Where the Gilmore girls lead, we will follow.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life; Winter reunited us with three generations of Gilmore women, each at their own crossroads in life, and each struggling with the gaping hole that has been left in their family with the passing of Richard Gilmore.
Did it meet our expectations? Did we love Paul? Who could we have used more time with?
Below, TV Fanatics Amanda Steinmetz, Allison Nichols and Ashley Bissette-Sumerel are joined by Elizabeth from the Gilmore Girls podcast Under the Floorboards and Tamar from The Shipping Room Podcast to discuss some of the the revival's best and worst moments!
We haven't seen Rory and Lorelai in nine years. Was A Year in the Life worth the wait? Did it meet your expectations?
Amanda: I think it was definitely worth the wait. I loved going back to Stars Hollow, a town mostly stuck in time as it were. Not just in the reality of the show, but in our nostalgic memories. The feelings I got while watching were warm and fuzzy, but nostalgia can play tricks on you. How you felt watching something a decade ago is not how you experience watching it in the present. Our life experiences and personality changes over time.
That's not to say I didn't love watching this revival. I enjoyed being reunited with these characters to see where life as taken them, even if those places aren't where we expected them to be.
Allison: I don't know if it was worth the wait because who likes waiting?! I really enjoyed being back in Stars Hollow and catching up with old friends. It was comforting to sit and stroll back through Stars Hollow. I always watch Gilmore Girls whenever I need a pick me up. Of course, there were some disappointing storylines along the way, but there's also so many delightful storylines, such as Kirk and Petal!
Ashley: It exceeded them. I think they really went for it, even in the smallest of details, and I appreciated that. I'm really happy with how it turned out, and generally was just really excited to have the experience of watching new episodes.
Elizabeth: Absolutely. For me, personally, it was perfection from start to end. I know people will disagree... but Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall gave me everything I was hoping for in a revival of the show that gave my daughter her name.
Tamar: I only watched the original series for the first time last year. So, for me, it wasn't much of a wait. I also didn't have the same kind of expectations because these characters and this universe haven't been such a big part of my life the way they were for so many people. That said, I was excited to see the new episodes and I think they did a good job of recreating the world of Stars Hollow.
Were you happy with the explanation of Sookie's absence?
Amanda: Yeah, I didn't really have a problem with it. Sookie was always a kooky character, so her being gone to work up in farm land was not a stretch. Sookie's presence was definitely missed, but the one scene we got with her made me smile.
Allison: The explanation made sense. I wasn't really a fan of the celebrity chefs popping in, but I guess this was done to showcase how huge the Dragonfly Inn and Sookie have become. Of course, nothing was better than when Sookie was back in the kitchen baking multiple wedding cakes for Lorelai. That scene was one of the highlights for me. Lorelai and Sookie back together again, and it felt like no time have passed.
Ashley: I think it made sense for her character too, though what I was really hoping was that she'd become a chef on the Food Network!
Elizabeth: The only better option would've been to have four episodes chock full o' our beloved Sookie. If we couldn't have that, I am satisfied with this explanation (especially Michel saying that only reason she left was so she could get away with never shaving her legs again).
However, now I'm wondering about that giant Union Jack we saw all over social media hanging from the St.James-Belleville residence as we were starting to get some behind-the-scenes shots this summer. I just assumed the explanation would be that she was in England doing something chef-y (can you tell I don't cook?)
Tamar: I guess I'm in the minority in being extremely disappointed with the explanation for Sookie's absence. The Dragonfly was a dream that Sookie and Lorelai had together. The idea that Sookie would just pick up and leave Lorelai after everything they'd be through to get the inn on its feet was very upsetting to me. If she had been doing something like Ashley suggested, something huge that moved her career forward that Lorelai could have supported, it would've been different.
Give it to me straight: what were your thoughts on the Paul story?
Amanda: I know a lot of people are upset with Rory for stringing this poor guy along. I'm not disagreeing. However, I don't think this changes who she is at her core. She's not a monster or vicious. She's just not making the right decisions.
Also, I'd like to point out that Rory hasn't made the most moral of decisions in her relationships. She kissed Jess when she was still together with Dean. She helped Dean cheat on his wife. She kissed Jess while she was still with Logan. So her sleeping with Logan while still together with Paul while Logan had a fiancée didn't surprise me.
I think Paul is an early indication that Rory is lost in life at this point. It's not like her to date someone that forgettable. The running gag of no one remembering him and Rory reminding herself to break up with him did get old fast. However, I'm glad that Paul was the one to finally break up with her.
Allison: Paul was amusing for the initial dinner he crashed, and then also when Emily forgot she met him. I think after those scenes, Rory should have cut the cord. It didn't make sense to me that she kept forgetting to break up with him. I'm assuming he texts her all the time, so she had to get daily reminders.
I agree with Amanda's statement about how this isn't out of character for Rory, but I do wish that Rory would have ended things with Paul in Winter. It wouldn't have really affected the rest of her arc, and it's not like Logan would have dumped Odette just because Rory broke up with Paul. Everything else would remained the same, but Paul would have caught a break.
Paul's storyline made Rory look terrible, and I mean more terrible than having an affair with Logan made her look. It's not like Rory to completely forget the guy that she's been with for 2 years.
Ashley: Meh. It was funny how everyone forget him, and I agree with Amanda that her stringing him along doesn't mean she's some monster and that it's not really out of character. I do wish she would have let him go sooner, but to me it was just supposed to be a running joke.
