I Watched The Gilmore Girls Revival, And I Have Questions
All composed with a cup of coffee sitting close by.
Spoilers for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life within; if you haven’t had the opportunity to watch all four episodes, turn back now.
Gilmore Girls is back! After a hiatus of nearly a decade, the show about a mother and daughter who are more like BFFs was resurrected via Netflix. Titled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, the series revival premiered yesterday in its entirety on the streaming service with a total of four 90-minute episodes, each revolving around a different season. We’ve already put up a spoilery open thread discussion post so you can talk about everything–like your reaction to The Last Four Words™, or whether you find yourself firmly in the camp of Team Dean, Team Jess or Team Logan.
If you have some lingering confusion or mixed feelings after the revival then take heart, Gillys; you’re not alone. I’ve managed to watch the revival twice since its premiere, and while I was more than ready to dive back into the cozycore comfort of Stars Hollow after a stress-filled week, I was left feeling not entirely satisfied by the time “Fall” wrapped up. Here are a couple of my most burning questions after watching:
How did Rory maintain a relationship with Paul for two years?
We first encounter Paul in the first episode of the revival, “Winter”, where he shows up at the Gilmore house after receiving an invitation from Rory. Funny thing is: Rory can’t seem to remember having invited him in the first place–or that she’s in a relationship with him. She’s not the only one who has difficulty recalling interactions with her somewhat boring beau; Lorelai, Luke and even Emily have trouble remembering that they’ve met Paul–several times, in fact. Luke even went on a fishing trip with Paul, but he forgets the guy as soon as he’s out of the room. (It’s literally the definition of “out of sight, out of mind” in Paul’s case.)
Gilmore Girls has always very firmly revolved around the relationships between its female characters and tended to rely more on defining its women, while the men are more often than not relegated to secondary or reactionary roles. It’s unclear if Paul is meant to represent a more exaggerated version of that concept, or if he’s mainly intended to be the Ann Veal of Rory’s boyfriends. Either way, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that Rory Gilmore, Queen of Organization, would forget she’s been in a relationship with the same guy for two years–or that Paul, equally sad and adorable, would put up with being overlooked for so long. Fortunately, he comes to his senses and breaks things off for good by the end.
Why didn’t we get to meet Michel’s husband?
After years of fan speculation over Michel’s sexuality we finally learn that yes, he is gay, and as of the revival is now married to a man named Frederick. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino was quoted as saying that there were several characters in Stars Hollow that were “thought of as gay”, but any reference to their sexualities were always ambiguous. In an early revival scene, however, several characters are identified as queer thanks to a story beat which revolves around Stars Hollow’s first gay pride parade being put off for another year due to lack of participants. (As if straight people can’t march in a gay pride parade too…?)
According to the revival, Michel has been in a relationship with Frederick for at least five years–though the exact date of their marriage isn’t referenced–and the two are starting to discuss “making children” (Michel’s wording, not mine). That topic of conversation appears to inform a lot of Michel’s other decisions throughout the revival. One of his big storylines involves wrestling over whether or not to leave the Dragonfly Inn to work somewhere else because he needs to be making more money–most likely so that he and Frederick can start a family–but one of the biggest bummers is that we don’t even see Michel’s husband in all of this. If Gilmore Girls can spare a comedic beat to include a cameo from Lane Kim’s perpetually absent father, surely they could’ve set aside a moment or two for Michel’s significant other.
Who is the father of Rory’s baby?
This is the Big One, the one that involves those final four words that have been teased by ASP since well before the Netflix revival was ever confirmed. It turns out they contain a pretty big reveal:
Rory: I’m pregnant.
In the words of Jane the Virgin‘s Latin Lover Narrator, “I know, right?!” Confession time: I’ve always suspected that the final four words would reveal that either Lorelai or Rory was pregnant, but given the revival’s earlier emphasis on Lorelai considering the possibility of having a “fresh kid” with Luke maybe it would’ve been too obvious to make her the one who’s been preggo all along. When it comes to Rory, however, I’m torn. I have a theory that ASP may have originally intended the show to end with Rory being closer to 22 rather than 32, which would not only make the reveal more of a parallel between the lives of the Gilmore girls but also make it that much more depressing. The original show frequently made mention of Lorelai’s desire for Rory to make a different life for herself, to follow her dreams of becoming a news correspondent–thereby potentially avoiding the same fate that had befallen Lorelai when she’d found herself pregnant at 16. Yet somehow, after all her wayward wandering and self-described aimlessness, Rory winds up right back in Stars Hollow–presumably as a single mother. (The identity of her baby’s father isn’t actually revealed by the end, though logic would dictate it’s Logan Huntzberger.)
The parallels between Lorelai and Rory have often been noted by fans and critics alike–as far as their relationships go, Logan is to Christopher as Jess is to Luke–and the way the revival plays out would seem to cement that even further, since the last episode ends with Rory likely pregnant by a rich guy with a trust fund while one of her other past scruffy loves is still pining for her. (Based on that last shot of Milo Ventimiglia, I can’t help but wonder if we’re meant to be Team Jess after all.) It’s even harder to ignore the recurrent nature of the series based on its conclusion, and I was reminded of a line Lorelai utters to Emily shortly before storming out of the Hartford mansion: “Full-freaking-circle.”
Some other stray observations:
- Rory, by her own admission, is totally and completely broke–so how does she manage to afford several transatlantic flights between Stars Hollow and London? I’ve seen several people toss around the idea that she might have a trust fund from Christopher, or perhaps she’s been permitted to dip into her inheritance from her grandfather–but there’s no way she’s been able to maintain her lifestyle as a jetsetter on just her income from freelance writing gigs without some outside help.
- Do Paris and Doyle ever reconcile? Over the course of the original series, these two always had a rollercoaster relationship. Lest we forget, these are the two whose Krav Maga pummeling sessions also doubled as foreplay, and even Liza Weil and Danny Strong themselves are under the impression that Paris and Doyle would still be married by this point. As far as I’m concerned, this is merely a rough patch in their marriage–one that is not too big for either of them to overcome. (Though I did appreciate the meta reference to Strong’s burgeoning Hollywood career.)
- What happens with Stars Hollow: The Musical? As editor of the Stars Hollow Gazette, I’m assuming it will be Rory’s responsibility to publish a review of the thing–but will her reaction be the same as her mother’s? Or will her glowing response catapult this show to Broadway stardom?
- At one point, Rory tells Dean that all of the names in her book will be changed–but she’s still planning on making the title Gilmore Girls. That being said, disguising the names of her three major relationships may go over the head of your average Kirk, but anyone who knows Rory will probably be able to figure out who she’s writing about.
- MVPs of the show, without question, are Lauren Graham and Kelly Bishop. Lorelai’s monologue in “Fall” was something else entirely, and oh, bless Netflix for letting Emily Gilmore finally curse the way I’ve always secretly wanted her to.
Anyway, I’m here for you if you want to deconstruct this right now, and I’ll be here if you need to watch it a few more times before coming back and discussing. In spite of all my questions (including the fact that Gilmore Girls doesn’t really understand how media and freelancing works), I’ve really missed Stars Hollow.
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