Netflix Gilmore Girls Has Its Moments, But Leaves a Lot To Be Desired
The Netflix Gilmore Girls revival is both not enough and too much, at least for this fan. Despite the fact that there was plenty that I didn’t love, I keep hoping to hear that we’ll get more than just those four episodes/six hours…although sadly it doesn’t seem like that will be the case. (At least not in any foreseeable future.)
WARNING: Do *not* read this article if you haven’t finished watching all four episodes of the Netflix Gilmore Girls revival…unless you don’t mind spoilers, that is.
Okay, so I’ll get this out of the way first – *this* is the story they took over NINE years to tell us?!
I hate to sound like I have nothing but complaints, because for the most part I really enjoyed watching this Netflix version of Gilmore Girls. I’ve always felt like Lorelai was a bit of a kindred spirit, so seeing her actually BE Lorelai again – not the mess they portrayed her to be in the last season of the TV show – was sheer perfection. She’s still a fast-talking whirlwind, she still has her issues, but I think that this [supposedly final] view into a year of her life did a lot toward showing who she is and why people get so attached to her. (The scenes about the “line story” were a perfect example of this.)
The most maddening Lorelai moments in these episodes mostly involved Luke, and were definitely more on him than on her – but then, that’s always kind of been their dynamic. First he’s frustrating, then she is, then he is again…it’s their schtick and it’s why they carry each other so well. It’s how they were written to be together, and the fact that they finally had their little wedding was a huge relief.
Additionally, Emily was great from start to finish. While of course Richard’s absence left a void, at the same time his presence loomed large (yes, I’m making a portrait joke). No, Gilmore Girls isn’t quite Gilmore Girls without Edward Herrmann – but it’s not quite right without Melissa McCarthy as Sookie, either (I’ll expand on that in a bit). That said, I think that the loss of her beloved husband is what led to Emily Gilmore having an essentially flawless character arc throughout the Netflix Gilmore Girls revival (and she really is the only one who does, to be honest).
Now, before I delve into the mess that was Rory, I need to talk a bit about the cameos. To be fair, many of them were more than that – we saw a lot of Taylor and Kirk, a decent amount of Babette and Gypsy, and a lot more of music store owner Sophie than I expected. There was also just the right amount of time spent with characters like Michel, Jess, Paris, Doyle, Headmaster Charleston, and Lane, though to be honest I wish we’d gotten a lot more of Mrs. Kim.
And speaking of Mrs. Kim, that officially brings us to the cameos. I really want to just talk about Mr. Kim existing and get that out of the way because SERIOUSLY WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?! I would love to see a listing of how many times Mr. Kim was mentioned in the series, when he was, and in what context…because I know it happened, but I don’t remember it happening more than a few times. I honestly thought he had just sort of died, or gone away. Perhaps he was a missionary and sent Mrs. Kim and Lane back to Stars Hollow so that Lane could be brought up in the States, I don’t know. But most of the time I kind of just assumed he was dead, and had been for a long time, and there was nothing wrong with that. I honestly didn’t realize that there were fans out there who really wanted to SEE the invisible Mr. Kim, enough of them that he got his own little fanservice moment in the Netflix Gilmore Girls “Spring” episode. Sorry not sorry, but this was one of those cameos that made me go “Nope.”
Another questionable cameo was Dean (seriously, it felt like some sort of Clue game was going on – Dean in Doose’s with the cornstarch!). If they really wanted to include him in the show, Rory writing her book was a perfect excuse, but couldn’t she have just called him up rather than oh-so-conveniently running into him in Stars Hollow? Similarly, the idea to have Francie come back was way out in left field and probably should have stayed there. Off screen. Off script, even.
April showing up was also a bit weird. Not that she was there, period, but rather that she came and went in a fly-by-night sort of way, leaving behind questions as to why she was only there for one scene, why she lied about Noam Chomsky, and why Luke was going to help her head off to Germany after also helping pay for MIT and presumably agreeing to help with grad school as well. I guess I would have felt better about him doing so much for her if she’d, I don’t know, been around more in the year that we “experienced” with these episodes.
Finally (for cameos, I mean), I hate to say this, but I was supremely disappointed in Melissa McCarthy’s appearance as Sookie. Shoot, we saw Jackson for less time, but he seemed more a part of things than Sookie did when she finally showed up toward the end of the final “Fall” episode. Sure, she was there to bake a bunch of wedding cakes – a decent throwback moment to when she did so the first time Lorelai was supposed to marry Luke – but then she wasn’t at their secret late night wedding? I understand that this was likely due to Melissa McCarthy’s busy schedule, but you would think that if they could only get her to come in for a short amount of time, they would have made sure to have the wedding set ready so that she could be part of that scene. But still, part of me wonders if she should have been brought back at all – while most of the other Gilmore Girls regulars obviously maintained their rapport with each other (at least character-wise), everything about Lorelai and Sookie’s conversation felt stilted and out of place, which was depressing to say the least.
