An incomplete list of thoughts on the Gilmore Girls revival
1. Start with
Richard’s death– well, not quite.
First, give us a day in Star’s Hollow, a winter’s festival with Taylor freaking out and Luke grumbling and Miss Patty flirting and Kirk toting around his pig– I loved his pig– and Lane’s band playing in the gazebo. Rory, visiting, just got that article published, and it’s on the back of Luke’s menus. Get all of the nostalgia out of the way, in this whirlwind of things going right.
We need that reunion, certainly, that reminder of how much we love this tiny, crazy town and the people who live there. Send Rory, Luke, and Lorelei home down familiar streets, to the house she and Luke rebuilt together, strung up with Christmas lights Lorelei definitely made Luke hang while she ate leftover Halloween candy and called critique from below.
Everything is good. Lorelei woke up that morning smelling snow. Rory is pulling tater tots out of the freezer– “Didn’t you have enough fried nonsense at Kirk’s fried nonsense booth?” “Fried Oreos, not fried potato shreds.” “NONSENSE.”
And then we get the call from Emily, about Richard.
us joy, reminders, a setting we recall and love– but then give us
If you look at the bones of the four episodes, Richard haunted all of it. He should, but we shouldn’t have to bury down to the bones to realize that. Start with that– frame it. With Richard’s death set up as a catalyst, rather than backstory, Rory’s erratic behavior makes more intuitive sense throughout that year. The ghost of him is in the forefront of our minds. We watch those happy first few minutes shake, and the things that our kids were only pretending were stable start to fall apart.
The funeral– with Luke playing handyman out of discomfort and a desire to help, with Lorelei staying behind to support her mom and instead getting cornered, drunk and grieving, asked to say something simple and positive about a relationship that was complicated at its best– is now our plot starting to roll forward, as Lorelei and Emily have their falling out. Rory goes home and cancels the lease on her apartment, because she’s hardly ever there, right? When was the last time she was in Brooklyn? It just doesn’t make sense, right? Nothing makes sense anymore.
And everything slowly starts to unravel– Michel is thinking about leaving. Rory goes to London to meet with River Song about the book, and falls into bed with Logan. Her job talk keeps getting pushed back, and when it actually happens they ask about her future and present projects and she stumbles over her tongue. Emily’s words ringing in her ears, Lorelei starts looking into having children again, unsure who wants what or why or when.
This is a story about finding out who you are, and I liked that– the three Gilmore girls, who always thought they knew what they were doing, finding themselves adrift in the aftermath of loss and change.
Is Lorelei supposed to be a mother again? Are she and Luke doing this right– is this what love is supposed to look like, nine years in? Is her inn too small, her ambitions too quiet– if she does not reach for more, will she lose everyone she built this with, one by one? What does she want?
What is Emily supposed to with this empty house? With this portrait looming wall-sized over everything? With the things they had built together because they had wanted them together– what is she supposed to do now?
And Rory, the smart one, the pretty one, the last best hope of the Gilmore clan, the pride of Star’s Hollow– every accomplishment is expected, every failure is “out of character.” The world’s been bending itself to Rory’s will all her life– not even her will, exactly. The world loves her– it protects and favors her but it also pushes things onto her and always has. Her grandfather dies, her book deal falls apart, the website turns her down– who is she supposed to be now?
2. I would have loved to see more of that with our minor characters, too– change, and conflict. It’s been nine years, and it should look like that– I thought that was well done with Paris, with Dean, with Michel. But a lot of other people seemed in frozen in time.
2a. Lane’s gone from infants to prepubescents, and the band looks the same. Have her and the band be writing the spring musical for the elementary school and teaching kids how to strum electrical guitar. Have them have dropped their dreams of touring in exchange for making YouTube videos– nothing’s gone viral, but they have a following and they do weekly Q&A’s while their kids frolic in the background. While Rory paces about Logan or her mom or her grandfather, have Lane be freaking out about turning into her mother after one of her kids has a tantrum about not wanting to go to music lessons. Have Lane be involved and present in her own life. You don’t lose doubts and stress just because you have something that looks like a picket fence. You don’t stop moving.
2b. What the hell is up with Logan? What happened in the last nine years to regress him back to that level of adulterous immaturity? I’m sad to say I believe it of Rory. But the Logan who grew through seasons 6 and 7? I don’t, I really don’t. Either explain it or give us a different story.
Even something just as much as– he and Odette decided on an open relationship, because this is obviously a “dynasty” match by Mitchum. Odette’s in love with a Parisian pastry chef, she and Logan are happy partners in crime, and Rory’s sense of self can still grate at being not quite “the other woman” but definitely Logan’s “dirty little secret.”
