Was It Worth Bringing Back Gilmore Girls?

November 29, 2016 at 9:00 PM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment
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SPOILER WARNING: This post contains major spoilers of the Gilmore Girls revival, including the last four words. If you don’t want to know about the last four words or anything that happened in the revival, stop reading now.

When I first learned that Netflix would be rebooting Gilmore Girls, I was skeptical.  In fact, my initial reaction was that there’s no need to revive the series. Don’t get me wrong but I’m a big fan of Gilmore Girls. I watched the show until the very end. But for me, season 7 delivered the proper ending to the series. I was satisfied with it and did not wish for a continuation.

But as the build-up for the revival became bigger and the Netflix premiere loomed closer, I got caught in the fans’ excitement and decided to check it out after all. While some fans were eager to see more of the romance between Lorelai Gilmore and Luke Danes, I was more interested to see the rapport again between Lorelai and her daughter Rory. After all, the main premise of the show is about the relationship between these two characters.

I just love the mother-and-daughter tandem of Lorelai and Rory and their humor. Add to that are their witty and pop culture-ridden dialogues that make for so much fun and entertainment.

So last weekend, I binge-watched Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life to see if it would deliver and justify its revival. What I got from the revival was mostly a tribute to Edward Herrmann, the actor who played the patriarch Richard Gilmore in the show who died in 2014, and sheer nostalgia.

Three Generations of Gilmore: Where They Are Now

And it is indeed a beautiful and fitting tribute to the late actor because it is woven into the story seamlessly across the four episodes. Each of the three Gilmore women – Lorelai, Rory and Emily – deals with Richard’s death in their own way.

From left: Emily, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore

From left: Emily, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore (Photo credit: bustle.com)

The revival picks up nine years after season 7 ended. In the revival, it has been a few months since Richard Gilmore passed away. His widow, Emily, is devastated with her loss. She’s bereft with grief and sadness and coping with the loss by de-cluttering and redecorating her Hartford, Connecticut home.

We also see Lorelai still together and living with Luke. They may be together but they’re not married. Luke still has his diner where he now gives his WiFi password easily to customers. Lorelai still manages the Dragonfly Inn with Michel but without Sookie.

Rory, on the other hand, made a career of herself working as a freelance journalist. She had notable articles published on several noteworthy publications. She just left her Brooklyn apartment and is sort of living a vagabond life, staying from place to place. She goes back to Stars Hollow in Connecticut where her mother lives.

GIF Image from: gossipgrab.com

GIF image from: gossipgrab.com

The Other Side of Rory Gilmore

Career wise, Rory is in a rut. She struggles getting freelance assignments and is in the process of bagging a book deal and getting an article published for Condé Nast. Now this is where it doesn’t make sense to me. As a writer myself who previously worked at a couple of book publishing companies, I really find it hard to believe that Rory could not hold on to a decent, stable job as journalist. I mean, seriously?! She is smart, steadfast and level headed. Given her talent and caliber as a writer, she should have at least landed a full-time job at a publication. It may not be in The New York Times or Huffington Post, but at least somewhere prestigious and established. I would have thought that at 32, she should have been professionally successful and accomplished by now.

Heck, her high school frenemy Paris Geller is even more successful than her. In the revival, Paris is now managing her own fertility clinic. Her ex Doyle now writes for Hollywood filmmakers such as Michael Bay. If they’re successful, why can’t she be?

Photo credit: pastemagazine.com

Photo credit: pastemagazine.com

Relationship wise, Rory is also in a mess. She has a boyfriend named Paul but she is also secretly sleeping with her ex-boyfriend Logan Huntzberger. Logan, on the other hand, is engaged with a French woman named Odette. Rory and Logan have a no-strings-attached relationship. She frequently visits him in London where he lives.

I just don’t understand Rory in the revival. What has happened to her? Why is she with Logan when she knows full well he could never marry her? She is not the Rory I know in the old series.

Bonded Anew

Lorelai has her own struggles to deal with. She has a communication problem with Luke. Michel is threatening to leave Dragonfly Inn and Sookie is nowhere to be found. Her relationship with her mother Emily has always been strained and the death of Richard seems to have stirred old feelings from within from both of them. The therapy scenes between Lorelai and Emily are really interesting and amusing to watch. For me, the fourth episode titled “Fall” is the best of the bunch. It brings both Lorelai and Emily front and center as they deal with their strained relationship after Richard’s death. Lauren Graham’s acting is just superb in this episode. As Lorelai, her emotional scenes with Kelly Bishop are raw and heartbreaking.

GIF image from: thevine.com

GIF image from: thevine.com.au

The same goes for Kelly Bishop who just nails her character scene after scene. The series revival is a time for her character to shine and she does so in all four episodes, from “Winter, “Spring,” to “Summer” and “Fall.” In the end, Lorelai and Emily have come to terms with their relationship and their grief for the man they both loved – as a father and as a husband.

As for Rory, how she copes with her grandfather’s death seems to have been downplayed. Rory’s story arc is more focused on her career and her relationship with her three ex-boyfriends Logan, Jess and Dean.

Which brings me to the infamous and rather controversial last four words spoken between Rory and Lorelai.

The Last Four Words

Rory: “Mom?”

Lorelai: “Yeah?”

Rory: “I’m pregnant.”

Practically the entire Gilmore Girls fandom went wild with these last four words spoken at the very end of the “Fall” episode. While some fans who ship Rory with Logan are happy with these last four words as everyone assumes Logan is the father of the baby, others are pissed that Rory doesn’t end up with Jess or Dean. I have my own misgivings on these last four words myself.


