If you’re a diehard fan of Gilmore Girls, you’ve probably already devoured the Netflix reboot, Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life, faster than the Lorelalis can polish off a plate of a tater tot tacos. You’ve scoured each of the four parts—one for each season—for callbacks to the original show, and laughed or fast-forwarded through the tedious and needlessly long minutes of the Stars Hollow Musical while wishing that time had been given to plump up Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) or Dean’s (Jared Padalecki’s) cameos. And you’ve ranted, raved and/or fretted over the final four words which I will not spoil here.
I went into the viewing dreading the inevitable walk down Ex-Boyfriend Lane, because all of Rory’s past suitors—yes, even Dean—were several kinds of problematic. Except this time, through the sobering and horrific prism of 2016, they weren’t. It was Rory who was 57 flavors of insufferable, entitled, and selfish. And I couldn't help but wonder: Is Rory Gilmore a terrible person?
The series finale of Gilmore Girls left Rory leaving to join the press core for future president Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. It was the star-spangled beginning to Rory’s brilliant journalism career that would make the hundreds of Friday night dinners and years of rigorous academia at Chilton and Yale worth it.
Yet “Winter” finds Stars Hollow’s brightest rudderless, homeless and even without underwear. As always, Alexis Bledel does a wonderful job of couching the unsavory aspects of Rory’s personality in beguiling sweetness, but even her icy blues and prim dresses can’t distract from the fact that her life is a mess, and 99% of it is her fault.
In her love life, she’s not only stringing along poor Paul—a boyfriend so dull no one remembers him—she’s also cheating on him also with random wookies and Logan Huntzberger (the disarmingly charming Matt Czuchry), despite the fact that he’s engaged to an heiress named Odette.
Professionally, she’s not fairing much better. Though “super-proud” Luke is lauding her newest piece in The New Yorker, it seems to be her only tangible work recently. She keeps referencing an ever-changing meeting with Conde Nast, and a book proposal with a booze-soaked British feminist, but she’s not actually writing. It seems as if she's merely consciously or subconsciously creating a façade of a being jet-setting freelancer. This behavior would make sense at 22, but is absolutely bizarre a decade later.
The one solid opportunity she has, a staff writer position at a Buzzfeed-esque website, falls through only because Rory arrives at the interview expecting to be wooed, and is completely unprepared to actually earn the position. Oy with the poodles already! (Sidenote: Was anyone totally underwhelmed by Rory’s lucky outfit? Hit up the comments section).
Rory’s life is the stuff of the impressive stream of pop culture that nurtured her as much as her mother, Lorelai (Lauren Graham), and there is little explanation as to why. Is it because of her grandfather’s death? Is she having a belated quarter-life crisis or an early mid-life crisis? Is she an entitled millennial? Has crashing with the combustible Paris Gellar and her briefcases stuffed with neuroses eroded any common decency she had? Has she been coddled and praised so much that she doesn’t know how to hustle?
It’s probably a combination of all of the above, but A Year In The Life leaves all of those questions unanswered, and it’s one of the larger weaknesses of the otherwise whimsical and comforting re-boot that feels so desperately necessary right now, I wouldn’t be opposed to another season without the copious extended musical numbers or the Life and Death Brigade, and more Melissa McCarthy's Sookie St. James.
Once I got over my rage at how Rory’s wasted her potential, I actually find her predicament encouraging. If this incredibly connected, WASP-adjacent Yale graduate hasn’t managed to get her life together by 32, then who’s to say any of us should?
I’m a vastly different person than the girl who barricaded herself in her bedroom and watched seasons 1 through 3 in an entire weekend back in 2009, and I can’t help but marvel at how much I’ve changed in the years since. Granted, when I was published for the first time, my parents forgot to buy the paper my article was in despite being super-proud. They did get me a World’s Best Blogger Oscar from Madame Tussauds Gift Shop in Las Vegas, though. So suck it, Luke.
It also proves that life is an ever-changing thing, and that being a little aimless at times isn’t always a bad thing as long as you have the courage to embark on a different, better course.
Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life finds every character is re-inventing and re-booting their lives, with matriarch Emily Gilmore’s quest to recover from her Richard’s death being the most emotionally treacherous. After being married for a half-century, moving on alone requires several life overhauls and an alarming pair of jeans. The Hartford estate is gone, as is her beloved D.A.R. and all of its well-mannered, elitist bullshit. She moves into a small house in Nantucket with her maid’s extended family, and finds a peace in her colorful new independence. It’s almost like she found her own little Stars Hollow.
For Lorelai, it means that her quiet little life with her 10-room inn needs to be bigger, and maybe she can be the one to build the empires instead of Luke.
And for Rory, it means working on her book and taking on newfound responsibilities in her life fearlessly—a skill I’m sure she learned from her mother.
What did you think of Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life? Hit up the comments section below!
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Small Screen Girl
I am an unabashed pop culture and TV-aholic with no plans to ever seek treatment. Explore this blog and see just how deep my obsession goes.