Earlier today, Netflix debuted Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, the four-part, six-hour reunion of the beloved family dramedy. I posted my overall thoughts on the revival last week, and now that some of you have had time to watch the whole thing, let’s get into more detail of the parts that worked for me and the parts that didn’t — with full spoilers for the whole limited series — coming up just as soon as I accidentally join a vegetable cult…
GREAT: The opening.
Though I watched these episodes while New Jersey was in the midst of an unseasonable warm streak, I got chills during the entire opening sequence, which perfectly set the mood for the return by opening with snippets of classic dialogue (“Oy, with the poodles already!”) against a black background, all building the sense of nostalgia and anticipation until we hear Lorelai say, once again, “I smell snow”…
… and then it is winter in Stars Hollow, and Sam Phillips is la-la-la’ing, and Lauren Graham sits on the steps of the gazebo, looking serene and happy even before Rory surprises her and they dive into their first bit of epic Amy Sherman-Palladino banter in a decade. After so much time away — not to mention the Palladino-less final season(*) — that opening instantly recaptures the feeling of the show at its best and sets a mood that led me to forgive many of the bumps that followed.
(*) By the way, I’m not one offended by the seventh season’s existence. There had already been a lot of problems near the end of the Palladinos’ tenure (the introduction of April and the Lorelai/Luke estrangement that followed, to name a couple), and all things considered, David Rosenthal wrote a pretty good series finale. But neither he nor any of the other writers that year could duplicate Sherman-Palladino’s unique voice, even if they occasionally came up with strong moments that weren’t quip-dependent, like Lorelai singing “I Will Always Love You” at karaoke.
NOT-SO-GREAT: The famous Final Four Words.
This exchange between Rory and Lorelai was apparently how Amy Sherman-Palladino always intended to end the series, and she just carried it over to A Year in the Life. And you can see some very clear “all this has happened before, and all of it will happen again” full circle storytelling here, as Rory winds up repeating the unplanned(*) pregnancy that came to define her mother’s life.