Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life ★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

I want to start off by saying that I never actually finished the OG run of this series. I made it to half way S5 before I just decided to read/watch recaps. Not that it should matter. But I don't need people calling me fake for my review.

A Year in the Life is a bit of a jumbled mess from a story telling, character development, and direction front. What should have felt like a beloved return to the world of Stars Hollow, feels more like a slight glance.

Gilmore Girls was always a show about it's ensemble and about the townsfolk. A Year in the Life focuses primarily on Lorelai, Rory, and Emily Gilmore, which provides a nice dynamic between three generations of women. And with the loss of the late great Bernard Hermann, it gives it a lot of effective emotional weight to deal with. Those scenes happen to be the best of the series and Kelly Bishop deserves every Emmy and Golden Globe nomination they can throw at her.

The major problem I have with this revival is that it all feels very... slight. Beloved characters sort of just... float by. Lane in particular, who had such a defining prescence within the OG series is relegated to background extra half the time. Michel is here and there. Jess shows up to give Rory advice that feels so forced that the genuine happiness of seeing these two together again gets kind of... ruined. And his "through the window" moment with Rory is sweet and caring but undoubtably feels like it's pandering to fans of that ship.

And Dean shows up. For a minute. But for some reason Logan gets a lot more screentime than anticipated? And it's with Logan in particular that I started to notice something about this revival: Gilmore Girls is kind of outdated. There's a lot of mean spirited body shaming, mild transphobia, and petty racism with a Spanish Maid that may not be Spanish cause no one knows if she's speaking Spanish even though she clearly seems to be...? It all seems white feminist-y. Not the biggest surprise considering one of the characters says "I'm doing Wild."

Yes, Amy knows how to make the show work in the current decade, and not every reference/name drop feels cringey, but do we really care about these people still flailing about in their life? Rory still has issues with men, and while it was fun watching her go through this process in high school/college, it becomes almost grating now that she's in her 30s. Having a boyfriend she needs to break up with yet fucking with Logan who is engaged is like... didn't we give you enough shit over the Dean thing, have you not learned?

Admittedly, this is chalked up to the writing. While Amy manages to keep this light and airy, it's Daniel's writing and direction I take major issue with. He's terrible and damn near sinks the entire revival with his ruining of character traits (Rory just not being able to sell herself to a website really seems OOC, Lorelai getting into fights with people because of her pride after all these years is so fucking passe) and just the musical number... Summer is without a doubt the worst episode of 2016. Nothing is earned, everything feels forced from the jokes to the commentary on youth culture. Never let him touch this series ever again. At least Emily has some positive growth as a character and I was really touched to see her arc through this season.

But to circle back to the other characters, it becomes almost glaringly apparent how /white/ this show is. As I said, when your two PoC main characters get tossed to the background, it feels almost unfair. At least Michel has something resembling an arc, Lane is literally just doing nothing. Mrs. Kim appears for a moment being Mrs. Kim. And Lane has a Dad? That we never know about? Until he shows up??? For a second??? Where's that story arc?

Still. I gushed seeing Paris (my favorite power lesbian even though she has kids, with Doyle, the fuck is up with that!?), I did cry when Luke gave his speech to Lorelai in the last episode (who btw, is another MVP of this series who deserves some award praise), and Rory and Lorelai still make me happy. It may not be the most perfect thing to exist, but it is good.

I wrote a lot. Undoubtedly someone's going to think I'm being way too critical on the show. But it's important to be critical of things you enjoy. So then you can have a dialogue about it. Why anyone would choose to ignore being critical of something in favor of blindly enjoying something is completely beyond me.

But it exists. For some reason.

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