I smell snow.
The Gilmore Girls, which ran from October 2000 to 2006, is on my long list of all time favourite television series. So I was amongst the fanatics at their wits end when I heard the fast talking non-stop eating, cultural reference popping, coffee drinking Gilmore’s were coming back. Would it be great, would it be a flop, would it be everything?
Spoiler Alert: It was everything. God Bless Netflix – the great defenders – the great distributors of Television series and Films that may never have even been produced otherwise. I never actually watched the trailer until I had finished the series (I really hate spoilers) so I got to be surprised by each returning face and laugh for the first time at all the gags.
The series was split into four, roughly hour and a half long episodes which took lace during one of the four seasons. I will try and wrap this review up as tightly as possible because I could probably write a dissertation worthy post on character analysis alone (seriously – someone pay me to do this), and there is just so much to talk about.
Quick Backstory: The shows creators/writers/directors; Amy Sherman-Palladino (ASP) and her husbands Dan Palladino didn’t get to work on the seventh season of the original run due to creative differences with the network. There for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, was what should have been. It’s their revival, their redemption, their swan song.
The first episode was for the audience, it warmed us up for what was to come, giving us a chance to walk down memory lane as faces and characteristics became familiar to us once more. We caught up with what our beloved characters have been up to for the past nine years, and it set the tone for problems that would come later on down the line.
Edward Herrmann the actor who played Richard Gilmore sadly passed away in 2014, his character was a pivotal part of the show and I think they handled his absence from the show in a very organic way.
If nothing else this episode was typical Gilmore Girls. The familiar Emily and Lorelai banter, Paris Geller in all her crazy glory, the tenacity in Rory that got her into both Harvard and Yale. As it felt more episodic you got to just watch the characters live their lives essentially as they have been living it since the end credits of season 7. Rory is having an affair, and she is unforgiving and unremorseful, it’s a part of her everyday, she’s skipped the stages of denial, guilt and false promises to end it. We get to watch and rediscover the person we used to know and decide if we still like them.
As each of the characters realise that they have unintentionally started taking steps towards their new fate, there’s an air of introspection in this episode. Words are said and decisions are made that will effect how they continue from this point on. There’s definitely an air of melancholy, which worked well as it reminded us that not everything is as rosy and technicoloured as we think it should be their little corner of the world.
The more you look for holes the more you’ll find them, yes there were a few minor questions that went unanswered: Who wrote Emily that horrible letter? But ultimately everything fell into place for everyone, all the i’s were dotted and all the t’s were crossed. There was closure in the episode – despite the ending and a certain longing look – and even though you want there to be more, you know that it’s perfect as it is and everything finally happened the way that it was supposed to.
A couple of spit fire notes on the series as a whole:
- Loved seeing some of the cast from Bunheads (2012-2013); a one season eighteen episode show created by Amy Sherman-Palladino that was axed (R.I.P to another cult classic). Granted half of the Gilmore Girls cast also featured in the series, but the point still stands.
- A Year in the Life is in a lot of ways different to the original run, which I think is an added bonus. The way it was shot and some of the techniques they used move the story along was pretty magical. It was like you’d fallen down the rabbit hole: You didn’t know how you were going to get out but you were enjoying the ride.
- My theory on the dreaded Stars Hollow Musical Scene (that you will have undoubtedly have heard mentioned countless times) is that it was a way to just show you how truly nuts the town is… that and it was the only way they could think to incorporate Sutton Foster.
- It can’t be easy being an actor working off of a script written by ASP – or Aaron Sorkin for that matter – You have so much to say and so little breath to say it all in. The cast seemed a little slow when it came to the fast talk, but I’ll let it slide: they’re undoubtedly out of practice and their lungs aren’t what they used to be.
- You weren’t bombarded with everyone who had signed up to reprise their roles. They spaced out over the four episodes, which made their appearances feel a lot more natural.
Those four widely speculated last words that ASP has been talking about for years were finally spoken, and though it could make way for a sequel (for which I have a fantastic idea), it also leaves you with enough margins to create your own future for the characters, which is bittersweet.