Back to the dreamy Stars Hollow
Stars Hollow, in its comeback in Netflix’s mini series ‘A Year In The Life’, 8 years after the original series ended, is still every bit the town out of fairy tales. Its dreaminess is one of the reasons I could rewatch it, from beginning to end, more than once (thrice to be specific). The day it came out, November 25th, I was elated!
Preserving the show for a day when I knew I would be undisturbed by anyone or anything, except pizza, I longed for the comfort of nostalgia— and the show didn’t disappoint at all on that front.
Most of the characters were largely unchanged. However, I almost didn't recognise Liz Torres as Miss Patty—kudos to such a transformation. My heart jumped with joy when I heard Michele again—Yanic Trusdale is the best! Kirk, Gypsy (yes, it took me a while to realise that she also played the new help at Emily’s), Lane, Paris— everyone retained the core of who they are, so many years later, despite evolving with the needs of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s plot.
I did miss Edward Herring (Richard Gilmore)’s towering presence (despite his role being credited only as as a “special appearance” through the original series) dearly though, and it seemed fitting the four episodes largely revolve around how the three ‘Gilmore Girls’ are dealing with his death.
The senior most Gilmore Girl, played by Kelly Bishop, was the one character I absolutely loved in this comeback. There were two things that the original series conditioned me into never expecting: Emily Gilmore in jeans and Emily Gilmore being nice to the help in her house. And with the new run, both happened! She’s one character who’s evolution is evident—from being the stoic, high society wife and controlling mother, to someone who has opened (and loosened) up to gracefully move on with life, since losing her partner of almost 50 years. I wanted to just reach out and hug her.
Lorelai and Luke (Lauren Graham and Scott Patterson), who’d finally gotten together in Season 7 of the original series are perfect together, as always. Lorelai is still confused and seemingly directionless as to her short term goals. In the third episode of this new series, she informs Luke that she is going to hike the Pacific Crest Trail like Cheryl Strayed did in her memoir, Wild. “It’s outdoors, it’s in nature, there’s dirt, bugs, animals… you have to carry your own backpack, BY yourself,” he says proving for the millionth time that he knows her so, so well.
And now, onto Rory— the last of the Gilmore Girls as we know them (hint: I put a spoiler right here, but you wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t pointed that out, right?). When the series ended in 2007, actor Alexis Bledel’s character was that of driven twenty something who chose a career over settling down with the guy she loved, Logan. While there is nothing wrong with settling down, it had just made me a little sad that they hadn’t ended up together then. But, invested as we were in the characters, we know that that was who Rory was. And that is how I remembered her for the past decade— a determined young woman who first wanted to make something of herself.
But in this comeback, I was disappointed to see her as a confused 32 year old, who kept forgetting the existence of her boyfriend (one she's had for two years, no less!). Her committed, genuine partner who remembers everything about her family is reduced to a mere task so much so that she has to use post-its to remind herself that she has to break up with him. All this, while having an affair with the already engaged Logan (Matt Czuchry looking as amazing as ever)— even lying to Lorelai about who she’s spending time with— whenever she is London.
For all of her promise as a journalist through the original run, all we hear about Rory’s successes in ‘A Year in the Life’ is through name-drops. Why do we not see even just an excerpt of her work? Couldn’t we have, at least through Luke’s menus— the ones he so adorably gets printed with her one amazing piece that’s published in The New Yorker? She’s unprepared and over confident at job interviews, and most unlike Rory of the past, asks Mitchum (Logan’s arrogant father) to put in a good word for her! She is confused and lost, wasting time on a book project with a whimsical subject until the ever-so-hot, ever-so-intelligent Jess (Milo Ventimiglia), sweeps in at the right time with life changing advice. #TeamJessForever!
Like most comebacks, there are some unnecessary and boring (those musicals!) bits in this mini series. But just like most (good) comebacks, A Year In the Life retains the idiosyncrasies of our most beloved characters. For instance, when Lorelai returns the draft of Rory’s own personal book project (which in essence is a result of Jess’ knight-in-shining armour moment) titled ‘The Gilmore Girls’, her feedback to her daughter, in true Lorelai Gilmore style is, “Oh just one note. Drop the ‘the'. Just ‘Gilmore Girls’. It’s cleaner,” before walking away.
The four, 90-minute episodes end with Rory saying to her mother — on the steps of the very gazebo they meet at, at the start of the comeback’s pilot— “I’m pregnant”. The very conflict that set into motion the original plot, returns to end ‘comeback’ show— an “illegitimate” pregnancy. While in Rory’s case, the 21st century version of illegitimacy stems from her being still unattached to anyone (Logan-Jess-Paul), Lorelai’s 20th century problem was that of an unmarried teen-pregnancy. Nostalgia and deja vu achieve new meaning now— life comes a full circle, and that everything happens for a reason, the show seems to remind us.
All in all, in ‘A Year in the Life’, tons of coffee, cake, love, and magic, all exist in a way that is uniquely Stars Hollow’s. And that’s exactly how I will remember it for a long time to come.
Here's the trailer-
Text by Anusha
Thumbnail picture credit- Netflix