Haven’t done that in a while. –Rory Gilmore
While I may or may not have seen all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls a little over 5 times already (don’t judge), I realized I’d only seen Netflix’s 2016 revival “A Year in the Life” twice prior to this viewing. So, naturally, I had to fix that.
Originally, I had lots of thoughts and feelings about AYITL. I thought it was messy and uncoordinated, lacking in charm and wit. Those feelings changed as I let the four-episode (each an hour and a half long) special sink in a little more. AYITL is messy, yes. But it is charming. It is witty. It’s sort of poetic. It’s beautiful.
Taking place nine years after the series finale, Winter starts off with a very solid Stars Hollow tour as we catch up with what’s been happening in the Gilmore world. The Good: Lorelai and Luke are still together, unmarried (don’t get me started) but otherwise doing well. The Bad: Rory is lost, having never really “made it” in journalism besides publishing one New Yorker piece (which Luke is super proud of), and stringing along a boyfriend of 2 years while…get ready for The Really Bad, still hooking up with a very hot and very-much-engaged Logan. The Good: Paris. ‘Nuff said.
More on the “good” part is the tour that Lorelai gives Rory in the beginning. It’s every writer’s dream to be able to pull the audience back into their fictional world with a literal tour of what’s been going on. In this case, given how Stars Hollow has always been wacky and unconventional, Amy Sherman-Palladino actually pulls this off quite brillaintly.
Kirk is…significantly more attractive now (but that’s just me). And he’s still with Lulu! Love wins. Plus: Ooober.
Lauren Graham’s delivery of the line “I smell snow” never fails to give me goosebumps. How Graham didn’t win a single Emmy for her beyond perfect portrayal of Lorelai throughout the show’s entire run is, quite frankly, illegal.
The troubadour is still here! (But not for long?)
Who else remember the Rabbi at the Gilmore house?
“All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth…and Sewers for Stars Hollow!”
So, let’s talk about Michel. In this episode, it is revealed that he is married to a Frederick (who sadly remains off-screen). People have debated Michel’s sexuality throughout the show’s entire run, but I was a bit disappointed that ASP couldn’t bring it up at all until the revival. I would have loved to see Michel dating men, breaking up with men for stupid reasons, and even falling in love with men. We were robbed.
Kirk yelling “you have arrived!” after Lorelai walks out of his Ooober admittedly brought a chuckle out of me.
Let’s talk about how utterly devastating and gut-wrenching the image of Lorelai, Rory and Emily in black dresses sitting in the back of a limo is. The entire funeral sequence, as Tom Waits’ Time plays in the background, brings me to tears every time.
I hated Digger (Jason Styles) in the OG. It is admittedly kind of cute seeing him catching up with Lorelai at the funeral. And what ever happened to him suing Richard? Remember how that storyline got dropped?
There are lots of thoughts about Lorelai getting drunk and telling an embarrassing story about Richard abandoning her. I thought it was quite on-par with the character. She is resentful and she’s got years of built-up and unresolved anger towards her father, of course it’s all going to come out in the most devastating way possible.
Miss Patty is still teaching dance. Cool.
Best Scene of the Episode: Lorelai and Emily lashing it out in the kitchen. Their fights are a true Gilmore tradition, but to see Emily striking a cord with her daughter by bringing up the casualness of her and Luke’s relationship…my goodness, it is perfect. Seriously, how are Lauren Graham and Kelly Bishop not carrying around an Emmy for their performances here?
Oh Paris, how much I missed you and your unfiltered humor.
Caesar makes an appearance! Is it sad or wholesome that he still works at Luke’s?
I never cared for Hep Alein, or Zack and Gil, but I always loved Brian. I guess it’s kind of cute that they’re all still practicing together.
Lane deserved better than Zack, don’t @ me.
Emily having a “body-shipping cash” envelope in her safe is frankly the most Emily thing I have ever heard.
The cliffhanger, with Lorelai unknowingly signing up for therapy with her mother, is inspired. Perfect way to keep us invested, seeing as how the Lorelai/Emily dynamic was always the show’s biggest obstacle. Well done, ASP.
YEAH, THAT DIDN’T WORK
Everything is in HD now. I don’t know why I’m complaining about this, but it feels very un-Gilmore Girls and it deserves to be in this section of this “review”.
More on the “this doesn’t feel right“: Lorelai saying she just hit her steps. Stop, Lorelai. This isn’t 2016 yet. You still don’t have a smartphone or a Fitbit or anything like that. I refuse to accept anything else.
OK, so the opening scene at the gazebo is a major WTF-is-going-on moment. I love Alexis Bledel (she rocks in The Handmaid’s Tale), but good lord she is awkward AF in this scene. It’s unnatural and I hate it.
Even the “La La La”s are significantly different here than they ever were in the original show’s 7-year run. There’s more of a violin-esque to them. Not a huge fan.
No Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) = sad Chris.
Berta (played by Rose Abdoo, who also plays Stars Hollow’s Gipsy) is a strange addition to the show. I know ASP loves theatre, and that’s why she did this, but it almost feels unnecessary.
Again with the Logan twist…nope. Nope. Nope.
The fact that we never hear Carole King’s Where You Lead (until the VERY end of the last episode “Fall”) is 100% illegal. Who in their right mind thought it would be a good idea to keep the theme song away from the revival? Are they fired now?
LORELAI: You’ve been stuffed in a tin can for seven hours surrounded by people with consumption, diphtheria, scabies, hummus dip, rabid dogs, drugged up children attacking your chair, stealing your change.
RORY: What airline are you flying?
LORELAI: Al’s Pancake World won best Christmas decorations again.
RORY: It’s that nativity scene with eggplant Jesus. You can’t beat it.
LORELAI: There’s a debate about taking the phone booth out.
RORY: Where would Superman change when he comes to save our town from Ben Affleck?
LORELAI: He’s like a superhero, but his power is that you can’t remember him no matter how much time you spend with him. Kind of like every Marvel movie ever.
RORY: You sure I didn’t wake you up?
LORELAI: Not unless you were dressed like a urinal cake. You hungry?
RORY: Because you said “cake”?
RORY: Some people might say drinking coffee in the middle of the night could hinder your sleep.
LORELAI: People are dumb.
PAUL: I’m not a breakfast person.
LORELAI: As in, you already had breakfast?
LORELAI: (turns to Rory) Did you know about this?
EMILY: Go home! Go back to your beloved town with its carnies and misfits. Tell them how your intolerable mother yelled at you at your father’s funeral. They can all console you and tell you what a witch I am and how perfect you are!
LORELAI: What could possibly elicit that kind of smile in this house?
LORELAI: You don’t wanna toss a ball around with your son?
LUKE: There’s Jess.
LORELAI: I said toss a ball “with” not “at.”
PARIS: Don’t stand there shaking. Just go. Apologize to your parents. Tell them you’ll pay them back for the semesters you studied Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s effect on the feminist agenda.
EMILY: I was starting to feel claustrophobic. I’d wake up in the night feeling like the house is closing in on me. Like I couldn’t breathe, you know?
LORELAI: Oh, yes, I know.