It was a little difficult for both of us to start Summer, because it meant that we were more than halfway through A Year In The Life. But who are we kidding – it was a little hard for us to start ALL of the episodes because we can’t be chill and normal when it comes to Gilmore Girls. In Summer, the conflicts that Rory and Lorelai are dealing with come to a head. Also Stars Hollow has a pool and a star-studded musical.
M: Stars Hollow has a pool. Stars Hollow has always had a pool, maybe? Lorelai and Rory are pool people, I guess? To be fair, we didn’t see much summer during the original series.
T: Everything the girls say about the pool I couldn’t agree with more. “The pool only makes you hotter”, “The chlorine, the algaecides, the bodily fluids that shall remain nameless (kid pee)”.
M: April is over for dinner, because we can’t unwrite that plot point even if we’d like to. She’s now a pseudo-hippie college kid who makes a big deal out of the fact that she smokes pot (once). Hats off (slouchy wannabe rasta hat) to Vanessa Marano who perfectly steps back into the role of April, voice and all. It must be so strange to walk into a role 10 years after you left it when the same amount of time has elapsed for the character.
T: And while I wasn’t entire Team April during the OG series, I must say I loved what she turned out to be in the revival. Of COURSE she pretends to have a nose ring and brag that she walks the MIT halls with her idol Noam Chomsky, only to confess to Rory none of what she said is true. At heart, April just wants to be cool and fit in, which might not happen for her – and it’s totally OK. I also enjoyed that the pretty much step-sisters have a scene together, something we never really got in the OG series. There was of course the one time in Philadelphia, but the fact that April confided in Rory this time around to admit she had been exaggerating the truth shows the confidence in their friendship and family ties to go to her “sibling” for advice.
T: I know Luke is a millionaire, but why did he pay for April to go to MIT AND is offering to pay for her to go to Germany? Where is her mother? ANDDD yet again, Lor offers to help with April and yet again, Luke shoots her down by noting “April’s mine. I got it.”UGH. THIS IS GOING TO BE PROBLEMATIC. Also continuing to be problematic: Logan.
M: Rory is back home, as we saw at the end of Spring. She’s living in her time-frozen teen bedroom and – am I losing it? – reverting to 2000s Rory’s hair and clothing style, at least during her phone call with Logan.
M: Logan’s girlfriend is moving in with him, so Rory will have to stay in a hotel when she next visits in London. Rory: “So now you want me to just wait in a hotel so you can slip away and come see me? Like I’m a geisha?” RORY. Rory, Rory, Rory. You’ll never feel respected if you aren’t showing any respect for yourself. (If not yourself, respect whoever the heck Odette is. You’re better than this.)
M: Too real: Stars Hollow is now home to The Thirty-Something Gang, “a group of kids all about your age, they’ve been to college, been out in the real world, it spit them out like a stale piece of gum and now they’re all back in their old rooms like you.”
Babette re: the air conditioner going off in the middle of the town meeting: “This is really going to freak out the 30-something gang. They are very sensitive!”
M: I have mixed feelings about where Rory ended up in life. On one hand, this is a fairly realistic outcome for Rory. She’s had some major successes, but she’s not exactly Christiane Amanpour. It’s one thing to be The Most Amazing Girl In Your Class at 15; there are so many amazing girls from so many classes and by your early 30s you’ve realized that you’re not as special as you thought. But while I didn’t think the journalistic world would put Rory on the same pedestal that Stars Hollow always has, I expected more hustle and drive out of her.
T: The thing that I’ve realized about Rory over the past few years of repeats and being out of college myself, is that we don’t actually know if she’s a good journalist. We’re told she’s a good journalist, but her best article (that’s discussed) is from her high school newspaper and it was about a parking lot. Yes, she was made the editor of the Yale Daily News, but it was after Paris got outed and none of the staff could decide on anyone else to replace her. In AYITL, I think it reinforced the theory that Rory’s no Christiane after she barely did anything close to reporting while meeting with the line-waiters in Spring. In fact, she fell asleep while interviewing someone, decided NOT to talk to the people who didn’t even know what they were waiting in line for (JOURNALISM 101), and slept with a source – that was a WOOKIE. I’m almost convinced Mitchum was right all along.
