So. You may have heard that Gilmore Girls dropped not one but four reunion movies to satisfy the longings of even the most die-hard fan. They appeared by Netflixian magic at 12:00 AM Pacific time. Which is three AM here in New York.
What you may not know is that I am Lorelai Gilmore.
OK, that’s a joke. I’m pretty freaking close, though, and most of my close friends would tell you just how close I’ve gotten through the years.
The key touchstones — coffee, single motherhood, pathological love of all things pop culture, a tendency to talk way too fast for human hearing, a weakness for guys who make the coffee and are comfortable in plaid — are irrelevant.
So, too, the fact that for a period of time, I even had my own unique blend of the two major guys in Lorelai’s life: Christopher and Luke. But said blend turned out to be decaffeinated and not right for many, many reasons.
None of which matters.
It’s the emotional connection that got me up this morning.
Seriously. I woke up at 2:54 AM. No alarm. The siren call of the Gilmoreian dialogue style reached out to me in the midst of sleep and said “Get your ass up. Make coffee.”
And, readers, I did.
OK, technically, I watched the first 90-minute movie – “Winter” — snuggled into my bed in my cold attic nook. Then I got up and made the coffee and trudged back up the stairs – bagel and cherry preserves consumed — with cup and heart full, to watch the rest of the year.
I’ll update periodically throughout the day with my thoughts. Let’s start with “Winter.”
We open on my absolute favorite Gilmore Girls character of all time: Stars Hollow.
I’ve been looking for my Stars Hollow my whole life. It wasn’t in the small town in NC where I grew up, or the other small town in NC where I went to college (though that one kinda looked close). It wasn’t Louisville, KY or Columbia, SC, and it sure as hell wasn’t Myrtle Beach.
It might have been one of the small towns I lived in during summer theater jobs but I wasn’t in any of them long enough to tell.
But there’s Stars Hollow, the original, in all its wintry glory, and Lorelai and Rory are there, doing the fast-talk and getting winded because they haven’t “done that in awhile.”
And then it snowed.
Hey, look at that! It snowed here in NY this past week, too!
And it’s just so lovely. But then we’re at her dad’s funeral. And that’s … not so much with the lovely, though the all white flower-and-chair-covers color scheme is aesthetically pleasing.
And suddenly it hits me — here, in this scene, at the well-decorated graveside service — that I am the poor white trash version of Lorelai.
The rest of this movie is awesome but I’m incapable of assessing it in light of anything real or personal at the moment, apparently, so it’s just a movie. But I’m a fan, so it’s wonderful, and I love it.
Also, I really miss my mom and dad.
But hey, moving on. We need a little sunshine. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what the town troubadour dude is singing to me, by name. Seriously, he’s singing to “Annie” about how the sun’s going to come back some day, even though it’s all snowy and shit right now.
Coming up: the rest of the year. But first … pie & ice cream (courtesy of my very own Rory), and more coffee.
I don’t understand. I don’t have many notes for this one except for:
- Mr. Kim! Holy crap, we saw him!
- Ugh with the Huntzberger-iness of it all. I mean, I love that guy – the actor – and it’d have been weird not to see him at all, given Logan’s so-far prominent-ish prominence. But UGH.
- Arnold’s gay? But Taylor’s … not? Okaaaay. This whole town meeting scene fell flat for me.
- I do, however, want Lorelai’s profiteroles.
- Yes, I know I just had pie. I am PWT Lorelai, remember? Sheesh, keep up, folks. We move fast in these parts.
- Why is “B-list” such an insult in Stars Hollow?
- Michel! I love Michel. But he seems so unhappy.
- Paul Anka! The real one! (And the singer, too! AHAHAHAHA oh don’t pretend like you didn’t laugh.)
- Jennifer Lawrence is apparently the “goods.” Whom one must “bag.”
- Joaquin Bottom, indeed. She wasn’t even kidding. Yay, Google Box!
- “Trombone Stan and you’re out?” That was amazing.
- OH FOR CHRIST’S SAKE EMILY. THIRTY YEARS AGO, AT LEAST. MOVE. ON. (Trump supporters, if I’m still this angry over your asinine election of Il Douche, at that point you’re free to tell me to move on. Then.)
- Kirk’s homage to Eraserhead … I’d actually like to see the whole thing, honestly.
- Kirk looking down to Petal on the wrong side of his body just kills me in a way I wasn’t truly prepared for right then.
- HAHAHAHA, of course it’s Luke’s phone.
- Holy crap, Paris’s freakout in the Chilton bathroom is the stuff Emmy reels are made of. Beautifully done, Liza Weil. Beautifully done.
- Annnd I think that’s where I stopped taking notes.
OH I LIED: I do have a few more thoughts.
So the big theme here seemed to be Rory’s Inappropriate Choices in Life Tour ’16, and yeah, we’ve all been there, babe. I didn’t sleep with the Wookiee but … well, close, and let’s leave it at that. Also: no one-night stands? Really? Wow. OK, maybe I’m the slutty PWT Lorelai.
Or maybe that’s redundant.
This one didn’t grab me like the others. I liked it, but it wasn’t really a catalyst for any Deep Thoughts, nor did it contain any of my favorite moments from the full cycle, soooo….onwards!
I’ll be back in a bit for the next two movies in the cycle in order to wrap all this up, but right now I have to give my Rory a list for food shopping:
- Bean and beef burritos
- Sour cream
- Soups for lunch tomorrow
Your basic five food groups.
