Background: I love GG and all its many flaws (including that the “g” in girls is lowercase in the title sequence). I watched the original run live (with my mom and sometimes my relcutantly invested dad). My brother watched the series once it hit Netflix and I have rewatched most episodes as a result for Freeform (previously ABC Family), the magnificently ridiculous UP network (that sensors the already prude show, bleeping words like “ass,” “damn,” “hell” and others of the like), and the beautiful power of Netflix. I watched the revival in one sitting with my mom & dad the Friday after Thanksgiving. I had a lot of thoughts, but these were the 5 I wanted to discuss the most.
1. Liza Weil needs to do more comedy
There is no one in the Gilmore Girls universe with more perfect comedic timing than Liza Weil. This was as much true 10 years ago as it is now. Before “Fall,” the best scene of any ‘season’ was with Paris & Rory in the bathroom of Chilton after Paris freaks out over seeing Tristan (related: Chad Michael Murray is essentially doing nothing with his life and should’ve made himself available for this cameo). Francie walking in and killing it with “Sorry, did I accidentally step into 2003” was one of the more perfect lines of the revival. But it’s not even about the individual lines themselves with Liza Weil; it’s the delivery and physical performance that combine to create comedic perfection.
She’s giving an anxiety-ridden rant about seeing a boy she had a crush on 10 years ago, and delivers it at 100mph while also pacing at 20mph in 5 inch black stilettos and even pausing to shove the bathroom door closed with one of those heels. It’s not just funny, it’s impressive. And when that scene ended, I turned to my mom and said “I love Paris so fucking much.” She replied with “I love Liza Weil so fucking much.” Paris is nothing without Liza’s performance and I feel like the world outside of Gilmore Girls has been deprived of her genius. She’s wonderful in Shondaland, but Liza Weil’s true gift is comedy and she should be allowed to show it off a bit more (and this includes the fact that Liza Weil was somehow absent in “Fall.” WHY ASP?? WHY???).
Only Liza Weil could deliver this line and invoke utter fear, sheer admiration, and pure laughter simultaneously in the audience: “It’s kill or be killed. I’m not talking about The Art of War. No, that’s tiptoe through the tulips compared to what you’ll find beyond these walls. Betrayal, deception… and that’s just in the bedroom!”
2. Amy Sherman-Palladino hates millennials
“I’m just a big, fat, Wookie-humping loser with no future” says Rory after her first ever one-night stand. Yes, Rory has always been truly terrible and might be the least interesting character on the show, but there’s always been somewhat of a positive glow, a halo if you will, that follows Rory. That halo was so far gone in “A Year in the Life.” And it wasn’t just with Rory… the 30-Something Club that loves Paul Thomas Anderson and lives with their parents. It seemed like it could just be a trope, but in discussing it further with my very wise brother, he finally asserted that “Amy Sherman-Palladino hates millennials.” And it hit me – he’s right!
The three cell phones, the interview outfits, the feeling that you’re better than so many jobs, but also not qualified for any of them, the desire to prove your intelligence – all made fun of and portrayed with such disdain it’s a wonder Petal the pig wasn’t given a millennial trough to eat out of. It’s even more fascinating when you realize that some of the actual millennials in the show (i.e. Jess and Paris) don’t get that same treatment. Instead, they are portrayed as somehow above millennials, more mature, more established. They’re even provided fodder to use to prove that distinction and ensure their superiority. Paris, in firing her assistant at the fertility clinic, says “Don’t stand there shaking. Just go. Apologize to your parents, and tell them you’ll pay them back for the two semesters you spent studying Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s effect on the feminist agenda.” My college roommate texted me at that line – “HOLY SHIT. YOU DID THAT (although only for one semester).” While that line felt a little too personal, it also made me look at Paris as someone much older than 32, which I very much think was ASP’s intent. Paris is not a millennial – she’s far too intelligent and ambitious to be something so terrible.
3. Lane was ruined by season 7
In the realm of terrible things that happened in season 7 (Jackson lying about a vasectomy, everything with Christopher, the terrible Marty/Krysten Ritter/Rory love triangle, etc.), the worst of them all was Lane’s storyline. I understand Keiko Agena was pregnant in real life, but Lane was destined for more. To settle for Zack (no one will ever be better than Dave), to stay in Star Hollow, to let Zack continue the music while staying back to take care of the kiddos, it was all so un-Lane and felt so disappointing. Maybe that’s just life, but Lane deserved more.
