Gilmore Girls: Winter

“Haven’t done that for a while.”
“Felt good.”

After almost ten years off the air, Gilmore Girls has returned. Everyone is older, nobody’s much wiser, and Stars Hollow is thinking about switching to a sewer system. I’m so happy we’re back.

The Netflix iteration of Gilmore Girls is either four 90-minute episodes or eight regular-sized episodes, depending on how you think about it. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, back after a contractual dispute ousted her after Season Six, is going with the 90-minute idea: “Winter,” like later episodes, feels like one long episode rather than two short ones, and—in true serialization style—it introduces new questions but doesn’t answer them.

Especially the big question: what’s Rory doing? She’s never been a master at wise life choices, and she seems to be truly struggling with the mid-thirties slump that I’m sure many of us have experienced. She’s a writer, which means she’s struggling. (Thanks, internet.) She’s either homeless or living la vida peripatetic, depending on who’s describing it. She has a two-year-long relationship with a man neither she nor her mother can remember, and she’s cheating on him with Logan.

(Ugh! Not Logan!)

Throughout the episode, Rory says she has “irons in the fire,” which is code for “nothing yet, but I’m grinning through the fear.” As Billie would say, this week’s Most Obvious Symbolism is the “lucky outfit” Rory can’t find. But she has plenty of places to look, which is telling: she is storing boxes with Lorelai and Luke, Lane, Emily, and even Logan. She has a strong support system, her “superproud” people are rooting for her, and I wish she’d be more open about her struggles.

But she gets that reticence from her mother. Lorelai may cultivate a flighty, insouciant persona, but she inherited a WASPy stoicism from her mother. It’s no wonder that she’s having anxiety nightmares about dirty bathrooms. Does she want kids? Is she sick of being in a long-term relationship and all the little in-jokes (Felix, Oscar) that reveal familiarity and, perhaps, boredom? Lorelai has many wonderful things, including a steady relationship with Luke, but where does she go from here?

That’s the question haunting Emily Gilmore, too. In the wake of Richard’s death, Emily has to figure out how to be something other than a wife—a position she held for over 50 years. (Holy cow.) She can KonMari her way through her grief, but she also needs to figure out who to be and what that new self means for her relationship with her daughter, which is, as always, fraught with resentment.

The flashback to the funeral emphasized just how much the loss of Edward Herrmann has affected this new set of episodes. When Lorelai was unable to think of a story to tell about her father, it was awkward. But the worst part was the fight between Emily and Lorelai in the kitchen: they are both in touch with their emotions, I think, but unable to express them to each other in a way that doesn’t drive the other one crazy.

The Gilmore women are the heart of this show, but it’s the supporting characters I was happiest to see. There’s something relaxing about their brand of wacky, and the pull of nostalgia is strong. Michel is married, and his husband wants kids. Gypsy still doesn’t sugarcoat. Taylor is Taylor, and Kirk is Kirk, but now he has a pig. Paris and Doyle got married, had kids, and are in the middle of what I’m sure will be a miserable divorce. We got some new supporting players, too, including Alex Kingston’s delightful lush Naomi Shropshire.

Having rewatched Gilmore Girls earlier this year, I turned on this episode most excited to see where the characters wound up and to immerse myself in the quirky, fast-paced world that Sherman-Palladino excels at creating. I wound up having more emotions than I expected—the fight between Lorelai and Emily made me cry—but I’m also incredibly impressed by how perfectly each actor has returned to their character, and each line of dialogue feels true to this immersive reality.

Tacos and Tater Tots:

• Kirk and the Ooo-ber joke was funny, then less funny, and then funny again when it came full circle and he hated hearing the word, too.

• Lane describing how her husband Zack just looks like his father was hilarious. I kept thinking “Yeah, because he lived in a world of supernatural beings for a few years.”

• Was Lorelai wearing a dress covered in dinosaurs?

• Apparently the dog Paul Anka is played by the same dog. How sweet is that?

• Paris complained that Doyle became a screenwriter. It’s true, he did: and he’s darn good at it.

Is this worthy of a four out of four Stars Hollows? I think so.

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?)

6 comments:

Billie Doux said...

It was wonderful. It was like we were away for awhile and now we're back and it's the same place, only everyone is a little bit older. Of course, for me it hasn't been that long since I watched the entire series for the first time quite recently.

It's hard to decide what I liked best because there was so much. Rory tap dancing to relieve stress. Luke's wifi passwords. Everybody forgetting Paul the boyfriend. The sewer stories. The troubadour chasing out his sister. Paul Anka. And the funeral was heartbreaking. I liked that a family actually moved in on Emily because she deserves it after firing three thousand maids. And I liked that Emily didn't seem to mind.

Clearly, Rory needs to make some decisions about her life. I haven't seen the other three yet, but I bet that's the focus. Plus I think it's time that Lorelai commits to Luke. Why hasn't she married him?

Lovely review, Josie. :)

Heather1 said...

I had a lot of trepidations. Sometimes we want to recapture something so badly... and it just can't happen. But I was so relieved and then overjoyed to see that this re-boot was fantastic!

I've seen all 4 episodes. Don't worry, no spoilers from me. Were there things I would have liked them to have done differently? Sure. But the 4 episodes captured the spirit of Gilmore Girls, moved their story along and provided opportunities to catch up with everyone!

I won't comment on the end (I promised no spoilers). But while many will wonder, I was very satisfied. It was delicious!

Josie Kafka said...

Heather1, we'll post reviews of each episode, so you'll have a place to talk about that last scene in a few days!

Mallena said...

I didn't really watch that many episodes of Gilmore Girls when it was airing years ago. I mostly read articles about it, because it did get lots of press. Because of all the hype of this revival, I did want to watch it, but I was surprised by the style of this. It felt like a play, like the walls of the set were just out of view. The character emoted in a dramatic way with dramatic pauses between long speeches. Comical characters that didn't make a lot of sense to me, came in and out of the scenes doing weird things. I'm not saying I didn't like it, but as someone not that familiar with this show, it felt odd. Was it supposed to feel surreal, or was that just me?

Billie Doux said...

Mallena, the revival is exactly like the series was, only ten years later. It probably does seem surreal. Maybe we all just got sucked into a surreal series. :)

Laure Mack said...

Loved your review, Josie!

It truly is surreal that we were able to come back to the same place with the same characters and the only thing that's changed is that everyone is a little older.

The fight between Lorelei and Emily got to me, too. Did they always fight that dirty with each other and my tolerance is just lower?? Or was this especially bloody, because ouch. The tongue is what's mightier than the sword.

I HATE that Rory and Logan are dating other people as well as each other. No no no no no. Nothing good can come out of this and I really hoped that if Rory was going to get back together with an old love interest, it would be him.

Loved seeing that Lorelei's relationship with snow hasn't changed and I feel a deep kinship with Rory's struggles to find her place in the real world.