In defense of Rory Gilmore An honest review : A Year in Life

It’s not everyday that a story decides to redo its ending. The creators take another go at what should have been. For Gilmore Girls and Amy Sherman and Daniel Palladimo, it was exactly that. And man, there were a lot of expectations on the revival. Almost everyone I know is talking about it, what they liked, didnt like, how it was maybe a disppointment.

So here goes my take on it.

I began the first episode with a lot of trepidation. The first impression is that nothing has changed: Stars Hollow is as picturesque as ever; its inhabitants as “living-in-their-own-little-snow-globe” as always; Luke and Lorelai are together and living together; Lane and Zach are still married; Rory is still writing successfully, with bylines in Slate and The Atlantic, and a terrific Talk of the Town piece in The New Yorker that Luke prints on the back of his Luke’s Diner’s menu!

And while we progress through all 4 episodes, the initial feel goods lose their covers and the reality begins to creep in. Things are not alright. But inspite of the ugly fight between Emily and Lorelai, or the ridiculous concept Luke had about surrogacy, or even the sheer mess that Rory’s life is, It brought back the exact feelings that the original show did best: deal with pain, loss and misunderstandings with empathy, humour, and lots of coffee.

Here’s where I come in. I have seen a shitload of articles about how Rory is the worst, how she is a disappointment, or that she peaked in highschool. The list goes on and on. And the first time I saw the show, I agreed with them all. But not now.I was shocked at how much people disliked what she was going through. How unbelievable they found it. Almost enraging, actually.

The second time I saw the revival, the haze cleared to reveal a mirror. Rory Gilmore.

How Rory Gilmore represents most of us in the Millenial Generation :

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“I am broke, beggared, I have no job, no house, no underwear.”

This statement can be true for so many people I know including myself for a lot of times. We, are the fruits of our own desires. Our generation, I feel is a classic example of how getting all the options in the world leaves you floating, from one place to another, looking for answers. Our own hobbies and passions have turned into profession, but jobs for those are almost none.

Throughout “A Year in the Life,” it’s exasperating to watch Rory foundering in uncertainty. She, is lost, broke. unable to make her own mark or call anything her roots. The plans she had for her life have gone awry and what do you do, when all your life, you worked towards one goal, and one goal only, and now, it doesn’t exist anymore?

I know so many people who tick some or all of the boxes Rory was in.  Broke. Unemployed. Jack Karoaking through life. Lost.
Why is Rory supposed to be perfect and without problems? Because she’s smart? Because Yale? A friend of mine said she remembers Rory like this: “She cared about grades. She was a big reader – made being smart ‘cool’. A good role model.” I don’t disagree that she had some of those qualities…but who says that a teenager like that doesn’t turn into a woman like this?

It’s totally realistic that this is where she is. She’s a good writer, but that’s not the same as being a hustler. Rory did well in school because school provides an exact breakdown of what to do to succeed. But there’s no syllabus called ‘Exactly how to be successful as a freelancer, forever’…especially at Yale.

I’m sure she did hustle, too. That she pitched and earned and had successes. But I also buy that she got a bit tired. Used up all her contacts and needs a reset. It happens, and how you get through it is often the mark of what kind of person you are…which is what this chapter of Gilmore is actually all about.

I mean look at it this way. Did we ever find another Christiane Amanpour? Is there even place for another Amanpour anymore? I don’t think so. Media has changed, with it, jobs, with it job prospects, conditions to work. The world is changing at a pace we can not keep up with and our generation, has seen the 20th and the 21st century. We struggle to keep things together. One foot buried in nostalgia and other in Social media, we kinda lose our balance when it comes to handling the present.

 

There are instances in the show, like Rory at Chilton, and Headmaster Charleston asking her to get a masters and joining the school. But She DOESN’T want to teach! That’s not what she worked for.

Granted, she might be getting a bit lost here, but I think that’s all of us. Loving something doesn’t necessarily mean you get a job doing it unfortunately. I know this is very cliche way to look at anything but here it is. I see a writer wanting to write but not getting a decent job writing what she wants(even though no one else can write the way she does). I see a singer, taking up a job as a sound technician because there are no jobs for singers, not in India atleast, unless you’re Bollywood. I see a photographer, taking up a job as an assistant while he does freelance photography on the sides. No jobs for full time  photographers.  So where do we go?

I for one am struggling to find what is it that I want to write for my life and the intersection of what jobs are available to me. And that is a very small circle. Job available to me are so low! And it is not only me.So there by goes my passion, ambition, lifeplan, goal, off the rails. And there goes my personal life off the rails as a result. SO can you blame a person, who has had a single plan all their lives, go off character, when there is no plan anymore?

Why isn’t it OK for Rory to take a while to figure out who she is? To have stories to tell? If she was perfect, and boring, which is the criticism a lot of us, and Paris, lobbed at this show in the beginning, why would we watch the resurrection of the show? Now that there are complications, doesn’t that make things interesting? Aren’t you glad Rory has stories of mistakes she’s made, to tell the next generation? What if her conversation with Christopher is wrong, or she heard it wrong? Don’t you want to see her make the mistake?

