Monday, April 15, 2024

Wrapping Up for the Gilmore Girls Revival

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After painstakingly wafting through anything and everything Gilmore Girls had to offer in all of its 7 seasons/154 episodes (and in a span of under 5 months, I might add), the revival is now almost upon us. On November 25th, 4 new 90-minute episodes will go up on Netflix, giving us the conclusion the series deserved to make up for the dumpster fire of disappointment it actually got.

So this is probably the perfect time to sort through everything we know about the revival already, don’t you think so?

A framing device – IN THE TITLE!

For the lowest hanging fruit: The revival’s official name is “Gilmore Girls – A Year in the Life”. The four episodes correspond to the four seasons, starting with winter and ending with fall. We will, literally, follow a year in the life of Rory and Lorelai, a timely 8 years after the conclusion, so basically we’re watching Gilmore Girls in the year 2015/2016. Because if there’s one thing the show was mostly consistent about, it’s that all seasons were happening in real time, more or less. We have official birth years for Lorelai and Rory, for fuck’s sake (1968 for Lorelai, and Rory’s exact birth date is October 8th, 1984).

The seasons imagery has been milked for the promotional pictures, as well it should be, because it’s pretty.

Why do they have the exact same expression in almost all of these, though?

Upon release, these images of course put half the fan base into a state of panic. Frantically they were all looking for the one most important thing – a ring on Lorelai’s finger! Because how could she and Luke have stayed together all these years after the season finale without putting a ring on it?! Oh noes, they’re hiding her left hand from us, WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!

I may not have an answer to that, but fear not!

The official trailers

Since then, we have received two official trailers, the first of which has been out for a while now.

This confirms that Lorelai and Luke are still together, ring or no ring, and there was much rejoicing. Well, until Lorelai is apparently talking to a therapist (you go, Lorelai, 4 for you, Lorelai. Just not the one from the season 6 finale, please) and saying “Luke and I are happy…”

…So you can’t even wait until after the trailer to remind us all that TV couples can never be happy because that’s boring? Dammit.

They look happy and interesting enough to me, okay?
They look happy and interesting enough to me, okay?

But let it be said that Luke is a constant presence throughout this trailer and the other one; he’s refusing to cook for Rory and Lorelai, driving the car they stand on… We even have footage of him at a Friday Night Dinner™!

Rory seems to be having trouble finding an actual job as a journalist, given that the print market is dying, and as such is “rootless” for a while. And also underwear-less, as she tell Jess. Of all people. Which makes him the only love interest next to Luke to get a line! He seems to be running some sort of bookstore/printing press hybrid, like he did during his last appearance on the show.

Of course, there’s a brief shot of Dean leaving DMoFM, because where else would he be, and of Logan doing something on a tablet. They don’t get lines. Who’s notably absent? Christopher!

Wow, am I excited about this.

Yes, there’s also a town meeting, a brief shot of Lane on the drums with a cool and short haircut, Paris rolling her eyes at people at Chilton (where she and Rory will… Do a thing, I guess), dancing pilgrims, and Kirk at a Friday Night Dinner™.

And, of course, shots from what is probably Richard’s funeral, a giant oil painting of him taking up the cocktail room wall, and, apparently the most shocking thing about the trailer: Emily in jeans and a T-shirt, Marie Kondo-ing her life.

On a more general note, the trailer is fun, fast-paced, and felt so much more like Gilmore Girls than the show itself did for its last few seasons that I was jumping with joy after seeing it the first time. Most reboots or sequels to franchises I like have been disappointing, but this one had me hopeful. And after I said that, it’s probably going to suck now. Dammit.

A few days ago, a second trailer was dropped!

Starting out with Rory and Lorelai being served by pre-pubescent boys at the apparently new Stars Hollow swimming pool. Where Luke works as a life guard! Pretty good for someone who only learned to swim in his late adult life, or is season 7 now selectively banned from existence like any Disney sequel of your choice, The Cursed Child, Dragon Ball GT , and whatever “everyone is married with kids”-epilogue hurt you the most?

We also get more exposition on the missing underwear, which seems to be a set of lines they’re quite proud of, seeing how it made it into both trailers.

We get more footage or Rory and Paris at Chilton, and Rory and Lane running a Korean food booth during the Spring International Cuisine festival (it had establishing shots in both trailers AND happened on the show once!). Paris also kicks a door shut, while in high heels. Too bad she’s only in two episodes.