So the big Stars Hollow development here is the musical, starring the insanely talented Christian Borle and Sutton Foster – a pair of actors I’d previously assumed could not possibly do any wrong.
I kid, I kid – somewhat. The Stars Hollow: A Musical scene is entirely too long and not nearly entertaining enough – maybe if we’d seen that whittling in action?
The bit with the “one last song”/”Lorelai hates everything except the song but everybody else loves everything except that song” was wonderful, even amusing, but maybe not quite strong enough to make up for the rest.
And then we’re into “Lorelai goes Wild.” Which …
How can I put this…
Here it is: If there’s a serious misstep in this entire cycle, this is it for me.
I mean, I get the impulse to go do something out of character and bold at this particular moment in a person’s life. I truly do.
But this seems “out of character” in the wrong way.
Or maybe not. I mean there was that summer Lorelai and Rory went hiking around Europe.
Maybe I just mean it’d be super-OOC for me, PWT Lorelai.
But I guess we need an obstacle over which Lorelai and Luke can triumph in the last entry in our cycle.
Which is …
I’m gonna skip over the weird “Lorelai goes Wild” shit and start with my absolute favorite sequence in the whole cycle, offering this life lesson to my daughter and every member of her generation:
Every girl needs her own Life and Death Brigade. And yours should absolutely contain a Logan. You know, one of those boys you smirk-smile at with an eyebrow arched the morning after, but whom you must carefully contain within a bespoke box, specifically designed for said boy and said boy’s unique effect on your heart and mind and general smart-decision-making skills.
Also, if they happen to know of a kick-ass tango club that’s LGBTQ-friendly and that pretty, and have the cash to purchase that club on the spot, then all the fucking better, my young friends.
OK, OK, I lied – one Wild-related thing. Peter Krause, Park Ranger:
“Just remember, any outdoor activity primarily motivated by movie-watching is likely to end in some sort of hospitalization.”
It’s a lesson I’ve already learned, so I’m in no way tempted to follow Lorelai’s lead here (side note: why do I keep typing “Lorelair”? Freudian much? LORELAI, QUIT TRYIN’ TO TRAP ME IN YOUR LORELAIR) but it’s OK because even Lorelai is soon muttering “I hate nature.” Preach it, girl. I’d go hiking, too, but I don’t wanna get nature on me.
Also, it’s too people-y out there, anyway.
Before you know it, Lorelai’s taking a deep, hard look at the nature – and I admit, it is gorgeous, for a left-coast scene – and calling her mom and remembering her dad, and both my dad and my mom are dead now, so who the fuck do I call? And I wasn’t crying, but now I am, so fuck you, Lorelai Gilmore. Also: I love you.
Annnyway, we’re back in my favorite character – er, town. Stars Hollow. We’re back in Stars Hollow and it’s the most wonderful time of the year – fall, of course – and PWT Lorelai though I may be, for a brief shining moment, I long to be Michel:
“You brought some Kleenex? I’d get them out. Now. Your name is Molly…why?”
To be able to pull off Michel! Not forever, not even to everyone, but holy cow, on occasion! On rare, special, correct occasion! OK, occasions. Maybe many occasions.
And OK. We need to talk about the overarching … er, arc, here. Like the lyrics to “My Sharona,” a book’s been consuming Rory’s brain, always there. She’s writing a book. About her and her mom. Their life. And Lorelai is so not thrilled at this.
And I’m torn. I’m a writer. My natural loyalties lie with Rory in this matter.
But I’m PWT Lorelai! And, and, and …
No, it’s not really Lorelai’s objections that I find compelling here. It’s the only part that’s taken me out of the entire body that these four movies comprise. It’s the revelation – or so I assume – that this whole time, the series plus these movies have equaled a 21st century Little Women. Jo – er, Rory – is writing the story of their lives.
But didn’t Louisa May Alcott make most of that shit up?
I don’t know. It just felt weird. (Although … that The Social Network reference? Pretty excellent.)
And there’s the whole “getting married” and … OK, seriously, spoiler alerts here … Rory’s-pregnant/full-circle ending of it all that makes me feel twitchy.
But I readily concede that I may be twitching solely due to the fact that I am even more like Lorelai than I’d probably like, and all that “circle of life” shit is pretty problematic these days.
Anyhoo. On to the cameos:
The weirdest appearance to me in the entire ring cycle here was Dean – Jared Padalecki. I don’t think it’s anything to do with the performances here. It just felt off, somehow – shoehorned in.
And the best – of course. Melissa McCarthy as Sookie. Hands down. It was quick, granted, but it was perfect. It felt right, like the puzzle piece that slides right into the whole picture, locking into place with the most satisfying “click” sound imaginable – seamless. That’s the word.
Dean? Seams. Sookie? Seamless.
And, In Summary…
Much of the commentary I’ve seen on sites like TVLine is somewhat negative. I’m really surprised at this. I thought the four films were exquisitely done, beautifully shot, with solid performances and writing.
Of course, I guess after nigh-on ten years, everyone has their own expectations and wishes, and there’s no way any script will ever satisfy them all. Ten years on – I mean, that’s a lot of time for those expectations to cement and grow roots, to mix a metaphor or two.
I feel like this put a much better, sweeter button on my favorite all-time series, the one with the crazy lady that I crazy-identified with from the start.
Thank you, to the cast and the crew and production team. Well fucking done. And thank you, especially, for the gift of Emily Gilmore saying “bullshit” three times inside of three minutes.
That’s almost too much.