Gilmore Girls: Fall

“I’m five by five.”

After Amy Sherman-Palladino’s unexpected departure from Gilmore Girls after the sixth season, she explained to the fandom that she had always known what the final four words of the series would be. And GG fans have been waiting ever since, until this moment, which comes right after the page break…

“Mom?”
“Yeah?”
“I’m pregnant.”

I’ve never been too obsessed with the final four words, perhaps because I didn’t watch Gilmore Girls as it aired, and didn’t know about the controversy of the seventh season until after I’d seen it. Plus, showrunners like to talk about the last moment—Darlton from Lost said they knew the last image—but the point of a story is not the end, the point is everything that gets us to the end.

For that reason, I like these final four words, with a caveat: Rory being pregnant in her early thirties is very different from Rory being pregnant in her early twenties, as she would have been in a Sherman-Palladino-created seventh or eighth season. And Rory being pregnant with her strong support system is very different from Lorelai living in an unheated shed when Rory was a baby.

But pregnancy will be good for Rory, I think. The internet has given her a lot of flak for being entitled, lazy, not good enough at her job, not focused enough on her job, not making enough at her job to afford a stable place to live, not as much of a “force of nature” as her mother (to use Christopher’s phrase—and isn’t it interesting that he described Lorelai that way, and then felt he had to qualify it by saying it applied to Rory, too?). And yes, she does lack grounding. Yes, it is surprising she didn’t go to grad school, which actually would have explained why she’s lagging behind her peers in milestones like house-buying and marriage.

But journalism underwent some serious changes in the past 15 years, and it’s hard for writers to make money. It’s hard for writers to write if they’re not driven to write. We should be sad that Rory hasn’t found her place in life. We should accept that she isn’t her mother. But I’m not sure we should judge her in careerist language or hate her for having a support system willing to actually support her.

Because Rory, I think, does have a place in life. It’s Stars Hollow. She’s best at being a big fish in a small pond. She was more engaged in the question of whether or not the Stars Hollow Gazette would continue than in her article about lines for GQ or her pitch to the millennial webzine. She might teach, she will continue to write, but what I want most for her is to find a stable place. A place that makes her feel “safe” (as she told Dean). A community. And having a child will help her do that.

And let’s face it, Lorelai will be an incredible grandmother. Especially since she’s worked out her issues in this last episode. Her attempt to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, inspired by the book—not the movie!—Wild was perfect, and as was her phone call to Emily. It’s so poignant that it took Richard’s death for the two of them to truly connect. I’m so happy they did, since their baggage was weighing both of them down.

Having dealt with her father’s death and opened up to her mother, Lorelai was finally able to have a serious conversation with Luke. That they got married was sweet, but it’s their commitment to one another—which really happened in the kitchen, with Lorelai sweaty from her trip and Luke finally talking about his feelings—that mattered the most.

And Emily has found her place in life, away from Connecticut and the DAR. In Robert Heinlein’s To Sail Beyond the Sunset, a woman of advanced age described her life: daughter, wife, mother…and then, finally, bachelor. Free from expectations, able to pursue her own interests. That’s what Nantucket, with its bloody whaling history and numerous Bertha-family members, has for Emily. The freedom to be herself.

Isn’t that what this show is about? Sure, in some ways it is about the way money cures all problems. Or about intergenerational conflicts, or laughing at Kirk’s latest wacky scheme. But the core conflict has been three woman struggling to figure out how they relate to the world, and how their relation to the world affects their relationships with one another. And now they've done that, so there's room for a fourth Gilmore.

Bits and Pieces:

• Lorelai trying to hike the Pacific Crest Trail may have struck some of you as absurd, but I read Wild earlier this year and plan to put it on my Best of 2016 list. If it weren’t for my responsibilities to my cats, I think I would have tried, and likely failed at, the same thing.

• I loved seeing Dean, and I love that Rory looks back on that relationship with fondness. Obviously, when he was talking about lice he was talking about hunting things.

• This is me not talking about the Life or Death Brigade.

• But I will say this: I was so horrified when Rory took the key from Logan, and so happy when she gave it back. (That she then took a metaphorical key from her grandmother grated a bit.)

• The first park ranger was Jason Ritter, and the second was Peter Krause of Six Feet Under, who is Lauren Graham's real-life Luke.

• I don’t know what I loved more: the brief return of Melissa McCarthy, or Emily scaring small children with stories of eviscerated whales.

Four out of four Stars Hollows.

Josie Kafka reviews The Vampire Diaries, Game of Thrones, and various other things that take her fancy. She is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I was really happy with all four episodes of A Year in the Life. Loved the wedding, and that they chose to make it private. Rory's life confusion may very well be de-confused by pregnancy; my own certainly got me focused. I cried through that phone call Lorelai made to Emily about her favorite memory of her father, and really loved that Emily finally found herself and embraced herself while improving the lives of her maid and the maid's entire family. Very full circle.

I wasn't as happy that Dean only got a five minute scene in Doose's, but it was lovely that Rory told him "You taught me what 'safe' feels like." I was also unhappy with the possibility that the baby daddy is Logan, especially since I am now on Team Jess. Jess grew up big time, didn't he? The way he looked at Rory in that last moment said volumes; he still loves her.

Along with the wonderful Peter Krause cameo, I have to add the mention of An Unmarried Woman, a 1978 movie I recently rewatched, which has a beautiful performance by Kelly Bishop (Emily) as the lead character's best friend. I also loved the mention of the Buffy marathon, and that for Lorelai, hiking was all about getting everything in the pack. It was also so sad that Christopher was so clearly unhappy. For him, Lorelai was it, and he didn't get the girl.

There isn't much I would add to this revival. Other than more episodes. Couldn't they do Another Year in the Life next year?

Anonymous said...

as both of you, i really liked the revival. i watched the series when it originally aired and my first college roommate had all the dvds and we watched gilmore girls almost daily (and buffy :) ) ok, maybe some things i didn t like so much, there wasn´t enough lane for me and somehow luke felt kind of strange to me.

but i think they portraied rorys struggle with life and job life quite accurately. i m in my early thirties now, graduated with exeptional grades a few years ago and couldn t find a job for a year straight before i decided to do my phd. when i finish it, i won t find a job right away either or might be doing stuff where you "volunteer" and don t get paid. (i m from europe and studied history). so i found myself really connecting with rory and her struggles. i haven t read any reviews on other sites so i didn t know there was resentment of her for the job and resulting living situation. which i frankly don t get. and who says she s not her mother? what does that even mean? as if lorelai never had any doubts or did some crazy things (like marrying christopher). apart from that: emily formed lorelai, lorelai formed rory. i d be worried if both of those educational styles had the same outcome.

also, i thought they accomplished a rather nice ending (looking at you, himym). when i started watching this episode i already felt somewhat whistful and longing for more and the ending multiplied that. the feelings!
and i loved dean showing up and also thought of spn when he started talking about the lice.