Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
You can’t go home again. We learned that Thanksgiving 2016 when these four Gilmore Girls mini-movies first dropped on Netflix. Now, they’re available on Blu-ray or DVD for non-subscribers or those who’d like to watch without an internet connection.
Ten years later, Stars Hollow is as wacky as ever, and Lorelei (Lauren Graham) still talks a mile a minute, but Rory’s (Alexis Bledel) not as cute when she’s a mid-30s gadabout who doesn’t know what she really wants to do with her life and is failing at being a writer. She flies in from London (where she’s still involved with Logan (Matt Czuchry)) for a day and has given up her apartment to crash with friends and family, which seems remarkably irresponsible and flighty. (Part of the problem returning to this show is that, not only are they 10 years older, so are we, and our attitudes about what’s charming and what’s childish may have also changed.)
Each seasonal episode is an hour and a half, beginning with Winter, which includes a flashback to Richard Gilmore’s (Edward Herrmann, who has also passed away) funeral and its aftermath. Rory is now the age Lorelei was when the show originally started, but she seems very different, because she never had to take on the responsibility of another human being.
Spring sees Lorelei and her mother in therapy, while Rory and Paris return to Chilton for an alumni event. This is the episode where Rory messes up most of the stunning opportunities she has available by not preparing for them. Has no one ever given her a link to how to conduct yourself in a job interview?
Summer is the low point, with Rory suddenly discovering the town newspaper (yes, there is a brief mention in the first episode) and Doose (Michael Winters) putting together a town musical. It allows for Sutton Foster to guest-star, but it’s a bizarre time-waster, and the rest of the episode is people fighting with each other.
Fall sends Lorelei out hiking while Rory is visited by the Life and Death Brigade. This all leads to everyone getting major changes accomplished and settling down with new purpose.
What Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life does provide is six hours of comfort viewing, with its perfect little small town that has a troubadour and accepts just about everyone. There are plenty of call-backs and cameos and references to the series we fondly remember, and focusing on those is soothing. I liked seeing Lorelei finally settled down with Luke (Scott Patterson), and Michel (Yanic Truesdale) out and married. Paris (Liza Weil) is a high point, as always. She’s good at whatever she does, even if it’s surrogate services. (Some people find themselves better as adults than teens.)
It’s only when you think about how determined the title characters are to deny that they’re aging and should grow up that it becomes a little sad. But then, that was the original premise of the show — that Lorelei could be Rory’s best friend instead of her mother. Still, it’s got to be reassuring to Amy Sherman-Palladino to be able to put a bow on the characters after having the show she created ripped away from her ten years ago.
I had missed seeing the matriarch, Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop), who never asked for the world’s craziest, self-centered daughter. The older I get, the more I sympathize with her trying to navigate the constraints of her upper-class world, and her pronouncements are often quite sensible. And my favorite part of this series is how I got to watch it with my mother — there are few shows we both enjoyed so much.
On the other hand, there’s something ironic about Mrs. Gilmore getting along best of all with a housekeeper who speaks no identifiable language, given that the series is so based on rapid-fire chatter. I’m glad she found a way to be happy. (The studio provided a review copy.)