Saturday, December 03, 2016

J: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Warning: Spoilers follow!!

If you were a reader of this blog at all back in the day, you know that I had a pretty strong love-hate relationship with Gilmore Girls, especially toward the end of its original run..and especially with Rory Gilmore. She started off the series so relatable and likable and gradually just became insufferable. I won't go into all the reasons, but consequently I was pretty nervous about this revival.

So, when I couldn't binge-watch all of A Year in the Life right away...I (like Mira) read spoilers. Well, not really spoilers. More like, full recaps and full analysis. LOTS of it. And it kind of led me to expect the worst! So, when I got around to watching it throughout this week, it actually was not nearly as bad I had been fearing...and yes, I, like, Mira, am generally satisfied.

The Bad:
  • The Stars Hollow Musical was almost totally unwatchable. I know a big component of the show is the Stars Hollow "quirkiness," but this was too much. Sutton Foster is great, but man, it took all I could to not fast-forward through that.
  • The Life and Death Brigade. UGH! They're so awful.
  • Rory's blitheness about her personal and professional problems the first and second episodes. I know it was supposed to be funny that she has a boyfriend that no one can remember, including herself, but that's just horrible. I'm glad she realized that and admitted it out loud later, but she still didn't do anything about it. And it still pisses me off how Lorelai excuses Rory's bad behavior...yes Paul did not fit. That didn't mean she could just treat him like crap. 
  • And her thing with Logan? I could not empathize with or feel sorry for her on that one either. 
  • As for her career, I guess it's one thing to not want to settle for a job she doesn't want, but Rory has always had too lofty goals and I didn't see any indication that she'd been paying her dues since the last time we saw her. She was expecting that her one New Yorker article was supposed to get her straight to the top? Her indignation at the interview with the online site annoyed the crap out of me too. You had no ideas and you're mad that they decided they didn't want to hire you?
  • The Thirty-Something Gang and how they were all disappointed that Rory didn't want to hang out with them. She's not that cool, ok guys?
  • I like Paris, but I found her freak-out in the bathroom at Chilton to be totally unnecessary. And her still being hung up on non-Chad-Michael-Murray-Tristan was kind of pathetic. 
  • Rory's random speech about music at Chilton was terrible too. As if the kids would really enjoy that?
  • I understand Lorelai missing Sookie, but the way she was just dismissing those celebrity guest chefs really irritated me.
  • Lorelai and Rory at the pool being catty and having those kids be their servants. Another ridiculous example of how they know they can get away with anything in Stars Hollow and have no problem taking advantage of it.
The Meh:
  • I kind of hoped Lane would be doing something more interesting. I guess it's nice that she and Zach and the band are still going, but it looks like she's still working at her mom's store so not much has changed...
  • I'm Team Jess, although I didn't have much hope that he and Rory would end up together. But I did hope he'd have a bigger role in these episodes. Oh, well. His last scene made it clear (to me at least) that he still has feelings for Rory, so who knows. There were a lot of mentions of things coming "full circle" which some people have extended to include making a parallel between Lorelai/Christopher/Luke and Rory/Logan/Jess, but I guess we will never know! Unless Amy Sherman-Palladino decides to reveal something...
  • Rory writing a book about her and her mom. Did this strike anyone else as very Little Women/Anne of Green Gables? (Or at least the movie versions.)
  • I thought Sookie's appearance was kind of a letdown, honestly. Not that her babbling was out of character, but maybe it was just too short?
  • April is still annoying. I guess that's fine...
The Good:
  • Happy ending for Luke and Lorelai! There was a lot of focus on who Rory would end up with, but my biggest shipper concern was mainly for L/L and I'm glad they did not screw that up. I really loved Luke's speech when he thought Lorelai was leaving him.
  • I thought I would hate Lorelai's "Wild" detour, but I actually thought it was pretty funny. If you hadn't read the book or seen the movie, I don't think it would have been nearly as entertaining though.
  • I thought they did a really good job with Emily and Lorelai's relationship and the aftermath of Richard's death. I'm glad Emily quit the DAR and moved out of her house. The running gag with Berta and her family and their language was too much for me though. I had the captions on, and they translated some of what Berta was saying just fine...
  • Rory kind of redeemed herself to me by the end. She realized what bad decisions she'd been making in her personal life, realized that she's not really cut out for journalism (which I kind of thought was obvious since like...Mitchum Huntzberger), and just generally seemed to be a bit more self aware.
  • The final four words. In some ways I kind of glad that the Palladinos weren't able to finish season 7 the way they wanted to. Having Rory pregnant and becoming a single mom at 32 is very different from having that happen at 22, and I think she's way more prepared for it now. Going back to the conversation with Christopher, it's clear she was trying to figure out if she should do what her mother did or if she should involve the father more. 
Odds and Ends:
  • Loved the cameos from Lauren Graham's Parenthood co-stars Jason Ritter and Peter Krause (also Lauren Graham's real-life boyfriend), as the park rangers. Unfortunately Mae Whitman's was kind of lame.
  • Why mention that Luke is friends with Kiefer Sutherland and not be able to have Kiefer Sutherland make a cameo? Major letdown!
  • I'm sad that Paris and Doyle were getting a divorce, but I did find it amusing that they wrote in Danny Strong's real-life success as a screenwriter.
  • Michel was hilarious, I'd forgotten how much I liked him.
  • Paul Anka and Petal were pretty cute.
  • Rory quoted Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This made me happy.
  • Mr. Kim exists!!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

gilmore girls: a revisit, a retrospective, and a revival

Jenn had suggested that we live blog or blog about the latest Netflix revival -- Gilmore Girls -- and though we're not really blogging here anymore or able to time watching GG: A Year in the Life together, it seems fitting to revisit 'we like tv' as we revisit Gilmore Girls.

