If you’re anything like me, you’ve been waiting for the Gilmore Girls’ reboot since rumors first began circulating over a year ago. And to be honest, we were hoping for and dreaming of it for long before then. For the past year, I have read all of the articles. I’ve texted and talked with friends. I have speculated about what Rory’s job would be, the status of Lorelai and Luke’s relationship, and which beau would win our sweet protagonist’s heart (#teamJess all day, every day over here).
You see, I’ve been obsessed with Gilmore Girls since it was airing on Tuesday nights on the WB. I watched it during my high school and early college years. I invited friends over and ordered in Chinese for viewing parties on a weekly basis. Rory and I grew up together. And I was thankful for Rory. Thankful, you say? Yep, I sure was. Because I was a smart girl, too. And smart girls were rarely or positively portrayed on television during my that time. Enter Rory–a girl whose intelligence wasn’t just tolerated; it was celebrated. Her whole support system believed she was capable of doing great things.
Then, as I grew older, I found myself revisiting Star Hollows once more. See, I unexpectedly found myself playing the role of my lifetime–single mother to two children under the age of 3. So I went back to watch how Lorelai Gilmore did it–with sass and spunk, junk food, and pop culture references galore. I went from identifying with Rory to identifying with Lorelai, but my fondness for the Gilmore Girls never waned.
And then November 25th arrived. It was finally here. I actually didn’t get to watch it the very minute it was released in all of its Netflix glory because, kids, but I carved out a large chunk of time the following weekend. And I ate all of that nostalgia up with a spoon. Mother and daughter back at it again! Luke pretending to give out Wifi passwords. Kirk at Friday night dinner. And Jess and those arms (swoon).
But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed.
Lorelai is still struggling with her relationship with Luke (quite arguably the most perfect man on this planet–that monologue in “Fall,” I was definitely ugly crying, guys).She seemingly has it all–a successful business, stable relationship with a caring partner, healthy relationship with her daughter, and supportive friends, and, yet, she still can’t find peace and contentment. Lorelai does get a bit of pass, though, as she is dealing with the death of her father (R.I.P. Edward Hermann), as I’m sure that would be an emotionally trying time.
As I watched the revival, I no longer identified with Rory either. She is completely lost–she has nowhere to live, no real job, and she’s making just horrible relationship choices (especially given Jess’s arms–did we cover that already?).
Here she is living a carefree, vagabond, and arguably amoral lifestyle reminiscent of her yacht-stealing, dropping-out-of-Yale, confused twenties. Wasn’t Rory smarter and better than that? Lost and confused, she is apparently destined to follow in her mother’s footsteps with an unexpected pregnancy with a presumably absent or minimally involved cad of a father.
So you understand my disappointment–I just wanted more for my girls. They didn’t have to have it all together, but was it necessary for them to be falling apart at the seams? Had they learned nothing in our time away?
Well, if neither of the main characters strike a chord, then where’s a girl to look? To Paris Gellar, of course! While watching the original series, Paris grew on me without my knowledge and almost against my will. Lacking in socio-emotional skills, Paris made up for it in everything else. She knew what she wanted, she went after it, and she succeeded. Who doesn’t love a girl like that? In the revival, though, we see the same grim “history repeats itself” motif play out with Paris as well. While she’s a successful business woman, it has been at the cost of her marriage and family life. Much like young Paris, her children love the nanny more than their mother. I hate the all too familiar representation of a woman having to sacrifice in one area of her life in order to be successful in the other.
And that’s where our hero comes in–Lane Kim. Lane has always been a beautifully developed character who had to navigate vastly different worlds–her Korean heritage, her mother’s strict religious beliefs, and her love for rock and roll. We see her do it gracefully in the OG series, and we see glimpses of it in the revival as well. First, Lane and Zach are still together and happily parenting their twin boys. Second, she hasn’t given up on her passion–making music. Third, her friendships with Rory, Gil, and Brian are still healthy and intact. Lane has figured out how to have it all, even though, like Lorelai and Rory, the odds were stacked against her. She tells us, “Hey, girls, you don’t have to settle and sacrifice in one area of your life to do well in the other–you can succeed at all the things.” As a single mother to a daughter, a professor, a woman, and a writer, I like that message. Just as we need(ed) more positive representations of intelligent females on TV, we need these empowering portrayals of women being successful in various facets of their lives.
So if there is a second installment to this Gilmore Girls revival (and you know we all want it, Palladinos), then I’m going to be following Lane a lot more closely. Because that’s who I want to be when I grow up–the girl who has it all.
P.S. (I’ll need to see a lot more Jess, too. Just because.)
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