Gilmore Girls triumphantly returns to the screen
After years of anxious anticipation, Gilmore Girls fans were greeted by obsessive coffee drinking, awful eating habits, and witty banter in the revival released on November 25, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. I myself am one of these fans, and have been attempting to guess at the fates of the residents of Stars Hollow since I heard of the revival. It was easy enough to assume that Patty and Babette are their same sassy selves, Kirk is just as strange as ever, and Luke will continue to serve food at the diner with a grumpy attitude. I tried to pin down how Rory, Lorelai, and Emily’s storylines would end, but with such complex characters, it was hard to fathom how everything could come together in a perfect end to the series.
In the first of four 90-minute episodes, Rory reveals that her long sought-after journalism career is falling into shambles, and she has become almost completely aimless. Lorelai seems lost as well as she faces the passing of her father (Richard Gilmore), the wrath of her mother, and the disconnection between her boyfriend of the past nine years and herself. Perhaps the most unforeseeable storyline was that of Emily Gilmore. She has been known by fans as a strict woman with a stoney disposition who occasionally shows a little compassion for her daughter and granddaughter. In this revival, all of her walls have been broken down following Richard’s heartbreaking death, causing her to become vulnerable and melancholy.
Throughout the four episodes, the three women fight to regain control of their lives in a territory that is unknown to them. By the time the story closes, Rory has decided to write a book (which she titles, ever so fittingly, “Gilmore Girls”), Lorelai reconciles with her mother and decides to marry Luke, and Emily gives up her extravagant possessions and moves to Nantucket to embrace a simpler and untroubled life. They are all happy, and their storylines feel complete.
As for the rest of Stars Hollow’s beloved residents, they remain as eccentric and lively as first portrayed in the original series, alongside a few new additions. The identity of Lane’s mysterious dad is finally revealed, we discover Rory’s ex boyfriend’s whereabouts, and Michel’s sexuality is explained, which gives way to a more accepting atmosphere in the series.
In addition, fans receive nostalgic references to earlier episodes such as Lorelai’s infamous Paul Anka dream, her troublesome but well-loved jeep, an abundance of poptart-eating, a reappearance of the Life and Death Brigade, and a second (disturbing) short film by Kirk.
With all conflict resolved at least 20 minutes before the last episode ends, the audience can be sure that everything will be wrapped up in a neat bow, and it could be, depending on how they perceive the last couple of words spoken by Rory. I won’t give anything away, but there has been much debate over what these words mean to the characters and the series. Questions as to whether they are a cliffhanger, or a hint to a second revival, or a neat way to end the series have arisen with no certain answer. This is up to the viewer to decide. The way I see it, it’s a way of finishing the story in a manner that implies what happens next, while still giving the audience freedom to imagine their own ideal ending. It’s the perfect finish to such a brilliant and complex show.
After finishing the series, I am able to testify to the creativity and wit of the writers. The revival is a wonderful fit to the series; it manages to convey the characters as they had been in the original while adding new insight to their storylines. The character’s developments made the show new, but kept with themes and references from previous seasons. Gilmore Girls has been loved by generations of fans, and this revival is no different.