My Thoughts on the Gilmore Girls Revival

Major Gilmore Girls spoilers ahead. Stop reading if you haven’t finished the revival. But the spoiler is going to be right below this line so you are probably already screwed.

 

RORY IS PREGNANT! And my immediate reaction was “Is this a joke?” Then I saw the credits running. Nope, not a joke. I know everyone took this ending in their own way, but for me it was bitterly disappointing. Here are a couple of my main issues with this ending:

  1. The circle of life is bullshit. This isn’t the Lion King. We don’t need a Disney-type neatly wrapped up plot where the end meets the beginning. First, I think this is very over-simplistic and lacks imagination. And second, I think it is depressingly fatalistic. Rory is bound to turn into her mother who is bound to turn into her mother. But why? Rory is in many ways the exact opposite of her mother and it seems to discount the nuances of her character. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lorelai and it’s not always a bad thing to turn into your mother (I should be so lucky), but this storyline diminishes the power of choice. Not to mention the fact that it’s not just Rory turning into her mother by getting pregnant, but now we are supposed to view Logan as Christopher and Jess as Luke. All of the characters start to mesh into each other, leaving little room for individuality. In the end, they’ve all just become depressing clichés. Seven seasons worth of character development and distinction down the drain.
  2. Rory’s entire life is defined by men. Yeah, I’m putting my feminist boots on (I know that’s not a thing, but I just made it a thing). Now, I know that part of the ending suggests that her life is not determined by men because there is the implication that she will raise her child on her own just as her mother did. Fine, woohoo independence. But every life choice she makes up until this point is either instigated by or inspired by the men in her life. Even her greatest accomplishment, writing her book, was suggested by Jess. Before the revival came out, Alexis Bledel basically said “Hey everyone stop trying to guess who Rory will end up with. She has more important things going on. Like a career and a life.” Obviously I’m paraphrasing here, but it was suggested that it is frivolous to talk about Rory in terms of “Team Dean,” “Team Jess,” and “Team Logan.” And yet, that’s almost all the revival was about. Sure, we saw some career struggle, but for the most part we didn’t hear about her career over the 10 years in between the last episode and the revival. We didn’t really see her succeeding in writing or in a stable job. All we saw was her floundering and barely keeping her head above water while obsessing over Logan. Maybe that was the point because it was setting up the end where she gets her book together and is going to raise this kid on her own, but I think it doesn’t do much for female empowerment.
  3. The characters really haven’t gone anywhere. For the most part, it seems like no time at all has passed since the last episode of the official series. There has been speculation that this is because Sherman-Palladino didn’t write the 7th season and so wanted this to be her final say of how it should end. But the impression it gives off is that all the characters are pretty stagnant. Lorelai to some degree realizes this with her Wild-inspired hiking trip. But that trip ends with her not even hiking, staring at a hill and then deciding to marry Luke. And we all knew she should marry Luke 10 years ago. Maybe we were supposed to feel like this was a giant step for her, but it really didn’t feel very climactic. I appreciate that in real life change is often subtle. Big steps are often made out of a lot of small steps, but I can’t even see where the small steps are going for the Gilmore Girls. Again maybe that is the point. But I’m not satisfied.

End rant. I know I am taking this way too seriously considering it is just a tv show, but some shows kind of become intertwined with your life. Especially for shows like Gilmore Girls, Friends, Sex and the City and other long-life series, you kind of grow up with them and the trajectory of the characters can sometimes mirror the trajectory of your own life. You relate to them and take some comfort in the story, seeing yourself reflected in many of the characters and your life reflected in many of the events. The biggest source of the disappointment for me I think in Gilmore Girls is that now the ultimate lesson of the show is life comes full circle. Whereas before, for me at least, the main lessons of the show were the strength of the bond between mother and daughter and the power that women have to take control of their lives. And now we are left with this ending that basically suggests we are powerless in the face of destiny and incapable of forging our own paths.

-S

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