Revisit: After mulling it over for a while on whether I could re-watch Gilmore Girls from the beginning, and deciding for the majority of the last year that it wouldn't be a good idea (I just couldn't stomach all the bad I remembered about the show: Rory and married Dean, Lorelai and Chris ruining Lorelai and Luke, April, Rory quitting school, Rory being an entitled brat, and I'm sure there was far more!), a few weeks ago I decided to "watch a few episodes." That quickly turned into watch 6 episodes in a row, which then became, watch an entire season (mid-Season 1 to mid-Season 2) over a three day weekend... Fortunately the insanity died down there and my brain feeling like mush put the brakes on any plans to try to fit in the remaining 5.5 seasons of Gilmore Girls into a 2.5 week span. (I only ended up getting up to Season 2, Episode 19.)

It was a perfect few seasons to revisit Star's Hollow and the Gilmore Girls universe. I was reminded by how sweet Rory and Dean were in the early days, how great Max Medina was (I'd forgotten about him), how blatant Luke's crush on Lorelai was (and Emily's remarking on it from the beginning!), the great emotional tension between Emily and Lorelai, the hilarity of Rory-Paris and Michel-everyone, the adorableness of Sookie and Jackson, Tristan, Jess... All I had remembered from the 7 years I had watched the show was impressions of people, the quick-paced banter, and the quirkiness of Star's Hollow; I had totally forgotten all of the heart of the show until I got a chance to relive it.  Unfortunately, I haven't quite make it back to the best of the Rory-Jess episodes (just entering into that territory now!), but the build up of relationships (and I guess that's why the tearing down of them was so upsetting) was one of the best elements of the show -- and especially nice to revisit in the years where I still really liked Rory.

Retrospective: One of my first realizations in re-starting the series was that I was almost the same age as Rory when the show first started (I was one year older), but now I am one year older than Lorelai.  How's that for feeling old?  That aside, I think perspective, distance, and well, life, has changed my view of the show and my reactions to some of the story lines.  Don't get me wrong -- I still hate that Rory goes full brat and Emily enables her; I hate the April storyline; I hated basically all of Season 7 and probably a good amount of the seasons leading up to it.  However, I also now forgive Rory for that a lot more than I did previously -- she represented well her character. her circumstance, her generation.  She had a lot of privilege provided for her, through her loving mother, her adoring townspeople, her doting grandparents; she was quite entitled, but truthfully -- aren't so many people these days exactly that? So my Joey Potter annoyance with Rory has dissipated mostly, and now I can view the series and her journey in it as exactly that -- a journey from childhood to almost adulthood.  And I was really curious to see how she would be portrayed in the revival.

Also, as a cardholder of the if-there's-no-relationship-to-root-for-i'm-not-interested club, I was terribly invested in the Team Dean (yuck, as if!) vs. Team Jess vs. Team Logan debate.  But Amy S-P had a great article in which she gently reminded the fans that Rory's identity should be more than who she dated at the age of 16 or 18 -- would you want to be defined by who your high school/college boyfriends are?  And would they necessarily make sense in your life as your life partners?  So I felt a little abashed, but still slightly Team Jess anyway. Anyway, none of that matter as much to me as seeing Luke and Lorelai in it for the long haul!

Revival: So, since I couldn't wake up and watch all 4 episodes (nor stay up at midnight and watch all 4 episodes), I had to wait until I got home from work today to watch GG: A Year in the Life. So what'd I do instead? Read spoilers. All of them. Final four words. Where have all the characters ended up. Who does Rory end up with. Where are Luke and Lorelai. EVERYTHING.  Why would I do this? Would I still binge watch the show?  Well, yes, yes I would. From 4PM-midnight, with a slight break for dinner, I watched all 4 episodes.

Pre-watching, post-spoilering, I was very apprehensive. Post-watching, I'm satisfied. Zen.

Rory and where she was in life made sense for her chosen career path and was not handled delicately (even mocked via the '30 somethings club'), I loved that there was a journey for Emily, there was some great homage to what made the original series so wonderful, and I got my Luke and Lorelai completion more completely than the series finale.  So many small moments that were great; some moments that dragged out quite a bit more than I could keep attention to; closure and updates on pretty much everything; and as mentioned several times throughout the 4 episodes -- full circle.  For me, yeah there were a few questions raised by those final four words, but really, I don't care. I think it's an interesting place to leave off and I can accept it as coming full circle.

Now, when I can handle some more GG, maybe I'll get back to the original series and at least watch through the end of the Jess era. :)

Jenn-- your turn!