Major spoilers from "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" lie ahead.
Those. Final. Four. Words.
After binging "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" over the course of six-ish hours on Friday morning (November 25), my brain feels seriously overloaded with three generations full of Gilmore Girl drama to process. From the sublime (everything Emily) to the enraging (almost everything Rory) to the somewhere in the middle (Lane is back, do we care?), our trip back to Stars Hollow was an overall mixed bag — but one that was 100 percent worth watching. (And full of delicious, fattening candy, since the mixed bag came from Lorelai's purse.)
While I come down from my sugar coma and process everything we just learned — like how Rory is pregnant with what I am assuming is a little Huntzberger baby — let's quickly break it down by the best, worst, and somewhere in the middle of the "Gilmore Girls" revival:
Best: Lorelai, period.
I'm sure Alexis Bledel is a lovely person, but from where I'm sitting, "A Year in the Life" just proved why Lauren Graham is, and always has been, "Gilmore Girls."
The way Graham effortlessly slid back into Lorelai's dialogue and various idiosyncrasies was remarkable (I seriously hope Emmy voters pay attention this time around), and her chemistry with all three of her major co-leads (Bledel, Kelly Bishop, and Scott Patterson) was as palpable as ever; occasionally making it seem like the past nine years never even happened (until we saw Miss Patty, of course). Even when Lorelai was being a total pain in the ass (and she was, often), Graham kept us rooting for her thanks to her unflinching work ethic, her compassion, and her ability to love those closest to her as purely and as fully as Dean clearly loves blow drying his hair.
From "Winter" to "Spring" to "Summer" to "Fall," both Graham and Patterson (and Bishop, but more on her in a second) added humor, heart, and great pathos to their love story, which, of course, ended with the pitch-perfect wedding "Gilmore" fans had been eagerly awaiting for almost a decade.
If nothing else, getting to catch up with Lorelai for six whole hours made "A Year in the Life" worth the Black Friday binge.
Best: Emily Gilmore's Year of Magical Thinking.
All that being said, it's Emily Gilmore's story — the story of her first year as a widow — that emotionally resonated most.
Edward Herrmann died two years ago this New Year's Eve, and though the show sorely missed Richard, Emily's journey from a lonely, spite-filled, broken woman to a triumphant Nantucket whaling enthusiast capable of dragging the Daughters of the American Revolution in one breath and enjoying a fancy-free love affair with Leland Palmer from "Twin Peaks" in the next was easily the strongest beat in the entire revival.
Outside of the bizarrely racist elements that "Gilmore Girls" will seemingly never, ever drop, I have not a single complaint about Emily's storyline — and that phone call from Lorelai on her movie date with Richard will probably go down in history as my favorite Lorelai/Emily encounter ever.
Best and Worst: Rory is a terrible person, but we all should have realized this a decade ago.
From what I've seen today on Twitter, fans are shocked that 32-year-old Rory is struggling in her career (yet still able to afford multiple expensive plane tickets to London), and even worse, having an affair with a soon-to-be-married man, Logan.
However, portraying Rory as anything different would have been dishonest to the Rory we got to know throughout the series' original run — particularly its last few seasons.
Yes, Rory has always been sweet and precocious and just so goddamn beautiful she can inspire men to move mountains (or at the very least, travel across an ocean for an "Across the Universe"-fueled night on the town). But she's also consistently acted entitled in her career and love life, she's lacked compassion for other women (Lindsay, Odette, even Paris sometimes), and she's completely failed to recognize and acknowledge her own extreme privilege.
The only reason we didn't always notice this the last time around was because the show was obsessed with writing Rory as some untouchable small town academic Chosen One. The worst thing that ever happened to Rory back then was Logan's dad was mean to her once, and she completely fucking fell apart and took it all out on Lorelai while she lived like a Kardashian at her grandparents' pool house.
Literally everything else bad that happens to young women in their lives happened to Paris or Lane instead — but this time around, the show acknowledged the beautiful monster they created, and actually confronted her issues head-on.
