Review: ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’

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Sara Schleede, Editor-in-chief

Technically, my home is right here in Allen, Texas. But in my heart, my hometown is the quirky, heartwarming Stars Hollow, Connecticut. So when “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” premiered on Netflix Nov. 25, it felt like going home again.

“Gilmore Girls” aired its first episode Oct. 5, 2000, and it’s been almost a decade since the show was cancelled and the final episode aired May 20, 2007. The show follows the lives of Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel), mother and daughter who act more like best friends, as they navigate their professional and romantic lives.

Many fans were unsatisfied with the show’s initial seven season run. The original writers Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino left the show after season six, leaving David S. Rosenthal to wrap up the series. The shift changed the vibe of the show immensely, and the show ended with loose ends and an overall displeasing taste in everyone’s mouths. But then the revival was announced, and the fans had a beacon of hope. Finally the show would wrap up in the way that was originally intended.

To say I’m a big fan of “Gilmore Girls” would be an insulting understatement. I rewatch the series in an endless cycle, and I can recall episode names based on a single line of dialogue. Needless to say, I was nervous about the revival, but overall it did not disappoint. The gazebo was still standing in the center of town square, Miss Patty was still leading dance lessons and Taylor Doose was still plotting elaborate town improvements. Everything was as it was left almost 10 years ago, except now in higher definition.

Much of the show’s personality comes from the pop culture references the characters playfully ingrain into conversation, and I was worried about how it would sound with Lorelai talking about “Game of Thrones” rather than “The Sopranos.” Fortunately, the modern references didn’t come off as clunky or wooden. Sometimes revivals can be depressing because you realize all of the time that has gone by, but it worked well.

Gilmore Girls isn’t just a good show because of its quick wit and eccentric setting; what has drawn me to it for so many years has been the characters. Lorelai and Rory are messy, complicated, and interesting. Sometimes I can’t tell if the writers want me to be rooting for them or not, and they continued to embrace the moral ambiguity in the revival. There were times that I wanted to scream at Rory through my laptop screen, but I never dared to turn an episode off, because while her conflicts were frustrating, they were also fascinating. Lorelai grappling with her father’s death and ever-present struggling relationship with her mother Emily (Kelly Bishop) was one of the most well-crafted conflicts I’ve seen played out on television.

The revival was not without its flaws. The ending is controversial. And more than a little unsatisfying. As always happens, there is already discussion about a second season. There is a lot more story that can happen, so I would definitely watch if that were the case. But honestly, even if this revival had been a complete bust, I would still watch another season of it. I’m addicted to “Gilmore Girls” like a Gilmore girl is addicted to caffeine. Luckily, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” wasn’t hard to swallow, and I give it four out of five coffee cups (er…stars).