One of the most awaited Netflix releases in America was the revival of “Gilmore Girls” in the Netflix original series “Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life.” A friend described the show to me as the equivalent of 2016, and she was not wrong at all. Things start out worrisome, get worse and worse, and when it’s finally over, you are questioning everything you ever knew and wondering how things can get any worse than this, only for them to get worse immediately after.
The revival, which checks in on all the characters who made the show popular the first go round, is set ten years later, and life is not going great. Lorelai’s inn has lost its chef (and her best friend), leading to a bunch of celebrity chefs coming in to work the kitchen briefly before Lorelai fires them. Rory is bouncing around from freelance gig to freelance gig. Such is the life of a Yale-educated journalist, apparently.
Added to the mix is a greater emphasis on the rich and often snooty Emily Gilmore, Lorelai’s mother and Rory’s grandmother. Emily is hard on Lorelai because of the latter’s life choices, but now she is struggling to cope with the death of her husband, Richard Gilmore (Mr. Gilmore was portrayed in the original series by the late Edward Herrmann, whose presence in the new series is dearly missed).
“A Year In The Life” seems to be centered around the lack of moral judgment a millennial can exhibit. She feels no moral dilemma with frequently crashing at other people’s houses since she has no home of her own (Emily refers to it as Rory’s “vagabond existence”). She is sleeping with a man who is engaged to someone else (in the original series, she lost her virginity to Dean, who at the time was married to someone else). She got drunk and slept with someone dressed as a Wookiee (it is unconfirmed as of this writing whether or not the costume remained on while they had sex).
Oh, and while all this sex is going on, she has a boyfriend she is constantly forgetting about. To the point where it is a running joke (though a disturbing one at that). Paul, that poor boyfriend, eventually breaks up with Rory because they can never seem to sync up their schedules.
And all of this emotional chaos leads us to the Four Words. The very Four Words the show was supposed to end with 10 years ago. No one knew what those words were, except for the show’s creator.
That’s how the show ends. Those are the four words that everyone was dying to hear. We end the show exactly as it started: with a child out of wedlock.
That’s not an indictment of the concept of having a child out of wedlock, mind you. It happens all too often now. But Rory’s actions in the last episode, in retrospect, are all about her deciding to become her mother in that sense, which is sort of a sweet, if not weird, way to honor a mother. However, as with anyone in the current generation who goes through the same experiences Rory has, she does not appear to be weighing the full effect this will have on her lifestyle.
She deliberately chose not to tell the child’s father (the aforementioned Huntzberger, presumably), though she did sleep with him one final time following the best scene in the series (the return of the college organization, The Life and Death Brigade). She also visited her father, Christopher, to ask him how he felt about being left out of the child-rearing process. She knows exactly what she is doing and she can clearly tell how much it hurt her father that he didn’t to help raise her. But she is still dead set on doing it this way.
This is what makes Rory, the sweet and formerly innocent child who was one of the most clever in her class, such an awful person. Her judgment every step of the way has been incredibly bad. Her boyfriends – the whiny, emotional, overprotective first one, the punk second one, and the rich and carefree third one – were in no way good boyfriend material for her.
Moreover, she herself was a terrible girlfriend. She made out with the second one while still dating the first, slept with the first after he was married to someone else, and briefly broke up with the third only for him to sleep with all of his sister’s friends. During this series, she regularly slept with him, despite the fact that he was engaged to someone else and she had a boyfriend of two years that she kept forgetting even existed.
Rory’s personal and social breakdown appears to be the central theme of the story, and even at the point of the plot where a character is supposed to turn around and everything be awesome again, it ends with her, at 32, announced to her mother that she was single, unwed, and pregnant.
The other major problem with the series is that the four episodes were too long. Each episode, which was named after and represented by a season of the year, was around 90 minutes long, and they were simply too long. Several of the scenes were filled with fanservice and provided little more than a plot point that could have been squeezed in elsewhere. The scene with Dean, the first boyfriend Rory ever had, was understandably awkward, but stretched for no other reason (seemingly) than to give him enough screen time to be worth having him back.
The best scene, as previously mentioned, is the return of the Life and Death Brigade, featuring the best characters from Rory’s college years, Finn and Colin (also Robert, but he is not as great as the other two). Rory’s tragic break-up with Logan at the end also means breaking up with these three, who genuinely like her despite their (admittedly hilarious) chauvanistic behavior toward all other women (at one point, Colin asks Robert why a waitress is sitting down, to which Robert replies that she is not a waitress, but his new fiancee, who’s name he does not know).
There are several great scenes that relive the nostalgia in effective ways. But the series as a whole is a reminder to the viewers that there isn’t always a picture-perfect ending, but it presents this great lesson in a ham-fisted and unsatisfying way.
If you liked the original series, go watch it to relive some old memories. It’s not something you can really watch without seeing the older series.