We went into A Year in the Life with inflated expectations. We knew that. And it wasn’t perfect. But there were a lot of perfect moments, and Lorena and I want to focus (mostly) on those.
*This is your obligatory spoiler warning.*
Perfect Minor Character Moments
Every single time Kirk was on Screen
Ooober. Petal the pig. The way he awkwardly ended up at a family dinner at Emily’s and ran out to play with the maid’s (or her sister’s?) kids. The fact that he can’t vomit in the downstairs bathroom at Lorelai’s house because the tile hurts his knees (how did Luke not know that already???). His wedding gift to Lorelai, and the cute text message moment between them when she tells him IT’S PERFECT!!! It was.
Stars Hollow Gazette
We loved just about everything having to do with the Stars Hollow Gazette. Scotch hidden in a drawer for V-E Day. Esther, who was never done filing. The town freaking out when the poem wasn’t on the cover. All classic Stars Hollow.
Whether he was clueless about The Secret Bar (that was awesome!), trying to improve the city with sewer over septic, or ranting about the wifi password that Luke was never going to give everyone, Taylor was back.
All the cameos
It’s hard to bring back characters in ways that seem organic to the story, but ASP and team did the best job of it that could be done. Sookie with her pornographic frosting. April, who is faking it big time–and isn’t the hard core, pot-smoking crusader she’s pretending to be. My favorite, though? Sasha, from Bunheads. She wasn’t called Sasha, obviously, but it was obvious that this is where Sasha’s life would have taken her: to becoming a successful business woman (if she decided being a prima ballerina wasn’t for her, anyway).
Stars Hollow: The Musical
You can all scream at us if you want to, but we could have done without Stars Hollow: The Musical. We loved that Sutton Foster got to appear (hi, Michelle!), but the rest of it was too long and irrelevant to the plot. And, we’re sorry, stupid. Plus it meant Lorelai’s much needed therapy came to an abrupt end.
Dean and Jess
Dean’s mini-moment with Rory was perfect. It was what really happens when you run into an old ex—a quick catch-up on life events, maybe a sweet moment thinking back on what your relationship did for the two of you, and then you move on. (Not, I would like to note, hyperventilate in the bathroom at your old high school because you saw a guy you used to have a crush on. Grown up, successful Paris would have—if she cared about Tristan at all—cared only enough to let him know how stupid he’d been not to pass her up.) <–(Lorena disagrees with Carrie Jo’s take on this. Paris was always walking the line between together and unhinged. She never processed her emotions unless Rory walked her through it, so it made total sense that seeing Tristan would elicit some crazy response from her since that entire crush ended abruptly and without closure.)
I (Carrie Jo) was not on Team Jess, but I loved how his character came back, how he was successful in his thirties, and how he was doing what he could to help get the floundering Rory back on track. And at the end, when he looked longingly at Rory through the window? Jess is going to be Rory’s Luke. It was adorable.
Lorena: I was always Team Jess. He may have been immature when he arrived, but he was the only person smart enough to take on Rory. I don’t think it’s adorable he’ll be Rory’s Luke because Jess is way too good for this version of Rory (see our Rory rant below). Before the final four words, I thought “Oh, maybe this is fine and could build nicely.” But then the final four words happened, and all I have to say to Jess is “Run!”
A MINI RANT
I (Carrie Jo) have to take a minute here for a minor plot/character rant. Other people who discuss the show will be able to let this go, but I couldn’t.
Some of you may know that I have a fertility condition called MRKH. I was born without a uterus, and in order to have a child, I flew around the world, used a surrogacy clinic in India, and hired an Indian woman to be a surrogate and carry my daughter. I am a mother and have a biological child because of surrogacy.
I didn’t mind that Paris ran a surrogacy agency. That would be a lucrative business venture. I know, because I drained my savings account paying one. The whole process is complicated and expensive, and the agency earns every bit of the money they charge handling doctors, lawyers, and emotional people.
That said, just about everything about surrogacy in these episodes was offensive. Paris calling the surrogates “breeders.” Luke saying repeatedly that he “didn’t want to sleep with any of these women.” Related Side Note: I’m sure there are people who are unaware of IVF and how it works, but literally everyone else involved in the process of hiring a surrogate would correct that (disturbing) impression immediately. I knew it was supposed to be a joke, but it frankly pissed me off.