So bottom line, yes, Rory is an often insufferable, overly-entitled jerk — but she's still Rory, and the fact that the show gave her noticeable flaws and hardships to overcome this time around was a major improvement.
Worst: Those gawd-awful, tone deaf millennial and fat jokes.
While I am typically the last person to be bothered by jabs at millennials, it felt more than a little jarring and definitely unfair to hear them from "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life," a show that owes its entire existence to millennial propensity for nostalgia and heavy binge-watching.
Watching Rory, a card-carrying member of my own "Trophy Generation," suffer the consequences of her own life-long entitlement was fine, but only because it fit so well for the character. But the "30-Something Club?" Reducing the fall of the housing market and subsequent economic downturn that devastated a generation's financial future to a gag about Paul Thomas Anderson-loving douchebags who have too many triggers to hold down a real-world job?
You owe us more than this, "Gilmore Girls," and you also owe more to your fat fans, who were gifted a community pool storyline that only exists so Rory and Lorelai can make fun of a fat person in a bathing suit. (I wonder if Milo Ventimiglia, whose character on "This is Us" has a fat child who is similarly humiliated for her fat body at a local pool, read about that one when he signed on to join the cast of "Summer.")
Worst: The musical.
Sutton Foster, of Broadway and "Bunheads" and "Younger" fame, is a fantastic talent. Christian Borle, of Broadway and "Smash" fame, is as well.
... I still didn't need to see a 15-minute musical interlude of "Stars Hollow: The Musical." I have "Waiting for Guffman" on DVD, and your incest revolution song doesn't even come close to "Stool Boom."
Best: All things Paris Gellar.
Paris' all-too-brief two-episode arc reminded me of two things. One, that "How to Get Away with Murder" is wasting Liza Weil's sublime comedic talent, and two, that Paris is by far my favorite character on this show.
As Vulture recently put it, "Paris injects some sorely needed conflict into the Gilmore universe, which would otherwise float along on pop-culture references and 'la la las.' Rory's and Lorelai’s lives are whimsical. Paris’s is epic ... Rory and Lorelai are homebodies who spend their time figuring out what they really want in life. Paris knows exactly what she wants."
This holds true for the revival, too, though clearly Weil's "Murder" schedule kept "AYitL" from delving deeper into the passion, the rage, and the dedication to winning on her own terms that makes Paris such a compelling character. Which is a shame, but not too much of a shame, since Weil's scenes terrorizing Chilton youngsters, arguing with Doyle (who, in a nod to Danny Strong's real-life career writing everything from "Empire" to "The Hunger Games," is a hot shot screenwriter, now), and navigating the perils of wealthy motherhood while also running America's top surrogate baby farm were easy high points in "Winter" and "Spring."
Worst: Not enough Sookie. (And too much Kirk.)
We all knew Melissa McCarthy's schedule as one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood would limit her time in Stars Hollow ... but one scene? One measly scene?! She couldn't even make it to Lorelai's VIPs-only wedding?!
As I said above, Graham is fantastic in carrying this whole thing, but having Sookie around for some levity would have been great as Lorelai dealt with her father's death, her confusing relationship status with Luke, Rory's failures, and the Dragonfly's stagnation all in one calendar year.
Meanwhile, we did get a whole lot of Taylor and Kirk ... which was probably great for Jimmy Fallon, but I have a strict "less is more" policy when it comes to Stars Hollow's most consistently grating weirdos. Sorry.
Worst: The slaughter of Logan Huntzberger's previously stellar character.
Even if I wasn't a longtime card-carrying member of Team Logan, I'd still be furious at what "A Year in the Life" did to his previously pretty upstanding character. Sure, Logan was a one-percenter made to resemble Rory's own father Christopher, but he was never the type of guy to carry on a tawdry affair; cheating on the second love of his life with his first.
