‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ Is a Regrettable Year

Right in time for Thanksgiving, “Gilmore Girls” the miniseries was released, but there was little to be thankful for. If you’ve already binge-watched the four episodes of “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” then you’ll know that it suggests Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) ultimately failed in raising Rory (Alexis Bledel).

Let me refresh your memory on where we left the girls in the final episode, “Bon Voyage” (15 May 2007). Lorelai has introduced CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour to Rory. Amanpour just happened to be staying at the Dragonfly Inn. The girls are planning a one-month road trip across America which seems to conflict with Rory’s plan to send out 74 resumés. 

The whole town is planning a graduation party for Rory, and Luke is ordering supplies, but on the Friday night dinner with Lorelai’s parents and Rory’s maternal grandparents — Emily (Kelly Bishop) and Richard (Edward Herrmann), Rory announces she’ll be covering Barack Obama’s campaign for an online magazine. She needs to leave immediately and isn’t sure when she will return. 

While officially, the girls have decided to cancel the graduation party, Luke (Scott Patterson) and Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) decide to go deep undercover and make it a surprise party. The party even includes Richard and Emily and Lorelai asks to continue the Friday night dinners. Sookie lets Lorelai know that Luke was the driving force behind the surprise party and Larelai and Luke kiss. The next morning, Lorelai and Rory stop at Luke’s. 

If you remember the pilot episode, it also included a disastrous Friday night dinner. Rory was able to go to the prep school Chilton because Emily and Richard agreed with Lorelai to pay the tuition. Rory almost doesn’t go because she has a crush on Dean (Jared Padalecki), the new boy in town. In Rory’s romantic journey, after Dean there was Luke’s nephew Jess (Milo Ventimiglia). When Dean returns, Rory was at Yale, courtesy of her father’s inheritance. Rory broke up Dean’s marriage, but ultimately became involved with the wealthy Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry). Near the end of the series, she’s living with Logan although we know he has the morals of a tom cat having slept with all of his sister’s bridesmaids while they were on a relationship break. Granted Logan and Rory began their liaison as an open relationship, but Logan decided that rather than lose Rory, he’d make her his girlfriend despite the objections of his parents. By the end of the original series, Logan is living in London and flies to Rory’s Yale graduation to propose — marriage and life in California at an Internet start-up. 

Through Logan’s father Mitchum, Rory had an internship at the Stamford Eagle Gazette. Now in the beginning of “A Year in the Life,”  Rory  has just had an article published in the New Yorker on Naomi Shropshire (Alex Kingston). She has a boyfriend, Paul, but he’s so forgettable that Lorelai and Luke, who are now living together, can’t remember his name. Rory can’t even remember that he’s there when they sleep over at the house in Stars Hollow. Rory has just given up her apartment in New York and has sent boxes of her stuff to other people, but notably not her boyfriend’s place. She’s looking for her lucky red dress and crashing at her friends’ places, supposedly because her life as a freelancer requires frequent travels. 

When Shropshire proposes that Rory expand her New Yorker piece into a book, instead of using Skype, Rory jumps on a super fast jet and is in London. She must have saved a lot of money from that New Yorker article to afford the many trips she takes to meet with Shropshire. While in London, she shares Logan’s spacious digs and bed even though he is engaged and Rory has a boyfriend.

Maybe she has a trust fund to keep up the insurance on her car, a fairly new Prius. Maybe she still has a trust fund or has been steadily borrowing from her indulgent grandparents who put her through prep school or an equally indulgent father, who put her through Yale.

Emily has her own drama, which is, not really funny. Emily has a life-size portrait painted of her late husband, Richard, and she goes into a wild possession dispersal spree under the influence of the Japanese de-clutter guru, Marie Kondo, who wrote “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” But Emily doesn’t live in Japan. She has less reason to de-clutter. She does go to a therapist and gets Lorelai to join her.

Eventually Emily leaves her beloved DAR duties and sells the house and other possessions. That might seem like a decluttering success story, yet having finally found a maid that she likes, Berta (Rose Abdoo who also plays the mechanic Gypsy), Emily clutters her life with Berta’s relatives, taking them and their kids with her when she sells the mansion and moves to Nantucket.   Obviously her husband was the stable and reasonable person.

Berta speaks a language that no one can decipher. I’m sure that’s how many people feel about their hired help, legal or not, immigrant or not (The Chicago-born Abdoo is Lebanese and Dominican). But is this really funny or an extreme amount of privileged entitlement? Is this the writers’ attempt at diversity?

While Lorelai was a scared young 16-year-old who ran away to have a baby and support herself through various jobs, Lorelai did work her way up to a managerial position despite her continued romantic entanglements. Past being attracted and distracted by Rory’s father, she has spent the last decade with Luke and she decides to marry Luke.

That’s only after a big of Gilmore Girls drama, of course, inspired by pop culture. In this case the inspiration requires perspiration: the book or the movie “Wild.” Lorelai feels she must do the Pacific trail hike. Could anyone that disorganized and neurotic pull herself together walking alone on a trail? The answer is: No. She just needed some space to understand that happiness is possible with a regular guy, a guy who isn’t rich like Chris or her father.

That isn’t true for Rory. Rory is no longer someone you could aspire to be and not someone I can relate to.

Rory has become one of those friends that you avoid. She will freeload off of your stable lifestyle of 9-to-5. She happy that you can pay rent or mortgage so that she can be rent and mortgage free and sleep in your spare bedroom or couch. She might even bring her current boyfriend in tow, but she also might forget him. Wouldn’t that be awkward to have to deal with a throw-away boyfriend after serving as Rory’s maid you’re can also be her appointment secretary. Instead of paying for storage space, Rory is the kind of friend who would ask you to store her packed boxes and use the money she saved to fly off to London, have dinners out or pay for her Prius.

As a journalist, she has no moral integrity. She falls asleep during an interview. She sleeps with one of the people she’s just interviewed after going to a party and getting drunk (Remember she did get that internship by sleeping with the boss’ son, Logan).  She’s one of those 30-somethings who ends up living with her parents or at least one parent or grandparents (In the original series, she holed up in her grandparents pool house.) 

Rory is not an adult. She’s a dependent child, at thirty, turning down job offers (including one from her old school) because she can return home to take a non-paying job as editor to the town’s newspaper, “saving” it from shutting down. Her mother will feed her. Her new stepdad, Luke, will feed her. Oh, and like Lorelai was at 16, she is pregnant, but unlike her mother there are three possible fathers.

In the end, the Gilmore Girls gives us women searching for stability through men. Emily found stability with Richard and her mourning is trivialized by her horde of servants. Lorelai finally married Luke. Rory is more than disappointing: she is a failure at life as a professional and as a person. Will she make a good mother? One can really see how it will take a village, in this case Stars Hollow, to raise her child.

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