M: Really excited by the prospect of Rory heading up the Stars Hollow Gazette … if she revitalizes it instead of going all New Rory and failing to live up to expectations. It sounds like the beginning of either one of those millennial lifestyle blogs where a big-city person moves to become, e.g., a farmer’s wife in Missouri, or a Hallmark Christmas movie.
T: Also, she’s taking over for Bernie Roundbottom. Bernie. ROUNDBOTTOM. I am 5 years old. Anyways, Rory, no thanks to Esther and the other guy (Charles?), prints her first edition – which includes a bad review of a movie Doyle wrote the script for – but has no one to deliver all the copies to the metropolis that is Stars Hollow, so she naturally recruits Lorelai. This provides a nice little montage of our girls running around the town and dropping papers off at all the hotspots, which is yet another reminder we’re back in Stars Hollow.
M: The montage of Rory and Lorelai dropping off the Gazette reminds me of Now and Then, and I can’t think of why until I realize it’s the song These Boots Are Made For Walkin.
T: Lorelai and Rory have acquired two small minions to hold umbrellas over them while they sit in lounge chairs by the pool and basically do whatever bidding they want because they are regarded as literal royalty in this town. But you know who is truly deserving for us to bow down to? This guy, who kicked everyone out of the pool.
T: Michel, who is focused on being nice to kids now that he and Frederic are planning to start a family, finally sits Lor down in the secret bar (FIVE-OH!) and tells her he has to leave if she can’t pay him more/expand the Dragonfly. This rare tender conversation between Lor and Michel has me in tears, and the same goes for Lor, but not Michel, because he doesn’t want to be seen crying in a secret bar.
Michel while offering candy to kids at the Dragonfly: For our special little muppets, complimentary lollipops – that is if you like lollipops. Go ahead take one each. Now when I say one, I mean two! *winks* (To Lorelai) On a scale of 1 to 10, how much did I sound like a child molester?
Michel: Ah. Getting better.
M: Poor Emily is waking up at noon depressed and disheveled.
T: Miss Patty and Babette are of course running auditions for the SH musical, and in an expected/unexpected turn of events, Broadway star Kerry Butler/ therapist Claudia is in line to audition, and sees Lorelai. Their conversation is the MOST she talked since she’s been on the show. Meanwhile, Sutton Foster makes her first appearance in the background and Taylor is singing her praises because she was Kinky Boots. She WAS Kinky Boots!
M: Stars Hollow: The Musical could only be better if they came down the aisles creepily waving their hands to audience members like the Pippin incident. Lorelai is aghast, Gypsy is having the time of her life, Babette’s pretty into it. It’s interesting having 90 minutes to play with – in the original series it would have been a few verses to give us an idea of what was going on then a cut-away. I don’t want to wish away any moment of Sutton Foster, but I might have liked to use a few minutes of that time for some of the characters we love (Paris or Lane, specifically).
T: We are theater nerds in the truest sense of the term, but I totally agree – I would’ve given up a few minutes of the SH Musical in favor of more Paris or Lane or even Brian and Gil. Or Miss Patty!!!
M: Now we can add Hamilton to the list of 2016 pop culture references.
T: I just… have so many comments about this horribly amazing musical. A few things – they’re incorporating the Revolutionary War reenactors, finding out Sutton and Christian Borle’s characters, who’ve been singing about being in love, are siblings, and ending it with Abba’s Waterloo – the SAME EXACT SONG HIT JUKEBOX MUSICAL MAMMA MIA ENDS WITH!
M: Sutton’s character is named Violet which I’m deciding was very on purpose. Now can we please make this the beginning of the campaign to get a new season of Bunheads??
M: In the rundown session after the play, everyone loved it but Lorelai. (“What’s your suggestion? Make it LESS perfect?” “She was Kinky Boots!”) Loved Taylor name-dropping rappers (“How does he know their names?”)
I know nothing about musicals, but this is a fun musical. – Tom, a contractor by profession
T: Sutton, the star of ASP’s Bunheads and longtime GG fan, finally has a face-to-face scene with Lauren Graham, who is reprising her role of Lorelai Gilmore. My brain is on the verge of exploding.
M: Emily is letting Berta wear civilian clothes! She has a TV in the living room! She ATE in the living room! However, Rory wants Emily to get out more, go to the club, go dancing at night – sounds exhausting.
