Cut through the snow-covered magical white-aquafaba town (both in terms of snow and race) of Stars Hollow to Lauren Graham sitting adorably on the gazebo drinking coffee, just so perfectly adorable, it made my heart sing! Gilmore is back! But then Rory has to come sit down and ruin everything. Just kidding, I am not contributing to the Gilmore Guys endless roast of Rory Gilmore…per se. I mean she is annoying af, mostly because she doesn’t really do anything but be so goddamn beautiful and have everyone around her except Mitchum Huntzberger tell her what a perfect genius angel she is and now 10 years later she is actually 10x as beautiful. But she has a different voice. My god, why does she have a different voice? Did she go through puberty in her 20s and her balls dropped so now she’s a baritone? So confused! Does pregnancy change your voice as well as your body? I was not aware of that. Pregnancy is gross. So oh yeah Alexis Bledel is a mother; wrap your brain around that one. Oh god I really hope Rory doesn’t get pregnant or have kids in this revival. Oooof. I do not need to see that. She’s totally grossed out by pregnancy/birth anyway, remember from when Sookie was aliening? I mean she’s smart there.
The Gilmore Girls’ first exchange in ‘A Year in the Life’ is exactly what you’d want: They’re sitting on the gazebo, drinking coffee, talking a mile a minute about how Rory looks so perfect after being on a plane, and so the only explanation is that she must have gotten ‘Goop’ed. What a perfect first pop culture reference!!! GOOP! Yes!! Of course Lorelai mercilessly mocks Gwynnie! Lorelai accuses her of doing yoga in the aisles, while Rory argues that she was wearing her compression pumps, Yonah Schimmel Knishes baseball hat, and toothpaste on a face pimple. Okay, let’s unpack this. First of all, yes on compression footwear when flying. Y’all think I’m crazy but I’m just wise. Second, I did NOT know Yonah Schimmel, the purveyor of the best knishes in NYC, made baseball hats? They don’t. I’m saying they don’t. Oh my god I just checked and they DO. Dammit Rory Gilmore!! Why does she know that and I didn’t? I bet you $10 that she never actually had their knishes. Oh I can’t wait to get knishes omg I get to go there in weeks!!! I hope this inclusion in the hottest entertainment of the year saves the knishery from the inevitable destruction of all decent East Village landmarks. Oh and third, no way in hell Rory has toothpaste on her chin in public. Or even gets pimples.
Our first walk-and-talk through the town was pretty wonderful, as we got a recap of all the inane goings-on in the Hollow, like Taylor petitioning for sewers, parking meters that came and went, and the fight to save the phone booth (“But where would Superman change when he had to save the town from Ben Affleck?” liked it). But my first real laugh out loud came courtesy of a Lorelai throwaway line, when Rory was running to Doose’s to find cell reception and called to Lorelai “Aren’t you coming?” and Lorelai, standing still on the corner, said “No I just hit my steps.” This was PERFECTION and gives me sooo much hope for the writing to come. How many of you reading have your days planned out around hitting your FitBit steps? I know firsthand that so many of you do! This cracked me up! If I was the type of person who used the phrase ‘on point’ despite it now having lost all power I would use it now. People are so obsessed with hitting their mark and then of course Lorelai, once she hits it, would just STOP MOVING if possible. I love it!
Why does Lane look 10 years YOUNGER than she did last? Is it because she has a weird haircut or just the incredible genes of Keiko Agena? Unbelievable! Bigger question, why did they make Kirk a heartthrob! He looks amazing! I hate facial hair but it really works on him. This is gross I do not appreciate being made to think Kirk looks okay, Amy Sherman-Palladino you devil! At least they quickly ruined the whole thing by having him say ‘Ooober’ way too many times; that was pretty annoying. But then we’re back on the other hand with the reveal of his pet pig! Dammit Amy!
It’s really weird to imagine Rory as a big time journalist, as she seems to be with all these phones and calls and stuff. And she’s wearing a camel trench coat! A camel trench signals big time journalist more than anything! I can’t wait to see what she’s actually doing. Is she successful? Are her extra phones just toys to keep her entertained? I know mine are.