She does not fare much better in “A Year in the Life.” She’s essentially a stay-at-home mom who still plays music every once a while with Hep Alien, while her husband goes off to work in his terrible suit with his terrible beard. Keiko Agena was present in all four seasons and was clearly available for a much more robust story. Instead we got… nothing. It was super disappointing and such a let down from the Lane we all knew and loved early on. At least let her take over running the music store from Carole King in the next revival…
4. The wedding was all wrong
Don’t get me wrong. Kirk did an EXCELLENT job going glue gun and glitter crazy. The scenery was beautiful, the lights were magnificent and tears found themselves streaming down my cheeks. I even got behind the extended dream sequence aspect (related: I was a fan of all of the extended dream sequences throughout the revival, including Rory + Life & Death Brigade). I had 2 big issues, though: the attendees and a very critical missing element. If Luke and Lorelai were going to wake Rory up from her beautiful pregnant sleep, after all the hullaballoo with MIT-grad, German-lit reading April, she sure as hell would’ve been there. No way only ONE daughter gets to attend. Additionally, why were Lane & Michel there? I understand that Melissa McCarthy’s schedule limited her to only one scene (a great one), but it felt very wrong that after a “still best friends” convo, Sookie would be MIA at the wedding of her bestie. And in her stead was Michel? I love Michel, but he did NOT belong at the wedding. Michel doesn’t smile at other people’s happiness, so seeing him stare so lovingly at Luke & Lorelai felt out of place and out of character.
Finally, the missing element. WHERE. WAS. THE. CHUPPAH??? Recall in season 2, Luke gives Lorelai an early wedding present before she is set to marry hot teacher Max Medina (sorely missing from the revival was Scott Cohen). That gift is a chuppah, which he made himself, complete with carvings of birds, flowers, and even a goat! They sit under the chuppah and discuss what it means to find that “one person” who is willing to put up with all your crap and won’t make you eat French food. The scene ends with them standing bride & groom-like under the chuppah staring ahead. Lorelai subsequently bails on her wedding to Max and we fans had to wait 40+ more episodes before we even got to see the epic first kiss, but that chuppah remained steadfast. In its presence in Lorelai’s yard and as a constant reminder that someday we would get to see those two crazy kids get married. And when it FINALLY happens, we don’t get the chuppah. Not even a subtle mention or nod to the chuppah. Call me picky, but this fan was sorely disappointed.
5. I maybe kinda liked the last 4 words…?
To be fair, I would’ve HATED them had they been said when Rory was 22. 10 years later and with the events of “A Year in the Life,” I felt they were actually kind of perfect. The ambiguity surrounding the “father” – is it Logan? The Wookie? Is she acting as one of Paris’s surrogates? – all made the bombshell more thought-provoking than had they just been blurted out upon her graduation. I liked the notion that Rory makes this announcement upon the so-called “conclusion” of Lorelai’s story (and Emily’s) without ruining them or eliminating their relevance. A pregnancy for Rory would have a vast impact on both Emily & Lorelai, but her announcement did not throw a wrench in the Luke/Lorelai saga or Emily’s new found joy in Nantucket. Instead, her pregnancy would add an additional layer of complexity to those stories and hell if I don’t want to know what Lorelai would be like as a grandma. It’s important because if there’s one thing Gilmore Girls has always been about, it’s the Gilmore girls (even if I just want it to be about Paris), and so any dramatic bomb would have to impact them all without ruining them all.
Additionally, the last four words were not vague or abstract or overly sentimental, as I was nervous they would be. They didn’t ruin the allure or allusion of Stars Hollow (as Jimmy Fallon predicted a Dynasty-esque ending). They allowed the entire story to continue in our minds, with a choose-your-own-adventure quality that I am so excited to explore among my family and friends who so love this show. For ASP to allow her story to continue this open-endedly is a gift and I am very thankful.
BONUS: Favorite Cameo
The Parenthood alumni roll-call was fantastic. Mae Whitman, Peter Krause, and Jason Ritter(!!!) gave me all the feels. I loved seeing Michael Ausiello, esteemed GG fan & TV critic, as nothing but a salad eater on a stoop somehow making people believe he’s in line for something or other. Sutton Foster & Christian Borle on stage together gave me so much joy. Carole King singing her own #1 hit “I Feel the Earth Move” to Taylor’s sub-par review that it wasn’t “poppy enough” was adorable and very satisfying. Even Rose Abdoo as both Gypsy AND Emily’s new longstanding housekeeper Marta was beautiful TV magic. But the best, Best, BEST cameo went to the Stars Hollow Troubadour’s long lost sister. Back to reunite with her brother and gently strum & sing the soundtrack of the Stars Hollow streets was Louise Goffen, the ACTUAL singer of the most famous of Stars Hollow melodies, the theme song (or at least ½ of the theme song singing duo, alongside her aforementioned mother Carole King). It was a fantastic moment as both a fan of Gilmore Girls and a fan of Carole King. I only wish they got a scene together…