There are also two unknown kids in this trailer that Rory looks after. They’re too young to be Martha, Davy, and whatever Sookie’s and Jackson’s third child is going to be, and too young, blond, and on one side too female to be Lane’s twins Steve and Kwan.

They are however just the right age, hair color, and gender to be the kids from Rory’s dream about Paris’s future.

While the trailers have been dissected enough to confirm that if they’re not still together, Paris at least keeps a photo of Doyle in her living room, I really, really don’t want them to have kids yet. Really, really not.

Themes and shit

So from these two trailers, we can deduce that the main plotlines will be: 1. Lorelai figuring out what she wants in life and whether that includes Luke, 2. Rory dealing with her lost-ness and rootless-ness, and making it where that creepy but incredibly (for Stars Hollow) diverse group of 30-somethings from trailer 2 failed, 3. Emily dealing with widowhood.

This is by far the most diverse group I have ever seen in Stars Hollow - and at least 3 of these people are still white.
This is by far the most diverse group I have ever seen in Stars Hollow – and at least 3 of these people are still white.

A spoiler-free IGN review reveals that the girls’ grief over Richard will also be a central theme throughout all four episodes, and not just touched on once and then discarded for wacky town events, which sounds like an amazing approach to me.

So, look at that. All three Gilmore Girls are at a point in their lives where they have no idea how to go on, facing their own unique problems all under the same theme. And we didn’t even need heavy-handed hay bale maze visual metaphors to get that across. I have faith in the writing already. If it wasn’t for…

Priorities, people!

In a very, very early review, I mentioned that the plurality of discourse around this show has always been, and if I’m seeing the signs correctly, will probably always be, about Rory and which ex she should have ended up with.

And the marketing on that front has been… Yeah. Where the first trailer had one line for Jess, and quick shots of Logan and Dean, the second trailer features “cute boys” followed by shots of all three of them as an advertising feature. Really, people? Really?

We know for a fact that Rory is single but dating around at the beginning of the revival. So can’t she just keep dating around? And not revisit her exes? Is it so hard to come up with a compelling new love interest for her and write them into these movies? I mean, I’m just saying, Tom Connolly has been cast for two episodes, and he’d look really good in a leather jacket.


And of course, she’ll always have Paris.

That doesn’t keep marketing and promo materials from focusing on three guys she dated 8-13 years ago. I mean it. Outside of this trailer, we have the entire cast declaring what team they’re on, with Jess winning out by a slight majority, and nobody really liking Logan.

Fun fact: Jared Padalecki is on Team Jess, Milo Ventimiglia is on Team Dean, and Matt Czuchry is on team “whatever makes sense in the narrative and for her character right now”.

Not my cup of tea, you might say.

And yes, the video and this lovely picture are from the official Gilmore Girls Facebook feed, so we have officially regressed back to Twilight-times and are calling it Team Whatever-Guy-We-Want. Can that trend please die? We had ways of doing this before rooting for teams like we’re at a sporting event!

And no, this happened in pre-Brangelina times, so the ship names also weren’t just names mushed together, like this person who has apparently not been in the fandom outside of her job is trying to explain to Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. Instead, they corresponded to things relevant to the pairing. They were called Java Junkies (Lorelai and Luke) or Literati (Rory and Jess. Upgraded to Literatri for my personal OT3). Rory and Dean weren’t called Drory or Rean, they were called Narcos. Either because they fell asleep that one time or because they were so boring they put the audience to sleep; I don’t know.

Don’t take away this one last gem of ancient fandom customs!

And can I just spend a minute to snark at that try-hard approach to making it seem like there’s anything else on the table, other than LukexLorelai? Christopher I sort of get, though I think that horse is so dead the only thing you can beat up or drag around anymore are its naturally decomposed ashes. Say what you want about season 7, at least Lorelai got that one out of her system for forever.

And Max? Seriously? Of all the… I mean, you can analyze this to bits with him and Dean being parallels as in too perfect for their respective partner, what were they thinking throwing them away like that, but really? Max? He isn’t even in this!

You know who is in this? Jason! Lorelai’s season 4 filler boyfriend, who, as far as filler boyfriends went, was the most successful we’ve ever seen on the show. He appears in one episode. And I mean, at least his family had ties to the Gilmores and he was in business with Richard briefly, so that makes sense.

Oh, by the way, despite not being in any promotional materials, Christopher’s actor is credited for one episode.

