WARNING: SPOILERS LIE AHEAD.
For months, in big green writing on my calendar, a special date has been marked.
On November 25, it reads: “GG” and there are huge green circles around it.
My mum had scheduled an all-day event on her phone on this same date.
We have been waiting so long for the Gilmore Girls: Year in a Life to come onto our screens. The original seven seasons was something we watched so closely together until the last season ended in 2007.
LOOK AT US. WITH POPTARTS. AND MATCHING GILMORE GIRLS SHIRTS.
In fact, we have never watched an episode of Gilmore Girls without each other (at least, on my part). We're not a complete replica of the mother-daughter relationship that beautifully exists between Lorelai and Rory, but elements of the characters shine through in us.
Yesterday, we bought Pop Tarts, chocolate, chips, cookies, pecan pie, brownies, salted caramel tarts, had pizza delivered, she drank coffee (I really wish I did, but I just can't).
At 6pm our time, we sat on our couch and began to watch what had been the subject of our conversations for way too many car trips.
Rosie and Laura talk about the new season on The Binge
I had so much hope brimming inside me. I felt sure that all of the original main actors would never have signed onto a project that wouldn't be promising. I knew season seven had been changed from the show's destined ending with the initial creators, Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband Daniel, cut from the writing.
This revival was meant to show us what was intended to be. It was also meant to reignite that spark and sense of home that the Gilmore Girls can only bring in certain people's lives.
At 2.45 am, this morning, that spark had never felt so dim. I felt empty, devastated, and so incredibly tired.
If you, like me, don't share what seems to the rest of the internet's thoughts that it was "just like coming home" and "you only want more", then let's talk.
I need not just to debrief this with my mother. I need to get it out because what happened last night was more than a couple of endings I rather not occurred; it was an example of recycled plot lines, characters who failed to grow, and a sequence of meaningless resolutions.
If you need a recap of seasons one to seven, just listen to this. (Post continues after audio):
Rory: I’ve see you before.
So, when we first meet Rory at 32-years-old, she is a freelance journalist who has been published on Slate, The Atlantic and The New Yorker. Her five mobile phones indicate she is very, very important and very, very busy.
The first inkling that something is wrong is Paul. I don't know why Paul exists in this storyline. For the entire season, Rory forgets him, and after breakfast the next morning, we don't see Paul again. I guessed Paul was meant to demonstrate one element of Rory's life that is in a breakdown.
Forgotten. So very forgotten.
Added onto that, Rory has decided to have no home of her own and just move from place to place as her job requires.
One of the places she has to move is London. She is *staying* with Logan but he’s engaged to a French woman, part of the “dynastic plan”.
GREAT. YES. PLEASE LET'S DO THIS AGAIN.
Remember that time Rory slept with Dean even though he was married. Oh, yes. Let's just rehash the fact that Rory hasn't learned that probably hooking up with exes while they are meant to be committed in relationships.
WHOOP DE DOO.
Throughout Spring Rory’s career goes from what we thought was a rapidly growing sensation to well…Rory’s career.
Her meetings at GQ and Sandee Says, the media company who so desperately wanted her, illuminated Rory with the greatest clarity. She has done no background research on either company, expects to be handed the job with Sandee Says, has no ideas ready, and is ultimately fooled.
Not going to cut it Rory.
These blows to her career ultimately captured that Rory has spent so many years of her life being held up on this pedestal because she was the Queen of Stars Hollow. That same mentality has followed her into adulthood and what is by the most frustrating, is Rory has already done this before.
As she hits what she thinks is rock-bottom as editor of the Stars Hollow Gazette, Jess comes back into her life, quite similar to season six.
Rory got told by Logan's dad she can't hack it in journalism. She dropped out of Yale. Joined something safe, her grandmother's DAR group. She stopped talking to her mum. Rory fell back on Logan to prop her up. Jess gave her some real talk about her life to get her out of the rut.
All of this. We have seen this before.
Luke and Lorelai all over again
The same technique of reusing Rory’s past problems, haunts the current relationship of Luke and Lorelai.
They are happy. I believe that.
I also believe it would be completely unrealistic to expect them to never have relationship problems.
But, at the heart of their relationship problems is what broke them down when April Nardini came to town.
They stopping communicating with one another, hiding things and it ended up in their separation.
Here, Lorelai doesn’t tell Luke she is seeing a therapist by herself (which is a whole discussion within itself) and Luke doesn’t let on about the franchising, as much as she wanted.
