At a Second Glance


or Just Another Gilmore Girls Review

As a single mother of a daughter, I’ve watched Gilmore Girls often enough to know it almost by heart. And after the gloomy, dissonant 7th season, I’ve hoped and waited for an 8th season to make-up and set the course straight again.

Did this happen?

Allover these four new episodes, there is this transparent, yet unmistakable veil of closure, an impression of the author wanting to have her chance of saying goodbye, on her own terms and with no afterthought regarding the fans. The sequel takes it, in fact, not from the point we were left at the end of the last season, but rather, in a very abrupt way, from where she had left us, at the end of the 6th season.

So, what is exactly we’ve got, after so much waiting?

Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey came into my mind, as Winter had begun, and phrases from past seasons flew over the almost dark screen. If the intention was to give us this feeling, like in a film about a large family, while a Dean Martin song plays in the background, well, it went wrong. Then Lorelei saying, some couple of times: “I smell snow”, in an artificial put-on tone. Something didn’t feel right.

Well deep into the first quarter, I’ve still waited for that magical connection between the characters to occur, and so much more for the lighthearted way that Lorelei usually infused on everybody and everything, that kind we all have so missed in the last season. At her father’s funeral, asked by Emily to say something about him, she literally “babbles” a story that is so unlike her, and which was not funny, just mean, disrespectful. Towards the characters, towards Edward Herrmann.

A gaunt figure with thin hair greets from a safe distance, and we guess that it must be Miss Patty, as she’s standing outside her studio. Sorry, a probably very ill Miss Patty, but no Sooky? No Jackson, no Liz, no T.J., a very sparse Mrs. Kim, Lane, Zack, Brian, Gil and the kids just a two-dimensional cardboard background? I remember reading that nobody asked Melissa McCarthy whether she wanted to be part of it.

What were the authors only thinking?

At the end of the 7th season, Zack would go on a two months’ tour as lead guitarist for Vapor Rub, also opening two Tokyo Police Club concerts. Logan decides to quit working for his father and to make his own way. He gets a job in Palo Alto and proposes to Rory, who turns him down. Rory has the chance to work as a reporter for an online magazine, covering Barack Obama’s electoral campaign. As it is still 2007, she would travel in a bus with reporters from all the important newspapers for over one year. Add this to the fact that the editor that hired her used to work for The New Yorker and is no newbie.

And now…

Lane and Zack are still playing but in the Stars Hollow’s secret club, which is, in fact, a backyard. They rehearse and live in the same small house, and have very normal jobs at day time. My heart cringed at that. Why weren’t they granted at least a little bit of success, not much, just something small? Was Zack that bad on his tour, that no other band had noticed him? Vapor Rub still exists, Tokyo Police Club appeared on Desperate Housewives in 2008, 2010 on the Letterman Show and are still playing. Had Lane gave up her dream so definitely?

Logan is in London, working for his father, and is engaged to a rich French girl. In his (fiancée-)spare time he has an on-and-on-affair with Rory, and he seems to have nothing to do with Silicon Valley. Seriously? So, he gets a job at a hot, exciting time to be there, and achieves nothing on his own? And he marries a girl that pleases his parents?  Again, seriously?

Rory is mostly and steadily on a go, with no concept and no strategy, clearly freelancing, clearly not so successful, kind of harassed, kind of despaired. Her biggest achievement is 1 (as in one!) article in The New Yorker, that everybody mentions now and then. She lives nowhere, has a boyfriend that she keeps forgetting, and her sole steady point is her affair with Logan. Her belongings are packed in boxes, scattered between Paris’s, Lane’s and Lorelei’s houses. At least the last doesn’t make sense: why would she keep her things divided between Lane’s and Lorelei’s, when in Stars Hollow? When Rory gives up trying to find a “normal” job, and she returns home, she wants to give The Gazette a boost, as a new editor-in-chief, which she, again, fails. Many years before, she could organize a sold-out DAR event in two weeks (or was it one?), using social media and her networking skills, later she took charge and finish The Yale Daily News in a couple of hours, at a moment of crisis. But now she seems incapable of anything, and she obviously didn’t network much while traveling and working together with other journalists in 2007/2008, otherwise it’s hard to explain the deep lack of connections she has. Having run The Yale Daily News in college, she doesn’t initiate her own online magazine or a blog at least. The only thing that she changes at The Gazette is the deletion of a poem, that, in fact, everybody loves and expects, and that was it. Her denial to merge with and belong to the other “30-somethings”, also returned home, also without jobs, could have been an interesting aspect, hadn’t it have been treated so unresearched, cliché and sketchy. Being born and growing up on such a close verge between analog and digital makes Millennials a fascinating generation, and they aren’t all about not having jobs, sitting around and just doing nothing.

Happily, Emily is and stays a strong character, and she grows above herself: without Richard, and not finding anymore a meaning in the life she had lead up till now, she sells everything, then moves to Nantucket, accompanied by her last maid and her entire family. She also starts working as a very effective guide in a museum. Watching her explain how whales were earlier hunted, makes one think, that should the 9th season really come, Emily would emerge a fierce, decisive environmentalist.

Amazingly, Lorelei and Luke are still not married, the issue of Lorelei’s inability to commit is obviously again on the menu, as it was in the 6th season, but not anymore at the end of the 7th. Mainly this is what made me think that the authors wanted to make their own voice heard, more than to pick up the thread let fallen at the end of the last season.

We could speculate that due to some accents in the last episode, Jess not being over Rory, Rory being pregnant, Sooky maybe coming back, Michel not leaving, Lorelei buying an additional hotel and expanding, a 9th session might be on his way. But I don’t think so, and I sadly mean, it’s probably for the best.

Have I expected all main characters to emerge 100% successfully and happy?

Not necessarily. I rather think that what most of the fans have waited, was a resurrection of the funny, light, pink-like-frosting-y dialogs, unexpected situations like Kirk running naked in the night and landing on thorns of roses, and intense, powerful moments like in that 6th season episode, where all the Gilmores, on a Friday night dinner, explain themselves to each other. A revival of an inexistent, colorful world, inhabited by witty, gifted, attractive, sweet, freaky characters, on a background of an everlasting picturesque Connecticut-Christmas-y, shabby-chic-y surroundings. Some setbacks welcomed, but not so much, not so bad, and not irreversible. Hey, we knew that much of it was hard to believe, but we loved it, and it warmed our hearts and made us smile, and for that, we prayed again or didn’t we all?

(This post was first published on Medium)

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