Boo, I wish Gilmore Girls: The Year in a Life was better. Gilmore Girls is at its best when it focuses on the drama and intricacies of relationships, specifically between mother and daughter. In the original, it’s the drama, with frequent comedic interludes, that carries the show. In the reboot, the comedy takes center stage, literally. (though I love Sutton Foster and liked watching her act alongside her ex-husband, that play scene was far too long!) In the end, we never get the mother-daughter tête-a-têtes and drama of the original. Even though the issues -Rory’s stalled career, Lorelei’s midlife crisis, and Mrs. Gilmore’s grief – are certainly drama-worthy, the characters, for the most part, deal with these issues separately. Where’s the heart-to-heart conversations? Where’s the hanging out? Sadly, Rory and Lorelei don’t spend much time in the diner, on their couch, or eating. When issues arise, such as Paul calls (a cheap trick that seems totally out of character for Rory. Is she really that ditsy and heartless that she forgets to break-up with her boyfriend of years?!), Lorelei remains far too silent. We love that the two share and talk and act way more like sisters than mother and daughter, now that’s changed.
Wouldn’t a winter episode where a snow storm hits Stars Hollow and Rory and Lorelei are stuck eating ungodly amounts of takeout, watching movies, and actually talking have been much better than the whole surrogate thing? (And what of it? Nothing came of that story line.) Sookie could have come over with her own ungodly amount of food, nosy neighbors could pop in and out, Kirk could make an appearance doing something silly and then leave (Kirk is best in small doses), maybe the power goes out and Lane comes over with her kiddos (hey, we like Lane. Where’s Lane?). Throughout, Lorelei and Luke bicker over some kitschy and inappropriate Lorelei purchase and then he goes to bed early, because that’s what he does, and they stay up and eat strange junk food concoctions and roast marshmallows at the stove, and sit and actually talk about their issues. Maybe they plan a Wild trip together? Wouldn’t it’d be nice if Rory was on that hike instead of the randoms (and didn’t they miss their roller coaster trip)?
The show is best when it’s focused on their world and other people flit in and out of it. Instead, the focus in the reboot has shifted and now it’s the outside world, star cameos, and secondary characters that get too much stage time. No, the snippets of Lorelei writing furiously do not justify the exceedingly long Stars Hollow play. But what if Rory wrote a review of the play for the Stars Hollow Gazette and Lorelei joined her on opening night? Enter Rory and Lorelei center stage bashing the play. We see snippets of the play, some Stars Hollow characters in the audience, maybe a Kirk debacle, and then it’s off to the diner (for pie, of course). End scene.
Not to quibble, but Lorelei looks strangely matronly. (hello, isn’t forty the new thirty?) Lorelei spends much of her thirties dressed in funky, often inappropriate clothing choices, and nine years later she’s wearing blouses? Where’s the hot pink fluff, rhinestones, or cowboy boots? Lorelei and Rory lived in a strange, wonderful world of takeout, pop culture references, old movies, books, funky style, and kitsch. The problem in the reboot is that they no longer live in this world. Rory no longer reads, they hardly spend time in the diner, and they no longer watch movies together. I like the show best when it’s not focused on the wider world and instead focuses on the world of Stars Hollow, Friday night dinners, and the Dragonfly Inn. I say reinstate Friday night dinners, have junk-filled movie fest scenes (instead of simply talking about them at breakfast. Missed opportunity!), bring the characters closer to home, and let them, by way of conversation, focus on what matters. That’s why we’re watching.