Well folks, we made it. Here we are, nine years after the series finale and over the weekend we were blessed with four new mini-movies that brought us back to the little corner of the world that is Stars Hollow. We went on a self-imposed social media hiatus to avoid spoilers over the weekend, so all this week, we’ll be recapping each season with our own thoughts, since we didn’t tweet as it was happening. And let’s be real, 140 wasn’t enough. We’re going in chronological (GG) order, starting with Winter. Here we go!
T: For the record, I pressed play at 12:01AM and couldn’t get myself to watch it until 12:19AM. I spent my last few minutes on social media (since I stayed off of it completely to avoid spoilers), went to the bathroom multiple times because I made coffee, and to psych myself up, I even said to myself, “IT’S JUST A TV SHOW” then later, “IT’S TOO STRESSFUL.” I eventually pressed play, only to pause it again when Amy’s name came up in the font. I’m a wreck.
M: Winter opens with some of the “greatest hits” lines from Gilmore Girls, in case we weren’t already high-level emotional. On rewatch I realize these lines also serve as a “previously on Gilmore Girls” in that we establish Emily and Lorelai’s relationship, the Luke/Lorelai thing, and also “oy with the poodles already.”
T: Netflix (per usual) has been great with PR and marketing for AYITL, and a day or so before the revival premiered, they released this video that made me legitimately tear up. Unbeknownst to everyone who watched that, it was the very first thing we heard from the 2016 iteration of Gilmore Girls and I teared up all over again. It was a perfect way to jump back into the show.
T: I HAD TO PAUSE IT AGAIN BC I STARTED CRYING AT THE LALAS AND THE FIRST SHOT OF THE SNOW-COVERED STARS HOLLOW SIGN.
M: Rory just got off a plane and looks great; Lorelai theorizes that she’s “been Gooped,” the 2016 pop culture references are here. Rory rarely gets back to town because she’s living an itinerant journalist’s life; Lorelai sings Cats In The Cradle to make fun of the town/Emily’s reaction to Rory’s infrequent visits. We’re back.
T: Lorelai: “I’ve missed ya kid. It feels like years.” SAME, LOR. SAME. Aside: when writing down notes in my phone about this, I used this emoji 😭 to signify when I either tear up or cry. So if you see that, just know I’m emotional. Similarly, I used this 😂 when I lit’rally laughed out loud.
M: After the first time we watched this (yes, this is the second) we and our friend Tori spent a while puzzling about whether the theme song played. It’s like we were so dazed and stunned that we couldn’t even register the first five minutes. (It didn’t play, by the way.)
T: Rory, while running around the town square trying to get reception: “You coming?” Lorelai: “No, I just hit my steps.” As two people who are insane about their Fitbits, THIS RESONATES DEEP.
M: Kirk wants to start a ride service called Ooober. This is the moment that one of my Gilmore Girls fears was laid to rest. After Fuller House (which I liked!) I was disappointed that the tone of the show changed. It was all winks to the former series and modern references posed as punchlines unto themselves. Yes, Uber didn’t exist in 2007 and this certainly places us in a new Stars Hollow, but it wasn’t a modern reference for its own sake – this is still a very Kirk thing. This is when I realized A Year In The Life was going to stay true to the mixture of pop culture and more obscure cultural references that it always had.
T: Exactly. I also liked Fuller House, but I cringed so hard when they all broke the fourth wall and looked into the camera to basically call out the MK+A for not coming back for the new show. ASP + Dan Palladino’s storytelling style and clear idea for this Gilmore world is like it’s set in amber – these characters will always be as quirky as they have been, but they’re aware of trends and pop culture hashtags that make them relevant and up to do, but not change the core being of who they are.
M: Kirk is still so KIRK, always with a weird business venture that he is bad at: he drills holes in his car’s floor (two people passed out, but “they were old, so it could have been old people passing out” or carbon monoxide), then the car breaks down and he starts using a small cart.
M: First time I really started crying: when Lorelai smelled snow and the town troubadour started singing.
T: Yeah, the smelling of the snow, Grant Lee Phillips, and the Gilmore home all dressed in Christmas lights all got to me too. We were back and I was overwhelmed.
