There had been high hopes for Netflix’s Gilmore Girls revival ever since it was announced earlier this year. Since the series’ premature end in 2007, fans have petitioned for a comeback, a reunion movie – anything that would reunite them with Lorelai, Rory and the rest of the motley Stars Hallow crew.
With the majority of its original cast (bar now-megastar Melissa McCarthy, who is limited to just one scene in the entire reboot) reuniting for four new episodes, landing on the streaming service to much fanfare and frenzy last week, fans of the cult noughties favourite had wished for some of the same quickfire dialogue, astute worldly insight and syrupy onscreen magic offered by the original series.
Oh, how badly they got it wrong. Sure, such nostalgic-fuelled expectations could never have been adequately matched, but the majority consensus from viewers since the new episodes dropped has been: “How did this all go so badly wrong?” Maybe, many wonder, it would’ve been better to not have gotten any new episodes at all. The new miniseries A Year In The Life does a brilliant job of shattering the hopes and dreams of fans. Here’s how.
WARNING: This post contains massive spoilers for all four episodes of Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life
Rory sucks now
One of the things that the first Gilmore Girls run did well was to present a world where there’s never just one side to an argument, no clear right and wrong. Life is too nuanced for that, and the original series depicted its characters as both good and bad. Even Rory’s largely-absent dad, Christopher, is eventually accepted to be more immature than vindictive. But if there was ever a protagonist that viewers are meant to naturally side with, then it would be Rory. Meeting the character when she’s just 16, starting school at the frightfully posh Chilton school, we witness her growing into a young woman and aspiring journalist who, by the end of the original series, is about to shadow Obama on his first campaign trail.
Almost a decade on and Rory resembles little of the character that we knew. She’s a terrible journalist, one that falls asleep during interviews, sleeps with her sources and attends prospective job meetings without having any actual ideas to pitch. She strings along a boring, forgettable boyfriend for the entirety of the reboot, seemingly because she’s too busy to simply break things off with a text sent from one of her three phones. And this is before mentioning her willingness in becoming her ex’s mistress whenever she finds herself in London, which is surprisingly often for a would-be-penniless freelance journalist. The worse part of her renewed relationship with Logan isn’t the infidelity, nor is it that he’s clearly still a massive dick, but that, when presented with the realisation that he is indeed going to marry the woman he is engaged to, it is Rory who feels she has been wronged, not the poor French heiress blissfully unaware that her groom-to-be is cheating.
Lorelai does some really un-Lorelai things
We all know that grief can make a person act in strange and surprising ways, but there is no way the old Lorelai would ever go on a hiking trip, even if it is to find herself and mourn her late father. But in the reboot’s final episode, ‘Fall’, Lorelai does precisely that and decides to “do Wild“, heading to the wilderness with just a backpack, just like in the book, rather than the 2014 film adaptation. Firstly, there is no way that Lorelai would ever choose a book over a film – we’ve seen her Tivo watching habits. Secondly, Lorelai is more likely to find herself by actually going wild, driving to Vegas and betting it all on black, rather than ever putting on a pair of hiking boots as a solution to anything.
2016-era Lorelai does some other very un-Lorelai-like things, such as objecting to Rory writing a novel about their lives (this is the same person who bitched about her own mother in a magazine while promoting her inn, after all) and fat-shaming others while sat at a pool. Not cool, Lorelai, not cool at all.
The new season is very Team Logan
Privilege has long been a problem in Gilmore Girls. It is, at its very essence, based entirely around the concept of it: a mother rebelling against her rich parents, a granddaughter given a leg-up early in life with an education paid for with the same wealth. You’d think the creators would have a better sense of their audience and realise that, no, Logan and his Bullington Club-esque chums aren’t eccentric and endearing as they parade around Rory’s precious Stars Hallow in one extended sequence, breaking into shops, throwing money around and, quite simply, acting disgustingly rich. Instead of there being any social commentary on the futile lives of the privileged, forever chasing their next thrill, we’re expected to admire their carefree way of living, to dream of having our own “private Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride”, as Rory puts it.
Like in the original series, Logan never gets his comeuppance, despite his constant sense of entitlement and treating of others with contempt. His way of living is glorified to the end. The finale itself sees Logan set up as a potential father to Rory’s unborn child (or is the Wookiee the dad?), meaning we’re probably going to have to endure Logan even longer if we’re to get any more new episodes. But, hey, one good thing to come out of it is that if Logan is to Rory what Christopher was to Lorelai, then that definitely means Jess is her Luke, right?
Jess and Rory may never get back together
Speaking of Jess, everyone’s favourite sensitive bad boy gets short shrift in the revival, as hopes of him rekindling his spark with Rory are put on the backburner for the Logan storyline. He gets about as much on-screen time as the shoehorned Dean cameo and even less than Rory’s New York boyfriend, Paul, who is so interesting that his name and sheer existence is forgotten almost immediately by everyone he meets.
Jess’ only major contribution to the plot comes in the slightly mansplainy part when he tells Rory that she “needs” to write a book about her life with her mother. Team Jess purists are satisfied too little and too late where, in one of the last scenes, he’s seen peering longingly through a window at Rory. A little creepy, yes, but we’ll take it.
That cliffhanger ending
Perhaps the most painful part of the whole underwhelming revival is the annoyingly tantalising ending, which sees Rory informing Lorelai that she’s pregnant. Wasn’t this series supposed to be about closure?