Elizabeth: I thought the Paul storyline was cute and silly. I thought Paul was perfectly adorkable and I just want to put him in my pocket.
Tamar: I really really disliked this gag, to the point where it kind of ruined the revival for me. I didn't think it was funny, even in the beginning. Perhaps if they'd never introduced Paul at all it could've been amusing, but he was there - an actual human being - and every character we're supposed to care about treated him like absolute garbage.
He clearly had spent significant time with Luke and Lorelai based on what he knew about them. They specifically added in all those details and then made everyone look like absolute monsters in the way they didn't remember him. It seemed like their inability to remember him was supposed to somehow excuse Rory's treatment of him, but it didn't, it just highlighted a terrible commonality among all the show's main characters.
Because of Edward Herrmann's death, Emily's story was very emotional without Richard. Did you like the direction Emily took, and where she ended up?
Amanda: I loved everything about Emily's story line. We all knew Richard's death would weigh heavily on Emily. For the majority of her life, she was Richard's wife. She needed to figure out who she was without him.
The scene between Emily and Lorelai during "Winter" was brutal, but I knew Richard's death would bring up all the bad history between Lorelai and her parents. Where Lorelai and Emily found themselves in 'Fall" made me very happy. Lorelai's monologue about the best day she had with her father was beautiful, and it's exactly what Emily needed to hear.
Emily's outburst at the DAR was perfection and long overdue. I never though I would hear her curse like that! She's not the same person anymore, and I'm happy she's rediscovering who she at this late stage in her life. Also, I'm thrilled she finally found a maid she actually liked! Kelly Bishop has been a marvel playing Emily Gilmore!
Allison: Emily had the best arc, hands down. I loved that her maid's family adopted her, essentially, and healed her. I still can't get over the fact that she is working in a whaling museum terrifying tiny children. It's something I never expected and that's what made it wonderful.
Ashley: Yes! I love that she took charge of her life and found joy in something new, and I loved her outburst at the DAR. That was definitely one of my favorite moments.
Elizabeth: I loved Emily's storyline in AYITL. I think we got to see a side of Emily Gilmore that we rarely get to see but that is usually sitting there, right under the surface. Emily Gilmore yelling the words "bullshit", "vagina house" and "pricks" in polite, civilized company gave me life! She spent 50 years being Mrs. Richard Gilmore. Now she has an opportunity to discover who Emily Gilmore is. And I think she's going to grab on to that opportunity and cherish it.
Tamar: Hands down Emily's arc was the best part of A Year in the Life. We all knew a big part of Emily's journey was going to be figuring out her identity now that she could no longer default to being Mrs. Richard Gilmore. I appreciated that her growth was about much more than finding another partner, though they didn't shy away from the idea that Emily might enjoy another man's companionship.
Moving to Nantucket and creating her own life was a beautiful choice and I couldn't have loved her idea to volunteer at the Whaling Museum any more. Her monologue to the museum visitors, relishing in the gory details of whaling, was perfection. (And I fully agree with all who said that the DAR outburst was great - so glad the revival was on Netflix and allowed for some more colorful language!)
Who do you wish we'd spent more time with in this revival? Is there anyone you wish they'd spent less time on?
Amanda: I wish we got to spend a little more time with Lane and Zach. They are exactly where I thought they would be, but I still wish they got more screen time. I enjoy Kirk's quirkiness, but we spent way too much time with him. We also really didn't need to spend so much time on the musical scenes in "Summer"!
Allison: I agree that we did not need to spend as much time on the musical. I would have loved to see more of Jess and Luke. They are probably my favorite relationship.
Ashley: I definitely would have loved to see more of Jess and of Lane. I agree we spent too much time with Kirk and on the musical, though I know the musical was also supposed to be a special thing since it was Sutton Foster from Bunheads. But serious question -- why wasn't Ms. Patty involved in the musical?
Elizabeth: I wish we had seen a lot more of the townies. Jackson, Miss Patty, Mrs. Kim, Hep Alien. The Stars Hollow residents are the characters whom most own my heart! As for who I wish we had seen less of... how about I answer who I wish we had seen NONE of? I'm still angry that they showed Mr. Kim. I loved the idea that Mr. Kim was just an idea and in 16 years, we didn't have a face. It kind of reminded me of The Muppet Babies and how you only saw Nanny's legs.
A friend of mine made a good point... it would've been funny if Rory and Lane had waved to Mr. Kim and the camera panned to a shot of a large group of middle-aged Korean men and they all waved back so the mystery was still there. I'm sad that Mr. Kim has been stripped of his mystique.
Tamar: Major agreement on Jess and Lane needing more time and on the musical needing less. Sutton Foster is great, but they had 360 minutes to catch up with all of our favorite residents of Stars Hollow and they used way too many of them for something completely unnecessary. One musical number would have been plenty.
I have never been a "Team Jess" person, so to speak, but I would've liked more scenes with Rory and Jess together. Particularly after she wrote the first three chapters of her book. I found her quick giggling run out onto the porch to tell him to be very bizarre. I would've preferred a real scene where she showed it to him and thanked him for pushing her in that direction.
Plus, what has he been up to for the last 10 years? And Lane! Lane's story was my biggest let down from the original series. So I'd really hoped there'd be some good stuff for her in the revival as sort of redemption. But there really wasn't and that is very disappointing.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is streaming now on Netflix.