‘Gilmore Girls’ brings tears and nostalgia

Erika Ward

Almost 10 years after the end of the last season,  Netflix brought back the series “Gilmore Girls,” much to the excitement of the show’s loyal following, and, as usual, Netflix did not disappoint.

 Bringing back the original writer of the show, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Netflix gave (some) fans exactly what they wanted – “Gilmore Girls:  A Year in the Life” – along with the famous last four words that Sherman-Palladino says she wrote before the last season of the original series, which she did not write for.

 Netflix managed to scrounge up almost all of the actors from the original series, however, there was one noticeable character missing:  Richard Gilmore (Edward Herrmann). In the show, Richard died from a heart attack.  However, in reality, Herrmann died of brain cancer at the end of December in 2014.

 The actors used their real grief over the loss in the show, showing Richard’s funeral, Lorelai’s (Lauren Graham) heartfelt phone call to her mother with what she should have said after the funeral, Emily’s (Kelly Bishop) difficulty in coping with the loss of her husband (including Marie Kondo-ing her home and getting rid of everything that doesn’t bring her happiness) and wearing jeans, and

Rory (Alexis Bledel) walking through the Gilmore home and reminiscing on times with her grandfather.  The emotions felt so real because they were real.  The actors got to grieve for Herrmann through Richard.

 Overall, the revival was a success.  It gave fans one last look into the lives of the Gilmore girls, where they were at in their lives and what is going on in the fictional town of Stars Hollow.  Rory, who had been a relatively successful freelance journalist, was having issues finding a passion in her work. Lorelai was questioning the next step for her relationship with diner-owner Luke Danes (Scott Patterson).  Mixing in some comedic relief and another film by Kirk, and a pet pig and that’s the recipe for some classic “Gilmore Girls” material.

 Playing on the nostalgia of the fans, Sherman-Palladino brought back each of Rory’s previous lovers, including her first boyfriend, Dean (Jared Padalecki), bad boy Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) and pretty boy Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry).  With fans picking a team for who they hope ends up with Rory, the ending of the revival doesn’t necessarily give fans the outlook they were entirely looking for.  Don’t worry, I won’t reveal the last four words for you.

 One of my favorite characters that was brought back was Paris Geller (Liza Weil).  Paris was always known as high-strung, competitive and highly intelligent.  In the original series, this created friction when Rory began attending Chilton Preparatory School, but the two end up becoming closer when attending Yale University.  Paris eventually becomes a beloved character on the show, and that’s no different in the revival.

 Paris now has two children (yes, Paris), is in charge of her own fertility clinic and is getting a divorce from Doyle (Danny Strong). They also own a home with five floors but Doyle refused to get an elevator, causing the nanny to quit (did I mention that Doyle seems to be having his own crisis of identity?  He’s off trying to become a screenwriter for the most of the revival).

 The character with the best development out of the entire show, including the original series, is by far, Emily Gilmore.  Going from controlling and cold, Emily gradually becomes warmer with her daughter and granddaughter, forming a real relationship with the two, something that was taken from her when Lorelai ran away shortly after Rory’s birth.

 Then we get Emily in the revival.  Her husband, who she has centered her life around, is gone. 

 “I don’t know how to do this,” Emily says in the show.  “I was married for 50 years.  Half of me is gone.”

 Talk about pulling at the heartstrings of the fans.  We were mourning along with her, because we lost him too.  We see Emily begin trying to put her life together, and her reactions feel so poignant.  From “de-cluttering her life” (those dining room chairs definitely didn’t bring her joy) and wearing jeans, to keeping a maid and taking in her entire family and moving to Nantucket.  Emily even gives a metaphorical middle finger to the Daughters of the American Revolution.  We see a brand new Emily Gilmore, who is still as elegant as ever, but is finally her own person.  She is no longer seen as Richard’s wife, Lorelai’s mother or Rory’s grandmother.  She’s finally just Emily Gilmore, and seeing her sit on a bench, overlooking the sea, sipping a glass of wine is the absolute best way to wrap up Emily’s storyline.

 I saved the two main characters for last, because it’s hard to accept that this is actually over.

 Giving the fans exactly what they wanted, Lorelai and Luke finally have the wedding that fans were so desperate to see.  After doing her version of “Wild” (book, not the movie), Lorelai decides that marrying Luke is the logical next step.  After all the drama from the original series, the two were nervous to take the leap.  Lorelai’s experience doing “Wild” pushes her to propose to Luke — again — and the two elope the day befortheir actual wedding.

 This brings me to Rory and those final four words.  It almost feels like Rory is going backwards in her character development, again becoming the “other” woman.  Not only that, but she doesn’t prepare for some of her job interviews and then wonders why they denied her.  Although, after being successful for a few years, I could understand how she could fall back into a rut.

 Luckily, Jess comes back and gives Rory the brilliant idea to write a novel about her and her mother, which she names “Gilmore Girls” (dropping the word “the” she initially had at the beginning — per the request of her mother), bringing the show around “full freakin’ circle.”

 Initially, Lorelai is hesitant about a book being written about her life.  However, after doing “Wild,” Lorelai changes her mind and tells Rory to finish writing her book.  Rory then gets swept up in her mother’s idea to elope and becomes one of the witnesses to her mother’s wedding.  Right afterwards, we get the final four words, but you won’t get those here.  You’ll have to watch the revival for that twist.

The revival satisfied this fan’s nostalgia and need for more, but I’m hopeful for a spin-off (a girl can dream).  There’s so much to love about this revival that wasn’t discussed (Petal the Pig, a new film by Kirk, Berta the new maid, a Life and Death Brigade appearance, Michel is gay and married, the town thinks that Taylor is gay, a musical about Stars Hollow, etc.), but that just means you’ll have to watch it yourself.  The four-part revival is currently streaming on Netflix.