But there’s no more time to worry about Rory because PAUL ANKA IS THERE! PAUL ANKA IS ALIVE! I knew he would be (HE HAD TO BE! HE HAD TO BE!) but seeing him in the house just made me squee like a puppeh lover. Oh my god I’m so happy. And YASSS LUKE LIVES IN THE HOUSE! LUKE AND LORELAI ARE TOGETHER! Thank god. They better not put them through any bullshit in this revival. It’s coming though, isn’t it? Of course it’s coming. Dammit Amy!
Guys I love Paul Anka so much. Apart from my own real life baby dogs and their friends that I like, I think Paul Anka is my favorite dog in the entire world.
Um so Paul! Rory has a boyfriend! Named Paul! Immediately, I think of ‘Crazy Stupid Love’ when Emma Stone is dating a very very extra nerdy Josh Groban (who is not at all nerdy in real life thankyouverymuch) and we see immediately that they can’t last. Paul is a nerdier, lesser Josh Groban in that great movie. I hope that doesn’t mean that Rory ends up with Logan because he’s the closest to Ryan Gosling that we have in the Hollow. Paul’s entire purpose is to make us remember how terrible the Girls can be, but also how funny. His whole thing is that he’s so boring, so bland and milquetoast (p.s. as kids how many of you thought that was milk-toast and was a breakfast item no not me either) that no one remembers anything about him. Luke and Lorelai don’t remember his name or that they’ve met him several times, and Rory doesn’t even remember that they’ve been dating for more than a few months, let alone two years ffs! It’s cruel and it makes me horrible to like it but I liked it. I love when Paul and Luke are discussing antique wrenches in the kitchen, and after Paul leaves Luke says, “I just forgot the entire conversation we just had.” Lolol Luke got a funny! Don’t judge, I really do feel so bad for how mean they are to Paul but it’s kind of hilarious. I hope Rory cuts him loose soon, but the odds are low because she is quite inconsiderate.
Well hello, more evidence of Rory’s inability to think of anyone but herself! Lorelai wakes up from her scary dream (I don’t even want to talk about how gross and dumb that recurring nightmare is) and hears banging. She finds Rory tap-dancing in the kitchen to calm her nerves – in the middle of the night. Goddammit Rory. This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. I mean come on. There’s no way anyone would think it’s okay to TAP DANCE in the middle of the night. No one is that stupid and inconsiderate, not even Rory Gilmore. I mean I cannot even fathom why Amy wanted this to happen. Are we really supposed to hate Rory even more, or think she’s that stupid? Or did Amy just really want to feature some good old-fashioned terrible tap dancing? Like, Sutton Foster is in one of the episodes, right? If Sutton is on this show and doesn’t tap, but Rory does, I’ma be hella pissed.
I loved loved Lorelai and Luke’s banter as they got ready for bed. It was everything I wanted from them that we were never given in the series, just seeing them normal and adorable while throwing around loving barbs, ending with them calling each other ‘Oscar’ and ‘Felix’ without missing a beat. It was great. One thing I realized, though, is that we’ve never ever heard them say they love each other. I honestly bet that despite 10 years together they haven’t yet, and it’s not just that they haven’t shown us. I really want them to. And I hope we see evidence of better communication skills. After all these years, there’s no way they would still be making all the same mistakes of hiding every single damn thing they think and feel from each other to the detriment of their relationship. Of course they will hide lots, but not every single damn thing after all these years of learning how to communicate better! Ugh I know better than to trust Amy with this though.
I love how typical it is for Luke to give all the customers different fake wifi passwords. And I love how the ‘No Cell Phones’ sign has evolved into all sorts of new rules against hipster behavior. The first scene in the diner was perfect. Taylor being annoying as usual, Kirk being weird as hell. I really enjoyed when Lorelai threw a stranger’s bagels at Kirk and then paid said stranger for new bagels, and the stranger just laughed. It was fun to see someone outside the universe react to her as normal humans would, in total amusement. I love that the picture Luke used of Rory on the back of the menu (‘so proud’) was like the very first picture of her in the series. And I’m sorry, I know it makes me a terrible person, but I adore all this horrible Paul stuff in the diner. They forgot he was in the house? Then they forgot he was in the diner after only a minute? Lorelai and Rory are such terrible people! I love it! I mean I often hate it but right now I love it. It’s too funny. And Rory has never been better than she was when she left the diner, only to run back in a few seconds later and pretend that she had been waiting for Paul to get out of the bathroom. I laughed too hard. The lingering shot on the empty table as we realize that Paul is still there was perfectly done.