Check out the better Gilmore Girls moments. (Post continues after gallery.)
Let’s also remember, this franchise business isn’t new, either.
WE HAVE DONE THIS. SEASON FIVE. ANYBODY? REMEMBER?
This entire storyline of the Gilmores wanting Luke to be more than a countryfolk man and build an empire, with Richard taking him onto the golf course to chat franchises has been done.
Bringing me right back to one of my greatest problems with the revival. They have nothing new to give us. They have the same issues at heart, possibly reshaped slightly differently, but it is the same storylines they ran in previous seasons.
Emily and Richard Gilmore
Out of all the storylines, this is the one I have most wanted to see. The passing of Edward Herrman, who played Richard Gilmore, is tinged with sadness both in our fictional and real worlds. I was constantly reminded of when Richard first fell sick, and he promised Emily that he would let her "go first", and again in season seven, Emily realises she is a kayak. She paddles with Richard, rather than a canoe alone.
As highlighted in the trailers, there was an 18-foot portrait of Richard Gilmore in the living room. Initially, I honestly thought it was an endearing thing Emily had done to remember Richard. But, Lorelai kept pushing and pushing her mum to admit the 18-foot portrait was a mistake. There had always been arguments and bickering between Emily and Lorelai, but the way she pushed her mother in that scene was quite unbearable to watch. Perhaps, for the first time in history, I was siding with Emily.
One would notice that most scenes intended to discuss him throughout the revival, were soon overcast by modern-day drama, i.e. the fight in the cemetery between Lorelai and Rory later-on. While Richard's passing continues to play the most dominant role in Emily's life, we have skipped mourning him.
Throughout the revival, we watched Emily Gilmore sleep in until noon, find a boyfriend, and not fire one maid. At times, it was disjointed and fell second in importance to Rory’s collapsing life.
All the controversy. Around this.
There was nothing more satisfying than watching Emily Gilmore call bullshit on the DAR and get a job scaring children at the Whale Museum.
Would I have liked to see a raw and vulnerable Emily Gilmore like when Richard fell ill both times? Yes.
Did I like that she ended up living on a beach in Nantucket? Also yes.
The sub-par and forgotten plotlines
I don’t even know where to start with this. For six hours of television there were so many unresolved storylines that it genuinely became frustrating.
Let’s go back to the beginning.
I expected to see the title sequence. You know, from seasons one to seven their series of shots with the song Where You Lead playing over the top.
No title sequence. No song. Let me repeat: no song. This is my first alarm because I am gravely concerned that a song I practised for 153 episodes is gone. Poof. Bye bye song.
Because Emily hinted to Lorelai that Luke during their fight at Richard’s wake wasn't happy, they decide to discuss having kids. This leads them to the one, the only Paris Geller, who is now a fertility specialist in surrogacy. Beside Emily Gilmore, she is a QUEEN of this show. Paris is the same with her ferocious personality, harsh intelligence, and no-shit-sherlock talk.
Ultimately, this storyline goes down pretty quickly. Luke and Lorelai don't have a surrogate, ended with a brutal text to Paris that they decided no. Just thinking about it now, scenes were wasted on the possibility of a surrogate when it leads to absolutely nothing. The only role that it had was to facilitate communication problems between Luke and Lorelai. Again.
Paris is then featured again during episode two for her visit back to Chilton (which I loved, that door-kick was a 10/10). She is getting a divorce, Doyle has turned into a douche, and the relationship she has with her children resemble the one with her parents.
I LOVE YOU.
But after Spring, Paris is gone.
Also in Spring, Lorelai and Emily begin therapy. I will never believe that this mother and daughter will have a perfect relationship, but I would love them to come to a minor resolution.
Just a lil' one. Was that too much to ask?
Within a couple of sessions, Emily quits and we don’t see Lorelai back at therapy after Luke finds out she was going alone. It resolves nothing between Luke and Lorelai, Emily and Lorelai, and was something only there to facilitate distrust between Luke and Lorelai.
The only time the therapist came back was lining up for…
I don’t know if I can say it.
BY FAR, THE WORST TELEVISION I HAVE EVER ENDURED IN THE ENTIRETY OF MY LIFE FOLLOWS.
At 39 minutes, ending nine minutes and 50 seconds later is this horrific musical that the town is putting on. And, it's just the preview.
You know when a TV show or movie are watching is trying to show you something is bad? They do montages. They do 30 seconds of the terrible voices/acting, flick to characters' horrified faces and you get the gist.
