I have been a huge fan of the amazing phenomenon that is “Gilmore Girls” since the beginning. I was a mini twelve-year-old elephant (see the previous post) when a cousin told my mom we should watch the show and for six years, every Tuesday at 8pm, I sat on my mother’s couch laughing and crying with her and my sister.
I mourned the death of the amazing Edward Herrmann in 2014. His portrayal of Richard made him feel as though he was everyone’s grandfather. He was warm, smart, and proud. He was a gentle giant with a voice that thundered in a way that could both comfort and instill fear. He was idyllic. I cried at the news of the revival.
Ladies and gentlemen here are my opinions on the revival and yes, there are a billion spoilers ahead.
I REPEAT SPOILERS BELOW.
I WARNED YOU.
HERE THEY COME!
I HATED THE REVIVAL! Okay, maybe hate is a strong word but immense dislike is less dramatic sounding. My heart broke sitting in that chair. The last time I had been in this much anticipation of something, other than the Kingdom of God, was the birth of my son.
“But, Meg,” You ask, “what was wrong with it?”
As stated earlier, I started watching the series in the beginning. When I missed shows, I caught up during the offseason during reruns. I was entranced by the show. I spent 22 hours a year for seven years, that’s 154 hours of my young life on my couch being an honorary Gilmore Girl. It was the world where my weird and awkward tendencies were welcomed. They were weird, flawed, and yet somehow perfect. That was the charm of the show. Everything was idyllic. It was a place to escape to, a place where problems arose but we all knew that things would work out eventually. It was messy at times but not as dark as the real world could prove to be.
The show premiered in October of 2000, a time in American history where you could get on a plane in no time flat with your shoes on and your mom kissing you goodbye at the gate. A time where the target audience didn’t know the phrases like, “anthrax scare”, “ground zero”, or “weapons of mass destruction”. The town of Stars Hollow was the stereotypical American small town where your neighbors all know each other and wacky festivals litter the calendar. It continued to be that way even when the world around us started crumbling. During a time where it seemed like even our vacations filled us with terror and dread as new threats and diseases entered into our vocabulary, Stars Hallow remained paradisiac and immaculate. When the show ended in 2007 with Rory, the college graduate, going off to live her dream we, as the audience, were in search of another escape.
However, there was no such escape like that of “Gilmore Girls.” The writing of the Palladinos is so unique in nature, that when they exited the show before its final season, the loss was apparent. The show was, at best, doggy paddling its way to the end. It left us with that dreaded question: “What if?”
What if the series ended the way it was originally supposed to? Would we have gotten even more seasons? Would everyone’s beloved Rory have found another beau worthy of her? For years we were left to wonder, but then it was announced that a revival was happening.
We were treated to behind the scenes photos, set clues, old familiar faces gently aged reminding us that time has gone by even if our Netflix binges kept them forever young. Festivals were thrown. Personalized promos were written. Luke’s Diners popped up all over the place. A small town in Connecticut became a mecca for die-hard fans. Gilmore Mania had taken over again. So, like most of America, I forsook my Black Friday plans and prepared for the return trip to our beloved town to hear the final four words that were extensively teased for the last year.
I got my hubby addicted to the show. We were counting down the days. We woke up at 3am on that Friday to find out how these imaginary members of my family have been for the last nine years, ten if you don’t count the seventh season as canon.
My heart broke after those six hours and four words. After ten years of waiting, the town I had fallen in love with was a shadow of its former self. Our girls were back but the whole thing felt forced and plastic. Rory no longer sounded like Rory but instead like an actress trying to be Rory. Granted, it had been nine years since Alexis Bledel last played the character but, the lack of connection to the role was so obvious and it set the pace for the rest of the show. She had now become a forgetful immature woman, a nomad both professionally and personally. She no longer took others into consideration, which is seen in her relationships with Paul, Logan, and even her own mother at times. She didn’t truly care if she was a burden on her friends and family who became living storage units for her, showing up at random times to dig through boxes before leaving them there. Rory at 32 is living a life better suited for someone ten years young. She’s become flighty, immature, and careless as if the lessons she learned during her college years hadn’t existed. While other characters, even Kirk, show growth, Rory sinks down into such a mire of regression that by the time we finally hear the four words we can’t help but wonder if she’ll ever return to the level-headed woman we all came to love.
We all make mistakes and in my early 20s, I made enough to last a lifetime, i.e. a marriage, subsequent divorce, and child all in a two-year span. Yet, that is where the issue lies. The attitude Rory has, the mistakes she makes such as failing to research a company before an interview or falling asleep while interviewing, are missteps that someone makes fresh out of college, not ten years later. Rory was the queen of professionalism and research, even teaching her mother a thing or two. Who can forget her infamous Pro/Con Lists for every major life decision?
The script feels as though it was pulled out of a desk drawer, dusted off, and passed around with a few side notes added mid-shoot. We were promised closure for everyone but instead only about half of the cast gained true closure leaving the rest floating around in the stink that is now our rotting hopes and dreams for Rory. We are left with just a bunch of questions.
- What happened to Rory and the Obama campaign? In a promo video, we saw her speaking with the First Lady. Why did she leave before the end of the presidency?
- Why would Rory run back to Logan? At the end of the show, she decided to move on.
- Why is Logan in London? He proposed to Rory promising her an avocado tree in California.
- How come April didn’t graduate college already? The girl was a certified genius. Should she have not already graduated MIT years ago?
- How did Miss Patty lose all that weight? Homegirl looks amazing.
- Did Rory forget how much trouble was caused when she had an affair with Dean?
- Why wasn’t Rory on birth control? Even without insurance, Medicaid pays for it. If London was supposed to be her and Logan’s why would they not take precautions?
- Why all the hate on Paul? He seemed perfectly lovely even if he was dumb enough to be in a relationship with someone who avoided him for three years.
- When did Michel come out of the closet? Granted, he did have a Celine Dion obsession but he was always mentioning women and being a lady’s man.
- Where were the endings for Jess, Paris, Doyle, and that godforsaken musical?
- Most importantly, why were there so few scenes with actual Stars Hallow alums and so many with actors from other Palladino productions?
All in all, the revival seemed rushed, poorly executed, and a bit ungrateful for the loyalty of the fans. To have a fanbase like this show does, it requires loyal people. There are 154 hours of show in the original seven seasons and if you’re like me, you watched it more than once. I personally watched it to completion three times. That’s at least 462 hours or 19.25- 24 hour days of Gilmore glory. To have fans that dedicated, fans that kept the show in syndication and then revived it once it hit Netflix, is something that most writers dream of. Something like a revival should have been crafted carefully with all the love a writer could muster as a thank you for the support of a dream that they may have been told over and over again would not come true. Yet we were delivered a story that felt like a rough draft of a lazy college student comprised of poorly updated characters, an alarmingly long and unwanted musical, and scenes that tore away at the facade of Stars Hallow. We were reminded that it is indeed a television set and that the writer’s almost self-righteous need to finish the story her way was more important than the opinion of the people who allowed her to tell it, essentially giving the audience and their hopes for Rory the middle finger. For a show that, in the last year and a half, behaved as though it was completely dependent on its fans, it, in the end, chewed us up and spat us out without any apologies and in all honesty no hope for any real answers. Disappointment is an understatement and heartbroken only begins to cover it.
I’m Meg and Amy Sherman-Palladino is a cold-hearted pimp laughing all the way to the bank.