M: When we go to Lorelai’s house it truly does feel like going home again – like when I’d come home to visit and it was equally surprising that so much was the same and that little things were different.
T: Remember how awkward Luke and Rory’s hugs always were? Or maybe Rory is just a bad hugger. But when she comes home and he hugs her, it was much improved and seemed like a much more paternal welcome than ever before.
M: We get a satisfying answer – for me, anyway – as to who Rory is with: Paul, an eminently forgettable but nice guy. There’s a running gag throughout Winter that nobody remembers anything he says (like when he told Luke he’d bring him an antique crescent wrench), or where he is (when Lorelai and Rory forget he’s coming to Luke’s, and then that he’s there when they leave). The takeaway: we won’t miss this guy when he goes, and he WILL go.
T: One of my early predictions was that Rory was going to be with someone when the revival starts, but he’s insignificant. And even though IRL I’d be so annoyed with Rory for forgetting who her BF is after TWO YEARS of dating, I found it so amusing that NO ONE remembered who he was.
Luke re: Pete/Billy/Jeffrey/Paul: I just forgot the entire conversation we just had.
T: Fourteen minutes in and I already have 10 gif sets I need to find on Tumblr.
M: Lorelai’s new thing is those TV movie thriller/ horror things that air on Lifetime.
T: I mean, I knew that Luke + Lorelai were together (MY ULTIMATE OTP SO THIS IS MAJ), and I guess I figured they’d be living in her house, but it wasn’t real until he was working the DVR in their bedroom (which LOL at Luke with any sort of technology). Of course Lor only has Lifetime movies recorded, but I found it meta that they were poking fun of them when Scott Patterson was the star of one of them not too long ago (See: my recap of Kidnapped: Hannah Anderson here). Anyways, their domesticated life in this scene is literally the fanfic of my dreams.
M: Lorelai comes downstairs to Rory “stress-tap dancing” in the middle of the night. Lorelai has been worried about her mortality after Richard died, which I knew was happening but STILL. This is the moment I also realize that Lorelai and Rory are written as very anxious people, a trait that somehow never registered with me before. Michel agrees: “xanax was invented for you.” The fast talking, the coffee, the ruminating – and I’d say Rory’s even more like her mother now that she’s roughly the same age as early seasons’ Lorelai.
Rory: “You think I don’t know you? I have your eyes.”
M: Which brings us to: we’ve discussed this, and even though we’re just about the same age as Rory, now we relate most to Lorelai in the original series. For every moment when she seemed like an imperfect parent (dating Rory’s teacher, freaking out when she finds Rory with Dean), now I see somehow who has successfully raised a wonderful teenager by the time she’s my age, all while building a life and a career without any support. I just love Lorelai so much.
T: Same. I’ve always related to Lor a little bit more than Rory in general, but the revival has only reinforced that even more. Especially later on in this ep.
T: The running joke of Luke having WiFi but not giving out the correct password is SO Luke. The man has had a No Cell Phones sign for years, so what makes people think he’s gonna let them use WiFi for free? Also, he puts Rory’s New Yorker piece on the back of the new menu.
M: Love how proud he is of her. “There’s my piece (creaky voice:) wrapped in plastic.”
T: 😂 Lorelai throwing bagels at Kirk’s head is comedy gold. “Luke, you need to control your woman!” *gets hit with a lump of bread even harder*
T: Michel casually says Frederic wants kids, and I had to rewind to make sure he said “Frederic” and not “Frederique” and used “he” and not “she.” GOD BLESS. FINALLY. Also, Yanic fell right back into character and comes right out of the gate with classic Michel rants.
T: Melissa McCarthy’s absence is explained by her going on a sabbatical to work with Dan Barber at Blue Hill Farms (he basically made the whole farm-to-table trend a thing), and it totally makes sense. I think I like the pop up restaurant idea, but the fact that it really is famed LA chef Roy Choi in the scene is kinda taking me out – but not enough that I hate it?
T: Um. Guys. Emily’s new maid Berta is Gypsy (Rose Abdoo) in a wig. CANNOT UNSEE. (UPDATE: It’s definitely her. And Lauren gave insight!)
