Monday, 28 November 2016

Gilmore Girls, A Year In The Life: my mixed feels.

Hello friends, readers and fellow Gilmore lovers, it's me. One of your most obsessed and vocal fangirls, who has been tweeting and chattering about this exciting revival since it was announced this time last year. I even blogged about it, with a few requests for the writers – Amy and Daniel, the original Gilmore Creators, thank goodness. 
Well, now I've seen it. I witnessed the revival. And as you can imagine, I have thoughts. 


(Source: my Instagram)

I watched the 4 feature-length episodes that made up 'Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life', with my little sis who is every bit as loving of and dedicated to the show as I am (possibly more, if only because she can name each and every episode, plus its position in the series, when I quote a few lines from it or ask when that thing happened). I'd swapped shifts at work so I'd have the day to watch, and I know of several friends who had booked holiday in advance so they could binge-watch. It was quite the event. 

I must say, the publicity leading up to this magical day was on point – every so often for the couple of weeks leading up to the big reveal at 7am Friday morning (midnight in the US) there was a video on the @gilmoregirls Instagram; the Town Troubadour singing, the key pieces of the set, the cast sharing silly little secrets for the followers to devour, e.g. the Huppah is still erect in Lorelai's garden/Paul Anka's outfits are 'back and better than ever'/Stars Hollow finally got parking meters 'but no-one would pay them'.
All day long on Friday, Twitter was exploding with Gilmore gifs and classic quotes; the hashtag #GilmoreGirlsRevival was in everyone's faces and seemed to win out over #GilmoreGirls (because old school) and #gilmoregirlsayearinthelife (because whoa, long). 

Sis and I enjoyed 6+ hours in Stars Hollow. We got snacks, we set up camp under a blanket, we had litre bottles of water to avoid needless pausing and refilling cups (although this meant we had to pause a couple of extra times to pee...didn't think that through), and our mama initially said she wouldn't be joining us for the first time watching (although she did later on, obvs) because we needed to have this experience together and with no distractions that may inhibit our reactions.
At first we were ignoring our phones, in case of spoilers. We had them face-down beside us and gave the TV our undivided attention. But later on, after much discussion, we decided to chance a glance at social media now and again. I had photos to edit for Insta, and by episode 3 I was actually intensely curious as to what my fellow Gilmore fans on Twitter were thinking of it thus far. We justified it by agreeing 'true Gilmore lovers wouldn't spoil anything'. There was even a photo of a badge doing the rounds online, much like one Jackson once wore: 'I do not want to learn the last 4 words of Gilmore Girls'. Sure enough, I did not see any spoilers when I logged into Twitter. Bless you, friends. 

Now, 2 days on, I am seeing a lot of tweets and Facey B posts that tell of thoughts similar to mine...which is a relief. Everyone seems to have come down with a bout of mixed feelings. Which is the most immense relief for this Gilmorite. I am a physical manifestation of mixed feelings. I am a bag of feels. 
So, let's try and break some of these mixed feelings down, now. 

(Source here)

I promise to be nice and remain 100% SPOILER-FREE. I urge all my fellow bloggers and tweeters who are also experiencing the now very common and surely infectious surge of mixed feelings to do the same. Don't spoil. It's evil. 

***Having said that, if you have watched the 4 new eps then I recommend Jemma (aka the mighty Dorkface)'s spoiler-filled but beautifully positive (and way more coherent) musings which you can read right here

****And I also loved Lex Croucher's video on the subject, entitled 'Rory Gilmore Sucks'. Again, SPOILERS APLENTY. 

*****My lovely friend Kora sent me this Verge article that is harsh af and rammed with spoilers, but I agreed with so many points!?

Okay. My overwhelming feeling, in amongst the aforementioned mixture, is that the show I saw on Friday 25th November was simply not my Gilmore Girls. 

