It is upon us. We are now officially less than 30 hours away from Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life and If you’re anything like me, you’re probably awaiting the revival with equal parts excitement and trepidation – thrilled to revisit your favourite mother daughter duo and crossing your fingers it won’t be a total let down.
To help you deal with those complex pre-show emotions I have come up with a list of all the things you should be excited (and nervous) about in the lead up to Gilmore Girls’ return.
Lots of Fan Service
75% nervous / 25% excited
When you really love a show, it’s always nice to have the writers give a nod to the aspects of that show you love the most. Running references and inside jokes make fans feel like part of the gang, but there’s such a thing as too much fan service. For example, do I want to see Rory and Lorelai drinking coffee? Yes! Do I want to see the show make a huge deal about Rory and Lorelai drinking coffee, as though it were the most exciting throwback in the universe? No!
One of the signature traits of Gilmore Girls is pulling off extraordinarily fast dialogue without the characters ever actually acknowledging this. While the things that Lorelai and Rory say are hilarious, they rarely laugh at each other’s jokes (at least prior to season seven), and they do not comment on the speed of the dialogue. That’s part of what makes it so funny. In the Netflix trailer, after a particularly long diatribe, Rory comments that she’s winded. Lorelai says, ‘Haven’t done that in a long time huh?’ This is a cute nod to Gilmore Girls devotees, but any true fan knows that this is how Rory and Lorelai always talk, so they wouldn’t make a note of it. Too much of this kind of fan service can become sickeningly sweet. Likewise, in aid of pleasing fans, the revival may make the mistake of trying to be everything to everyone. Visiting every past location and granting screen time to every bit character can be a mistake when a well told story is more likely to leave fans satisfied.
Fan service I am looking forward to? Plenty of time with the townies. Gather together all the regulars for a town meeting and I feel confident that the magic will live on.
Justice for Lane
30% nervous / 70% excited
Poor Lane Kim. She finally got her first real boyfriend and he ran off to hook up with Rachel Bilson on The OC. She finally fled the nest to live the life of her rock n’ roll dreams, only to have terrible sex once and get knocked up with twins. While premature motherhood led to some beautiful moments between Lane and the ever-hilarious Mrs. Kim, it was disappointing to see her end out the show’s run stuck in Stars Hollow while her husband left on tour.
It seems like the only way is up for Lane, and I am excited to see her drumming on. That said, I sincerely hope she’s spent the last nine years doing something beyond changing nappies and drumming in a Stars Hollow garage. Lane was a legend, she deserves better.
The Time Lapse
100% nervous / 0% excited
If you think about all the hopes and dreams you had for Lorelai and Rory when Gilmore Girls ended, I bet most of them were things that would have already happened in the nine years following the series finale. Whether it was Luke and Lorelai getting married, Lorelai having another kid, Rory scoring a job at the New York Times – I doubt you were hoping these plot points would take nine years to eventuate. That’s the trouble with a big time lapse, the stories you cared about most have already come to pass, and if they haven’t there’s the dissatisfaction of knowing your favourite characters missed out on the future you wanted for them.
The crowd-funded Veronica Mars movie – which was helmed by the original show-runner and starred most of the original cast – suffered from this kind of plot delay. The show was axed with teenage detective Veronica Mars in college, harbouring aspirations of joining the FBI. In order to deal with a seven year hiatus, the movie saw Veronica having pursued a different career entirely so as to be lured back to detective work on screen. Likewise her love life was put on hold, placing Veronica right back in the middle of her college love triangle. All things considered, I’d say the Veronica Mars movie did a pretty good job of giving the fans what they wanted, but I can’t help but feel that the very existence of the revival robbed Veronica of the future I had wanted for her. I suspect that Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life will offer much of the same. Either Luke and Lorelai have been married offscreen and we missed it, or they haven't been married at all – either option is disappointing.
Rory Gilmore and Her Love Life
80% nervous / 20% excited
While the prospect of seeing Milo Ventimiglia’s Jess again brings all sorts of joy to my lady parts, I am very nervous about the presence of all three of Rory’s past suitors in the revival. One of the greatest strengths of Gilmore Girls is the authenticity with which it handled Rory’s growth from shy sixteen-year-old to Yale graduate. While many teen dramas get stuck on trying to replicate the popularity of their high school plot lines through college, Rory experienced genuine growth and change.
Many complaints have been levelled against Rory’s precociousness and entitlement (especially in later seasons) but I have always seen this as a narrative strength. Take a small town girl and put her through private school, the Ivy Leagues, and drop her into her grandmother’s waspy world – she’s going to come out a lot more entitled than her self-made mother. I’d hate to see Gilmore Girls fall into teen drama tropes by having Rory end up with one of her high school boyfriends, especially when she is so clearly no longer the little girl we met in the pilot. Sure, it’s possible that Milo Ventimiglia, Jared Padalecki (Dean), and Matt Czuchry (Logan) are all on board for cameos, but would Rory be friends with all three of her ex boyfriends? Probably not.
Despite all this, I am still keen to see where Stars Hollow’s golden child has ended up. In the trailers Alexis Bledel has seemed a little uncomfortable readjusting to the rapid-fire Gilmore Girls dialogue, but I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt.
