Netflix review: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life


Gilmore Girls’ final episode of season seven aired May 15, 2007. Netflix picked it up for a revival and released four 90-minute episodes on Nov. 26, 2016.

Warning: Spoilers below:

The real world has changed quite a bit since then, but Stars Hollow stayed the same. Well almost.

This year’s first episode with our favourite Gilmore’s is “Winter”, and the nostalgia is laid on pretty thick. The opening scene states all of the most iconic quotes from the first seven seasons that pretty much cover the story arch. Rory (Alexis Bledel) and Lorelai (Lauren Graham) have their traditional rapid-fire conversation at the gazebo, loaded with pop culture references that would make most anyone laugh. Especially the one about Ben Affleck as Batman.

The revival begins with a few key facts. First, Lorelai is living with Luke and running the Dragonfly Inn. Rory is a freelance journalist, having published a well-received piece in The New Yorker. Emily is mourning Richard’s death. Lane and Zack are parents of two and still take their music very seriously, and Taylor is still obsessed with making Stars Hollow great again.

You can’t help but feel a little exhausted by the end of “Winter”; sitting through 90-minute chunks of rapid fire dialogue and intense emotions.

The next episode is called “Spring.” While the first episode introduces us to of all our favourite characters, the second one is all about Rory.

“Spring” reminds us that when Rory doesn’t get her way, she throws a tantrum and quits. Remember in season five, when Logan’s father told her she wasn’t cut out to be a journalist so she dropped out of Yale (which everyone except Lorelai deemed okay behaviour) and moved in with her grandparents?

Lorelai has worked hard to build everything she has without her parents’ help, while Rory has become comfortable having things handed to her.

Rory finally settles to take a meeting with the CEO of a digital startup, Sandee Says, who has been pursuing her relentlessly for almost a year. But in Rory’s true privileged fashion, she expects to be handed the job without demonstrating any familiarity with the site or pitches for what she’d write. Upon not getting the job, Rory throws a tantrum, throws out all her phones (seriously, who can afford three cellphones?) and moves home to Stars Hollow.

Rory has had it pretty good; she’s had a privileged life with a caring family, a very good education, and an array of very good-looking men fighting over her, she hasn’t had to try hard at, or for, anything. What threw me for a loop is how much Rory hasn’t grown up, even by the age of 32.

Episode three is titled “Summer.” Michel has decided that he cannot stay at the Dragonfly Inn without it expanding, Lorelai decides she needs get some perspective, and Rory saves the Stars Hollow Gazette by taking the unpaid editor position.

Stars Hollow’s residents keep congratulating Rory on being “back,” and she soon discovers that she’s not the only millennial in town who is struggling when she meets the “The Thirtysomething Gang.” This made me realized that the show did not feature a single, sane, thriving thirty-something through all eight seasons.

Rory decides to write a book about her relationship with Lorelai, which we all want, but when Lorelai says no, Rory throws another tantrum in public and leaves.

The highlight of this episode was the elaborate Stars Hollow musical that Taylor stages. The musical is full of Hamilton references and an ABBA encore. Taylor even found a way to include a song that comments on everything from tiny airplane seats and overpriced restaurant wine to manbuns and Vladimir Putin.

While each 90-minute episode has scenes that probably would’ve been better had they been left out, I think the last episode, “Fall,” had the most.

As Lorelai has decided to do Wild (getting away from everything to reach some clarity or find something one thinks is missing) on her own, fans had to watch her do all of it. The first 40 minutes of this episode had Lorelai running around the “wilderness” and it all could have been, and should have been, avoided.

The most satisfying part of this episode is seeing Emily’s character finally grow. After taking time to grieve, she realizes that she needs to be independent for the first time in her life. Emily sells her house and moves to Nantucket, with her maid’s family in tow.

Even though Lorelai’s on-screen Wild adventure was a waste of screen time and she never makes it to the hiking trail, she has the epiphany that she was searching for. First, she calls her mother and tells her the memory of Richard she should’ve shared at his wake. Then, she goes home to Luke to tell him that she wants to get married.

The ceremony and decorations were beautiful and I think Kirk has finally found his calling — wedding planning.

The episode also finally featured Sookie. Filling Lorelai’s kitchen with wedding cakes and yelling matches with Michel, it was short and sweet. Rory and Lorelai came to a place of understanding on her book, and Lorelai asks Emily for money to expand the Dragonfly Inn.

But by far the last four words of the show, which have been planned for a very long time, are the most shocking.

“Mom?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m pregnant.”

Will we ever get closure?

All in all, I expected so much and felt a little let down. I think the revival should have had three episodes at 45 minutes each, with a finale lasting 60-70 minutes, as there were many scenes that were not needed (such as Rory babysitting Paris’ kids or Luke’s daughter visiting), and character arcs that the revival could have thrived without. I would have liked to see less of Paris, less of the stupid fertility arch that never went anywhere, and more of what happens next. Knowing who is the father of Rory’s child would be good knowledge to have, or even if she gets paid to stay at the Stars Hollow Gazette.

The revival didn’t have many questions to answer, but it created many (Will Rory name her baby Lorelai? Will Rory tell the father or raise the child on her own?) and from what the creators of the show are saying, we won’t be getting any more any time soon. Despite the obvious problems with the show (how can a town only have two people of colour? How can Rory be so childish at 32?), I will never stop being a Gilmore Girls fan.

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