Gilmore Girls revival: critical review

This review contains no spoilers and is about what the revival did right and what it could have done better.  

The show opened right into the fast paced, pop culture, small town charm of Gilmore Girls. In a snow covered Stars Hollow, Lorelai is waiting for Rory to come back from her trip/stay in London. It’s complicated. The girls have their coffee and food at Al’s while and then stroll around town. Ending the tour at Lorelei’s house where Luke waits. We are reintroduced to the girl’s fast paced lifestyle and food habits, and Luke’s inability to cope with it. The excitement begins.

We  find out where everyone is and what has happened since we last saw all of the characters nine years ago. Sookie has left to go into the forest for some odd reason, hanging out with another cook who is teaching her about food and wildlife (it was a bit unclear). We learn how long it’s been since Richard has passed and the big impact it has had on the girls. We see Michelle, Lane, Paris, and Kirk. Which brings us to the BIG flaw in this revival, having the four long episodes focus only on the Gilmore Girls gets too heavy, and it causes the show to lose its charm. It was a show about family and friends.

It is four 90 minutes episodes and a lot happens in those 360 minutes. And a lot of it focuses on just the Gilmore Girls. We get quick glimpses of the other people in town and they are only in the scene if the Gilmore girls are in them, too. We didn’t get to see their stories, which we had seen and loved in the original shows. For instance, we miss the quirkiness of what is Stars Hallow- we remember their 24 hour dance off, their knit-a-thon, and when they re-enacted famous pieces of art. Well, we got that but it was not only long but had to include Lorelai a in some way in her question of are we happy? No spoilers it’s in the trailer.  If they spread it out like a proper season maybe it would have included those small stories. We could have seen more of Paris’ story or Lane’s story, more of Jackson, more of Mrs. Kim or Mrs. Patty, instead of having them just be there. The new show is so focused on the girls and their issues, which we wanted to know, but it got too heavy. We needed the minor characters to lighten up the show.

Squeezing so much into a shorter about of time made binge watching not the best idea, yet we had to do it. Not because it was Gilmore Girls but once you started watching the Winter episode you didn’t get ‘closure’ or ‘answers’ until Fall.  There were also gaps in the story, which made sense since Amy probably wrote from her own perspective of what should be the closure for the show. You spent a few times wondering why this is happening, how is this happening.

Other than that, the revival came exactly in Gilmore Girls style with a lot of pop culture references, metaphors and giving us insight to what our own personal problems are. It is about two different aged women going through complex times and transitions, trying to figure it out, trying to cope with the loss of their father/grandfather, and find their places. It allows the viewers to connect and relate to similar issues. Like when Rory graduated from college, we all can feel confused, lost, and even scared during a transition.

These girls have always been struggling because they have made high goals for themselves. But, now that they have met them, what is next? They always have done what they wanted and yes it causes riffs in their relationships but it are the friends who worked at it and understood the Gilmore girls who stuck around. Remember in season 2 when Lorelai was engaged to Max, Dean told him “don’t question just answer the pineapple”. She also had a hard time with uprooting her life. Now in the revival they are going through similar situations, Lorelai has to change and make new goals, be open and talk. She still isn’t used to being able to talk, opening herself up like that. Even with Luke. Rory is also complicated; she knows it, too. She’s traveling around, living in boxes, and when you think she finally realizes what she needs, she’s moving herself home. And of course it’s not right for her because she could be a contender. Rory has always struggled with not having things come easy. She isn’t the perfect girl she and we think she is.  Rory also has to drag boys with her. Not surprising.  However, we are shocked that at 32 she still does not have her shit together- she is her mother’s daughter after all. This is something to keep in mind when you discuss Rory’s relationships with men. I’d hope Rory would have traveled, like she said, go off around the world, writing about what she saw. But, of course she felt she couldn’t; she needed to settle down, find herself a job, work and be successful, but that wasn’t easy.

When you first watch Gilmore Girls episode 1 you think how immature Lorelai is, how naive Rory is, how bitchy Emily is, and you see their flaws. You love Dean until you rewatch the show and realize who he really is. And after so many years watching it over and over again you begin to analyze it. During the revival, since I have been analyzing the show for so long, I too could not just enjoy it. I went back and forth between just watching and loving the show to wondering what they were thinking, why is this happening. I found myself saying “oh Rory.” We grew up and in love with these girls and relating to them, calling ourselves a Rory or a Lorelai. So when these girls do things, no spoilers we will use a different example, like sleep with a married man or run away from their own wedding, we get mad because ‘that’s not something we do.’ And for me, when the revival came I enjoyed it yet I couldn’t believe the girls still hadn’t learned. But have any of us learned?

After watching Gilmore Girls not only was I left shocked by the ending and felt I was left with no real closure just like in season seven. But I felt exhausted from watching it all, so much had happened. These are the complex lives on independent girls. I read other reviews, and I talked about it (or did not talk) with friends and felt that Gilmore Girls did not disappoint me. But, since it came at us all at once we weren’t ready for it. We weren’t ready for the perfect storm of caffeine and genetics.

If you would like a fan perspective of the revival I’ll be happy to write one. Or if you prefer to not talk about it follow me on twitter or write on my Facebook page and we can “not”  talk.

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