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December 4, 2016

Gilmore Girls Revival

Okay, fine, I’m giving in.

I know you’ve probably already seen like a million Gilmore Girls opinion pieces, but frankly I’m way too invested in this series and I need to throw in my two cents. (I truly mean it when I say that I love knowing people’s stories, and it’s just as true in my wedding photography as it is in my favorite tv characters.) It’s been a full week since the release, so hopefully if you’re reading this you’ve already watched the new episodes, but if not, be warned that *this will include spoilers.* To begin, I’d like to prove my dedication with a very embarrassing story: I distinctly remember watching the last episode of the original series after coming home from school (I must have been in about seventh grade). Later that night I had a softball game, and I kid you not, I had tears streaming down my face in the outfield just knowing that I would never catch up with Rory and Lorelei again. Yup. Just picture that. Out in left field, wearing an unflattering visor and mid-calf baseball pants crying like a loser that I had to say goodbye to my imaginary friends.

Well thankfully, I was wrong.

This Thanksgiving, Stars Hollow and I met again. And let’s just talk about that for a second- kudos to the lovely people behind Netflix for a holiday release date. I know I’m not the only one that grew up watching GG with my mom and sisters, and it really wouldn’t have been the same without their commentary as we watched. Plus, if we weren’t together I probably would have missed half of the episodes by texting my favorite Paris quotes back and forth. So thank you, Netflix, for ALL the gifts you’ve given me, but especially this excuse to carry over my excessive eating habits for another day and enjoy some quality girls time with my family.

Now on to the good stuff. I have so much to say that I’ve decided I have to break this down into organized sections or else I’m just going to ramble with run-on sentences. So, without further adieu, my unsolicited shouts into the void:


 

Rory: Growing up, I always watched GG with my mom and as a result, I most identified with Rory- she was smart, ambitious, and largely good-natured. Like any dynamic character, she was far from perfect, but that was part of her appeal. I enjoyed following her ups and downs as we watched her grow into a woman in the later seasons. However, there was always one storyline I didn’t love: her affair with married Dean. This wasn’t what I would have chosen for Rory, but I accepted that, much like real life, this probably isn’t what she would have chosen for herself either. People make mistakes, but I can respect anybody that gets back on their feet and learns from the past. Unfortunately, it turns out that Rory didn’t quite accept the lesson.

Rory’s affair with an engaged Logan honestly just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, as does her entitled attitude toward the forgettable boyfriend, Paul. Perhaps this storyline is supposed to make me doubt the Logan relationship, but really all it does is make me doubt Rory. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always love our girl, but I think the writers were expecting a bit much of me this time around. I can get behind a flawed protagonist, but at some point it becomes hard to root for the mistress, especially when she’s already been down this road before. This unguided detour felt more appropriate when she took a semester off of college, but at age 32 I’d like to think that go-getter Rory would be back on track. If bopping around from job to job and guy to guy was genuinely what made her happy, that’s one thing, but this version of Rory feels lost and out-of-character.

Lorelei: Oh Lorelei, our fast-talking, reference-spewing friend. I largely enjoyed Lorelei’s role in the revival, even if it all felt kind of familiar. It seems like the Gilmore Girls are constantly on self-seeking journeys marked by dramatic exits and impromptu road trips, but I suppose that’s what makes them so lovable. After ten years with Luke I was hoping she had grown out of her habit of dropping responsibilities and running away, but at the same time I appreciated her journey to accepting Richard’s death. Lorelei’s sense of self has always been largely defined by her relationship with her parents, so it was fitting that she needed to process her dad’s life and death before she felt at peace again. I’ll never understand why her personal reflections always had to come at the cost of toying with her loved one’s emotions (just clue Luke in for once) but I’m glad that she was able to come full circle.

The Stars Hollow Musical: Fifteen minutes of my life that I will never get back. All I have to say about that.

Logan: I’m just gonna put this out here: I’ve always been Team Logan. A controversial stance, I know, but I’ve always appreciated the way he entices Rory outside of her comfort zone and compels her to take a few risks (even if it leads to a few bad decisions cough cough stealing a yacht.) Like Rory, he’s intelligent and fast-paced, and can keep up withe the Gilmore banter. Sure, his entitled demeanor can be a bit off-putting, but at least he was mostly self-aware of his privilege, and frequently used it to make Rory feel special. And let’s be honest, despite Rory’s Stars Hollow mailing address, she’s also pretty savvy at ivy-league cocktail parties and expensive private schools. Most importantly, Logan isn’t a Rory-Groupie from Stars Hollow- he came to respect her for her character and wit, not her small town fame.

As far as the new episodes, I’m not surprised that Logan is following his father’s footsteps into a high-paying office job, but part of me would love to see Logan take his own advice and pursue a career he is passionate about. In my version of the revival I see Logan as a venture capitalist who owns an entrepreneurship incubator where he invests in young kids similar to himself. Oh, and the office would have a replica of Yale’s coffee cart. And he would maybe not cheat on people, stand up to his father, and tell Rory how he really feels.