You care about them because they’re flawed. Because you want to see how they could be better. I know about all the warm feelings people have for this show, feeling like Stars Hollow is a cozy, loving place to grow up. But the show has always said that nature and nurture are in a deadlock for who you are. That you can run from your parents, but never escape them. That everything comes full circle. It’s been there all along, beside the whimsy and the folksiness and goings-on in the gazebo that make the bitter pills of the family dynamic go down that much easier.

To me, that’s what made the show amazing.

If Rory and Lorelai and Emily have grown up to be less perfect than you hoped, does that say more about them – or about you?

Stop blaming Rory Gilmore. She’s as real as all of us are. She represents all of us. And its the fact that she does, that is so disturbing.

Apart from all that, the revival was definitely heart touching. Here are some things that made me smile so much! 

The life and Death brigade gig:

One of the best things I saw in this show. Beatles. Finn colin. Roger. Logan. Full admission of bias – I find Logan, and the Life and Death Brigade, and especially the caper they pulled in Fall, to be ridiculously charming. I love their sense of adventure. They give Rory something nobody else does. It’s one thing to read about Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and it’s another thing to have imagination enough to figure out what that could mean, especially combined with alcohol and speakeasies. They may be spoilt rich brats but I always had a soft spot for them, just like Rory I guess. It also goes to show the classic escapism syndrome all of us depend on. Put on masks, live a life you don’t own, be free of responsibilities for sometime, a night a day, and then crash back into oblivion because that’s what going back to reality feels like.

Lorelai going WILD :

A part of me thought it was ridiculous, but another part of me knows exactly what must have prompted the WILD trip for Lorelai. It’s like I would love to take a trip where I would get all the answers, trips and travels have been romanticized so much in our books and movies. That walking alone on a road with nothing but immense nature and you see how small you are, you see things more clearly. It Is very easy to fell like that’s where all your answers lie. She took a trip like in WILD and turns out she didn’t need to. All she needed to do was see clear. And she did. It was not ridiculous, the plot, it was very typical I felt. It was real.

The fight scene between Lorelai and Luke in the last episode is amazing. It is touching and loving and Luke, who I felt had been given a back seat in this season, finally was visible. His emotions, just as valid, and him, Just as present. They had been apart since a week, Luke and Lorelai were apart and unable to tell each other what was on their mind.  It was a sheer buildup of thoughts and insecurities and the want to salvage a relationship they both had worked so hard to build.

Emily in Nantucket :

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One of the best things to ever happen to the show. Emily, finding herself her own voice. Don’t get me wrong, Richard never stopped her from finding her voice, he never stomped on her, she is just this character who takes care of everything and everyone. Emily’s story was so good and so achingly haunting, and because as a woman who is grieving through all four episodes, she is meaner, more detached, and more strange, and I bought it even when I didn’t like it. When we feel odd seeing her in jeans, imagine how she feels. She has always cared about what is proper more than what she wanted sometimes. And now that she had to take care of no one, she was finally free to see herself clearly. Do things that she liked , only for herself, no one else. It was so refreshing to see Emily finally discover herself, through no one else’s eye but her own.

Rory Writing Gilmore Girls

It somewhere is kinda perfect. For the first time, Rory put herself out of her life and saw them as they would appear to someone who didn’t think a relationship like her’s and Lorelai’s was normal.

Sookie makes everything Better

Where were you all this time!? The only issue I had with the show was the absence of Sookie and a friendless Lorelai. And atleast, there she was. In all her perfection. The dragonfly felt incomplete without Sookie. Michelle felt slightly less grouchy(very uncharacteristic). Those 5 minutes in the last episode, pure perfection.

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The Elopement!

The song, the car ride the black dress and Luke. And when they start to dance. What is it that I see, a tear drop. Reflecting Light by Sam Philips has to be one of the most beautiful songs ever!

SO, here’s the verdict :

Despite the (many) drawbacks of the revival, it soared when it came to the relationships at heart. Lorelai’s relationship with Luke, her realisation on the trail that she wants to be married to him (and they do!), and her phone call to Emily to tell her a wonderful sad little story about Richard, were wonderful. Emily’s strength in dealing with her grief (she was married for 50 years and had forgotten which side of the bed she slept on) is remarkable and inspiring.

I sobbed over Edward Herrman. Seeing that portrait and the humour and pathos in it made me both feel he was there and miss him more.

 

Gilmore Girls is both. Light and sweet, and dark and bleak. The love of your life, and the first person who appeared in front of you. All of the potential for the greatest heights, and all of the bruises when you fall back down.

 

Overall, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was as exciting as it was exhausting. Being back in Stars Hollow, Lauren Graham’s pitch-perfect delivery, Kelly Bishop playing Emily only the way she can, Melissa McCarthy’s Sookie returning for the briefest (but sweetest, literally, because she bakes a zillion cakes for Lorelai and Luke’s wedding) of cameos: it all felt right. The coffee was hot, the town was pretty, the references were on point, the music was terrific, and Kirk owned a piglet named Petal. What’s not to like? Watch it for the love, the emotions, the kindness and the unkindness. If nothing, watch it for the girls!

Happy Gilmoring!

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