A year in the life of the Gilmore Girls

Warning: spoilers ahead – lots of ’em! – for Gilmore Girls : A Year in the Life, so read at your own peril! Not only spoilers in text but also in images (yes, I went screencap crazy – you can click on the small images to enlarge them)…

Yep. I did it! Got myself a Netflix trial subscription and binge-watched the 4 new Gilmore Girls tv movies set during a year. Each episode equalled a season, starting with winter, and boy did I love it (excepting a few little things)!

The gazebo in town is still central, it’s where the movie series opens…

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Mother Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) reunite after Rory has been away for her job, living in New York and travelling all over, writing great articles. The movies centre around these two Gilmores but Lorelai’s mother Emily (Kelly Bishop) also goes through an important journey in these episodes. There is a lot of humour here, there is yet again more than enough quirkiness to go around with fast talking and pop culture references, but there is also real heartbreak! The perfect Gilmore Girl mix.

One of the most palpable themes throughout all the movies is the quite recent loss of Richard Gilmore (Edward Herrmann) who was Emily’s husband, Lorelai’s father and Rory’s grandfather. This storyline may have touched me the most, it certainly made me cry the most, and I am very aware that it has a lot to do with the loss of my own father 20 months ago. I have felt the rawness they feel and I have felt the difficulties in coming to terms with such a big loss…The flashback to the funeral made me cry…

Emily tries dealing with the loss of her husband by getting a huge portrait of him painted (measuring mistake!) or not wanting anyone to sit in her husband’s chair at the dinner table with Kirk (Sean Gunn) there as well (love that there’s a good amount of Kirk in these episodes!), or crawling away from the world, or madly trying to get rid of everything that gives her ‘no joy’ and she even wears, GASP, jeans and a t-shirt at one point!

But she finally finds her own way… it is absolutely priceless when in the final episode she calls out her fellow DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) charity ladies on their bullshit! She finds peace in a new home with a more normal portrait of Richard to love, she comes into her own. She even, for the first time ever, has a permanent maid and doesn’t only take her in but her whole family as well! She will always miss Richard, but she will be alright…

Of course there is also the conflict between Emily and her daughter Lorelai about how they deal with the loss of Richard, due to Lorelai failing to open up. It even lands them in therapy together (priceless to watch that, tragic and funny at the same time!). In the end, Lorelai can open up and share herself with her mother in a touching scene of epiphany, that had me tear up again and was healing for both of them.

Focusing on Lorelai now, she has her own journey to travel. Lorelai hears some comments from her mother that hit home in the first episode that slowly send her into her own crisis. She still runs the inn (and yay, Michel (Yanic Truesdale) is still there, grumpy as ever!),

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Luke (Scott Patterson) has moved in with her and still runs his diner, they are still not married and life is still pretty much the same for her since we left her 8 or 9 years ago after reuniting with Luke. Her mother’s words start to nag at Lorelai and make her doubt her life. What is it she wants in her life? Is she right for Luke? Did they miss out having a family of their own together? She drags Luke to a fertility clinic, looking into surrogacy options – which brings us to Rory’s overly ambitious friend Paris (Liza Weil) who is still as intense and direct as ever and she runs said clinic, which is of course the best of its kind! I loved seeing Paris again.

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Lorelai gets roped into therapy with her mom (as mentioned above), doesn’t tell Luke about continuing therapy on her own, and feels out of synch with the town while watching the rehearsals for  Stars Hollow : The Musical, something that would normally amuse her. Lorelai is never out of synch with the town, she can usually find something to enjoy in anything, but now she can’t which says an awful lot about her state of mind…

At the inn there is no room for expansion, Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) is on ‘temporary’ leave which has lasted for over a year and Michel isn’t happy there anymore and wants to leave… Everything is off and she cracks, needing time on her own to gain perspective. In the last episode she ‘does’ Wild (the book not the movie 🙂 ) where she intends to hike the Pacific Crest Trail…

gimore-girls-year-34Of course, nothing happens as planned but it still leads her to her epiphany when she calls her mother in that emotional speech I mentioned above. Somehow everything else falls into place for her as well and she figures out what she wants in her life and finds a new challenge for her career.

Then we have Rory’s journey. She writes articles, her latest succesful one was for The New Yorker, but comes into a career dip. She tries to write a biography of a wacko woman, which doesn’t pan out, other job opportunities fall through as well, she is stuck in her career with no idea where to go… We see her get together with her ex boyfriend Logan (Matt Czuchry) whom she hooks up with on occasion – all non-committal: she visits him in London now and again, they sleep together, talk and then move on to their own separate lives (in which Logan is even engaged).

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Logan is charming and rich and spoils Rory, together with the ‘Life and Death Brigade’ friends from college – all filthy rich entitled guys who can buy up the world and be careless because of their wealth.