We’re apparently on a nonstop highlight tour of all the most important spots in the Gilmore universe, because after quickly running through the town square, Doose’s, Lorelai’s, and the diner, we’re at the Dragonfly Inn! It’s just like old times with Michel complaining to Lorelai as they walk through the inn. One of the best reveals so far is that Michel is gay. We all knew but to finally, finally acknowledge it is wonderful, especially to do so in such a nonchalant way – him complaining to Lorelai about his husband and his aversion to children with a fantastic line: “We could be walking by the well that Timmy fell down and he’d throw a penny in.” I love how it captures Gilmore Girls’ pop culture references, sharp humor, and meanness. Michel, one of my favorite characters in the whole series, is in top form in this short intro to the main Dragonfly scene. “Isn’t that what boarding school is for, so you don’t have to live in a good school district?” and “’Hold this. What do you feel?’ Well now there’s spittle on my Brioni suit, so, rage?” were both classic Michel. He is the best.
What’s not like old times is that the Dragonfly is housing really cool chefs as they put on short pop-up restaurants – or try to, before Lorelai throws them out for not being Sookie. Sookie, we learn from Lorelai and Michel’s arguing, went on a six-month sabbatical…a year ago, and an obviously upset and heartbroken Lorelai refuses to accept the loss, by refusing to let any chef take control of Sookie’s kitchen. Although I hate when characters I normally like are completely and utterly impractical and unreasonable, I really liked how Lorelai was now mirroring Sookie’s annoying refusal to fill her own head chef position when she needed to go on maternity leave back in season 5. Remember in 5.19, when Sookie needed to go on bedrest but she had not yet provided Lorelai any assistance on hiring her temporary replacement, so Luke had to fill in last minute? And Sookie was at 1000% Sookie-annoyance levels, giving Luke an exasperatingly hard time about making sure to copy her cooking exactly, without showing him any gratitude for saving their asses or showing Lorelai any remorse for leaving her in the lurch like this? Well, seeing Lorelai behave just as stubbornly and irrationally trying to fill the position now kind of made me forgive past-Sookie the tiniest bit for not apologizing profusely to Lorelai back then. Two peas. I don’t know how intentional this connection was, but it felt strong to me.
We get our first (it better not be our only) Gypsy treat sighting when she ‘accidentally’ calls Lorelai. Sure, accidentally. One of my favorite things to know now when I rewatch is that Rose Abdoo played Gypsy as if she was in love with Lorelai. It’s so fun to watch with this in mind. Gypsy takes this opportunity to tell Lorelai that her car – her same old broke ass car – is not finished yet because the necessary parts have not yet arrived on a Delorean. I admit it’s kind of tired to still be talking about Lorelai refusing to upgrade her same old broke ass car but I enjoy it.
The highlights tour continues with Friday Night Dinner at the Gilmores! Although, of course, now it is only Emily’s. Oh jesus, this is going to be so sad, isn’t it. Edward Herrman was such a force. At the very least, without him present, the animosity between Emily and Lorelai stands out even more strongly. Rory is not strong enough to be a buffer without the presence of her grandfather. As usual, Lorelai annoyingly pushes Emily too far and a fight erupts, necessitating a flashback to Richard’s funeral four months prior. Tom Waits (so I'm told) plays as we see the three girls sit in silence in the limo and then the service. Zero words accompany this entire scene, and it’s so moving. The table near where the priest is speaking has books and pictures and the Chuck Berry record that Rory brought to him last time he was in the hospital, which was a nice if brutal touch. The picture taken at Richard and Emily’s vow renewal is blown up, the one when they’re dancing to “Bill”, and ugh that’s brutal too.