Please make this heinous scene stop.
I DID NOT NEED ALMOST TEN MINUTES OF THAT UTTER CATASTROPHE ON MY SCREEN.
The worst part of all? They finish on an ABBA number. They dared to touch ABBA.
I perhaps wouldn't have been as upset at this disaster if it wasn't an explicit representation the show had indeed nothing to talk about.
Not only this, but Carole King is also watching the preview of the musical. Carole King is also the one who sings the title song, Where You Lead WHICH STILL ISN'T IN THE SHOW.
So, you're telling me we can watch ten excruciating minutes of this musical, but I still can't get this TITLE SONG.
Lane: the character left behind
Within the first five minutes of the show, when Rory bumps into Lane, we work out their relationship hasn't changed since season seven.
And, I don't say that in a good way. Out of any character in the show, Lane by far, had the most underdeveloped role with the most potential. Her somewhat lacklustre relationship with Zach, the twins, her negative relationship with sex and a music dream that stayed a dream is still present. From Rory and Lane's brief interaction, I gather pretty darn clearly that Lane is still a background character.
The real sparkling character, Lane.
Later in winter, Lane and Paris are at Lane’s house where Lane’s band is playing but I don’t understand why they are there. It is just once again reinforcing that Lane is a misc background character, who sweeps in and out of scenes when Rory is around. Let's also remember that Rory is Lane's kids' godmother, meant to be there Lorelai Gilmore, and she doesn't even say hi when she walks in.
And, I can’t not mention Mr Kim. He was unnecessary and it wasn’t funny.
Jess is around the day before the wedding. As he leaves their house, Luke and Jess have a strange interaction. Jess says he is "over" Rory but then when is walking away you watch him peer in and watch Rory laugh.
That feels like unfinished business.
Just when you thought it was about to end relatively normally, Luke and Lorelai decide to elope in the middle of the night.
Lorelai has already eloped with Christopher in season seven and that caused only more friction between the two. The fact that this only occurs again, and Emily is left out feels like a genuine loss.
At the same time, it was a spectacular vision to watch.
Let's also reflect on who was there for the elopement.
Lorelai + Luke + Rory + Michel + Lane + Reverend.
What. The. Hell.
So, Jess - Luke's own nephew who was invited to the wedding the very next day wasn't there. Lane for some reason is there, and so is Michel. Of course, Sookie couldn't be in there for one darn more scene, despite proclaiming to be best friends just two minutes beforehand.
IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.
Plus, the elopement means there is no large town send-off. In fact, the community of Stars Hollow fades throughout the entire event.
Despite the criticism season seven faced by fans, the town's party for Rory was a beautiful way to bring people together.
Instead, they are forgotten here.
So, we then come to the ending.
Lorelai and Rory sitting on the gazebo.
And, then the final four words are dropped.
Rory: “I’m pregnant.”
To be perfectly honest, I felt nothing at that time. I was as icey as Paris Geller cross Emily Gilmore.
All the damage had already been done.
The fact that Rory was pregnant meant so little.
The only part that infuriated me was it attempts to complicate the storyline further. One must assume that Logan is the father (Wookie dude was back in Spring and who knows the last time Rory even saw Paul).
I don't mind that it is Logan.
When Amy Sherman-Palladino shut everyone down for having such a focus on Rory's #TeamJess or #TeamLogan, the fact that these two characters are completely unresolved in her life only entertains them further.
Logan is engaged not out of love, clearly still adores Rory and fathers her baby. Jess is probably still into her, but there wasn't much going on there.
It is a purposeful cliffhanger with no resolution.
I understand my opinion is wildly unpopular.
And, if you loved Gilmore Girls - the seasons and the revival - I would hate to take that away from you. I still adore, adore, adore the seasons.
They are precious to me and my childhood.
But, I come back to the three arguments I made at the beginning.
Recycled plot lines, characters who failed to grow, and a sequence of meaningless resolutions.
Rory's rut. Lorelai and Luke's relationship problems. Rory's inability to step up when needed. Lane's invisibility. Richard Gilmore's franchise money. Paris' absence. Surrogacy. Therapy. Hiking. That damn musical.
I love you Gilmore Girls. I truly do.
But simply being back in Stars Hollow wasn't enough.
We needed something new and inventive.
I'm just going to go back to my Pop Tarts and cry while I listen to the theme song I never got.