If 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that TV revivals are risky biz (we’re lookin’ at you Fuller House and X-Files). So we were obviously v. worried about Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life butchering a show so close to our hearts. We’re happy to report that it was executed perfectly, with a well-balanced combo of old faces and new favourites. We get all the Gilmore Girls classics—Lorelai/Rory speed rants chalk-full of pop culture references, huge caffeine and junk food consumption, late night chats, comical small town hijinks—mixed with millennial trends, such as free Wi-Fi at Luke’s diner, TV bingeing, and some pretty unsubtle jabs at “Poo-Poo-Putin.”
But it’s not all coffee-infused nostalgia. Loss is a big theme, mostly as a result of the unfortunate IRL passing of Edward Herrmann, who played Rory’s gramps, Richard Gilmore. (Expect your first ugly cry about 20 mins in when you get a glimpse at his funeral.) In the four movie-length episodes that take us through winter, spring, summer and fall, we’re given a more mature version of the light-hearted show—and we finally get some closure that we’ve been after for the last 10 years.
Of course, Gilmore Girls would be absolutely nothing without its long list of quirky characters, all of whom bring something different and unique to the show. And what made the revival so damn good is the number of actors that actually came back for it (even if it was only for a moment). So without further ado, here is our definitive ranking of the returning characters we were most excited to see—and the ones we wish would’ve stayed out of Stars Hollow this time ’round.
Lorelai’s first scene brought us a feeling of comfort and contentment, similar to slipping into your boyfriend’s old sweats. In one quick-witted rant about Rory looking much too fab after a six-hour flight, Lauren Graham instantly jumps right back into the fast-talking-caffeine-addicted character without missing a beat. For the first half of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life we’re given the Lorelai Gilmore we all know and love—a carefree, confident superwoman with a clever comeback for absolutely everything. And, of course, 2016 Lorelai (who BTW wears a Fitbit because of course) has mastered the art of binge-watching, has a totally maxed-out PVR, and is still up-to-date on her pop culture references (a few to look out for: Gwen Stefani, Tori Spelling and the Kardashians). But in the second half of the revival we’re given something totally new, a waaay more vulnerable version of Lorelai that we’ve only gotten tiny glimpses of in the past. As a result of her father’s death, she’s a bit lost and feeling her mortality more than ever (like a rando urge to go on a cruise??) and she seems a little adrift in her relationship with Luke. All of this leads to what some might view as a mid-life crisis that pushes her to pull a Cheryl Strayed. We’re with you, girl!
The return of a now 32-year-old Rory is perhaps the hardest to get into because of certain spoiler rules but we’ll do our best. She’s still pursuing her dream of journalism and although she seems to have the talent for it, she has not been successful as of yet. We see her living a somewhat fruitless life, taking meaningless job opportunities and jumping from place to place with boxes of her stuff scattered across three different states. In the first two episodes she puts on a façade that she’s this super-successful writer and it seems that she’s even fallen for it herself. It isn’t until a v. bare-bones convo with Jess (*insert emoji heart eyes*) when she admits to him and essentially to herself that she’s not exactly where she thought she’d be by now. But as Lorelai points out midway through the revival, it was Rory’s turn for life to throw her a couple curve balls. Hint: “I’m just a big, fat, Wookie humping loser with no future!” Just watch and you’ll understand.
Enter Emily Gilmore. Our first thoughts: she looks AMAZING. Is it possible that she actually looks younger? Why does she look more fit than us? Then, once we got past the fact that she hasn’t aged a day in the past 10 years, we saw a more exposed Emily standing there. She was married to Richard for 50 years and as a result of his sudden passing, she doesn’t know how to live her life anymore. She’s letting her maid’s entire family live in the Gilmore mansion, which would’ve been unheard of 10 years ago. She’s lost interest in her beloved DAR. She’s sleeping until noon, eating dinner in front of the television and wearing…jeans?! But don’t worry; amidst all of her changes, we still get glimpses of the OG Emily. For example: getting into a huge fight with Lorelai on the night of Richards funeral—which, we will note, was the biggest fight they’ve ever had. But overall, we fell in love with Emily in a totally new way.
Luke’s first scene literally made us feel like we had gone back in time. He’s still looking after Lorelai (and Rory when she’s in town), lecturing them on their horrible eating habits, and doing whatever he can to get healthy meals into them (even if it means cooking two main courses). Besides the fact that he’s moved into Lorelai’s house, his life really hasn’t changed at all. He still doesn’t know anything about TV or movies and, according to Rory, should be put in ‘binge-watching jail,’ and he doesn’t know how to work his cellphone that’s from the actual stone age. However, there are a few WTF facts we learn about Luke in the revival. He gives out free Wi-Fi at the diner (even to people who are buying one bagel split four ways—he calls them the laptoppers). Considering his whole no-cell-phone rule, we were surprised he had succumbed to this millennial trend. Also, he’s friends with Kiefer Sutherland…what!?
Paris was always a fave character of ours. We may have totally hated her in the early episodes when she was nothing but a Chilton villain, yet she slowly started to win us over with her blunt AF attitude and her ability to scare the shit out of literally anyone. Paris was one of the strongest supporting characters in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life and we’re happy to report that we see plenty of her—including a wonderfully classic Paris meltdown in the Chilton washroom. Side note: We love love love her new and improved look of a chic pixie cut and killer work wardrobe.
Sookie St. James
There was a subtle build-up to Melissa McCarthy’s arrival throughout all four episodes and when it finally happened, it was everything. The first time we see Sookie she shoots icing out of a piping bag and says “Wow, that was pornographic!” This was a nice way to intro Sookie because it let McCarthy’s current style of comedy come into play and seep into the character that jumpstarted her career. Although Sookie’s part in the four-episode event was short-lived, it was exactly what we needed.