T: 😂 Emily doing housekeeper charades with the handyman is perfectly bossy Emily Gilmore.
M: Emily has a portrait of Richard that takes up the whole wall. Lorelai posits that she “Spinal Tapped the painting.” This leads into the story of Richard’s funeral, which was my cue to press pause and get some Kleenex.
T: Through the tears of the funeral flashback, there were moments of both levity and heartache, including the moment Jason ‘Digger’ Stiles reappears after attending his former business partner Richard’s funeral. I thought his brief yet touching scene with Lorelai was sweet and the perfect sendoff. Especially because she called him Digger again and he called her Umlaut.
T: Let me start off by saying LAUREN GRAHAM HAS NEVER WON AN EMMY. For Your Consideration: This drunk scene starting with her telling Richard and Emily’s friends about her “favorite memories” of her father. Lauren played completely wasted so well, without it being over the top or unbelievable. AND THEN, the showdown with her in Emily in the kitchen – it was like watching Michael Jordan and Larry Bird on the court (Sportsball ref?). They both had valid points, and as much as I love Lor, I love even more that Emily called her out on being selfish – because who else is going to be real with her like that and make as much an impact? It ends by Lorelai reaching for the door handle and saying, “Full. Freaking. Circle.” three words that gave me goosebumps. This now ranks as one of my favorite scenes of the entire series to date, and maybe a little too resonant in my ongoing identification as Lorelai IRL.
M: Signs Emily is changed: she’s had the same housekeeper for long enough to know who she is, lets a large extended family run about her house, wears jeans.
M: Brilliant cut to Kirk next to Lorelai at Emily’s table (his Ooober broke down) that makes you feel for a second like the whole thing is a dream sequence.
T: Luke comes to the rescue to pick Lor and Kirk up – but why isn’t he at Friday Night Dinner in the first place?
M: Lorelai and Luke have been together a long time: when they discuss whether they want a “fresh kid,” Luke explains that 5-6 years ago, he saw a kid at a Little League game and said “that’s the kid” (which is supposed to be his indication that he wanted a kid, because Luke). Luke and Lorelai discuss having a child, which I love as a viewer but sounds EXHAUSTING as someone who realizes that Lorelai is the mother of a THIRTY TWO YEAR OLD ADULT.
T: This conversation is also a part of the fanfic of my dreams, and also touches back on a conversation that they had in the season 6 premiere right after she proposed to him (“Kids would be great”). Lor actually mentions the aforementioned “Twickham house” scene, and yet again, a great way ASP acknowledged L+L canon without being annoying about it.
M: Anyway, Paris is the surrogacy specialist they meet with. This seems like a weird way to get Paris into the picture at first, and not really what I pictured Paris doing at all. Except – now that I’m a 30 year old with a few degrees, it actually seems super realistic that a smart, top-of-her-class person like Paris won’t necessarily be running the world. We graduated into the recession and it’s not necessarily reasonable that every person is going to be a UN representative. (I’m not saying being at the top of a huge surrogacy organization and being seemingly very wealthy is bad at all — but I mean the way the thing you end up doing isn’t what you would have guessed when you were 18.)
T: I am obsessed with the reveal of Paris, in that we only hear her yelling at first then have her enter the frame – because Paris Geller is a YELLER, and I love that it doesn’t matter what her occupation is, she’s still brilliantly shrill as ever.
M: The running gag that Luke isn’t sure whether he’s supposed to have sex with the surrogate is great.
T: Is it weird Paris’ Dynasty Makers reminds me of Orphan Black’s BrightBorn Technologies?
Paris keeps referring to Lor as a second mother, to which Luke asks: “How much time did you spend with this girl?”
M: Rory is in London discussing a ghostwriting/cowriting job with Naomi, AKA the always-delightful Alex Kingston (red flag: Rory asks if the lawyers will take care of payment and Naomi says it will be 50/50 – but girl, you better get that in writing). Rory is staying with her … friend. Her friend LOGAN with whom she has a “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” relationship. Read: they hook up whenever she’s in London. Oh, Rory. Rory, Rory, Rory. Anyway, he’s still cute with a nice apartment and we’re meant to like him more than Forgettable Paul. I will say that out of Rory’s former love interests, Logan felt like the most likely to cross paths with her in later life. Of course we all know who we’ll be seeing later on in A Year In The Life, so we’ll see.
