This article discusses the Netflix show Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, and contains spoilers. It will also make little sense to those who haven’t seen they show. Sorry about that.
In early 2016, my partner suggested we watch Gilmore Girls. It was a show he enjoyed when he was younger and he thought it would be my cup of tea. He was right, I loved it, and we finished watching the original show just in time to catch the reboot when it landed on Netflix in late November. Watching the original and the reboot so close together had its benefits: I didn’t have to wait eight years for the reboot like other suckers for starters, but it made some “issues” the new episodes have glaringly obvious. So, looking back, here’s my five suggestions to show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino that would have made Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life a little less jarring.
The Opening Credits
One of the iconic parts of Gilmore Girls is the opening sequence. Carol King’s ‘Where You Lead” was beloved and set the tone for the episodes. It was cut in A Year in the Life in favour of… nothing really. The theme song with a new round of title clips would have tied the new shows better with the original and given it a nice sense of continuity.
One of the most cringeworthy scenes in the first instalment, Fall, involves Lorelai being forced by her mother to share a memory about her late father at his funeral. The only things she can think of are the time her father neglected her and a time he walked in on her having sex. In the original series, Lorelai and Richard’s relationship always had a fondness and respect, and this had none. It would have been far more in keeping with the character if she had shared something she genuinely thought was funny (like when Richard joined the barbershop quartet when he and Emily split up) and unwittingly upset her mother for bringing up the separation. This just seemed clumsy and out of character.
During A Year in the Life, Lorelai is convinced to attend counselling with her mother to try and repair their relationship. It’s awkward, but in a fit of rage, Emily reveals that part of the reason she is angry is because Lorelai sent her a horrible letter years ago. Lorelai denies this and then… it is never spoken of again. We never find out if Lorelai wrote it, or if she wrote it in anger, never intending to send it, or if it was written by Christopher to punish her, not a sausage. It is dropped in our laps like a major plot point then never resolved – and it’s annoyingly because I REALLY want to know about the letter! Taking some time to explain it might have added a bit more depth to the show’s most complex mother/daughter relationship.
The Life And Death Brigade Scene
It was ridiculous. My partner and I watched the scene where Rory’s rich asshat mates rock up to Stars Hollow, making ravens talk and dancing in the mist, and we said “this is one crazy dream sequence”. But it wasn’t a dream sequence, it was all real! The entire set up of it is completely unrealistic and makes no sense in the context of what is a fairly realistic show. In fact, the idea that Luke might secretly be mates with Kiefer Sutherland was more realistic than this entire scene.
Plus, I hate the Life and Death Brigade and could have done without them entirely-including Logan!
Luke and Lorelai Should Have Been Married Already
Now, this is a difficult one, because their wedding scene was beautiful and I got a little something in my eye when Kirk received the “it’s perfect” text, but in the context of Luke and Lorelai’s relationship, it didn’t make sense that they weren’t married. They broke up because Luke wouldn’t get married, so it stands to reason it was a bit of a deal breaker. As I say, I wouldn’t want to change the fact we got the wonderful wedding scene, but it just didn’t make sense in the Gilmore Girls universe that Lorelai could wait 8 years when previously she couldn’t wait 8 months. Also, it meant that the show heavily featured a rehash of “will they won’t they break up?” (Yawn!) and that for some reason, Sookie and Jess weren’t at the wedding, and it seemed unlikely Luke and Lorelai would have gone ahead without them.
I want to be clear though, I didn’t hate the show. Negatives aside, I’d like to finish off with a few things I loved about A Year in the Life:
* Emily’s transformation into an independent woman
* Kirk’s short film
* Kirk’s pig
* The Stars Hollow musical with incredible harmonies
* Luke giving fake wifi passwords to everyone
* Jess and Luke’s interactions
* The shot of Emily, Lorelai and Rory in the car on the way to Richard’s funeral
* Paris’s motivational speech at Chilton
* Doyle selling out to work with Michael Bay
* Lorelai’s heartbreaking story about Richard rescuing her at the mall
* Michel practicing being a father figure, and failing
* Michel being upset about an inability to “bag Jennifer Lawrence”
* Luke and Lorelai’s beautiful wedding
Overall, I would have given A Year in the Life 3.5-4 stars. I would have loved to have given it 5, as the original is a favourite of mine, but it needed to remember its roots a little more.