A big hit! After nearly a decade-long hiatus, Gilmore Girls premiered its much-anticipated revival on Friday, November 25, in four 90-minute installments on Netflix. Now that several days have passed since fans were reunited with Rory (Alexis Bledel), Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and everyone else in Stars Hollow, it’s time for Us to recount all the ways the reunion got things totally right…and a few ways it whiffed.
We Got Major Boyfriend Closure
Dean (Jared Padalecki), Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) and even Logan (Matt Czuchry) got closure with Rory, though Dean’s appearance was admittedly brief, as was Jess'. It was just nice to see them each have a sweet goodbye moment as adults.
Dean, for instance, revealed to Rory that he had moved on to a second wife named Jenny, and they lived in Scranton, Pennsylvania. His first wife, Lindsay, was a big part of the earlier days of the show, when Dean was cheating on her with Rory all the time. The reveal that he had a new wife was small, but let viewers know he had finally moved on.
Of course, Rory's last goodbye with Logan was heartbreaking, but after the final four words, who knows if they'll really stay apart?
Stars Hollow Shone
Fans didn't just tune in to watch Rory and Lorelai, of course. They wanted to know what Kirk (Sean Gunn), Sookie (Melissa McCarthy), Paris (Liza Weil), Taylor (Michael Winters) and Luke (Scott Patterson) were up to, too!
Every one of those characters got their own fun story line (or two or three), and the quirky town really out-quirked itself: Kirk got a pig named Petal and tried to launch a ride-sharing business called Ooo-ber. Paris retained her habit of hurling biting comebacks at people, and was also the kingpin of a very serious surrogacy business. Taylor was spearheading a campaign to get Stars Hollow to use a sewer system, oversaw a town musical and even tried to launch a gay pride parade.
That brings Us to …
After years of speculation, fans learned that Michel (Yanic Truesdale) was gay all along. Prior to his outing, there wasn’t much of a LGBT+ community in Stars Hollow, which Taylor referenced during a town hall meeting during which he claimed that there could be no gay pride parade because there simply weren't enough gay people. At least the writers are self-aware enough to know their queer characters were lacking!
Another way that diversity played into the revival was by jamming a wedge in the revolving door of maids at Emily's house. In the original episodes of the beloved show, Emily (Kelly Bishop) couldn’t — well, wouldn't — keep a maid, but in A Year in the Life, she kept newest maid Berta (Rose Abdoo) around, in spite of not understanding a word she said. It was refreshing to see a character of color with staying power in a role that was usually used to make jokes about language barriers.
It Was More Realistic
Rory spent the original run of the show being an organized, determined character who made all sorts of great strides and was expected to be super successful, so to see her struggling as a freelance writer at 32 was comforting for, well, real people! It may have not really made sense for her character (and there will be more on that later), but it was more reminiscent of a real-life experience than her idyllic upbringing in ultra-quirky Stars Hollow was.
The relationship issues faced by Lorelai and Luke were realistic, too. It wouldn’t have felt right if the audience had been led to believe they got along perfectly all this time.
It Gave the People What They Wanted (Read: Coffee)
At the beginning of the first episode, Rory joked that it had been a while since she and her mother had gone back and forth making pop culture references at a breakneck pace. Fans would definitely agree, so it’s a good thing there was no shortage of fast talking. There was also no shortage of coffee. The writers packed all the coffee references they could into each 90-minute episode, which provided familiarity for longtime viewers.
So…What Did It Get Wrong?
Far be it for Us to say that anything about the revival was wrong, but…well, we're not the only ones saying it!
Leading up to the revival, fans were desperate to know if Rory ended up with Logan, Dean or Jess, so imagine how surprised they were to learn that she ended up with none of them! The decision to leave Rory single and pregnant was a bold one on the part of the producers and creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, but we can’t pretend we wouldn’t have been happier to see Rory in a loving relationship. She deserved that much.
Multiple fans pointed out — to Us and on social media — that Rory didn’t seem to have matured at all since her high school days. From her stubborn, conceited refusal to prep for the Sandee Says interview (which she bombed), to repeating the mistake of sleeping with a man in a relationship with someone else, she never seemed to learn from the past.
What was even more confusing was that, if anything, she regressed. Viewers got no real explanation for how Rory went from studious bookworm and Ivy League superstar to jobless, homeless, and single and pregnant. How, with such drive and a sturdy set of skills, did she stray so far from her path that she had no job prospects and made questionable relationship choices? (Not that there's anything inherently wrong with no-strings Wookiee sex, mind you, but still.) Plus, it seems as though the show missed an opportunity to educate viewers on responsible family planning, especially involving a character who herself is the product of an accidental pregnancy.
Tell Us: What did you like, and what didn’t you?
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is now streaming on Netflix.
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