THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS. Lots of spoilers.
As you might have gathered from the headline of this blog post, I was not a fan of this year’s much-hyped return to Stars Hollow. I say this neither lightly nor to upset those who enjoyed the four-part revival (I’m sure there must have been some). In fact, it practically pains me to do so, because I was as excited as the next fan to find out what had happened to TV’s finest mother-daughter dream team.
Don’t get me wrong, there were moments. Kelly Bishop shouting ‘bull shit’ several times being one of them. But for me, the highlights were few and far between. And the reason why?
Now I came to the show pretty late – by about 16 years. When it debuted in 2000, it kind of passed me by because I was a Buffy girl and I liked my TV dark and vampy. The gloominess of real life means I now prefer my escapism cutesy and twee, so when I was looking for something to fill the Friday Night Lights/Parenthood void earlier this year, Gilmore Girls fit the bill perfectly.
The benefit of coming to the programme a decade and a half late was that having squeezed all seven series into six months, many of the story-lines were fresh in my head. But that also meant I could easily recall all the times Rory Gilmore was basically a bit of a dick.
And apparently, that hasn’t changed, it’s just gotten worse.
That’s right. Alexis Bledel’s character has always been, as my friend so succinctly put it, a brat. For much of the show’s run her behaviour could be excused by virtue of the fact she was, for the most part, a teenager. But all the revival did was show how Rory spectacularly failed to mature in the decade that had supposedly passed.
Take for example her Trans-Atlantic shagathon with Logan. It’s hardly a surprise he would cheat on his fiancee and it’s not the first time Rory’s played the role of ‘other woman’ either – lest we forget her doomed affair with first love Dean while he was married. So why does it seem more distasteful this time around? Perhaps because her previous indiscretion could be put down to immaturity and raging hormones, whereas there’s nothing to excuse the behaviour of a 32-year-old who pouts when her fuck buddy says she can’t visit because his future wife is there.
Then there’s her “career”. With a startling lack of perspective she spends half her time moaning about a meeting with Conde Nast being pushed, seemingly unaware she should be thanking the editorial gods they would consider someone whose credentials seem to be little more than one article in the New Yorker and editor of a university newspaper.
When she finally gets an opportunity to write for GQ, she is the height of unprofessionalism, nodding off while interviewing one contact and sleeping with another. It’s never mentioned, but presumably she blows off writing the article altogether. Finally, when she goes to meet a prospective employer she rocks up having prepared nothing and acts like she’s doing them a favour. And she wonders why she’s unemployed?
With her bottom lip firmly stuck out she returns to Stars Hollow where she plays the Ballad of the Sad Millennial like a broken record to anyone who will listen (I have no job, my driving licence expired, I have no underwear, wah wah wah), until Jess sidles in looking all hot and ripped and gives her the blindingly obvious book idea she is apparently incapable of coming up with herself.
Then, when Lorelai asks her not to write about her life for all to read, Little Miss Entitled throws a strop of epic proportions, in an echo of that time she moved out and refused to speak to her mother for months because it was suggested that leaving one of the most prestigious schools in America halfway through her degree was a bad idea. That sort of behaviour was sort of excusable then because no 21-year-old does what their mother tells them, but at 32?
And just when you thought she had reached the height of dickishness, she then drops the bombshell I sort of suspected was coming: Rory Gilmore, whose future was once so bright, is up the duff (presumably with Logan’s baby, though there’s an outside chance it’s the Wookie’s) and doomed, it seems, to repeat the mistakes her mother made and had every chance to avoid.
My biggest beef with this curve-ball is more with writer Amy Sherman-Palladino. Rumour has it she always wanted to end the series this way, which is deeply depressing but would sort of have made sense given Rory was supposed to be 22. But what excuse has Rory reasonably got to get into that position at 32? Floundering in every aspect of life doesn’t stop one from using a condom, does it?
I recently read an article in which Sherman-Palladino defended the cliffhanger, claiming life isn’t supposed to be wrapped up in a bow at 32. She’s right, but if you’ve given the character every opportunity, support and financial backing, then it’s dreadfully sad to write an arc as subtle as a brick in the face that recycling Lorelai’s past was Rory’s inevitable fate all along.
I guess the only thing you can say in Sherman-Palladino’s defence is that when a show ends with the loose ends neatly tied – and as we all know, she did not write season seven – where do you go? Lorelai finally had her happy ending with Luke, while Rory had a bright career ahead of her as a journalist. To fill 360 extra minutes of plot you have to fuck it all up to make something to watch.
What we witnessed was Rory becoming a total disappointment and a load of half-baked story-lines in which we were supposed to believe Lorelai would have left thinking about having another child until she was 48 (having apparently never discussed it with her partner of nine years) and having to ‘find herself’ Wild-style. And don’t even get me started on the Stars Hollow musical segment.
If we’re being honest, all anyone really wanted from this was to know who Rory ended up with (Team Jess, btw) and on that basis, the Gilmore Girls revival was a total flop. Except when Emily told the DAR girls where to shove it. Emily forever ❤