I was secretly worried about the Gilmore Girls Revival. What revival is ever really good? Plus, nostalgia is a weird thing. Details fade, but nostalgia keeps reminding you of exactly how you felt at the time. For me that time was high school. Lorelai and Rory Gilmore were two of my biggest role models as I made my way through those formative years as a teenaged girl. A show that touts reading and learning? A main character who doesn’t have sex until college? Strong, energetic women who love to, I mean LOVE to eat and never listen to anyone say otherwise? Gilmore Girls might seem like a silly, fast talking show to many people. But to me and a lot of other girls at that vulnerable age, the series opened my eyes to women with goals that reach further than “what should my body look like to you” and “what should my body do for you.” Despite my initial nervousness in a revival, I had faith in Amy Sherman-Palladino, and that was enough to quell my fears. From a feminist perspective, she and her husband did not disappoint in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
Rory is 32 years old and aimless. Thank god. There should be more female characters in movies/television who don’t have children and ALSO don’t “have it all” career-wise. Despite the fact that it’s unrealistic for any of Rory’s past boyfriends to be in her life nine years later, learning that she has a seemingly open relationship, even with Logan, was icing on the non-traditional-female-role cake. We learn later that she is more or less being strung along by him, wooed as always by his spontaneity, and all of that familiar frustration from 2007 comes rushing back and culminating in me yelling “Oh come ON Rory, seriously!?” at the TV. No, unfortunately we were not spared the writer’s love affair with Logan, Colin, Finn, Robert, and the Life and Death Brigade. Sigh. Where was the down to earth Rory that Jess and I fell in love with? To see her give in yet again to the classic rich-guys-wreaking-havoc on-the-town angle so many years later makes me cringe inside. And yet, nostalgia keeps me biased, and I easily make the excuse that Rory is simply “having fun” (silent cringe).
The entire series was a beautiful tribute to Edward Herrmann (Richard) who died in 2014. I loved that they tackled the loss head on. Kelly Bishop’s (Emily) performance is heart wrenching and elegant. She had always been my favorite character for her undying love for her family and it was torture to watch her restrain herself every week. Emily is a pro at masking her pain, so it was important to see her so raw and vulnerable in the new episodes. During the original series, her entire life revolved around supporting her husband; an aspect of the show that the young developing feminist in me hated seeing at the time. “How could she really be happy like that? This life wasn’t REALLY her choice, she’s just a product of her generation!!” But to watch Emily suffer the loss of Richard and by extension her identity, made me step back–, step down off of my femme soapbox for a second, and a see her as the incredible partner that she was. “Half of me is gone,” cue the tears.
I think I can speak for most GG fans when I say that we simply wanted to see Lorelai and Luke happy as clams. We suffered through Season 7, we paid our dues. To sit through the familiar plot of those two not being on the same page yet again was frustrating, but at least it felt real. As cute and quaint as these characters are, the GG writers have never shied away from the fact that life is messy and doesn’t always tidy up well. In an alternate universe, I would have loved to see Lorelai and Luke with a “fresh kid”. It would have been great to see them make their way through parenthood as an older couple. That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever cried harder than watching their wedding set to the all too familiar Sam Phillips song, “Reflecting Light.”
“Mom?” “Yeah?” “I’m pregnant.”
Die hard fans like me know that Amy Sherman-Palladino had these last four words written before the first time we saw Lorelai walk into Luke’s for her sixth cup of coffee 16 years ago. I’ve never been truly speechless after hearing the phrase that has been used for so many basic cliffhangers in the past. This whole time, Rory’s story seemed parallel to Lorelai’s. But with those four words and a bit of time to pick your jaw up off the floor you realize that their lines were never parallel, but circular. I see now that all this time we hadn’t even come close to Rory’s story even beginning, and it’s pretty fun to have it begin at the very end of the series.
I always viewed Rory’s existence as an outlier; a very lucky outcome of Lorelai’s huge mistake. Can you blame me? We have so many mixed messages in my generation concerning children, but most of them are “if you get pregnant and you’re too old to land a spot of Teen Mom, your life is over.” But for once, for once, we get to hear a single woman say “I’m pregnant” without immediately reacting with “OH GOD, NOOOO!!!” It was a huge sigh of relief that I didn’t know that I needed. Leave it to Amy Sherman-Palladino to open up my mind yet again, 9 years later.
Thanks for everything Gilmore Girls. Copper boom! <3
Author Bio: Jill C.
FaceBook: Jill Carere-Fetterman
Jill is a hardcore music lover, and strong feminist. She enjoys spending her days with her husband, Dog and Cat–watching Gilmore Girls, of course!