad choices, like her night with Dean.
So maybe it isn’t that it’s out of character, and more that it’s simply not up to MY expectations of Rory’s behavior, the Rory I believe she is in my head. Either way, it’s impeccably done, very nostalgic, and seems to make sense with Rory’s story and her place in life.
To me, Lorelai is exactly where she should be. Still with Luke, still having a great relationship with her kid, and running the Dragonfly Inn. She questions, she has her own crisis of conscious, and she is attempting to deal with the loss of her father.
In terms of her character, Lorelai seems to be the most true to the original story, with her quick wit, pop culture references, self-deprecating love of coffee and junk food, and her love of life. Her relationship with Luke is strong, and her Wild (the book) adventure somehow still seems in keeping with her character.
And we finally got our Luke & Lorelai happy ending. Which I cannot express enough how much I loved. I think Luke is the early version of Ron Swanson, and I loved his portrayal in this revival. Very true to who he has always been, and watching the way he interacted with Emily made me laugh and felt real.
Lorelai is still snarky, still attempting to navigate a better relationship with her mom, and still worries more about the people around her than herself. She seems to feel things deeply and love her small town, and I can't imagine a Stars Hollow without Lorelai Gilmore.
Of all of the characters and stories told in this revival, I loved Emily the most. In the original series, she came off as harsh, cold, overly caring of other peoples’ opinions and expectations (sometimes to her detriment), with only flashes of warmth and emotion for her daughter and granddaughter.
Kelly Bishop’s Emily Gilmore in the revival was at once nostalgic and heartbreaking. Her husband dying has changed the way she looks at the world, and it so clearly changed her relationship with Lorelai and Rory, and even her maid. She is vulnerable, caring, scared, and still somewhat snooty. Her reaction to realizing she is wearing jeans made me laugh, immediately after how she tries to get rid of everything in her house in a wave of change made me tear up.
Emily’s story and her changes are so real and believable. She manipulates Lorelai into going to therapy with her, then refuses to utter a word in front of the therapist - what might she think of them? Then she sits in a DAR meeting, bored out of her mind, suddenly over it all, and jumps in with a rambling rant against the DAR and their ridiculous expectations and protocols, and against the poor hapless trophy wife trying to get into the group. It feels very Mean Girls-esque and you want to cringe and laugh at the same time.
The most entertaining arc in this revival is Emily’s maid Berta and her entire family moving into Emily’s house and taking over her life, while not being able to communicate with each other. Berta clearly cares about Emily, and Emily grows to care for Berta and her family as well. Much better than the revolving door of those poor maids in the original!
While some might say Emily changed too much from her original character, I think the way it was done was a beautiful progression from being “Richard’s wife” to her own person.
For me, I loved this revival. I don’t need to agree with every decision they make, and I can't rail too much against what may or may not be out of character. I enjoyed watching it, I laughed, cried, cringed, and cheered. I felt incredibly nostalgic and smiled, remembering how my mom and I watched it together every week, loving the Rory-Lorelai relationship.
Is it perfect? No. As much as I love Sutton Foster, that super long scene with the whole darn musical was beating a dead horse, so cringey, and way too long. Paris Geller seems even more stiff and unyielding than ever, and I would have thought marriage and motherhood would have relaxed her some, and I hate that she and Doyle aren’t together. The Rory-Dean run-in felt forced and unnecessary. The Chilton story was stiff. Why was she suddenly doing a career day there, and why was Paris invited? Why bother setting up and offering her a position that Rory didn’t even consider? Lane Kim never got to realize her rockstar dreams, and after all her thoughts of adventure and getting away from her mom, she is working with her mom for some reason? That didn't make sense to me. The Life and Death Brigade adventure, while fun, seemed overly long as well. Besides just wanting to bring the entirety of the cast back together, I don’s understand why they’re even in Stars Hollow, and a simple night alone with Logan would have been an easier goodbye.
And why isn’t it Jess and Rory? I was never on Team Jess back in the day, but I did love his support and how he is in the new iteration. And I can’t get enough of him on This Is Us, which I’m also currently watching, so that might be shading my view.
This was a fun look into the possible future of Lorelai and Rory, and I think it stayed pretty true to these characters, in a way that moved the story forward and updated it. I would watch more in a heartbeat. I also love that the entire cast felt so good about what they did in the original and their characters and cast-mates, that they came back to do this. It just wouldn’t have been the same without Michel and Gypsy and Doose!