M: JESS. Jess looks very, very good. And I know we all know what Milo Ventimiglia looks like in 2016 – thank the tv gods for This Is Us – but it’s somehow still a fresh surprise to see him as Jess. Jess and Rory have a friendly but not flirty relationship, but haven’t seen each other for a good 4 years. I’ve always liked Jess the most of Rory’s boyfriends, that’s no secret, and I love how he has such a good insight into who she is. He tells her he knows what she should write: the story of her and her mom.
T: Jess walked into frame and I had to pause because I almost swooned. But his looks aside, I agree with Molly – Jess was the best (season 6 version of him at least), and he was always the intellectual equal to Rory. She believed he was better than his chalk outline pranks and knew he had potential to be great, and later on, he thought the same of her. That carries through to today, and it’s even more prevalent after suggesting she write the book. Also, is Luke going to give his franchise money to Rory for the book?
M: Major ‘aww’ moment: as Jess greets Luke outside the window, Rory pulls up an article about young single mom Lorelai moving to Stars Hollow. I guess before social media this is how you’d know things? But then again, this is Stars Hollow.
T: Rory pulling up the article “LORELAI GILMORE ARRIVES IN STARS HOLLOW TAKES JOB AT INDEPENDENCE INN” marks the first time I’ve ever cried over microfiche. And to step back a little bit, the moment between Luke and Jess was perfect.
M: Rory is having her Jo March moment writing about Lorelai’s life. I’m touched. Lorelai is not, and she withholds her permission. It’s understandable, though. Lorelai worked for years to make sure people “only knew what I wanted them to know.” I’m the same way – everyone gets pieces of my life but the whole thing isn’t out there – and it would drive me crazy if somebody spilled everything.
Also Rory… I really loved the sweet, shy, hardworking, morally upright Rory of the first 4 or so seasons. The problem is that she had this Stars Hollow pedestal her whole life and as an adult, that has manifested in a person who expects to be lauded and supported. She should have taken Lorelai’s “no,” or at least discussed the matter calmly, but emotions were high and I think Rory was caught off guard.
Still, Lorelai’s reaction isn’t typical for her (except for that long feud I don’t like to remember) and makes it clear how serious she is about this. Lorelai has always been so confident and no-nonsense about her rough early years that I didn’t realize that it was something she was sensitive about, but being rejected by her mother at 16 and now again after Richard died is still painful for her.
T: And on top of this, Lorelai goes to the diner and has a fight with Luke after she tells him he’s “been grumpy for months”, and it sets off the whole can of worms that I explicitly told them would come back to bite them in the ass during Spring. Apparently these fictional characters can’t hear either of us when we talk to the TV. Lor calls out Luke for not telling her he went looking for potential spots for his diner franchise, while he reminds her she didn’t tell him Emily stopped going to therapy but she kept seeing Claudia. AND THEN Luke says, “We struck a deal. You’ve got your life and I’ve got mine. You keep your crazy family away from me and I’ll keep my crazy family away from you.” UhBoy. This is what is was like circa season 6 with the whole April debacle – why are we still here??
All the while, Lorelai, like putting salt in the saltshakers in Winter, continues to help Luke clean up the dirty plates from the tables because it’s basically her diner too. All. The. Feels.
M: Rory and Logan break up (“we can’t break up, because we’re nothing.”). One thing I think AYITL does well is the reintroduction of Rory’s old love interests. Realism would have her on a Facebook-only basis with all of them, but obviously that wouldn’t work. I like that for viewers who were Team Logan, he’s a caring and sweet guy except for the cheating, which I can’t forgive but in which he’s no more culpable than Rory. For Team Jess, he shows up, has a friendly rapport with Rory, and gives her the first writing inspiration she’s had for some time. Team Dean? We’re not there yet.
M: Then Lane states the theme of this episode and also of life in your early 30s: this adult stuff is hard, isn’t it?
T: I mean, we kind of don’t know where Lane’s coming from except she’s the mom of two twins and a part-time drummer. #JusticeForLane
M: Secondary theme of your early 30s, courtesy of Rory: I don’t need Lipitor, I need to be 20 again.
M: If we needed more clarification, though, the one and only Sutton Foster sings the dilemma for us, too. Lorelai starts crying and so do I (“Maybe it’ll be me and a dog?” You’re killing me, Sutton. Woof.).
