To My Friends Who Hated The Gilmore Girls Revival:
Here’s a stepping stool. Go ahead and dismount.
GG is near and dear to my heart because, well, because it’s GG and it is amazing, and it is a wailing, double-corkscrew roller coaster of perfectly imperfect emotion and comedic timing. With Pop Tarts. Which is basically all it needs in order to be near and dear to my heart.
So imagine my guttural waves of joy upon hearing of the revival and conjuring up the perfect viewing scenario. Well, that perfect viewing scenario did not happen because, despite my and my friend’s best efforts, we had a mostly-interrupted, partially-connected shin-dig wherein I was only able to watch (most of) the first episode. Without Pop Tarts…
A bit disheartened at my inability to zero in on the promising display, it ended up actually taking me a little longer to get back to it and finally finish watching it all at home. But then, by the time it was done, it was glorious. The absolute perfect revival.
Now, revival bears emphasis here because it implies a death, a death and another life. And that’s what there was. A miraculous new life for all sorts of previously-loose ends (and I don’t care that I’m mixing metaphors) and a new generation of ever-growing problems to overcome.
And that’s where I completely differ from all my friends who hated the revival.
I perused the social media melee that ensued, and I sort of just sat confused at the disgruntled nature, or sometimes even downright angry reactions, of those who had hoped for something different. The arguments were plentiful. The main ones I saw:
(1) People hated the pace and the quirky vignettes. I know, I know, they put an entire Broadway-style show into the mix; they used up several of the precious minutes on a non-dream but dreamlike scenario in which Colin and Finn are even more exaggerated and flamboyant than they usually are; they allocated too much screen time to the seemingly drawn-out town meetings, complete with obnoxious air conditioning sound bytes.
But then, I say, what did people expect? I am pretty sure they wanted a fairy tale, complete with knight in shining armor (or at least a knight in a blue baseball cap). And maybe that’s why they got up on their high horse in the first place.
But GG has never been a fairy tale. It has always, always been a little girl dressing up in a tattered, fairy tale costume and playing pretend. Which, in my opinion, is much better.
Now when you revive a little girl who used to play pretend, you have to realize that she is not going to be the same little girl anymore. She is no longer a child; she is a woman reminiscing about childhood. And that is all about quirkiness, and exaggeration, and drawn-out partial memories of things that have been changed in the mind by time.
GG is about being able to roll with the punches, and in this case, those punches were clearly caricatures — they were a hat-tip to the allusions, the culture, the underground groupies of GG. They were exaggerated because they were more than just a story; they were a memorial to a story that once was. And that was absolutely perfect.
(2) People hated the unexpected plot twists: They hated that Lorelai and Luke got married at night; they hated that Rory was still left without a job and that we didn’t find out what happens with her book (does it sell a million copies???); and most of all, they hated the ending.
But, you know what? Lorelai is enchanting because she is spontaneous, Rory’s Josephine March moment was always more about her relationship with Lorelai and less about her actual career prospects (besides, we know how the book would have sold, seeing as the TV show is wildly popular, duh); and this show — this deeply human show — has always been about the challenges that need answering, so it is no wonder (and no disappointment) that it ends once again with a challenge to be answered (especially because it could very nicely segue into a new series, but even if not, it was brilliant nonetheless).
(3)People were profoundly offended by Rory’s behavior with Logan. People were yelling, and growling, and gnashing their teeth about this one. And so I sat there thinking to myself, Uh…what did these people think Gilmore Girls was about? Did they not watch the Season 4 finale, Raincoats and Recipes, with Rory and Dean? Did they not see the end of Season 6 with Lorelai and Christopher? Did they think this show was about flawless people doing super smart things all the time? What did they think the whole premise of Lorelai’s relationship with Rory was?
I mean, I can see the confusion. GG feels like a show about a perfect life full of perfect people. But it’s not. It feels that way because it is a show about three super duper important things: adaptation, repentance, and forgiveness.
I mean, Lorelai is a teen mom runaway, Rory is technically a felon (at least substantively, even if her plea deal was a deferred judgment), Logan is a (sometimes admirable) privileged ass and always was, Emily is a freaking witch with about two ounces of sympathy and 98 ounces of narcissism, Miss Patty is a raging floozy, and even Luke, as close to perfect as he is, randomly yells at people in the diner all the time, but these people make it work, they make their friendship work, they make their town work, and it is super fun to watch.
That is to say, the show is ridiculously magnificent because it romanticizes and idealizes not a perfect society, but a perfectly imperfect response to one town’s imperfection.
It emphasizes Lorelai’s willingness to work as hard as she could in order to provide for her child, without giving up her personal connection with her, and without relying on the then-toxic environment she was brought up in. It underscores Lorelai’s unfailing relationship with her mother who she by no means bows down to, but who she respects in a surreal, transformative kind of way. It exemplifies what it means to be friends with the weird cat lady with the shady-looking husband who is just genuine and kind enough to be the best neighbor ever. It’s about being able to stay friends with someone who doesn’t go to your school, who doesn’t read what you read, and whose parents are basically the opposite of your own. It’s about utterly failing and doing horrible things, or having people do horrible things to you, and yet coming out on the other side better for the wear.
It is a show that demonstrates what it means to swallow pride and ask for help when you need it (like when you need money from your parents), to admit your shortcomings (like when you realize you shouldn’t have quit school), to embrace embarrassment (like when you check out that awkward, self-help recording about how to have loving relationships).
It is familial disconcert and happiness personified, social acceptance and accommodation epitomized.
People: it was always about imperfections. And such is life. It is always about transitions and struggles and really crappy stuff that we do or that other people do to us. But what more masterful artist of life is there than someone who can create a Mona Lisa — complete with that simple, unforced smile — out of crayons???
The GG revival was exactly that: a woman standing, arms overlapped, boundaries apparent but welcoming nonetheless, inviting anyone around to feel free to smile along with her at whatever it is that made things look so dismal, because she knows that that’s the best way to make it beautiful and vibrant again.