And the Life and Death Brigade! Like, I can absolutely believe they
stagnated, but I’d have loved some mention dropped that one of them–to
his GREAT SHAME–has fallen in love with accounting and works a nine to
five. In a cubicle. And he doesn’t even hate it.
And maybe one of them’s fallen in love with a Californian sculptor who doesn’t put up with his shit, and he’s absolutely loyal, barely manages to flirt with anyone all night. They have a Great Dane, out in their home in Monterey, and he walks the pup along the foggy coast every morning before he goes home and makes breakfast for his still-asleep girlfriend.
3. Where did the second half of Paris’s arc go? I wanted her to figure out it wasn’t the marriage that was the problem, it was the stairs, and sell the house. I wanted her and Rory to get drinks every season, while Rory stressed about the eighteen article pitches she had in the fire (did she write anything in those twelve months except a book Lorelei asked her not to?), and Paris tore apart Doyle’s latest script with language slightly kinder than what she used to his face.
4. There are plenty of things to keep– keep the relationship Jess and Luke have grown into, where Jess makes Luke take a break and sit down and talk when he can tell something’s wrong, where he rips out Luke’s wireless router as a gesture of love, and steals his ballcap.
4b. Keep Lorelei going out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail because she read a book and she wants an epiphany– keep the fact that she never ends up hiking anywhere, and keep her phone call to Emily behind a closed roadside diner, when she tells her the story about her father that she hadn’t been able to give Emily at the funeral.
4c. Lord, keep Emily’s adopting Berta’s whole family and moving to Nantucket and frightening children with gleeful stories of whale murder. It’s not that her life with Richard, as society wife and DAR leader, wasn’t a full and fulfilling and true one– it’s just that that life was theirs, and he is gone. She needed to find something that would give her joy, and she did.
Keep Luke’s Diner unfranchised, and, yes, absolutely, give Lorelei the
inheritance for the Dragonfly. She has always been the empire builder.
Keep Rory turning down Logan’s key. For all I found the details of the arc with Logan
absurd, I loved the end of it. That conversation, full of affection and
respect– he will be there if she needs him, but she needs not to need
him, and he’s gonna let her go. And her going to her grandfather’s
study, writing at his desk– I think that was right, too. It went full
circle, and I liked that. Rory and Richard’s friendship remains
important to me, in his absence or not.
Though Rory’s relationship with grief was much subtler than Emily’s or Lorelei’s (and maybe should have been less subtle…), her grandfather shaped so much of her. She was running for so much of this story, grasping– leaving boxes here and there. She wouldn’t be who she was without Lorelei, but she also wouldn’t be the same without Richard and Emily.
5. But as much as I lovelove the desk, Rory sitting there with the blue light of her Mac lighting up her face in her grandfather’s inner sanctum– I’m pissed she wrote the book.
I was so damn proud of Lorelei for telling Rory “no.” I wanted Rory to respect that, not to talk about how she needed it. I wanted Lorelei to get the boundaries she asked for. It became, as it often does in this show, first about Rory’s desires– not even her needs, just her wants.
And, more than that– Rory counters Lorelei’s desire for privacy with the argument that this book is the only thing that inspires her right now, the only thing that’s easy. Uh, okay? Why is your ease more important than your mother’s ownership of her own story? I’m a writer, so maybe this pisses me off more than your average viewer– but writing is work. This is not about easy and hard. Writing’s something you pour time and effort into. You write when you’re inspired, when you’re not, when you love the words and when you hate them– you put things down on paper.
And Rory’s not just a writer– she’s someone who’s trying to make a living as a journalist and/or non-fiction author. How on earth is she paying her bills? Did she write a single article that whole year? My god, child– write about lines in NYC. Become a staff member on the website that’s begging for you– and go into your interview with pitches, like a goddamn professional. Did she forget she had to earn things? Rory has this tendency to have things handed to her, and I can never tell if the show knows. Take notes on River Song, the eccentric feminist academic– ask questions instead of doodling. There was a book there, absolutely, but Rory wasn’t putting in the work.
And when Lorelei tells you she doesn’t want her story told, Rory, you listen.
I wanted Rory at that desk, face lit up in the dim light, comfortable in her grandfather’s legacy and love, but I wanted her to be writing something else.
Write about Star’s Hollow, this absurd cast of lovely characters and public shenanigans. There are books and books there– imagine the stories Miss Patty could tell.
about Richard, or go up to Nantucket and ask Emily about her life, her
loves, her successes and failures and triumphs. In high school Rory once
made a piece on asphalt seem fascinating; she can handle pulling
some interest out of decades of backstabbing and intrigue in New
England upper crusts, especially with Emily “I’ll say bullshit all I
like” Gilmore’s help.
Be a goddamn professional, Rory Gilmore. And buy some underwear.