Winter is wonderful because it gives you a reason to get warm, but don’t forget how cold it is.
Voices flood a black screen as “the font” of Gilmore Girls appears listing those familiar names. A bevy of emotions emerge as we hear highlights of the seven seasons we watched and rewatched and then rewatched five more times. Then we see the title screen for Winter and snowflakes drop.
Stars Hollow is a winter wonderland, but the soothing sound of Carole Kings “la la la’s” are as cozy as a fire with a fresh pot of coffee. Lorelai and Rory meet at the gazebo as the two catch up. It all connects. There’s a kinetic energy that exists between our leading ladies and the rest of this cast we’ve missed for nine years. You can tell that it’s hard for them to contain their smiles as they walk and talk in that classic Gilmore way.
Winter is written and directed by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and you can feel it. The show can hit high notes and be very Gilmore, but when she’s writing there’s something special in the mix.
What’s almost jarring is how everything just slips right into business as usual. In nine years the entire cast looks, well, even better. And Miss Patty is almost unrecognizable! Kirk has yet another business to add to the list, this time an Über ripoff called Ooober. But the bigger news is the addition of his mini pig, Petal. You’ll instantly fall for the guy unless you’re soulless. Taylor is campaigning for a sewer system and gathering septic tank horror stories from the town.
We then hear the familiar sounds of the town troubadour (Grant Lee Phillips singing ‘Winter Glow’) and we’re definitely home again. Luke is working at the diner with that backwards blue baseball cap and alarmingly giving out a wifi password! Just before we question this further he gives out the wifi password again, but it’s different! This is definitely Luke Danes.
Over at the Dragonfly Inn, Sookie has taken a sabbatical because she’s now famous. Lorelai can’t find a chef despite bringing in celebrities that somehow would consider working at this inn, but let’s skip that stuff…
The real catalyst for A Year in the Life is how the leads deal and are affected by the passing of Edward Herrmann who played the pillar of a man in Richard Gilmore. In the show he’d passed four months prior from a heart attack. Emily (the always wonderful Kelly Bishop) is having a hard time adjusting to the loss of her partner of 50 years. It doesn’t help that Lorelai self sabotaged as she does at the her fathers wake. When asked to tell a story of a good memory of Richard in front of friends, including the also always wonderful Ray Wise, who’s sure to show up again. She proceeds to tell a story about being caught in the act of sex and how her virginity card had sailed way before that and this is where I first had a problem with Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Scotch or not, this just felt so unnecessary and forced.
And if I thought that was bad, I then found out what Rory was up to in London…
I discussed in our Gilmore Guys piece the love interests that Rory had over the years. The least favorite by default is Logan Huntzberger despite doing a lot for Rory. We also discussed her affair with Dean and how she’s hopefully grown since those early days of early adulting. I don’t think that stuck because she’s having a secret “hooking up” relationship with Logan whom she turned down his proposal nine years earlier so she could have her “options wide open” and date this guy Pat, I mean, Paul! His name is Paul. For TWO YEARS they’ve dated! But nobody remembers him. But Rory and Logan even have this rule of “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” and now I want to barf like I just binged at Al’s Pancake World.
This is callous and small of Rory. And this is where I discovered a true dislike and disgust with her as a character that hit me like epiphanies do. In almost a decade she’s sleeping with the guy she denied so she could have her options open and what has she done with her career? Well, she wrote an article for The New Yorker! That’s cool. What else?
Nothing of note. Of course she still has all the money in the world to fly to and from London to Stars Hollow. And isn’t it sad that the poor thing is living out of boxes and can’t find a job? Oh no!
This is when I realized that Rory is the worst character on the show.
She’s self-obsessed, aimless, entitled, educated, privileged, and regressive. In nine years she’s not grown at all. When we left her she was getting on a campaign bus for Senator Barack Obama, which was not mentioned at all throughout A Year in the Life. She’s done nothing and learned nothing. And if it took her some time to find her way it sure as shit wouldn’t have taken her this long. Same can be said for her mother; Lorelai should have taken two years max to figure out whatever else she needed to personally after putting Luke through a consistent hell.
I know that’s not always how it works and time is a very bizarre thing. But I can’t identify with people who have opportunity and then squander it for nothing. Maybe they like the drama it brings. I don’t know and don’t care to.
This is where Winter left me cold.
So much was right about it, but Lorelai and specifically Rory are the cause of their own problems. I found it really hard to care for these “problems” when there’s so many real legit issues for other people real and fictional. Growing up is funny like that. What’s evident is that other characters have grown up and done things in this universe. Paris runs a fertility clinic and 20 other things while having kids, Doyle is a screenwriter (meta!), Lane is becoming her mother slowly and surely, Zach wears a tie to work, and Michel is getting restless and planning to adopt.
The disappointment I felt at the realization that Rory is the worst was only going to continue into the future seasons unfortunately… Stay tuned as I get sprung on Spring later.