Post-funeral, at the reception, I love that Luke is fixing things around the house. And Emily’s face after Lorelai says she’s staying despite Rory needing to leave was the happiest we’ve ever, ever seen Emily. So it was immediately clear that something really truly terrible was coming, because Emily doesn’t smile like that. I mean, yes we’re at Richard’s funeral but I mean terrible between Emily and Lorelai. When night falls and only the stragglers/closest friends are left, Emily asks everyone to share their favorite Richard story. Unfortunately, Lorelai is drunk…and doesn’t have any? I find this hard to believe, because although they had a very tumultuous relationship, we’ve seen many, many great moments between her and her father. I mean ffs she could have just talked about how they were being cheated on the Inn’s insurance plan and he redid the entire thing and took on their account. There’s one I just thought of in 2 seconds. Or what about when she thought her parents were moving to Stars Hollow but they were really there buying a house for her? That’s a really easy one to spin to show Richard in a great light. Or how supportive they were of Rory any of the million times they were. So, considering I am now thinking of tons of things she could have said about her father, I really wish they had just made Lorelai drunker, because nothing else explains it. Not even grieving or being caught off guard, because she had a good five minutes while others talked to come up with something instead of awkwardly climbing over the guy in the wheelchair. There’s no way she would have shared the ridiculous story she shared unless she was plastered, and Lauren Graham was not playing her plastered, so it was all very frustrating and annoying, especially when it’s supposed to be the main dramatic plot point of the episode. UGH.
So, of course, after this debacle, Emily is furious and she and Lorelai fight in the kitchen. This extended, nonstop shot of their argument is epic. They say so much and it’s so long, it must have been so hard to shoot but everything about it is perfect. When Emily shouts “I just lost my husband!” and Lorelai breaks down responding “I just lost my father!”, it was like ah finally this is the stellar acting we require from these two. Just so impressive, that whole scene. After the argument, Emily kicks Lorelai out of the house, beginning a months-long spell of silence between the two. Obviously Emily would be furious, but I just wish the reasoning behind all of this was stronger. I just ugh I don’t buy it, Lorelai. Whyyy couldn’t you think of anything else?
I could have done without Digger.
Luckily, Rory does something right and convinces her mother to make amends with Emily, which brings us to one of the best scenes ever. Lorelai arrives in present day at her mother’s house, only to find the maid and her entire extended family (and all the related children) packing up all the Gilmore’s carefully chosen, expensive possessions, from knickknacks and clocks to clothes and furniture, while Emily oversees everything in – gasp! – jeans. Emily of the famous ‘Don’t wear jeans’ mindset is wearing Lorelai’s old jeans and a Candie’s baseball tee. Oh man was this a vision. So it turns out Emily, like 90% of the world, was taken in by Marie Kondo’s The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up, when you hold everything you own and toss it if it doesn’t bring you joy. Emily, naturally, finds that nothing brings her joy, so all her stuff is going. Kelly Bishop is magical in this scene, sending off the dining room chairs with a deadpan “They don’t bring me joy.” So hilarious! And it provided a great way for Lorelai to reconnect with her mother, by reminding her that nothing is going to bring her joy right now, and losing all her stuff might make things harder. Emily snaps out of her reverie and starts ordering all her belongings be brought back. It’s a perfect scene.
Ohhh but then there’s another perfect scene, with my favorite character ever: my idol, Paris Gellar. Luke and Lorelai are in a doctor’s office exploring the option of surrogacy, when we hear that familiar bossy bitchy voice cut through to the waiting room and realize, oh shit, this is Paris’s business. Paris is like the most successful person in the country and I’m like YEAH SHE IS. She is the greatest. If Hillary can’t be president at least Paris can be winning at life. It’s unfortunate that this scene shows how poorly Lorelai and Luke communicate, because they clearly want a child but won’t admit it to the other. And also they don’t like when things are hard, so better to just ignore it. eye roll eye roll eye roll. Come on guys!
In a very forced squeezing of as many characters as possible into one scene, Kirk Ooobers Rory and Paris (who didn’t plan to meet up but ran into each other at the Diner? Sure.) to Lane’s house where the band is playing. Um okay I am just going to accept all this coincidence as part of the magic of the Stars Hollow universe because a) Lane’s accident babies Steve and Kwon are like, 9 years old now and adorable!!! And b) Hep Alien is actually good! When did they get good? I always hated Hep Alien because I despised Zack (and why is he the lead singer when Sebastian Bach is there?) but they really sounded good here and I loved it. Seeing Brian and Gil (!) again made me so happy. I hope that’s not all we get from them, because I really want Brian to be with one of the Korean cousins. Oh my god I can’t wait to see Mrs. Kim!!!
