Four Seasons of Change; Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life

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Photo credit: Zoe Garden

Families gather around to bond and watch Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life, now exclusively on Netflix.

Zoe Garden, Features Editor

TV show reunions have not been a stranger to modern day television. Shows such as Fuller House and Arrested Development are examples of recent reunions, both produced by the streaming giant, Netflix.  It has been about 16 years since the release of Gilmore Girls on the channel previously known as WB, now the CW.When the show ended, audiences everywhere were devastated at the sudden end to the beloved show. Fast forward to 2016, Gilmore Girls is back exclusively on Netflix with the highly anticipated revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life.

On November 25, four 90-minute mini movies were released. Every new episode took place over the four seasons, winter, spring, summer and fall. With the channel revamping its image in 2006, the show’s creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, was let go because of contract obligations. For the seventh season, the show was taken over by David S. Rosenthal, preceding its sudden cancellation towards the end of the season. With constant reruns on Freeform (formally ABC Family) and streaming episodes on Netflix, the show grew in popularity with a new generation. These four new episodes are a second chance for the show’s creators and cast, giving them the opportunity to wrap up the show in their own way.

WINTER: Emily, Rory and Lorelai, at this point, are all at a crossroads their lives. “Winter” opens with the mother-daughter duo, Lorelai and Rory strolling around their beloved town of Stars Hollow, watching the first snow. Avid fans are assured that the beloved relationship of Luke and Lorelai is still going strong, but Lorelai has recently been having doubts about her future with Luke. She begins to wonder if Luke is really getting what he wants out of their relationship considering that, even after dating for nine consecutive years, they are not married and do not have children.

Following the 2014 death of Edward Herrmann who played Richard Gilmore, the revival does a wonderful job of honoring the late actor. Emily Gilmore is having some deep struggles with coping with her husband’s death after 50 years of marriage. She is shown to be lashing out on friends, constantly staying home, and trying to make herself feel whole again. Through a flashback, the audience learns that things have been tense between Emily and Lorelai since Richard’s funeral. Lorelai is accused by her mother of only caring about her daughter and never considering Emily’s feelings. Lorelai suggests talking about it in therapy.

Gilmore Girls fans last saw Rory Gilmore leaving to report on the Obama 2008 campaign after graduating from Yale University. Flash forward eight years, the audience learns that Rory is working on at a dead end job and is let go due to her dissipating passion for journalism. As for Rory’s infamous boyfriends, Logan  never left the picture. His engagement to someone else, however, drives his uncommitted nature toward Rory. Rory hates the way her life is going and does not know what to do. Winter is filmed beautifully, and captures the wonderful essence of the old show. “Winter” was written and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino. It sparks nostalgia of the original series and reminds fans that they are in for a real treat with these episodes.

SPRING: In “Spring”, Emily and Lorelai are seen in therapy, trying to work out their tortured relationship.With a tense relationship shown in the previous seven seasons, the therapy sessions show that therapy does not really help their status. Emily says she believes Lorelai is missing out on a fully commited relationship with Luke, thus Lorelai begins to doubt if she has peaked in her relationship with her boyfriend Luke and the Dragonfly Inn, her business she  with her best friends.The Gilmores all seem to have similar themes emerging in their lives. Emily is still having trouble with her daughter and coping with Richard’s passing. Lorelai is also having trouble with the passing of her father. She never had a good relationship with the man, but she is still struggling with his death. Rory is still working as a part time freelancer at jobs she does not care for and desires a permanent change. In the episode, she goes to an alumni event at her high school, Chilton, where viewers catch up with the incomparable Paris Geller. Rory and Paris give speeches to current students at Chilton which leads up to Rory’s former headmaster asking if she would consider getting her masters to get a teaching job at Chilton. She receives this news poorly and starts to doubt if her career will ever end up succeeding as she once dreamed. And with that, springtime is over. A roller coaster of emotions and defeat written and directed by Dan Palladino, “Spring” houses some of the revival’s most devastating turns and confusing reveals. “Spring” is just a warm up for “Summer” and “Fall”.

SUMMER: “Summer” rolls around, and little has changed for the Gilmores. Rory moves back to Stars Hollow with the intention of starting over. She learns that, due to the editor’s retirement, the town newspaper is shutting down. This news strikes a chord within her and ends up taking over despite it not being her expertise. After a few weeks of working at the Stars Hollow Gazette, she gets a visit from former flame Jess Marino. Jess convinces her this is not what she wants and she should write a book about her relationship with her mother Lorelai. She fancies this idea and brings it up to Lorelai, who has the opposite reaction. Lorelai worries that the book would be too personal and puts their relationship on pause. The summer ends up being very overwhelming for Lorelai due to her friend Michel leaving their business and so on. With these issues, she decides to go away to hike Pacific Crest Trail like in the book-turned-movie, Wild. Summer received mixed reviews by fans. “Summer” was written and directed by Daniel Palladino. The episode itself did not feel like a classic episode of Gilmore Girls with how it was filmed, how the jokes were executed and just off-putting. The musical of Stars Hollow took up almost 15 minutes  of the episode and years off of viewer’s lives. The girls are at their lowest points which gives hope for the “Fall” to get resolutions.

FALL: In the finale, “Fall”, Lorelai is suffering on the trail. After a rough few days, she contacts her mother and tells a heartwarming story about her and her father. She makes up with her mother and goes back to Stars Hollow after having a moment of clarity about her relationship with Luke. Luke panics thinking they have broken up after all they have been through but ends up with fan’s (and Emily’s) long awaited happening of a Luke and Lorelai wedding. As for Rory, she finally cuts ties with Logan after having an affair for years and dumps their relationship. Lorelai lets her know she approves her book idea and gives her the go ahead. Emily decides to put her old life behind her. “This whole thing is dead to me anyhow,” she snaps at her former friends. “It died to me with Richard.” Emily sells her estate and moves to her summer house in Nantucket and gets a job as a tour guide at a local museum. The final episode wraps up with a causal bombshell of Rory announcing her pregnancy with Lorelai, without telling who the father is. ‘Fall” was the winner of the revival, with beautiful cinematography and emotional moments. Fans had questions wrapped up that have been asked for years like a Luke and Lorelai wedding and where Rory’s career will go from here.  Written and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino, this episode gave nostalgia to the original series and was a wonderful wrap up to the revival.

These four mini-movies did a wonderful job of capturing the original show’s essence and gave fans of the show comfort after nine years of being off the air. The revival (excluding “Summer”) was beautifully filmed, resembling the original format by being filmed digitally instead of film. The mini series deserves a 4.5 out of 5 star rating for getting new and old fans excited about the new episodes and bonding mothers and daughters alike, just like Lorelai and Rory.