We must say, we’re totally in love with 2016 Jess. He’s finally matured into a decent human being who seems genuinely happy with life (a hard state of being for high school Jess to grasp). He supports Luke in more ways than one in the revival and actually gives Rory the best (and most insightful) advice anyone has ever given her. Side note: Team Jess can get ready to freak right out because he’s got some bangin’ arm muscles now.
This might be an unpopular opinion with Team Jess but we had maaaj love for Logan back in the day. Even though he was a bit of a screw-up, he was Rory’s v. v. v. rich version of a Prince Charming and we totally fell in love with his charm, so seeing his face again gave our hearts a little flutter. And, thankfully, we get to see quite a bit of him.
We were extremely pleased with Michel’s return to the show. Sookie’s absence has put him in the position of Lorelai’s work BFF (which he secretly always wanted) and has also secured him a bigger role at The Dragonfly Inn. There are a few surprises we learn about Michel but we actually grew to love him more than we ever have before.
Oh, Dean, Rory’s kind of stalkerish first love. Even though, for the most part, he treated Rory pretty great (minus the two times he broke up with her in public), he’s actually the most hated boyfriend Rory ever had. Srsly, take any “How Normal Are Your Gilmore Girls Opinions” Buzzfeed quiz and he always comes in last. We don’t have much to say about his return other than it gave us a nice little flashback of their relationship. And of course cornstarch is involved, which is literally all the Dean nostalgia we could handle.
Lane was Rory’s loyal Stars Hollow BFF. They were there for each other through all the awkward teenage milestones and their bestieship went on to stay just as strong all throughout college so her return to Gilmore Girls was essential. But we found her storyline to be a bit blah and underdone, unfortch (even if we were happy to learn that her relationship with her mother, the strict AF Mrs. Kim, seems to be doing well).
Kirk—a.k.a. the quirkiest resident in Stars Hollow—was mainly known for having more jobs than we ever thought possible (62 to be exact). His most recent business venture is an unsuccessful car company called “Ooober” (yes, like Uber). We were happy to see that he continues to act like a child (he still orders fudgy banana milkshakes) because it’s what always made him such a loveable character. With that being said, there a few changes: he now has a pet pig, and a head of grey hair (which we think is actually working for him).
Miss Patty and Babette Dell
We put these two together on the list because we were equally pleased to see both of them. The OG Stars Hollow gossips might have played smaller roles in the reboot but their appearances were a must to get the overall quirkiness of SH just right. Seeing Babette and (a v. slim-looking) Miss Patty together again srsly gave us all the nostalgic feels. Miss Patty is still running her ballet studio and lusting after attractive young men, and Babette’s still making us LOL with her raspy voice and her oft-inappropriate commentary.
The first thing we thought when we saw Taylor was: “’Kay, wait. Did this guy age at all? He looks exactly the same.” And not only does he look exactly the same, he is exactly the same. He’s still Town Selectman, hosting annual town events (like The Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer, and the Picnic Basket Auction), he still bickers with Luke in the diner and at town meetings, and he still annoys us to no end. But he wouldn’t be Taylor if he didn’t.
For those of you who don’t remember Jason and thought “who the actual f is this guy,” he was Richard’s business partner, and Lorelai’s boyfriend for about 20 minutes in season four. Considering everything that happened between Richard and Jason—quick recap: Richard screwed Jason over in their business, forcing Jason to sue him, ultimately ending his relationship with Lorelai—it was nice to see him paying his respects at Richard’s funeral. And even though his appearance was a mere five lines (if that), it gave us some sweet closure.
Christopher’s return to Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life left a sour taste in our mouth, because all it really did was remind us that he still kind of sucks as a dad. One moment in particular stands out that pretty much sums up their lacking relationship—a cold, awkward hug that they share in the “Fall” episode. It made us see that they’re basically strangers to one another and if in the last 10 years they haven’t formed somewhat of a relationship, there probs isn’t much luck for one in the future.
Our immediate reaction to the return of Luke’s illegitimate daughter was literally: “UGHHHH!” Of course April Nardini—arguably the most hated storyline in Gilmore Girls history next to Rory losing her V-card to a married Dean—had to come back. Now she’s a 22-year-old hippie who’s planning on “hitting a few states to canvas for pot legalization.” And even though she’s actually kind of funny now and Vanessa Marano’s acting skills have improved significantly, being loyal Gilmore Girls fans we can’t help but still hold a maj grudge against her for coming between Lorelai and Luke.
Headmaster Charleston kind of sucks. He’s a pompous man who’s set in his ways and looks down on anyone who doesn’t run in his circle—so basically anyone who doesn’t abide to the traditional ways of life or come from a four-story mansion with a maid and a pool house. And it seems he hasn’t really changed. The first time we see him (which, shockingly enough, isn’t at Richard’s funeral—weren’t they supposed to be best buds?) he totally disses Rory’s vagabond lifestyle and makes her feel like a huge failure.
If it were up to us, Mitchum Huntzberger would have never gotten an invite to A Year in the Life. We’re still not over the way he treated Rory and we probably never will be, TBH—he was a huge reason why she decided to take time off from Yale, so basically he was the reason for Rory and Lorelai’s huge season six fall-out. As expected, Mitchum’s return made us totally cringe. Once again he used his power to make Rory feel inferior and insult her work. The only good thing about his return is that it didn’t last for more than two minutes. Side note: Is it just us or does he give off a bit of a Trump vibe?
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