Thankfully, Taylor was still Taylor and Kirk was still Kirk. Petal the Pig was a nice addition; she almost made up for the fact that we didn’t get to see Lulu at all. And I loved the fact that Lorelai and Kirk’s relationship was so well-defined, between her inviting him to eat a Friday night dinner with her mother to the funny little bit about him throwing up in the upstairs bathroom to the absolutely perfect wedding decor that he set out for her. Perhaps it was because there was so much of them contained in just six hours versus being spread out over many seasons that it was finally completely obvious that Lorelai is and has been the truly positive mother figure that Kirk has always needed; regardless, I’m glad it was written into the Netflix Gilmore Girls revival.
And then there was Rory. And Logan. And Logan. And Rory. Together. Seriously, I will never understand why the writers clearly had – have – such a thing for him. Sure, at the beginning of his and Rory’s relationship there were times when I was taken in a bit by his charms, but overall he was downright terrible for her. That doesn’t mean he’s the Worst Person Ever – it just means that I couldn’t see how Rory was ever meant to BE with him, especially long term. I was so excited when she refused his proposal at the end of the seventh season that even though I knew Matt Czuchry was slated to appear in the Netflix episodes, I figured he would be one of those lesser cameos. Honestly, if they had just been friends and he had only shown up to take her on the little Life and Death Brigade outing with Robert, Colin, and Finn, it would have been *perfect*…but no. No. Instead, he and Rory were having an illicit affair, while she was dating someone named Paul and he was ENGAGED.
Side note on Paul – had Rory not been constantly, blatantly cheating on him, that little story would have been funny. He’s like ForgetMeNot from the X-Men – I’m not even sure if they were meaning to make that reference, but knowing it made the existence of his character and the fact that he was super nice and yet no one remembered him made it that much more hilarious to me. Until, you know, Rory was constantly cheating on and conveniently forgetting to break up with him.
The fact that Rory learned nothing about being the other woman with Dean and that she was still messing around with Logan, combined with how even after finally giving him the old heave-ho over the phone she still had one last night with him to round it all out, and how the final episode ended not on a happy note with Lorelai and Luke’s marriage but with Rory telling her mom that she was pregnant…well, this Logan detractor is pretty disappointed. Supposedly this has been planned all along, supposedly Amy Sherman-Palladino always wanted to end the series by having things come full-circle, but Rory was so not the Rory I loved in this series. I could deal with the fact that her journalism career wasn’t turning out so well, but I really thought things would get better when she took over the Stars Hollow Gazette and decided to write her Gilmore Girls book. I even felt a bit of hope for her and Jess when it became obvious that yes, he was/is still in love with her…but no, she’s pregnant (with what we must assume is Logan’s child), and no, we probably won’t get to see what happens to her in the future. She had some fun scenes, sure, but in the end the full story that the Netflix Gilmore Girls revival told about her left a bad taste in my mouth.
That’s why I have to say that these four 90-minute long episodes weren’t enough…even while they were at times too much. For instance, why did we need the lengthy bits about the Stars Hollow musical when we never even got to see how it turned out?
And my other major complaint (aside from basically everything about Rory), is that everyone is older – including the writers! – but the humor that is part of what I’ve always loved about Gilmore Girls didn’t really evolve. For example, the scenes at the Stars Hollow municipal pool were great…you know, except for the fatshaming. Rory having a one night stand was one of those un-Rory-like things that I thought was amusing and could have gotten behind…until they turned it into a joke about people who go to Comic Cons, particularly women who do so. (Here’s a hint, writers: that’s not a “loser” thing to do, especially not nowadays.) And yeah, I found myself chuckling over the bits about the “Thirty-something group” that the town residents kept trying to push on Rory…but even they just became one [kind of mean] joke about Millennials, as if we don’t have enough jokes about them already.
In the end, is the Netflix Gilmore Girls revival a must-watch for fans? Yeah, I do believe that it is. I even wish that it had been, say, eight one-hour long episodes, so that some of the better stories could have been fleshed out a bit more. But it only brought back that old Gilmore Girls magic once in a while, so in a way, I guess I’m kind of glad that the wait and the hype are finally over.
What did you think about this new (and very likely final) dose of Gilmore Girls? Let us know in the comments!
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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