I mean, don't get me wrong — I was thrilled that "Gilmore" booked Matt Czuchry for all four episodes (more than either other boyfriend) since the Palladinos were never able to wrap up that character's story the way they wanted to. But what Rory and Logan did to poor Odette the French heiress was hideous, and pretty out-of-character for both of them considering A) Logan took faithfulness pretty seriously back in the day and B) Rory famously let herself down when she did the same damn thing with Dean and Lindsay.
The same kind of ending — Rory realizing Logan was an important part of her past, but a damaging presence in her present — could easily have been achieved without including the fiancée in the mix. You could try to distract me with a dozen Czuchry shirtless scenes, and I'd still be furious that the dude I've spent the past decade defending ended up being worse than Dean.
Best: Rory's boyfriends did NOT hog too much screen time.
All that being said, I think the amount of Rory's boyfriends we got in the revival was perfect. As a fellow single journalist around Rory's age, I will strongly argue that most of us don't regularly see the boyfriends we had at 15, 17, and 20 — let alone all at once, and definitely not as a revolving door of love interests.
Rory keeping one, Logan, as a bed-buddy and The Guy She Just Can't Quit was fine; I'd probably do the same if I had a wealthy, whimsical, and consistently supportive ex with dimples so sharp they could cut steel who still wanted to sleep with me in fancy hotels. But any more than that would have been overkill, which is why I'm glad a combination of good writing and Jared Padalecki and Milo Ventimiglia's busy TV schedules kept Dean and Jess respectively from having bigger roles in Rory's 30-something life.
Best: Surprisingly, Michel!
Raise you hand if you thought a story about Michel — who is finally allowed to be gay — potentially abandoning Lorelai at the Dragonfly would leave you in tears.
None of you are raising your hand.
But it's true. Michel was great. Though he definitely should have taken that job at The W.
Best: "Parenthood" cameos.
If watching Ventimiglia's "This is Us" has taught me anything (besides a whole lot about the '70s Pittsburgh Steelers) it's that NBC's OG weepy relationship-fueled family saga "Parenthood" can't be beat.
... And since Graham arguably carried that show as well, watching her reunite on "Gilmore" with her "Parenthood" daughter (and real-life good friend) Mae Whitman and "Parenthood" brother (and real-life partner) Peter Krause was delightful.
(Though maybe not great for poor Bledel, since it's hard not to recall how Whitman's stellar onscreen mother-daughter chemistry with Graham on that show easily eclipsed her own on "Gilmore.")
Best and Worst: Those Final Four Words.
After so, so much build-up, we finally know those Final Four Words:
Rory: "I'm pregnant."
On the one hand this is sort of "best," since Rory coming full circle and raising a child, presumably in Stars Hollow, with Logan as her Christopher (and Jess as her Luke in the minds of many, I'm sure) is as happy an ending fans could have hoped for given Rory's current life conditions.
But it's also kind of the worst, since "A Year in the Life" did nothing to prove that Rory is in any way shape or form ready to handle motherhood. True, Lorelai wasn't when she was 16 either and she made it work, but the whole point of these eight-ish seasons of "Gilmore Girls" was that Lorelai was working her ass off to ensure a happier, easier life for her daughter — one that preferably wouldn't include raising a child solo before she's ready. (Plus, Lorelai finally gets that happier, easier life for herself, only to instantly get sucked into Rory baby drama? That seems wildly unfair. At least let them honeymoon first, Ror.)
I'm sure Rory's pregnancy reveal will instantly lead to speculation on more seasons of "Gilmore Girls;" something that seems entirely likely after the fever-pitch excitement for "A Year in the Life." And while I'm in no matter what, I'm also pretty happy with how Emily, Luke, Lorelai, and to a much lesser extent Rory, ended their stories after the famously disastrous Season 7. It's all we fans could have asked for ... and more than enough to keep me satiated with Stars Hollow if we don't end up getting a Part 2 like Kirk's short film.