My sister thankfully articulated this perfectly after episode 2 'Spring' – and I was so grateful she felt the same because otherwise our experience watching together may have turned sour – 'Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life' was a Netflix original series. Yes, correct. But it felt like that, too. It felt like Netflix had made their own version of this classic show. It was so Netflix. The bright sets, the camera panning lazily around these insanely bright sets, the perfectly positioned seating arrangements for intense character discussions, the HD focus on the characters' faces that really put me off at times – yes I am aware that this is sounding like me slamming the amazing website's big budgeting and fantastic quality of filming and maybe I am, but...it wasn't Gilmore Girls. It was something else. That's the only way I could say it. Gilmore Girls was always filmed on maybe 10 different sets absolute maximum, and they were never needlessly bright or HD. They were, quite famously, autumnal af. And soft-focused, although that may have simply been down to the quality of filming equipment at the time. It doesn't matter. That was the GG I loved. So when my sister said this, I was relieved it wasn't just me.

Because my feeling up until that point had been 'they've taken my characters, our characters that we love so damn much, and they've just put them somewhere else?!


(Source here)

That's what it felt like throughout. Sure, there were many moments that saved the individual episodes, for instance when Jess reappeared in all his glistening ripped glory, as we knew he would (sis pointed and shouted when Rory came on screen wearing the outfit she was wearing when she chatted with Jess in the trailer; 'JESS IS COMING!'), and he put Rory's life ever so slightly back on track, telling her 'you're still a contender'. 
In fact, a lot of the old cast reappearances were saving graces throughout: Carole King's smiling face made me squeal (even if she was in the worst scenes EVER, like, a 20 minute sketch of sorts about a Stars Hollow musical?! Seriously, wtf?), Sookie of course brought the kitchen to life once again if only for one scene, and of course I could not get over Dean's little burst of screen time, he was perfect
Whenever a new yet old character came into view we kept shouting 'they look EXACTLY THE SAME!' or, in Zach's case, 'WHOA HE IS A DIFFERENT PERSON?!' 
But at times, it felt a little like each character was just shoved on screen momentarily to induce those reactions in us...not many of them actually managed to hold a conversation or take part in the bigger story lines. 

A few full-on slight-spoiler pet hates quickly... 

  • Fat-shaming. The Gilmore Girls let themselves down in one scene when they kept pointing out their less than healthy town peers...why?!
  • Luke had moments when he was...dumb. Luke was never dumb. A bit hapless with his true personal feelings most of the time, sure, but he was never flat-out stupid.
  • The coffee cups were still never full. All I wanted was for the cups to be filled with water or something, just so they would actually be sipping real liquid and so they wouldn't be flinging their arms around so freely while holding takeaway cups!?
  • My immediate family and I have all, at some point in our lives, been to counselling. All with separate therapists, in different places. So we have our experience with this kind of thing. The therapist in the revival, dealing with Lorelai and Emily? Unprofessional and just outright terrible.
  • Okay, I'm done now. (I may tack on more later on in edits) (Oh yes, I did)

Yes, there were many moments when my sister and I would gasp and shriek and grab at each other, excited to see the good old Gilmores on top form, if only for a moment or two. 
Richard's story was as good as it could have been, they did him justice and I was so grateful for that. Rory's mess of a life was pretty much all down to her writing and her career and quite shockingly not all down to which guy she was going to end up with, which was refreshing (I am still Team Logan forever, even after his very bad behaviour in this revival, although I cannot deny Team Jess are seeming stronger every time I re-watch...seriously, why has she never actually tapped that? He's smokin' hot and awesomely mature these days). Lorelai and Luke were still my OTP, just about. Kirk was a silver fox edition of Kirk. 


(Source here)

Now, let's hang on a second here. I know I've been harsh. But you must understand, the first time watching this revival was so important to me. My expectations were sky high, and very delicately balanced up there. 
I re-watched the 'Winter' episode the following morning, with sis again, and the parents as well this time. And y'know what? It was better. Funnier, sweeter, more true to the original series. Maybe it's because my expectations weren't quite as absurdly infeasible that time around – quite the opposite, in fact! So maybe I'll carry on, and watch the next three all over again. Maybe it'll be better the second time. I won't be caught up in the plot, I'll know what happens so I'll be able to appreciate the smaller details and the gentle or enormous character arcs (I mean, Emily Gilmore, you superstar). 

On the 25th November, when I settled down to watch my beloved Gilmores and see where they were and what they were doing 9 years on...I don't think anything could have satisfied me. I'm sorry, Gilmores. My bad. I promise to try again. And you know I will always love you, no matter what. Copper boom. 


(Source: my Instagram)

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