T: Through my tears, I appreciated how realistic and unrealistic this show is, and how truly theatrical it is. There were many times in AYITL in particular which felt like I was watching a stage production, but this scene was obvious yet magical, and perfectly encapsulated Lorelai’s “A-Ha” moment without her having to say a word.
M: Callback to the beginning of the episode: Lorelai is going to “do Wild,” aka hike the Pacific Crest Trail like in Cheryl Strayed’s book. But have any of you read that book? Particularly at a time when you were feeling topsy-turvy about your life? That thing should come with an advisory on the back, because it makes you want to go out there and hike until your feet are so blistered that you figure your life out.
T: I’ve only seen the movie, and I was left confirming my lifelong stance against camping and hiking long distances through nature. I feel like I’m on the same level as Lorelai, so I’m truly concerned for her wellbeing if she lasts on this trip. Also, please note that while Luke is reminding Lorelai nature is nature, he is standing next to another beloved townie – Bert the Toolbox.
M: This is the heaviest of the episodes so far, but it’s also a serious dose of reality (musical numbers aside). Rory can only keep a cheerful, optimistic attitude about being out of work for so long. Emily lost her spouse of 50 years. And Lorelai did an amazing job overcoming obstacles as a young parent, but it never left her with time to sort out what it all meant.
- Lorelai has one of those Reese Witherspoon Totes Y’all totes while she’s reading Wild poolside (I think if you watch Gilmore Girls you’re also the kind of person who knows both that Reese was in Wild and that she sells these totes and get a kick out of the unspoken reference. This is why I love Gilmore Girls fans.)
- Zach on the twins: “When they get mad, they’re like five little Korean people and they focus all their Korean vitriol at Lane and me.”
- Did I miss why Rory is wearing a hippie costume poolside?
- She got game. “Your name is Kevin, huh? But I think I’ll call you – TOMORROW.” GET IT BABETTE.
- The wonderful Jackie Hoffman is playing Esther, who can’t stop filing at the SH Gazette, and it is just another testament of how good casting was for the revival.
- Michel is turning 50?? Which I guess makes sense because Lorelai is 48? STILL.
- Lane and Zach have a side White Stripes combo at the Secret Bar. BUT WHAT ELSE DOES LANE DO? AND WHAT DOES ZACH SUPERVISE?
- I continue to be amazed at how lovely and beautiful Lauren Graham is in this entire revival. I just love her so much, you guys.
- Did ASP shade Aaron Sorkin, her closest writer rival, yet again? Lorelai: Yeah it’s like the set of an Aaron Sorkin movie in here.”
- Rory still hasn’t dumped Paul. And she had to write herself a note to remind herself to do it.
- Famous chefs continue to rotate out of the Dragonfly, but Luke is back in the kitchen at the inn after Ina Garten or Sandra Lee or one of them was kicked out by Lor. Remember, Luke is secretly like a Michelin star chef and just loves Lorelai a lot but has to get out his frustration by ranting about the situation yet ends up doing it anyways. It’s OG Luke ranting and it is gold.
- Sophie suggests a tune to add to the musical, and it happens to be a song called I Feel The Earth Move, by the one and only Carole King. To clarify, Sophie is played by Carole King. All is well.
- Rory: “Maybe I can be one of Paris’ surrogates. She always liked my teeth.” Yes. This is a thing Paris would let Rory know about.
- I find it unbelievable Rory wouldn’t know what Mysteries of Laura is.
- Emily is saying ‘Hello’. To Jack. The guy who had a real memory of Richard at his funeral. You know what? FUCK JACK. RICHARD GILMORE 4EVER. **UPDATE: The actor who plays Jack just showed up on my TV as Honey’s husband Marvin on Fresh Off The Boat, solving the mystery of why I know his face. BUT ALSO he played Robin’s dad, Robin Scherbatsky Sr. in HIMYM!**
- Why does Nat, the director of the SH musical, have a neck brace on in the last scene he’s in?
- This one was produced by Helen Pai, the namesake of Hep Alien (in anagram form). She’s also Amy Sherman Palladino’s friend who served as an inspiration for Lane.
- By this point in my viewing (Saturday night), I had to cut off all communication with at least 5 people because they finished Fall before me. It’s real, y’all. -T