Life is a party, they live in this alternate universe with no care for money or other people and Rory, while having fun, doesn’t feel right with them. I really didn’t like that there was so much of Logan in this, I don’t see why she would still be with him like that.  Luckily she saw that as well in the end.

Rory still has her friends to fall back on as well. There’s the aforementioned Paris, all business and ambition and intensity. She freaks out students in her intense way at an alumni event and has a freak out of her own in a bathroom at one point which I loved. She’s also going through a divorce from Doyle (Danny Strong) that shouldn’t really be happening, I felt. Those two have always had intense arguments, it’s who they are, and the chemistry is still there. In my mind, in the future, those two will make up and just stay together forever after all…

We also still have Lane (Keiko Agena)! She has her twin boys and is still married and the band still plays and practices and really sounds quite good! Her mother Mrs Kim (Emily Kuroda) is still around, strict as ever, intimidating young Korean youth and for one brief glimpse we even meet Mr. Kim! In all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls I have never seen Mr. Kim, he was never around. I sort of assumed Mrs. Kim was a widow but apparently not… that was a fun little surprise!

There’s still a lot of fun to be had around town, such as the town meetings that are still going strong and the movie nights…

… there was the aforementioned musical, and the summer pool (with Lorelai and Rory observing and commenting in sunny outfits and notice that Lorelai is reading Wild)…

… there’s the secret bar that gets dismantled in record time as soon as Taylor (Michael Winters) walks by (notice the ‘Shhh’ logo on the wall!) and the spring festival with Taylor and Kirk in their element…

… and, near the end, we also get Sookie back! I love Sookie, wish she could have been in this more!

There is also the very funny storyline of Rory’s ‘boyfriend’ Paul who is just so forgettable, no one remembers his name or that he’s around or what they may have talked about with him before. Rory hardly ever sees him, she means to break up with him but always forgets!

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Rory also briefly runs into her first boyfriend Dean (Jared Padalecki), who is apparently still married and has 3 children with a 4th on the way, and she visits her dad Christopher (David Sutcliffe), asking him all sorts of questions on how he felt about not being around to raise her…

… but the most important men in both the Gilmore girls’ lives are Luke for Lorelai and potentially Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) for Rory (even though Rory doesn’t realize it yet).  Jess isn’t in this a lot (more’s the pity!) but when he is, in his own way he makes a real difference! He is there for his uncle Luke when Luke is despairing and thinks he’s losing Lorelai and supports him when things are right.

Jess even solves Luke’s wifi problem (Luke hates phones and wifi in his diner)…

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… in the most hilarious, no bullshit kind of way. Jess has the rebel vibe but inside he’s a softie.

When he comes by to visit Rory (apparently the first time they have seen each other in 4 years), he is the one with the insight into who she really is and gives her an idea that can define her further career. He helps her understand where her heart truly lies and gets her out of her career ‘what should I do next’ dip…

On a side note, Rory has become the temporary editor of the local newspaper and in her office (where Jess visits her) there is an Esther! Esther is only ever seen filing… could this be me in years to come? I have a librarianship background, after all, am (dark) blonde and wear glasses as  well… 😉

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Anyway, back to where I was… Rory lets the idea Jess gave her gestate. It doesn’t go down well with her mother who is dealing with her own demons, but Rory goes ahead and does as he suggested anyway. There is this one small scene when Rory enters her grandfather’s study just before she embarks on her project and in her imagination she sees her grandfather sitting there at his desk. That little scene really hit home for me, because often in my mind’s eye I too can still see my dad sitting at his desk when I enter his study…

At the end, with Lorelai happy again and finally accepting Rory’s project, Rory excitedly shows Jess the first beginning of her project, just as he is set to leave again…

He has been ‘over her’ for ages he tells his uncle Luke who watches the brief exchange, but then we get a parting shot of Jess looking at Rory longingly through a window just as he leaves…

Yes, it looks like Jess really is to Rory what Luke is to Lorelai… Rory just needs to wake up to that and Jess needs to be in the right place in his life; they just one day need to get their timing right. That leads me to Lorelai and Luke, their timing is finally right!

Lorelai and Luke live together, hang out together, and yes, go through a bit of a crisis as well…

… but in the end, all is well and they finally decide to get married! “The only way out of this is in a body bag”, Luke tells her. Well, that’s the wedding vows fixed. 🙂

They plan the wedding…

… and then elope, in a way, after all…

Then, to end it all, we go back to Lorelai and Rory again, sitting in the gazebo, just like at the very beginning of this series…

Lorelai is married now, Rory is single, and the show ends with a bang, when the last 4 words (that have been teased for years by the show runners) are uttered…

These 4 words also explain Rory’s interrogation of her dad a little better and shows yet again how many parallels there are in the lives of Rory and Lorelai. Does this leave room for Gilmore Girls : The Next Generation? Do we all really turn into our mothers? I wonder if this really is the end… I for one wouldn’t mind more episodes of Gilmore Girls in the future…

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