Kirk: The saving grace of this revival, if you ask me. There were a few parts of the new episodes that didn’t feel on brand with the Gilmore Girls I know and love, but every time Kirk made an appearance I was brought back to those 5pm reruns on ABC family. I’m glad to know that he’s still keeping up with his antics (not that I ever doubted). Favorite moments: his acapella “radio station”, his indie film, and his dinner at Emily’s.

Dean: Glad to see that Dean is doing well and glad that I didn’t have to waste precious minutes hearing too much about him. First loves are always significant, but Dean was too clingy for Rory and doesn’t have a big role in her future.

Jess: I have to admit that I’ve grown far fonder of Jess after watching Milo Ventimiglia in This Is Us- how can you not fall in love with such an endearing and imaginative father? However, Jess is not Jack and the brooding bookworm thing has a shelf life. I have nothing against Jess and think that he’s a great match for Rory on paper, but nothing compares to her chemistry with Logan. Plus, I heard all I needed to when Rory told Lane that she keeps calling Logan when she wants to talk. Clearly, Logan is her lobster.

The Theme Song: WHERE WAS IT!?

Emily: God bless Emily Gilmore and the writers behind her manipulative retorts. Listening to Emily at a dinner party is like watching a boxing match in real-time; I am endlessly entertained by her antics and amazing ability to be both polite and condescending. However, it was great to see Emily’s character go beyond witty one-liners in the revival. Her character arc was beautifully done, and it was refreshing to see Emily come into her own as she has always been a strong woman. Sure it was a little sad to see her embrace the maid’s family and not necessarily her own, but Emily has never been one for vulnerability, so it felt like a realistic expression of Emily embracing motherhood late in life.

Luke: Luke is Luke- both his wardrobe and personality have not changed much. However, he’s always been pretty even keel so I’m glad the writers stayed the course. I have to say I’m dissapointed that he and Lorelei didn’t get married sooner, especially when they both proposed at separate points nine years ago in the original series. But I suppose this way we got to see the wedding, or rather, elopement, which was a long-awaited moment for any diehard GG fan.

Paris: This synopsis would not be complete without mentioning Paris (who is perhaps the best character of the entire show.)  Her career in child surrogacy felt like a lazy and convenient way to connect her to the plot, but at the same time, an offbeat job with little connection to her multiple degrees is almost the perfect spot for Paris. It’s feminist, empowering, and she gets to boss people around while trying to control their large life decisions- a good fit if you ask me. As far as her personal life, I’m dissapointed to see Paris turning into her mother. Just like her own childhood experience, Paris’ children are being raised by a nanny, and though Paris loved her own Nanny, she has also admitted the ways in which the arrangement hurt her. It seems like the writers were so stuck on creating a second generation of the same plot that the revival lacks some character development.


 

Okay I didn’t realize how wordy this has gotten. Basically we all know that Jess is supposed to be Luke while Logan is supposed to be Christopher, and it all begins again with those famous last four words. However, I suppose the beauty (and frustration) of the ending is that it’s like a choose-your-own-adventure book and we all get to imagine what we want. I believe in a new era for the Gilmore girls where Rory makes her own path and Logan pulls through in the end. I know I probably just alienated a whole bunch of you reading this piece, but hey, maybe I just have a thing for blonde guys 😉

I’m that nerd that would genuinely love to hear your response to this- feel free to comment below with your opinion on the revival!

  1. Leah

    December 4th, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    I’ve always always always been Team Logan. Until now. I hated every minute of Rory with Engaged Logan. (Similar to disliking her with Married Dean at the time.). I also expected more of Rory at 32. She seemed to be playing “victim” instead of being the strong-willed, determined character she once was. Sadly, she was my least-favorite character in these new episodes. Agree with you wholeheartedly on the musical. In fact, the entire first two episodes seemed like a waste. I feel like they could’ve done so much more with this. I loved Emily – I think she was my favorite in these episodes. I didn’t see the ending coming at all and I honestly don’t care for it. Though Lorelei’s pregnancy obviously have us the entire series and they have such a special mother/daughter relationship, I feel like Lorelei would have wanted more for Rory. (And unless the dad is a Wookie , is Logan just going to be back & forth being present and then not-present, sending $$…it seems like a never-ending cycle.) Also, I agree about Luke & Lorelei – did nothing happen between them in the past ten years? I was hoping for more from their relationship as well.
    Overall, I was disappointed

  2. breaugcs@miamioh.edu

    December 5th, 2016 at 9:29 am

    I was hoping to hear your opinion on this!! I totally agree with your disappointment. It seems like they spent seven seasons developing these characters only to take a huge step back in the revival. Half the charm of Rory and Logan has always been their distaste for the entitled world they were raised in. We rooted for them because of their integrity and independent thoughts, but to see them slip back this far at age 32? It’s just like watching their parents all over again! I think we are supposed to find the cyclical nature of the ending as poetic, but it mostly just feels lazy and inconsistent. Rory is not Lorelei, and I think she deserves her own storyline instead of being stuck in her mother’s footsteps. Unfortunately, much like the original series ending, I think I will have to come up with my own imaginative life for these characters.

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