T: Agreed. Rory and Logan always seemed like a better romantic match (Jess turned out to be a confidant type/the type that I would want to date me not Rory). But listen, why is Rory still stringing along Paul??? The joke was funny at first, but now that we find out she’s been casually sleeping with Logan, she’s technically cheating on Paul. Did she learn nothing from the Dean situation???
T: Doyle is a screenwriter now and has become all Hollywood. THANK YOU ASP.
M: Meanwhile, Lane has exactly the garage band-y home you’d imagine she would, with band practice in the living room and lots of bright mismatched colors and adorable sons who she lets have fun. I mentioned before that I was really Team Lane and Team Paris, in that I figured that 10 years in the future, those are the people Rory will still be in touch with. Glad I was right on those counts!
T: #TeamParis shirt for me, please. Also, Lane and Zach moved into Sookie and Jackson’s, house right? Am I going crazy? Did they even explain why? Where is Jackson?
M: Amy Sherman Palladino made a blink and you’ll miss it Marie Kondo reference at the Gilmore Girls reunion panel, and it is so fun to see Emily trying to hold all her objects to see what “sparks joy.” (I did it. It sounds wacky but my house looks great and is always neat.) But just a moment for Kelly Bishop in jeans and a t-shirt? She looks SO GOOD.
M: Lorelai observes that “nothing is going to bring you joy right now” which is pretty true, though. Also it’s going to be tricky when Emily realizes she doesn’t have chairs anymore. Anyway, Lorelai convinces Emily to go to counseling – “really Woody Allen the hell out of it” – and also makes Emily realize that she’s wearing jeans, which – good as she looks – is a tip-off that things aren’t going great with her.
Lorelai: “I did something right!” Luke: “Law of averages”
- Miss Patty’s dance studio, still with wide open barn doors in wintertime
- I love that it’s this unspoken thing that Lorelai favors vintage/retro decor: her stove and fridge and chrome kitchen table now, the jukebox in the Firefly back in the day.
- “I have many irons in the fire” “I heard, you should become a blacksmith.” Our girls are back.
- I LOVE GYPSY.
- The town got Kirk a pig because they heard him and Lulu talking about having kids and it worried them.
- Lorelai: “People are dumb” – the truest sentence she’s ever said.
- The Shonen Knife version of Top Of The World plays when Lorelai’s on the way to Emily’s, and my first thought is that this was SUCH an Amy Sherman Palladino soundtrack pick.
- #LukeDanesDreamMan fixing the vent in the Gilmore house during the funeral
- Kirk, the man who asked Luke to catch him if he had night terrors at the Dragonfly, who fell asleep in Luke’s dad’s boat in Lorelai’s garage, who was saved by Luke after not making a map for the Easter Egg hunt, continues to be the adult child to Luke and Lorelai in the revival.
- Lorelai automatically filling the saltshakers at the diner and Rory going behind the counter to get coffee without Luke yelling at her – small signs that the Gilmore Girls have made the diner their home even more so in the past nine years ❤
- Paris’ high-profile client is Neil Patrick Harris. Neil Patrick Harris. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS!@
- The woman who asks for the WiFi password at Luke’s is Mara Casey, one of the OG casting directors for the show!
- Taylor knows enough about YouTube stars that he name drops Zoella
- Brian uses the spare room in Zach and Lane’s house? What is he doing with his life?
- I want a video of Paris listening to Hep Alien practice on loop
- Because 2016 was the year of feminism (until it wasn’t anymore), there’s a female town troubadour. And she is…. Louise Goffin! AKA Carole King’s daughter. Who calls herself the other troubadour’s sister. PLOT TWIST!!
- Ending with Dolly Parton’s Here You Come Again also feels like a very Amy Sherman-Palladino music pick
- In Memory of Edward Hermann. Aw.
- Despite the fact I kept stopping and starting Winter, I felt like I could’ve watched a solid 30-45 minutes more of Winter. That’s probably excessive, but whatever.