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!