Gilmore Girls Review: “Winter” (Are we lost? We are)

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? In a way it feels like it’s been too long, and yet, it also feels like it was yesterday. Maybe it’s because Gilmore Girls is such a big part of who we are – of who I am.

The show, after all, aired originally from 2000-2007, and I was Rory Gilmore, in the right age to appreciate it. Except, even then, I could never fully relate to Rory (at least in anything but the books) – I was too much of a free spirit, too much of a Lorelai in some senses, and yet, I also had my dash of Emily thrown in. I guess that was the point, though. We all had a bit of all the Gilmore Girls in us.

Except almost ten years have gone by and now, they’re back with us. Back to make us smile, laugh, shake our heads and basically wonder how they can still talk so quickly. Back to make us reconsider who we are and who we relate to.

And, as we remember what they were, and consider what they are now ….we can’t help but feel like this revival, was in many ways, a dash of reality thrown into a world we’d, in a way, come to idealize in the years since we’ve last seen these characters. And reality hurts sometimes. It’s like a punch in the gut. But hey, that doesn’t always mean it’s bad. It’s just reality.

So join us as we examine how the first episode of this Revival treated each of our Gilmore Girls, starting with:

RORY GILMORE

Oh, Rory. You seem like you had it all under control. You were a career women, you were making a go of this journalism thing, which, granted, is not easy. You had multiple cell-phones, which, as someone who only has one, I’m going to assume is the sign of a very busy person. And yet, you’re just as lost as you were at the end of the series – maybe even more, because it’s been nearly ten years and you still haven’t found where you belong.

I don’t even mean who you belong with – though the answer is clearly not Logan – but where. You were never to be defined by the man you had by your side, that was the whole point of not marrying Logan, after all. You were going to be defined by the things you did. And yet, what exactly have you done?

Not much, and that’s the problem. Not for us, we didn’t really need you to win a Pulitzer Prize right out of college. That was what you needed. What you wanted. What you dreamed of. And maybe that was the problem. Expectations. You’re drowning in them, and you’re using any and all floatation devices to keep your head above the water.

Except, sometimes, you just have to let go. You have to hit rock bottom before you can find a way out. And that hasn’t happened yet for Rory, but it’s coming. Oh, it’s coming for sure.

LORELAI GILMORE

In a way that doesn’t feel like a lie, Lorelai Gilmore is at peace when the revival begins. She’s happy. And yet, she isn’t. Not really. Her issues with Richard Gilmore were never resolved, and her issues with Emily Gilmore are just there, waiting for a little nudge in order to take over everything. And when they get that nudge – and they inevitably do – they take over everything. And I do mean everything.

The thing with Emily Gilmore is that she really knows how to hit where it hurts. And, in a way I don’t think she ever truly understood, she’s also the reason why Lorelai does some of the things she does. Half of Lorelai is still, at forty-eight, stuck in this rebellious stage where doing what her mother wants is wrong.

Even if what her mother wants is exactly what she wants.

She loves Luke, she’s happy with Luke. She doesn’t want anything else. And yet, they never married, never really talked kids, and for all intents and purposes, are truly the “roommates” Emily mentioned, and it’s hard to feel like part of the reason for this hasn’t been that Lorelai didn’t want to do what her parents wanted. And oh yeah, there was also that screw-up with Christopher that I like to pretend never happened.

This is just the first episode, but Rory feels aimless during the “Winter” part of this revival, and yet, Lorelai just seems lost in a more profound way – because she has what she wants – she just doesn’t know how to accept it.

EMILY GILMORE

Never in my entire life have I connected emotionally to Emily Glimore – and I didn’t really think this revival would change that. But, in a way that I didn’t quite expect but should have truly seen coming, losing Richard means that Emily has to …well, has to be more herself. And as much as I have never liked her, I have always respected the strength that it takes to be Emily Gilmore.

Losing your husband of fifty years and going on with your life is no easy feat – and losing your husband of fifty years and being left with a daughter you have never been able to relate to and a granddaughter who’s out there living her life is even more devastating because there’s no one to lean on.

Ironic, because one would think this would be the moment for Lorelai and Emily to bond. After all, Lorelai knows a thing or two about making it in this world alone. And yet, pain brings out the best and the worst in us, in this case, the worst before the best can come, I hope.

But hey, there’s therapy in the horizon. That’s either going to go really well, or really, really badly. My money’s on the second one.

WHAT’S NEXT

“Winter” is about setting the stage, and evoking nostalgia, and though it takes a bit for the episode to really hit its stride, it does a pretty good job of the first and an amazing job of the second. The only problem is that it sorta feel like nothing really happens during the hour.

The characters haven’t really changed that much, the issues from 10 years ago are still present and though the Revival seems to be about pushing them forward, the idea that 10 years later they still haven’t leaves a bad aftertaste in my mouth. But hey, there’s still three more episodes to go. Hopefully they can win me over.

OTHER THINGS TO NOTE

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  1. Uber-proud Luke is adorable, even if it ends up being uber-awkward as well. Rory never really had a father, and Luke was a father figure of sorts to her – same goes for Luke and seeing Rory as a pseudo-daughter, but the fact that Rory’s feeling kind of lost and aimless makes the laminated piece on the back of the menu just hit too close to home.
  2. The Paul running gag is hilarious, if only because, even if they do take a bit too far, we’ve all known a guy like that – totally forgettable.
  3. How old IS Paul Anka? He still looks pretty spry, but he’s been around for too long. We know better.
  4. I’ve never been Kirk’s biggest fan, but I must say he does his job perfectly in the revival. He’s the comedic element, a tad too absurd to be believed, and yet, surprisingly straight-faced.
  5. Luke’s “changing” WiFi password gag is the most Luke-ish thing that the Revival has done so far, and I love it.
  6. I refuse to accept the Paris/Doyle breakup. I just refuse.
  7. Paris’ entire wardrobe – can I have it? I need it.
  8. I think I’d missed Taylor. That’s how you know it’s been too long.
  9. I don’t hate Zach, but I will never not feel sad about Adam Brody signing on to The OC. Never, ever.
  10. Who would have thought, Digger acting like an adult. Good cameo.
  11. Michel, never change. I don’t always like you, but you’re you, and being a grownup means I’ve come to realize how important that is.
  12. WHERE IS MY THEME SONG? WHY HAVE YOU TAKEN THE THEME SONG FROM ME, GILMORE GIRLS?

All four episodes of Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life are now available on Netflix.

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