Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, ‘Winter’
Rory (Alexis Bledel) is leading a vagabond lifestyle, with no permanent address and her belongings spread to the houses of friends and family. Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Luke (Scott Patterson) have discussions about a baby by surrogate. Richard (Edward Herrmann) has passed and Emily (Kelly Bishop) is decluttering her life.
This morning I woke up earlier than is normal for me, made a coffee which is very normal for me, and sat on the couch to commence the watching of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life with my sister and mother. “Winter” starts with infamous quotes of Gilmore Girls‘ past being played over a dark screen, transporting me back to 2005.
I initially expected to watch the revival alone in my natural habitat, a room so dark it seems more like a cave, but experiencing the first episode with my mom and sister made the show better. It made the jokes funnier, the heartfelt moments more touching, and the nostalgia tinged with more sepia tone than recommended. From an objective view “Winter,” and I’m assuming the whole of A Year in the Life, is just alright. It’s not the greatest television in the world and at times felt like a shadow of an imitation of what the original show was.
On the other hand, Gilmore Girls has been with me a long time. It’s credited with beginning my family’s passion for binge watching, I’ve based many speeches and essays off Rory’s high school graduation speech, and every time I have a cup of coffee I wish I was as cool as Lorelai is and could drink it black. “Winter” was an hour and a half of awesome. We all cried at Richard’s funeral, looked around knowingly when Luke gave customers fake wi-fi passwords and laughed too hard at Kirk’s (Sean Gunn) rideshare idea, “Oohber.”
Stars Hollow is a place I know well. It is a place I wish I could be in real life but am okay settling for watching on the small screen. Besides the obvious players Rory, Emily, Lorelai, and Luke, we see Lane (Keiko Agena) and all of Hep Alien playing “I’m the Man” which oddly fit. We see Paris (Liza Weil) who is a fertility specialist, getting a divorce from Doyle, and has kids. We see Kirk, Miss Patty (Liz Torres), Gypsy (Rosa Abdo) and Taylor (Michael Winters). We see Jason Stiles (Chris Eiegmen) (ew, gross, no thank you, and bye). We see Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry) (mm, cute, yes please, and hello) with whom Rory has a “casual” thing going whenever she’s in London. We see Michel (Yanis Truesdale) who is married to a man who now wants kids. But Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) is absent, taking a sabbatical in the forest to come up with new recipes.
It’s kind of weird to see Stars Hollow plunged into the twenty-first century with wi-fi and apps and smartphones and Mac laptops. Stars Hollow was perpetually stuck in the early 2000s, never leaving the realm of flip phones. It was jarring to get used to and to be honest I don’t know if I really ever will. But the quirkiness was still there with Taylor’s campaign to switch from septic tanks to a sewer system.
I was happy to see Lorelai and Emily connect again after their giant fight at Richard’s funeral. That is their cycle, fight and makeup, fight and makeup, ad nauseam. Emily and Lorelai are so similar it’s understandable why they are almost always at odds, but it makes the times when they are on good terms even better.
Probably the most bittersweet moment was during Luke and Lorelai’s conversation about having kids. Luke assumed Lorelai would have broached the subject if she wanted more and she assumed he would. She presses him, asking “Don’t you want a fresh one?” and lists some of the stuff he wouldn’t get to experience. The whole episode he has been flaunting Rory’s big New Yorker article. He put it on the back of his menus, subscribed to the paper, and tells anyone who will listen about it. He is proud with a capital ‘P.’ So when Lorelai asks about wanting to see his kid graduate he answers, “I went to Rory’s.” I was already about to cry, but Lorelai’s answer, “It’s not the same,” sent me over the edge. Just like Emily and Lorelai, Luke and Lorelai have a pattern. They are happy and in love until communication starts to slide. Lorelai refuses to listen and Luke refuses to talk until they are not just on different pages but in completely different books.
I loved the first episode of the Gilmore Girls revival, though at times it felt kind of hollow (ha, I am a clever pun maker). It was like Sherman-Palladino had a list of must haves and was checking them off any way she could get them to fit. Let me provide a metaphor for your soul, it was sort of like when you wash your skinny jeans and you “totally” “didn’t” “gain” “weight” but you’ve gotta slowly inch them up your leg until you’re jumping around to pull it up your thigh. When you finally get them buttoned you look amazing and thin and put together but they are pinching slightly below your belly button and sitting kind of hurts but you ignore it because of the aforementioned fabulous look of your outfit. So “Winter” kind of pinched at the belly button of my objective mind, but the overall effect and feelings for the episode, the characters and the show overshadowed it.