The Highs and Lows of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

The return of Gilmore Girls to our TVs this month is probably the biggest pop culture gift of 2016, but for even the biggest of show fans, the reviews have been decidedly mixed. For as many tears were shed during Luke and Lorelai's wedding, just as many jaws were on the ground hearing the final four words, along with plenty of outrage. That's why it's time to cover the highs and lows of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. We had a ton of initial reactions, but let's go over exactly why we felt blessed by Netflix and Amy Sherman-Palladino and why we're still scratching our heads.


The Highs

  • The glimpse at Luke and Lorelai's home life. Luke and Lorelai's relationship has to hit a snag before moving forward (more on that later), but how comforting is it to see that they've been together all these years? These two still have their same witty rapport, and they still fight about food, but it's in their shared space that they've made a home.
  • Luke being a superproud dad of Rory. How freaking cute is Luke about Rory's New Yorker piece? He puts it on the diner menu! In Christopher's brief scene, you barely get the idea that these two are father and daughter, but the minute Luke sees Rory back in Stars Hollow, it's like he's literally beaming. It cements that Luke is the dad that Rory never had and deserves.
  • The appropriate honor paid to Richard/Edward Herrmann. Edward Herrmann died in 2014, and we knew his death would be a big part of the revival, but it's more devastating to see it played out on the screen than I imagined. The homages to Richard are tasteful and moving, and the characters don't just move on after a cursory mention.
  • Paris Geller being a badass. Rory may not have her sh*t together, but Paris does — professionally, anyway. She runs a high-end fertility clinic and she's confident, hilariously name-droppy, and so chic (and how amazing is her haircut?!). Her marriage to Doyle may have come to an end and she may not be over Tristan after all these years, but whatever — she's still a BAMF.
  • Hep Alien still being together. Let's give it up for the one solid onscreen marriage: Lane and Zack's. But even happier, the band is still together, and Lane and Zack even get gigs at the Secret Bar! Maybe the music is the secret to their happiness.
  • The Secret Bar. Speaking of the Secret Bar gig, how great is the reveal of Stars Hollow's clandestine watering hole? It's obviously got to stay a secret from Taylor (complete with its immediate shutdown whenever he's in the area), but it makes sense. You know people in this town needed a drink every once in a while.
  • Paul Anka. Phew, so happy Paul Anka is still kickin'. And did you see that cute look he gave Luke when he cooked him a steak?!
  • Luke and Taylor's moment. Taylor can be a hardass, and when it comes to Stars Hollow, he's so pushy. Luke is just as stubborn and always was in the series, but how nice it is that he finally goes along with a Taylor request for the sewage system?
  • Michel's personal life reveal. In the revival, Michel confirms what maybe The WB didn't want out in the open back in the day: he's gay. He's also married and getting ready to have kids (begrudgingly). None of it is surprising, but it does make you really happy to see Michel happy.
  • Emily and Lorelai finally going to therapy. This is such a long time coming that you almost get déjà vu seeing them on that couch.
  • Jess. Sigh. We may not have gotten the Team Jess win we really wanted, but damn, it's great to see him again and giving Rory the exact life advice she needs.
  • Rory writing a book about her and Lorelai. This is the full-circle moment we all should have seen coming. In Rory's career rut, Jess and his big arm muscles fortuitously show up and pitch her the idea. She's in, because duh. Then she writes it in Richard's study under her own portrait. It's perfect.
  • Logan's gratuitous shirtless moment. Um, I am not exactly Team Logan, but I am Team Logan's Bare Chest.
  • How Christoper looks now. David Sutcliffe is 47. Please explain the sorcery that is his ageless, even-better-looking face.
  • Dean and Rory's closure. Jared Padalecki may have only been on for one brief scene, but a great deal is accomplished in that scene, namely bittersweet, lovely closure.
  • Sookie! There was so much drama around Melissa McCarthy's potential appearance, but in the end, she made it! And it's such a Sookie scene: she does something funny and clumsy, has a warm BFF moment with Lorelai, and she unveils that tearjerking milestone cake. Classic Sookie.
  • The Parenthood cameos. Yes, to all of them, yes.
  • Emily saying the words "bullsh*t" and "tits." After Richard's death, Emily gets a lot off her chest, like the bullsh*t that is the DAR. My jaw would have dropped to the ground when any Gilmore Girls character uttered a curse word, but the fact that it's Emily makes it so much sweeter.
  • Emily's new life in Nantucket. She doesn't just curse freely; she finds herself again in a cute, unfussy beach home and as a chilling teller of whale-murder tales at a local museum. Who would have thought this was in Emily's future? Not us, but we're so grateful for it.
  • That Jess moment. You know the one. It's the hopeful moment Rory/Jess shippers wanted. It's brief, but it's enough to fuel hundreds of pages of fan fiction.
  • Lorelai and Luke's wedding. You didn't think the wedding was just going to be this traditional event in the town square, did you? After over 16 years of bickering and longing looks, Luke and Lorelai tie the knot in the middle of the night, with just Rory and a few friends in attendance and among the magical decorations Kirk "mistakenly" hung up.

The Lows

  • The godawful musical. It's funny at first, but it really ate into the patience of a lot of fans.
  • Paul. Poor Paul. We wish we could forget about him as easily as the Gilmores did.
  • The Life and Death Brigade scene. Don't get me wrong, Rory desperately needs a night out when the old college gang shows up, but the fantastical scene doesn't match the tone of the rest of the show at all.
  • The pool hangouts. Much of my grumpiness has to do with scenes that just felt like filler, precious minutes that could have been used for more meaty substance with these characters. Hence: everything at the pool, including the uncharacteristic fat-shaming of Pat, could have gone.
  • The celebrity chef cameos. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Gilmore Girls was never rerun on the Food Network, right? How, then, did celebrity chef cameos feel right? Again, it's just thematically off.
  • The 30-something gang. Another bit that goes on for too long and is also kind of confusing. Are these people just lost adults, or is there something wrong with them that causes them to stare and moronically quote Daniel Day-Lewis?
  • Rory being a homewrecker with yet another ex. We lived through it with Dean and are expected to believe that Rory does it again and this is just who she is. I get that she can't quit Logan (Team Logan's Bare Chest forever), but the old Rory Gilmore feels bad for being the other woman.
  • The idea that Luke and Lorelai need a baby. Luke and Lorelai have each had a child, are in their late 40s, and have never talked about wanting a child together. So we're supposed to believe that they go to the trouble of exploring very expensive and invasive surrogacy options based on an offhand comment Emily makes? It's just not believable.
  • Not enough Jess. I can live with one scene of Dean and one scene of Christopher and one scene of Sookie, but this revival needed about 10,000 percent more Jess.
  • The idea we might never learn who the father of Rory's baby is. I'd trade my firstborn for another season of Gilmore Girls just to find out who fathered Rory's baby, but the reality is that there is no news yet about another season. What if we never know?! The world is a cruel place.