Lorena pointed out that there would have been a very reasonable way to handle the plotline if this is where the writing team wanted to go: Luke was uncomfortable with nontraditional pregnancy methods based on dialogue, so why wouldn’t Paris approach it from that way? Like “Hey, this is an exploratory session to understand your options, how it works, and the various risks involved with the different options.” Luke could still have left uncomfortable with it, and Paris could still come to his diner to try and smooth things over to get her in Stars Hollow for that part of the plot.
Basically, the writing team needed us as editors for that part!
All right, one rant over. Onto the next one.
Rory – A Major Rant
Guys, we HATED Rory in this reunion show. Hated her.
Now, there were some valid places the writers took her. She entered a dying field and when she tried to cling to her dream, she fell flat on her face. Ok, great. Tell a story about how she has to re-invent herself.
Instead, Rory was basically a 32-year-old whining brat. She couldn’t get what she wanted, so she wallowed, drinking scotch and flying to London instead of buying herself some new underwear? Please!
Rory was stringing along/cheating with Logan. (Again, with what money? Plane tickets to London aren’t cheap!) She turned down his marriage proposal in season 7. What self-respecting person would still be with her nine years later? Come on, Logan! Rory was using you as an emotional crutch.
Then there was Paul. What was the point of him? Why would he stay with Rory for 3 years when she literally was never around?
And don’t get us started on how idiotic it is to think that she’s going to salvage her career (financially, anyway) by writing a book. Getting a book published takes years. I (CJ) would know. I’m still trying to make it happen. And even if you accomplish it, like Lorena has, most authors don’t make enough money at it to pay their bills. They need another job. Like how Lorena has another full time job. Lorena, who is the same age as Rory, and was aware enough to not go into journalism in college based on the fact it was a dying industry with no payout at all.
Also, don’t get Lorena started on forty- and fifty-somethings portraying millennials as whiny idiots who constantly make bad choices and expect others to mop up their messes. Lorena is a millennial and lives in a decent Brooklyn apartment and is super successful–and she went to public schools, not some fancy Chilton and Yale combination. All of Lorena’s millennial friends have successful careers and lives, too, and none of them whine despite having actual real things to complain about (like detrimental debt from college or a tanked economy due to policies put in place before they were old enough to vote).
Last part of our Rory rant: 32-year-olds don’t get pregnant by accident. We have no problem with a stable 32-year-old woman deciding to become a single mother if that’s what she wants for her life. But if you’ve been sexually active for 10+ years, you’re not suddenly going to forget how birth control works. Especially not when it’s available for free because of the president whose campaign you covered as part of your first job out of college. And those last four words? I can’t believe we waited nearly ten years for less closure than we had before!
Luke was Luke. We loved that he hadn’t changed, no matter what else did. There’s not that much more to say. We loved him ten years ago, we loved him now. We loved that he was still fighting for Lorelai, even when it looked to him like she was giving up. And we hope he never gives out the wifi password at Luke’s Diner ever again. When Jess pulled out the cable box, haha! Luke raised him well.
When the show ended nine years ago, I (CJ) pictured Lorelai and Luke getting married and trying for a child together. That’s what season 6&7 Lorelai said she wanted. I was a little bothered that we were supposed to swallow that none of that had happened–until I realized that of course ASP and company wanted to write an L&L wedding. They were her characters, and she wanted that moment with them. So, ok. And I loved the wedding scene, even if it was years later than it should have happened in my mind.
Lorelai’s best moments in the year, though? Her Wild trip. Of course she had to fly across country to figure out her grief over her father, to see her way forward. And of course she didn’t actually take one step onto the Pacific Rim Trail. Because she’s Lorelai, and Lorelai hiking? Ha!
She stole the show for us. Grief changed her, but it didn’t break her. She was still Emily, albeit one who was so mired in misery that she didn’t figure out a way to fire her maid before the woman and her entire family found a way into her affections. We loved how she didn’t move on with another man; she moved on as the independent Emily Gilmore. She was still so stubborn she nearly ruined her relationship with Lorelai, again—but they pulled it together. They came full circle, but it was back to a good place.
And that scene where she said bullshit in a DAR meeting? It was everything Gilmore Girls ever was and more, and finally able to happen because they were on Netflix.