A More Diverse Stars Hollow
100% excited / 0% nervous
Back in the naughts, Gilmore Girls wasn’t exactly known for showing respect to the LGBTQ+ community. The series is riddled with homophobic jokes that were par for the course ten years ago but won’t fly in 2016. I am looking forward to being introduced to what will likely be a more open-minded Stars Hollow. With such a large number of characters already cast, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a more racially diverse town, but here’s hoping for a less white-washed version of Connecticut too.
More References than a College Thesis
50% excited / 50% nervous
If you love literature, theatre, music, or film, you’re probably gagging to delve back into Amy Sherman-Palladino’s treasure trove of cultural references. From Edgar Allen Poe to Dan Brown, Britney Spears to The Smiths, Casablanca to Snakes on a Plane – Gilmore Girls has always been a luscious mix of the old and the new, highbrow and lowbrow.
It seems highly unlikely that Amy Sherman-Palladino has lost her touch, and I think we can brace ourselves for the rich, referential dialogue that we are used to. That said, I am nervous we’ll get a 2016-centric version of Stars Hollow. Sure, I’m happy to hear about Amy Schumer, John Oliver, and the Corpse Flower, but Gilmore Girls’ dialogue has never been rooted in the present, and that’s exactly why it’s stood the test of time.
My personal favourite reference from the pilot sets the tone for the seven years of dialogue to follow. Rory and Lorelai, in the middle of a bitter fight, stand outside Richard and Emily’s house waiting to be welcomed for their first ever Friday night dinner. ‘Ok look,’ Lorelai says. ‘I know you and me are having a thing here and I know you hate me, but I need you to be civil, at least through dinner and then on the way home you can pull a Menendez. Deal?’
In case you missed it, Lorelai is referencing the 1993 Menendez Trial, in which Lyle and Erik Menendez were charged with the brutal massacre of their two parents. Dark but hilarious, this reference was already seven years out of date when the episode aired. That’s the gorgeousness of Gilmore Girls, the references are vast and obscure, blink and you’ll miss them. Here’s hoping the revival offers more of the same.
Manic Paris Gellar
100% excited / 0% nervous
My favourite Gilmore Girls character? Paris Gellar. In the latest Netflix trailer there’s a brief shot of Liza Weil as Paris, standing with Rory in the bathroom at Chilton, throwing a swing kick at the door. Do I need to say anymore? Girl is going to be perfect.
The Stars Hollow Set
50% excited / 50% nervous
The idea of setting four episodes over four seasons in Stars Hollow? Genius. So much of the charm of Gilmore Girls exists in the shoveling of a snowy driveway, the falling of golden leaves, driving through town on a twinkle-lit summer’s night. A Netflix budget can only add to the fun – I’m expecting enough Twinkle lights to illuminate Manhattan and quite frankly, I cannot wait.
On the other hand, the Gilmore Girls set has always been a little hokey. The streets do not look like functioning streets, the shop fronts of the Warner Bros town are closed, and characters will take a round trip around the square to get from point A to B – even when points A and B are quite clearly next door to each other. Sometimes the inn is a drive out of town, other times (like when Rory and Jess take a sexual tension charged carriage ride) it’s right next door to Luke’s. We turn a blind eye to LA’s Burbank hills, looming over the gazebo, because we love Stars Hollow (and because they have hills everywhere).
But the way we watch Television has changed since 2007. Images are crisper, brighter, and the difference between our backlot town and prestige, location driven shows feels very wide. It’s not just that we’ve grown accustomed to transcontinental productions like Game of Thrones, or The Crown – even intimate dramas like Girls now shoot most externals on location. Pretty Little Liars, which has been shooting on the Stars Hollow set for the last seven years, is a comparatively cheap looking show in which everyone’s backyards seem to flow into each other in an illogical maze (PS. I can’t get enough of PLL).
I do not need Gilmore Girls to look expensive, or to take itself too seriously - I mostly just want to disappear into the Stars Hollow I know and love. That said, I hope my 2016 viewing habits don’t poke too many holes in my favourite town.
The final four words
10% excited / 90% nervous
Was there every anything more hyped than Amy Sherman-Palladino’s final four words? When she and husband Dan Palladino left Gilmore Girls due to botched network negotiations following season six, the show-runner teased that she had always known what the final four words of the show would be. Cue a decade of guessing on the part of fans.
Can the final four words live up to the hype? Even Sherman-Palladino herself admits its unlikely. Hit podcasters The Gilmore Guys have been touring the US asking fans to take a guess at those four magic words and so far, nobody has been able to come up with a particularly satisfying combination. Let’s pray Amy Sherman-Palladino truly is creatively superior to the rest of us plebs.
All of the Feels
100% excited / 0% nervous
Whatever Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life may lack in plot, I am certain it will make up for in sentiment. The death of Richard Gilmore alone promises to yield plenty of tear-jerking scenes, but I doubt the feels will be limited to Winter. The nuanced relationships between Emily, Lorelai, and Rory have always been masterfully handled, and I cannot wait to return to the Gilmore dinner table once more. Highs and lows guaranteed, I expect to feel all the feels come November 25th.