Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (Review)

Spoilers. All the spoilers. If you want anything at all about this show to be a surprise, look away now. Also, this is less a review and more of a rambling “I HAVE THINGS TO SAY ABOUT THIS AND NO ONE TO SAY THEM TO” post. I’ll probably do a shorter, less spoiler-y review post soon if you want to read that instead.

It’s here! And I finished it the first weekend! To be honest, that surprises me. The trailers had me really underwhelmed and the beginning of the first episode confirmed that it just wasn’t going to be my thing, so I expected to take a couple of weeks getting through it. But it gets better! Just takes some time to settle into itself, and for me as a viewer to adjust to the new format.

The original Gilmore Girls is one of my favorite shows, maybe one of my favorite pieces of fiction in any medium. I was hooked from the first episode on its first airing, and the fact that it was quickly banned by my mom just reinforced my identification with Lorelai and Lane, who both also have tense relationships with their very stern mothers. It felt like I was seeing my present and future in those two characters, and the mother-child relationship I wanted in Lorelai and Rory. I think I’ve talked about that before. So it wasn’t just a show, it was an important part of processing my feelings about my family and learning to see my parents more sympathetically.

It never stops being strange to me that when I watch as an adult Emily is my favorite character. She’s extremely flawed, don’t get me wrong. But I like her. And every time I watch, I notice more and more things to love about her. She goes in the same category as Rachel from Friends and Cordelia from Buffy – women we’re supposed to dislike but who grow into their own and find their strength as individuals despite all the pretty rich girl programming that has told them their value comes from their family or their looks. I developed this whole back story in my head based on tiny details I noticed on repeat viewings and wasn’t sure if I was totally off base until I watched this revival. So much of Emily’s outward character has been based on her responsibilities as a wife in her part of society, and watching her carve out her own place without Richard is just delightful.

Rory, on the other hand, has been less and less interesting to me on each viewing. She has her moments, but generally I don’t like her much (particularly in the last two seasons). And I didn’t like her much here, either. I can relate to not knowing what to expect from an interview and winding up unprepared, but she does wind up looking pretty entitled in the way she responds to it. And somehow she manages to turn a job offer at a prestigious school into an insult????? Rory, you can teach and write. That’s a thing. Going back for a master’s degree to become a teacher at the headmaster’s request is in no way a failure. Ugh.

But one thing I really don’t get is the way just about every review I’ve read has reacted to her and Logan’s relationship. I just didn’t see it the same way and I want to talk about it. Everyone else seems to have jumped to the conclusion that Logan is cheating on his girlfriend/eventual fiancee with Rory and that the fiancee (Odette) is oblivious to their relationship. Based on what? I even went back and re-watched all the Logan scenes in case I missed something, and I just can’t see that conclusion.

He’s not sneaking around. He carries on a phone conversation with Rory at a normal volume while Odette’s in the room (sleeping, but if he was afraid she’d wake up and discover something he’d probably still leave the room or at least whisper). Sure, he doesn’t flaunt it and prefers to speak in private when Odette’s in the house, but he also hides Odette’s things when Rory comes over and she knows about it. It’s not about secrecy, he even tells Rory in that first scene together that he “wouldn’t do that,” clarifying that he means leaving another woman’s things around rather than that he wouldn’t sleep with someone else. It’s about being with the person he’s with at that time, giving them all of his attention and making them feel totally at home. That’s very much in keeping with the way he’s always been and the way he and Rory got started back in college. Regardless of any viewer’s feelings on polyamory and open relationship, it seems very unlikely to me that Logan would hide this sort of relationship or that Rory would cheat with someone after the whole mess with Dean.

All that said, I want to be clear I don’t necessarily approve of that relationship. Not because of the polyamory. Because of the Logan. Just…ew. Better than Dean, I suppose. But all her boyfriends are so awful and I did not miss him at all. The reveal that she’s talking to him was not at all surprising, just disappointing. I think I actually groaned out loud. All this time, she hasn’t found someone better? It’s still this same whiny guy from college? Okay.

I do quite like the Life and Death Brigade. Their return made me happy. I feel bad about liking them, there’s definitely some conflicting feelings there. That they haven’t grown up at all, that they’re still entitled, self-absorbed, and reckless…bleh. I was annoyed that they apparently broke into Doose’s, even though I know they paid for everything. That just seems so not Rory and I don’t like that she loses who she is when she’s with Logan & Co. But if I can put my conscience away for a few minutes and just get wrapped up in the fun, it really did seem like an amazing night and part of me wants super-rich friends with no concept of real world responsibilities to show up with a costume and a night of escapist fantasy but real when I’m having a tough time. They’re fun and cool and in a perfect world where things like money and privilege aren’t factors and we don’t have to worry about the fact that others have so much less, I would so want to be one of them.

Except for two lines. There’s a transphobic joke in the middle of the club scene that means I’ll probably just skip past that whole section on any future viewings. Likewise, totally unnecessary and out of character fat jokes at the start of the “Summer” episode. Really, writers. Get it together and join us in 2016 please. (The millennial jokes went right over my head, but once I saw them pointed out in other reviews that got on my nerves a bit, too.)

I’ll be honest, I didn’t love it. But I loved parts of it and I didn’t really expect much more than that. So I guess they did well enough. If that ending reveal does lead to a new series or future specials or whatever, I hope they get some new talent with a better understanding of…treating people with basic respect??? I don’t know. It sucks but I love it and I’m a little mad at myself for that right now. πŸ˜€ What I’ll put up with for well-written dialogue and relationships, sheesh.

Did you watch? What did you think? Favorites or least favorites? Do you want more episodes?

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3 thoughts on “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (Review)

    1. A few questions you obviously don’t actually have to answer, but just because I’m curious. πŸ˜€

      Did you watch the series the first time around? Or at all? Do you plan to watch the new episodes at some point?

      I’m kind of wondering if anyone’s tuning in for new episodes who wasn’t already a fan from its original run.

      Liked by 1 person

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