Film & Television

In ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,’ You Can Go Home Again

In what feels like a touching tribute, and was no doubt emotional for the cast, the new series begins shortly after Richard’s death. Emily and Lorelai both feel adrift without him. Rory too is drifting, from couch to couch, her career as a journalist stalled after some initial success. Meanwhile, Lorelai is with Luke (Scott Patterson), but they’ve never married for some reason. Her business, the Dragonfly Inn, is in a state of flux, with chef Sookie (McCarthy) away and concierge Michel (Yanic Truesdale) looking for a new position, preferably at a place with a spa.

Gilmore creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and husband Daniel Palladino deftly bring us up to date on the past ten years of most of the main characters. There are some satisfying surprises (Michel is married and his husband wants a baby) and some that don’t feel quite right (Rory is somehow back in a “friends with benefits” relationship with her Yale boyfriend, the self-absorbed rich boy, and currently engaged Logan (Matt Czuchry).) There’s a slightly odd subplot about “Star’s Hollow: The Musical,” with Broadway veterans Sutton Foster and Christian Borle, apparently having a ball. But, mostly it’s Gilmore business as usual. Lorelai and Rory banter back and forth, dropping pop cultural allusions at a mile a minute. And, Emily and Lorelai wound each other deeply, as only two people who truly know and, despite appearances, love each other can.

Gilmore Girls was always more about the Gilmore women than the men in their lives, despite an ongoing parade of suitors for both Lorelai and Rory. And, true to form, the reunion focuses mainly on the three generations (I always thought of Emily as one of the eponymous “girls”), their personal struggles and their relationships. Graham, Bledel and Bishop don’t disappoint. In interviews, each actress has talked about her sheer delight at having the opportunity to revisit the series.

Watching Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is certainly delightful. Half the fun is spotting familiar faces. After seven seasons, characters like jack-of-all-trades Kirk (Sean Gunn), nosy neighbor Babette (Sally Struthers), compulsive over-achiever Paris (Liza Weil), fascist town selectman Taylor (Michael Winters), rocker chick Lane (Keiko Agena) and her  mother Mrs. Kim (Emily Kuroda), and so many more feel like old friends. It’s like being a fly on the wall at the world’s most colorful high school reunion. You know everyone’s past; you’re curious to see how they’ve grown up; and, best of all, you don’t have to leave the couch, your jumbo cup of coffee, or bags and bags of junk food to do it.

As they were known to do in the original series, the Palladinos weave in a couple of homage plot twists. With some guidance from past love Jess (Milo Ventimiglia), Rory decides to write a memoir of her life with her mother, perhaps a nice nod to Josephine March and Little Women. And, when she finally realizes it’s time to move on from Logan, Rory ends a last night with the “Life and Death Brigade,” quoting Dorothy’s Wizard of Oz good-byes almost verbatim. Both scenes feel blatantly borrowed, but somehow just right.

In 2006, Gilmore Girls moved from the WB to the CW. The Palladinos left the show after contract negotiations with the new network fell through.  Since then, a bit of lore has enthralled Gilmore fans. Supposedly, Sherman-Palladino always knew how she wanted to end the series. But, because she was no longer involved when the finale hit the air in 2007, the infamous “four words” she had planned were never spoken. The Netflix reunion allowed her to wrap up the story , her way, at last.

After six hours, everything feels resolved. (And, if the experience isn’t quite as wonderful as you hoped or remembered, it’s still pretty wonderful.) Lorelai and Luke are finally married. Emily is building a new life in Nantucket. Rory is working on her book. And then, there are the four words . . .

“Mom?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m pregnant.”

We’ll just have to wait for the next reunion to find out if it’s a boy or another Gilmore girl.

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  • hillsmom November 29, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Can’t wait to see more of the “Gilmore Girls”. It’s one of my all time favorites. I wanted it to go on and on to see what happened. Logan didn’t deserve Rory. Jess and Dean didn’t either. Perhaps my local library will have it sooner or later. Up cable tv has all 7 seasons playing in sequence in case you wanted to know.
    Another favorite of mine is “As Time Goes By” on PBS. Unfortunately, it has an annoying laugh track. Cheers…

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