I’ve had so many thoughts on this, I’ve decided it would be best to organize them as more of a list than a review or analysis. Consider this Part One of my response to A Year in the Life; Part Two will contain my response to the last four words.
As I’m listing what I consider good, bad, or weird about all four episodes, obviously, spoilers abound.
Seriously, if you are somehow living under a rock and don’t want to know…STOP NOW!
- A second film by Kirk is everything I didn’t know I needed but am so glad I got.
- We finally see Mr. Kim!
- Paris owning a fertility clinic actually made sense to me. I’m guessing she got into the business after deciding to go that route for her own children. I just can’t imagine a pregnant Paris. Also, her high kick on that bathroom door? Clearly she’s been keeping up with her Krav Maga.
- Emily finally keeps a maid (and basically adopts the maid’s entire family). While absurd, this seems very true to character in my opinion. With Richard gone, Emily is trying to fill a void in her life with any other people around her. She behaved similarly with the maid Madonna Louise during her separation from Richard in Season 5, showing more appreciation and acknowledgement.
- Dean’s cameo was exactly what we needed to see for his character. He got a little redemption, now that we know he’s remarried, has a happy family, and he and Rory got some proper closure. We can safely enjoy his character in Season 1 again, knowing that while he might become a jerk later, he isn’t doomed to remain one.
- Stars Hollow has a secret bar. Or at least, a bar they keep secret from Taylor. And Lane and Zack play there!
- Speaking of Lane and Zack, it was a little sad to see that Hep Alien hadn’t had their big break yet, but at the same time, I appreciate the realism. It was kind of a nice contrast, intentional or not, to Rory and the 30-Something Gang, seeing this group of people who, even though they aren’t living their dream, were able to keep moving forward with life and even find a way to still enjoy their passion. Plus, they sounded great!
- Once again, a pep talk from Jess gets Rory back on track.
- And Rory picks Richard’s office as the place to write her memoir!
- It was sad we only got a little Sookie, but the scene we did get was very good. I also think that with Sookie missing, we got a chance to see a little more Michel, and not just snippy Michel, but deeper, true-blue friend Michel, which was nice.
- After an emotional phone call, Lorelai and Emily might actually be on a path to understanding each other, or at least each of them understanding that the other really does love and care for them out of more than obligation.
- The wedding! Visually fun and gorgeous sequence, and even though it’s the wedding we’ve all been waiting for, it felt right keeping it small. Luke and Lorelai have never been sticklers for tradition (or good with pressure), so it made sense that they would want to know (secretly) that their big wedding wasn’t the real one.
- This moment.
- Stars Hollow: The Musical was overdone. Sutton Foster and Christian Borle were enjoyable to watch, but there was way too much time spent on this bit.
- I get that everybody was supposed to like the musical except Lorelai, but Sophie (played by Carol King) was always a bit gruff in the original series, so I would have believed her reaction more if it had been a shrug and “it’s not bad” as opposed to wide-eyed wonder and “it’s amazing.” And why go to the trouble of having her play one of her songs for the show if you aren’t going to somehow allude to the fact that there actually is A CAROL KING MUSICAL IN EXISTENCE????
- While the Life & Death Brigade scene was visually wonderful, most of the encounter had me struggling to suspend my disbelief. Luke & Lorelai couldn’t get into Doose’s Market after hours to buy booze to celebrate their engagement in Season 6, and yet Rory and the four hooligans are able to get in, sample what they like, and leave a big mess of cash on the floor with no problem, not to mention without Taylor discovering them? And no one else is out and about in Stars Hollow, or at the very least looking out their windows, wondering what Rory is doing with four gorillas in steampunk gear?
- Right on the heels of that last note, the good-byes the morning after the Life & Death Brigade’s outing were way overdone. Dare I say this was a moment when they overindulged the actors? I get that they all love each other and their characters and this is super-nostalgic, but their characters didn’t get misty when Rory graduated college and rejected Logan’s proposal, so why would they now? I’ll admit it was a sweet moment, but from a story-telling point of view it was unnecessary. Rory could easily see any of them again if she wanted, there was no need for a heavy-handed good-bye, except maybe to Logan since they were kind of breaking up.
- Possibly the worst thing in the entire revival is the bit at the pool where Lorelai and Rory sit there and body shame everyone else for daring to wear a bathing suit in public. I mean, it’s a public pool, what do they expect? Fat people want to swim too! Who thought this bit was a good idea? Because I thought it made two characters I usually enjoy look mean, not to mention a bit hypocritical considering the way they eat.
- Why did Rose Abdoo (Gypsy) also play Berta, Emily’s latest maid? It worked fine, but I felt like I was watching an inside joke I wasn’t privy to.
- Paul. Poor Paul. Rory clearly wasn’t into him and didn’t seem to have any qualms about cheating on him. The only way he was involved in the story was as a pathetic punchline. If that’s all he was going to do, what purpose did it really serve for Rory to have a boyfriend at all other than to establish she’s had other men in her life besides Dean, Jess, and Logan? Give us somebody who could contend with these guys!
- Emily’s exit from the DAR was not in itself out of character. After all, Richard’s death is going to make her think hard about her life and possibly rethink some things. I do, however, take issue with the style of her exit. I’m not complaining because she cursed—I fully believe Emily Gilmore can curse when she wants to, though I’m not convinced she’d be so crass about it.
What was great about Emily’s vicious take-down of Shira Huntzberger back in Season 6 was that she was able to do it with a smile on her face and Shira’s friends sitting right there, and no one could do anything about it. Emily got her digs in but still maintained control, because that need to control is a cornerstone of her personality. After all, how many times have we heard Lorelai complain about it?
Emily was not in control in her final scene with the DAR; she was giving up control. And yes, I know, that’s kind of the point, she’s giving up that world because she’s tired of the fakery, but the Emily Gilmore I remember would still want to leave entirely on her terms, giving up the fakery and the people, but not the control. She would not wander around sampling cookies absentmindedly like an amnesiac. Her speech would have laser-precision, it would be clever, it would involve personal insults not just to the woman being interviewed, but to each woman on the DAR board, and would end with Emily leaving them behind before they even had a chance to kick her out, the clear message being “I don’t need any of this anymore.” What we got felt like more of a shrug and “Well, who cares about even trying anymore?”
So what about you? What moments hit all the right notes for you and which ones felt a little off? Hit up the comments with your reactions!