By Charlotte Hollingsworth
A few disclaimers before we get started:
1. Spoilers abound for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. You’ve had almost two weeks, don’t read this if you’re not caught up.
2. I never liked Rory. Ever.
3. Every guy Rory ever dated was basically just a trash can but I am still very much entirely and unabashedly Team Logan. Logan Huntzberger might be my Problematic Dream Man.
So, I started watching Gilmore Girls after it was added to Netflix a couple of years ago, so I came at it being a tiny bit closer to Lorelai’s age than to Rory’s which I think has a lot to do with my feelings about the show. I love Lorelai. I think she is courageous, hilarious, flawed, beautiful character that is brought to perfection by Lauren Graham, Actual Angel On Earth. Because of this, I have always had issues with Rory, who can be so completely dismissive of her mothers’ feelings, and often downright cruel. When the show starts and she’s 16 I could understand it. But coming back to her when she’s on the other side of 30, it was hard watching her still selfishly refusing to acknowledge Lorelai’s totally rational feelings. But I won’t spend too much time on the old show, or on tearing apart Rory Gilmore. Instead, here are all my most pressing opinions and reactions:
Logan Huntzberger: I am beyond pleased with the complex relationship between Rory and Logan and also I got to watch so much Logan and I will never not want to party with the Life and Death Brigade. Having found myself in the occasionally morally gray romantic relationship (don’t act like you haven’t), I really loved that they didn’t harp endlessly on whether what Rory and Logan were doing was right or wrong. When Rory tells Lorelai that she has been sleeping with Logan, while she is with Paul(??) and he is engaged, Lorelai never jumps to thinking Rory is a bad person. And to have a character like Rory, consistently help up as the Perfect Girl involved in a sketchy sexual relationship with someone who is clearly perfect for her (better than her let's be honest, she’s so BORING) was refreshing. Logan is a good guy, I really believe that. He is the only one of Rory’s Big 3 (Dean, Jess, Logan, sorry Paul) that genuinely worked to make her happy. Do you think Dean would risk answering the phone for her with all his kids in Scranton? Or that Jess would fly across the world to make her feel better? Nope. Logan lives his own life and can make room in it to care for Rory and I love him for that. Sucks his family is making him marry some whatever French lady, I am sure he will work to make her happy too.
Paris “Kick A Door In Stilettos” Geller: Liza Weil, seriously, how the HELL did you do that? I could watch a gif of Paris blocking the door in 900 inch heels over and over for a decade. Paris and Rory are the kind of friends that jump right back where they left off, usually Paris in distress, and there is something so comforting about watching that on screen. She’s an incredible woman, and I was thrilled that they found a totally realistic business for her to run in which she is both a lawyer and a doctor, because Paris does it all. The few cameos by Doyle were delightful, and their relationship ending after he goes to LA makes perfect sense, Doyle was always apt to change his shifty personality while Paris is a solid rock of personality that will never shift, tectonic plates be damned. She has so many real fears that affect so many women, worried that her kids don’t like her, that she’s failed at having it all, that she’s not likeable, and you know she still wakes up every morning and kicks ass. Paris is insanely annoying, but she’s real. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed her.
Emily Gilmore: Talk about rising from the ashes, Her Royal Majesty Emily Gilmore stole the show for me in a big way (that’s not true, adult muscles on Logan and Jess stole the show, but more on that later). Her grieving process through the loss of Richard was poignant, meaningful, and so realistic. She behaved in classic Emily fashion, clinging to some trend or other when times of stress befall her, and eventually coming back to herself when it matters most. I was constantly wanting each and every character to hug her, I wanted Rory to show up and crawl in to bed with her, for Lorelai to just wrap her up in her arms, but that wouldn’t have been true to their relationships. And Emily wouldn’t have known what to do with that. I felt that her eventual decision to move to Nantucket and become a dossier at a museum was a bit… extreme, but getting to watch Kelly Bishop say “so much BLOOD” was worth my suspension of disbelief. And I will play her breakdown at the Daughters of the Revolution meeting forever, my whole heart exists within Emily Gilmore shouting “bullshit” at long last.
Grown Up Man Muscles: Milo Ventimiglia is swole these days. Matt Czuchry is swole these days. Jared Padelecki is probably swole but I don’t watch Supernatural and he was in winter wear but I’ll believe it. As an adult watching the show, it was very hard for me not to feel uncomfortable with these tiny children taking off their clothes. Plus, it was 10 years ago, none of them were so ready to wash clothes on their abs. But now, not only are the actors nearly 40 but their characters are my age and so it was totally reasonable and enjoyable to ogle them. Oh, thank you, designers of tight men’s t-shirts. Thank you.
Luke: All I have to say on this one is that his love for Rory is so remarkably touching and perfect and good and he is the best man in any of the Gilmore’s lives and I have forgiven him for hiding a child from Lorelai. It was nice to see that kid, too, she was pitch perfect.
And here were the things I didn’t like:
Luke and Lorelai’s Fight: That was so freaking shoe-horned. There was nothing wrong between them, and if they’ve been together for all this time you know they’ve figured out how to communicate and handle each other’s independent streaks. And to have Lorelai decide to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in response? I am sorry that is the actual opposite of something Lorelai would ever do. I loved that they used it as a way to get some great physical comedy from Lauren Graham, and to give us some Parenthood Alum Love with Jason Ritter, plus so cute to have Peter Krause show up. That was seriously so cute. But none of it made sense, and I hated it, and I was so happy when they finally just got to their senses and got married.
Child Labor: WHO WERE THOSE KIDS AT THE POOL AND BEYOND? That made NO SENSE. None.
Richard’s Funeral: I’m sorry, I absolutely do not believe that Lorelai couldn’t think of anything nice to say about her father. I know she is grieving, and she’s bitter, and he was not a good father all the time, but even in the parts of their lives we saw in the 7 original seasons, there are plenty of times when Richard stands up for her to Emily, makes her laugh, and if nothing else he provided for Rory’s education and we all know that meant the world to Lorelai.
I really could go on, but we’re too close to 1500 words already and if I get started on the musical I don’t know when I’ll ever get up off this couch again. That being said, I will defend the musical even beyond the grave and anyone who didn’t love every moment of Sutton Foster’s Bad Jazz Hands is welcome to fight me.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was a welcome respite from the difficult media landscape we find ourselves in, and I really missed Stars Hollow. I have yet to watch a revival show that didn’t make me deeply unhappy (I’m sorry, Fuller House is a flaming dumpster) but this felt exactly the way I hoped. Warm, nostalgic, but still fresh. It felt like watching old friends come together, and I was happy to be invited to the party. And if you want to get the feelings wrenched up, do what I did while writing this and listen to the official Gilmore Girls Spotify playlist. Sweet perfection.