Look. We’ve known each other a long time. Twelve years. That’s longer than I’ve known my husband, most of my best friends, or what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would like to think we can be honest with each other. So here we go.
What a disappointment. I tried to talk myself out of feeling like this (several times, in fact), because I waited 3,482 days for this reboot, and I didn’t want it to be in vain. But here I am. The story felt drawn out in some places, and rushed in others; this was due, I think, mostly to large chunks of time being taken up by insignificant subplots. Some of the jokes were a little too “wink wink nudge nudge” to the audience, and there were a LOT of Parenthood cameos (you might as well have looked straight into the camera and said “LOOK AT ALL OF LAUREN’S COSTARS WE WORKED IN!”).
I was disheartened to see the overall lack of a substantial plot. You had nine years to kick around new ideas and the best you could do was Luke and Lorelai lying to each other and Rory struggling to hold down a job? Ames (may I call you Ames?), these are stories that could just as easily have been told nine years ago. I wanted something new and fresh. How have our girls grown in the near-decade since we last saw them? The only thing driving new stories in this reboot seemed to be Richard’s death. Emily’s story was by far the most compelling, but we saw relatively little of it in the middle episodes. Why?
To be fair, I liked parts of it. There were many good moments. But the stuff that I didn’t like, I hated to the point that it outweighed any warm, fuzzy feelings I had about the good stuff. Here’s a breakdown:
• Richard – Honestly, I wasn’t ever worried about this. You’ve always written the dramatic
moments exceptionally well, and it was always obvious how much you respected and loved both Richard and Ed. It was touching without ever being schmaltzy, and funny at just the right moments. Like I said, there were moments where we relied on this plot a little too
heavily to advance the overall story, but out of respect for Ed, I’ll overlook that.
• the Emily/Lorelai dynamic – Again, not a big concern for me going in. The relationship between these two has been a strength of the show since its inception. From the fight in the kitchen to the phone call from the mountain, it was pitch perfect.
• the secret bar – the most Stars Hollow thing I’d ever heard, and I loved it. Good on ya.
• Jess – My guy!!!! Even though he only showed up for a grand total of ten minutes, he was great. He saved Rory (for at least the second time) by getting her out of her rut and giving her the book idea, which was, of course, perfect (because he knows her better than anyone). He’s also gone to counseling and/or the gym because he seems much less angry/much more jacked. I’m just sad that he’s hung up on a ding-dong like Rory (more on that later).
• Luke’s speech – I love ranting Luke. I love ranting Luke ranting about how right he and Lorelai are for each other. “There is no one who will be more here for you than me.” WE KNOW, LUCAS.
• Sookie – While I’m sad we didn’t get more of her, I’m grateful we got her at all. We missed you, Sook.
• Rory writing in Richard’s study – Look. I was already heated when Logan offered to put Rory up in his family’s house to write (WE GET IT. YOU HAVE MONEY.), so I was cheering when she turned him down because a) she! doesn’t! need! him! and b) what a perfect place for her to write the story of her family. I lost it when she opened the door and we had that split-second view of Richard sitting at his desk, and then again when she sits down at said desk, only to look up and see the portrait of herself hanging off to the side. Well done.
The bad and/or boring:
• Stars Hollow: The Musical – We get it. You saw Hamilton. I love Sutton Foster as much as the next theater fan, but that was ten minutes that could’ve been much better spent elsewhere in this story. I get having the musical as a plot device for Lorelai’s epiphany at the end of the episode, but damn. In the words of my friend and Gilmore Girls Yelling Partner™, Molly, “YA AIN’T SLICK, AMY.”
• Rachael Ray – The girl talks with her hands too much. It was annoying.
• Luke and Lorelai lying to each other – They’ve been together for nine years, and they’re lying to each other about tiny baby stuff like this? Either a) lay the groundwork for this earlier on so it doesn’t seem so out of the blue, or b) give me the happy, couple-y Luke/Lorelai to balance out this unstable, should-have-been-past-this-nine-years-ago Luke/Lorelai.
• Logan – Why so much Logan? Why, Amy? Why? He served no larger purpose, other than, I’m assuming, to bankroll Rory’s near-constant cross-Atlantic flights. What kind of dumbo proposes to a girl, gets shot down, and then a decade later, is engaged to a French heiress, but still sleeping with the ex-girlfriend on the side? It just made me hate Logan AND Rory more.
• the Life and Death Brigade – I adored Finn and Colin in the original run (though that might’ve just been because of Finn’s accent), but that whole Baz Luhrmann, Across the Universe, took-too-much-Nyquil-and-fell-into-a-steampunk-fever-dream BULLSHIT was over the top (especially for a group in their mid-30s), and, again, a waste of my time.
• the wedding – This is painful for me to say, because part of me LOVED it. A lot. But after seeing the blowouts that this town throws, I wanted to see them show out for their (and our) favorite couple. Because they’ve been waiting for this as long as we have, and they deserve it, dammit. Also, just for the record, Emily and Jess not being there? Emily not walking Lorelai down the aisle? Luke and Lorelai not getting married under the chuppah? Unforgivable (and so easily fixed!).
• Rory’s characterization in its entirety – Amy. Ames. Amothy. What in the ever-loving f*ck happened? Who was this girl on my television screen? I didn’t recognize her. Or at least, I didn’t recognize this version of her. Rory Gilmore, who slept with a married man once before and saw the direct effect it had on him AND his family AND herself, who broke up with Logan Huntzberger because he CHEATED ON HER, and then broke up with him AGAIN rather than get married to him, who graduated from Yale journalism school with a job in the Obama press corp, who, yes, made some questionable decisions but still managed to maintain some sort of moral compass….. is now a lying, cheating, homewrecking, jobless, Wookie-humping, moral compass-lacking DING-DONG who “forgets” to break up with Pete/Paul/Pat/Piss-Poor Plot Device for almost a year? Make all the cute Kerouac and “thirty-something gang” jokes you want, but this isn’t the Rory we knew and (mostly) loved from the original run. I don’t know this girl.
• the last four words – I hate to do this, but this felt like the series finale sucker-punch of How I Met Your Mother, condensed into about fifteen seconds. I get that this was where you wanted to go from the beginning, but guess what, Ames? Life isn’t perfect. We had a nine-year hiatus that no one saw coming, and things change. You’ve gotta adjust. I could understand 22-year-old Rory, fresh out of college, busy figuring out her life, and surprise! Life throws her a curveball in the form of an unplanned pregnancy and she deals with it like her mom did. But now? As a 32-year-old vagabond with her belongings scattered across two continents? It’s not nearly as charming; it’s just sad. Where’s this kid gonna live? How will Rory support him/her? PLUS, Lorelai and Rory are VERY different. I get wanting to bring it full circle, but when Lorelai got pregnant at 16, she sucked it up, left her life of privilege, and got a crappy job. She did what she had to do, even though it wasn’t comfortable or easy. But Rory “I’m gonna drop out of Yale because of one bad performance review” Gilmore? I’m not so sure. She can’t do it by herself. She’s not independent in the way Lorelai is. The only way it would work is if she can find a partner who brings out her inner decisiveness and resilience (see also: mid-season three (when she’s with Jess), and mid-season 6 (after Jess reads her the riot act about dropping out)). She made it pretty clear in her converseation with Christopher that she was thinking about raising this kid alone, but some major life changes are gonna need to happen before that becomes a viable option for our girl Rory.
So, Amy, there are my thoughts. I still care about you very much, and hopefully we can work through this tough time in our relationship, because we really did have something special for awhile. Call me if you ever want to hear my ideas for a reboot reboot. I’ve got lots of ’em.