Die-hard fans of “Star Wars”: I get it now. All of these years I never understood your world, nor did I pretend to. I have watched all of the movies, except for the most recent installment, and they did nothing except exacerbate my confusion regarding your passionate fandom. But in these last few weeks, I feel like I got to dip my toe in your pool of obsessive love and adoration.
With original creators, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, stepping down right before the final season, “Gilmore Girls” left the television atmosphere with more of a whimper than the bang the show actually was. So, when Netflix announced it would be bankrolling a reboot with the Palladinos in control, a collective “huzzah” was exclaimed by all “GG” fans.
Considering the country’s climate and the constant barrage of celebrity deaths throughout 2016, revisiting Stars Hollow became the ultimate escape. Spending time with the fast talking, junk-food eating and pop-culture loving mother and daughter was like visiting with hometown best friends. Turns out it was the perfect therapy for times like these.
When the reboot “Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life” debuted at 3:01 a.m. Friday morning on Netflix, I was caffeinated up and ready to go. Lucky for us “Gilmore Girls” fans, it was no “Phantom Menace.”
The reboot was broken into four installments, each a 90 minute movie named after a season. Opening with winter, it only took a few seconds before it was off and running. Lorelei and Rory meet in the town’s square and verbally ping-pong off of each other , letting the viewer know that in the nine years that have passed since the show ended, some things may have changed, but the girls have remained the same. Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, as Lorelai and Rory, respectively, prove that their connection and chemistry is still intact after all these years.
Winter deals heavily with the aftermath of the sudden passing of Richard Gilmore — who was portrayed by series regular, Edward Herrmann who died in 2014. Wife Emily Gilmore is processing her grief, trying to discover who she is without her husband of 50 years. Lorelei is guilt-ridden over her choice of memory she shared with everyone at the wake for her father. And Rory is trying to keep up her career’s momentum after the piece that she wrote for The New Yorker is quickly losing steam.
The decision to have Rory floundering a bit professionally, and romantically, was the best move the creators made in this reboot. Re-watching “Gilmore Girls,” Rory’s charmed life becomes grating. Watching her truly struggle to find herself, while making not-so-great decisions along the way, was refreshing. Frankly, it’s about time Rory was exposed to the real world. With that being said, there is still quite a bit of magic in Rory’s life throughout the new installment, but I found it welcoming instead of cloying.
Emily is handed the deepest struggle of the series. With the passing of her husband, Emily’s world begins to crumble. Kelly Bishop’s portrayal of Emily Gilmore is one of the best performances in television history and the fact that she never received a nomination, let alone an Emmy Award for her performance is a huge disappointment. Bishop’s streak of perfection continues as we see her letting go of the old Emily and embracing the new by eliminating all the distractions surrounding her. She even (finally) finds a permanent maid.
“A Year In The Life” allows us to peek in on everyone a Gilmore Girls fan would care to see, but it was the return of Rory’s frenemy Paris Geller, played by Liza Weil, that made me most giddy. Paris describing Lorelei as “practically my second mother” made me laugh out loud. Every scene involving Paris, especially her return to Chilton in the Spring chapter, was perfect. Weil’s take on Paris is a feat in acting and almost made me want to watch “How To Get Away With Murder” just to have more of her in my life.
With only a few missteps along the way — I’m looking at you, musical montage with certain gentlemen from Rory’s past during “Fall” — “Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life” is about as perfect a reboot any true fan could ask for. Nothing felt too outlandish or unrealistic. Though “Winter” gets off to a clunky start with the introduction of Rory’s new boyfriend, and a lot of exposition dialogue for the actors to get through, it isn’t long before everyone settles back into their characters and the new storylines take off.
I imagine the much-talked about “last four words” of this limited-series will create a certain amount of discord among the show’s cult-like fan base. That is to be expected, I suppose, when you have such speculation and anticipation surrounding a small, though important, amount of dialogue. But I think most fans will be pleased, because if I were a bettin’ woman, I’d say this isn’t the last year we will be spending with The Gilmore Girls.