If I had to pick…

I mean, admittedly, I probably made my opinion clear already. Don’t revisit your exes. Maybe give Paris a chance. But if you put a gun to my head and make me pick a leather jacket for Rory, I would, actually, go with the majority and say yeah, Jess. I explained this before, and I’ve been highly critical of the time they were actually together on the show, so just briefly:

I think he fits into the narrative the best, due to his ties to Luke, so it makes the most sense for him the be there in the first place. I think his character development, shown in season 6, elevates him above pretty much every other love interest on the show outside of Luke (and if we don’t count Paris), and also, as a neat side-effect, means that in season 6 he already didn’t feel like Rory would actually be regressing like she did with Dean.

And like, discourse is constantly happening, and analysis and interpretation regarding symbolism and parallels, and people have been saying that due to the season 2 finale, Jess is supposed to be Rory’s Christopher. Because they both fucked shit up then – which is already a faulty assumption because Rory kissed him, blah, blah.

But if Rory really has her very own Christopher, it’d be Logan – they’re both introduced in exceedingly offensive ways, don’t understand in two key scenes that people are not less hurt by their actions when they yell they didn’t want things to turn out that way, have a comparable rap sheet in getting kicked out of fancy prep schools with no long-lasting consequences, and share failed internet start-ups. Alexis Bledel herself said that Logan was like Rory’s imaginary version of what she thought her father was like. And this feels like the perfect place to mention that I think the assumptions all girls want men to be just like their dads is gross at best and actually harmful at worst.

One parallel I cannot deny, however, is that Christopher and Jess at one point have fulfilled similar narrative functions: They were the guys Lorelai and Rory respectively ran to when their current relationships weren’t working out. Rory just to make out with him, Lorelai… Took it a bit too far every time.

So if the trailers for some reason pushing Jess means that he’s going to be this season’s Christopher in that way, as the bad idea Rory needs to get out of her system, then I am actually quite fine with that. I also enjoy their friendship immensely, though. You know, at this point I am just happy to see them interact amicably.

Jess is, however, only featured in 3 out of 4 episodes (Spring, Summer, and Fall), whereas Logan appears in all 4. Take that as you will.

Well, at the end of the day, I fully agree with Scott Patterson. I want Rory to end up with someone who she loves and trust, and who love and trusts her. And also in the words of Scott Patterson, if Jess wants to step up and be that guy… Yes, yes, I’ll stop now.

Other tidbits

  • We know of two confirmed town events, the International Food Festival in spring and the Stars Hollow Musical in summer

  • Rory seems to be giving a class at Chilton about Jane Eyre

  • Her use of the blackboard needs some work, but at least they’re not just learning biographical facts about Charlotte Brontë.
  • Rory looks very happy at Chilton, actually. Could teaching be her calling?
  • Lane will appear in all 4 episodes, Zack and Mrs. Kim only in one
  • Zack did not age well

  • Brad the piano player is still hanging out at Stars Hollow!
  • He wasn’t needed on the set of Glee anymore, I guess.
  • The twinkle light budget seems to have increased immensely
  • There is going to be a wedding. It has a gaudy looking centerpiece prop, which is how we know of it. Not the kind of decoration either Gilmore Girl would want at her wedding.
  • Hence I subscribe to the theory that it is Jason’s wedding. Read all about it, it makes sense, dammit.
  • Of course, the entire Life and Death brigade is being flown in for the last episode, so…
  • On the other hand, we have shots of Luke in a tux and Rory being very happy to see Jess. Dammit, this feels too much like counting how often people looked at each other or said each other’s names for “hints” now.
  • I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend several minutes trying to pause the second trailer at exactly that moment to figure out who it is, though.
  • Also, Matt Czuchry is slowly worming his way into my heart by making the most intelligent comments on the issue. Stop that.
  • The first page of the script was put online by Amy Sherman-Palladino herself. It features Lorelai waiting for Rory at the gazebo. Rory just flew back from somewhere.
  • Rory will also apparently visit a comic book store or some kind of con.
  • The final four words Amy Sherman-Palladino always planned for this show to end on will appear.
  • The cast wants you to be nice and not tweet them afterwards.
  • Calling it here first: They’re either going to be “I love you, mom” or “I love you, too.” Probably the latter, directly preceded by the former.

Alright then. With all that out of the way, I’ll see you all next week, when we get to stop talking about theories and start talking about the actual final product of Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life. I am tentatively excited!

Images curtesy of Netflix.

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