There’s so much going on (it is twice as long as a normal episode!) that I almost forgot about a main storyline – Rory working in London! Rory flies back and forth to London seemingly every other day (who is paying for that?) despite not having a job. Why would so much of her job-seeking involve 24-hour trips to London on the regs? We see her have a very confusing lunch with an older British woman who is nothing like any British woman I’ve ever met. This Miss Shropshire – apparently the former teenage beauty queen of Shropshire because that is a county and not a last name – is bold and brassy in the manner that would make a man in a 1950s movie complain about how she ‘cannot be contained!’ har har but today just makes me wonder, hey where are your shoes. She stops the waiter in the stuffy old members-only-looking restaurant every time he passes with a plate, and makes jokes to Rory about how food tastes better when it’s ‘stolen’. Um, sorry Miss Steer of the Year, but just because those weren’t the dishes you ordered doesn’t mean they won’t be on your bill…? So odd. Why would Rory want to write a book with this woman? Also why is this woman worth writing a book about?
We cut to Rory reviewing the lunch conversation in a super swanky apartment to someone off camera. Whose apartment is this, we wonder as she continues to talk about what a character Miss Shropshire is and how she is just wild, and just as we remember again to ask ourselves, who is paying for all of this?, out comes MISTER LOGAN HUNTZBERGER. I literally gasped when he walked out. I kind of love that they have a ‘what happens in Vegas’ arrangement, it is so them, especially when Rory has a boyfriend. I never shipped Rory and Logan (I always hated Logan) but I kind of want them together now because these assholes deserve each other. I really did love seeing him walk into that room though, that was a superbly done twist.
We end with Lorelai, Luke, and Paul Anka dressed as Luke (!! squeeeeee !!) in the town square for another Stars Hollow Winter Wonderland fiesta or some such small town nonsense that happens every week, and Lorelai gets a call from Emily. It seems sweet, as Emily thanks Lorelai for suggesting she see a therapist and gushes about how well it’s going. Okay, Lorelai, what is going on? She would so immediately recognize that Emily is up to her old tricks again, because when has Emily ever thanked her for anything? I really am flabbergasted that Lorelai doesn’t suspect anything, even when Emily suggests that Lorelai come to a session just to meet the therapist. Lorelai seems so happy and touched that her mother would want this…I mean…who is this person? Even Luke realizes right away that Emily just tricked her into joining her for therapy! I find it hard to believe that Lorelai would go one minute without suspecting her mother’s motives, because she always has an ulterior motive. Oh jeez. I cannot wait to see their therapy session.
Okay so it seems like the big question from this episode, aside from why Lorelai is actually worse than Bridget Jones when speaking in public, is why in the name of Paul Anka did Rory send boxes of her possessions to the homes of everyone she knows? Some went to Lorelai’s, some to her grandmother, some to Lane, some to Paris, SOME TO LOGAN IN LONDON?? What the hell! Was there a multi-destination discount at the post office? Rory is not as smart as they want us to believe. Seriously, there better be a good reason for her to have scattered her possessions around the globe in the next three episodes, because just having her unable to find what she’s looking for due to her own idiotic decision making skills at UPS would be pretty unsatisfying. If this storyline isn’t explained well, I think it may go down as the dumbest, most frustrating plot point in the history of television. Yes, more stupider than when “Once Upon A Time” explained “Frozen” by having Anna in a box in the ocean for 20 years or something I don’t even know. Maybe not as dumb as that. But dumber than most things.
Overall I was giddy throughout this episode. Everything felt right, especially after the slightly off-kilter tone of Season 7. I have high hopes for the rest of the new episodes but also lots of fear. I just know Amy is going to try to pull some dumb shit on Lorelai and Luke instead of letting them grow. And I am sad that we only (reportedly) get one Sookie scene and one Mrs. Kim scene. And not nearly enough Miss Patty and Babette! I need more townies!!
- Obviously Emily wearing Lorelai’s old torn jeans is the big fashion story. It was actually shocking to see, which made it so much funnier. Never do it again! Too weird!
- I love Lorelai’s pink coat and Rory’s whole first look in the opening. They look exactly right. Rory’s whole professional style is so profesh journalist and great. Dammit Rory. Her hair is perfect too.
- Luke looks so much better without the baseball hat now, whereas when he was younger he looked so much better with it on. Interesting. Aging is yucky. His flannel shirt looks like a tent now too. Huh.
- Lorelai’s puppy pajamas!!! Yass!!!
- PAUL ANKA DRESSED AS LUKE
- CESAR’S HAIR OMG CESAR’S HAIR