Photo credit: fansided.com

First of all, I don’t ship Rory with anyone on the show so these words don’t really affect me in that way. However, I would have preferred that there were no last four words at all. Like I said before, I was satisfied with the way season 7 ended. Second, I really don’t like the idea of Rory getting pregnant while her career is still unstable and her personal relationships remain messy.

I would have preferred to see Rory making it big in her career. That was what’s been hinted at the end of season 7. She was full of promise. Rory’s pregnancy in the revival, however, means that she’s following her mother footsteps. Lorelai got pregnant with her at sixteen and she had a lot of hurdles to overcome before she made it through. This means that Rory would have to put her writing career on hold to make way for the baby. Not what I envisioned for her.

For me, Gilmore Girls has always been the type of show where most of the characters live in a peachy keen world and life is viewed in rose-colored glasses. The show has quirky characters in hilarious situations and while there are some drama thrown in, most of the time, it’s light and fluffy. However, the cliffhanger at the end of the revival changed the dynamic. A lot of questions now hang for fans to figure out.

Rory and Lorelai Gilmore

Photo credit: vox.com

The Verdict

So was Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life worth it at all? Did it bring closure to fans? The answer to that would be yes and no. For me, there were good parts and there were bad parts. I liked that Lorelai’s life has been good and she patched things up with her mother. I liked that the fast dialogue and pop culture references were still there. I liked that I was able to see the vulnerable side of Emily. But I felt like Rory got nowhere at this point. It’s truly disappointing to see her that way. She may be working on her own book but that’s not a guarantee that she’ll be successful. She still has to pitch that book to agents and publishers and who knows where she’s going to end up, especially now that she’s having a baby.

The way I see it, the revival is mainly fan service and closure for show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. All four episodes were jam-packed with beloved characters from the old series, including long-forgotten characters I barely remember. For fans of the show, it’s common knowledge that Sherman-Palladino left the old series before season 7 ended. So she wasn’t able to write the last four words she’s been meaning to write for the series finale. The Netflix revival gave her that opportunity.


GIF image from: observer.com

Scene Stealers and Noteworthy Moments

  • Paris Geller being Paris Geller. She stole the scenes from Rory when they went to Chilton, their old high school;
  • Lorelai calling Emily on the phone and telling her about the best birthday she ever had with her father;
  • Emily Gilmore in jeans! At that point, Emily was a wreck because she’s still mourning the death of her husband;
  • Emily Gilmore with the women of DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) interviewing a potential member. It was refreshing to see Emily spouting a foul word for once;
  • The return of the Life and Death Brigade. Even though those scenes were unrealistic, I still enjoyed every minute of it;
  • Lorelai and Michel at the secret bar and how the customers scrambled to hide when Taylor walked by.


The Beefs

  • The Stars Hollow musical. It was awful and I had the same expression as Lorelai’s while I was watching it;
  • Rory taking over the Stars Hollow Gazette. She took out the poem for no reason then put it back again after getting pressured from the townsfolk. What was the point of all her work in that publication anyway?
  • Rory and her article piece about people waiting in lines. That was lame. No wonder Condé Nast rejected it;
  • Sookie appeared very briefly in the fourth episode and she’s not even present at Luke and Lorelai’s wedding;
  • There were unnecessary scenes and dialogues in the episodes (e.g. Rory and Lorelai at the pool, stretched performance of Lane’s band, Kirk’s short film, etc.). The episodes would do better if they were 60 minutes long instead of 90 minutes each.

‘The Crown’ Season 1 Review: Reimagining Elizabeth

November 21, 2016 at 5:33 PM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment
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SPOILER WARNING: This review contains spoilers of The Crown season 1. Read at your own risk!

After Downton Abbey ended its run, there wasn’t anything on television that was at par with the British period drama that would catch my attention. That is, until The Crown came along. The Crown is Netflix’s latest period drama that explores the personal life of Queen Elizabeth II during her younger years.

The series might look as splendid and glamorous as Downton Abbey, but the similarities end there. Sure, a few familiar faces from Downton can be seen in The Crown and footmen, personal valets and ladies in waiting pepper some of the scenes here and there, but the series varies greatly as it is based on true events unlike Downton which was mostly fiction.

Most of the action in The Crown season 1 center on a young Queen Elizabeth II and her relationship with her husband Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, her sister Princess Margaret, and the power struggle between Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the Cabinet.

Photo credit: imdb.com

The Crown is basically a reimagining of what might have transpired in Elizabeth II’s personal life as she copes with her position as the reigning monarch while balancing her role as a wife, mother and sister. It is an ambitious project for series creator Peter Morgan as the public knows that the British royal family is very tight-lipped about their personal lives.

The pilot episode starts in 1947 when a young Princess Elizabeth (played by Claire Foy) married Philip (played by Matt Smith) against the initial wishes of her family. King George VI is presented as a loving but ailing monarch who is suffering from tumor. Actor Jared Harris played the role of a doting father and well-loved king perfectly well, with a just a tinge of that well-known stutter.

Shortly after King George VI’s death, Elizabeth is thrust into the limelight as she inherits the crown. She is only 25 years old when the king died. This is where the high point of drama starts – when news of the king’s death spread throughout Buckingham Palace while Elizabeth is away on a Commonwealth tour in Kenya with Philip.

The following episodes attempt to explore how the royal family cope with the death of the king, particularly on how Elizabeth grieves her father’s death and her struggle to keep her personal life as normal as possible after her ascension to the throne. The episodes show how the family is left embittered with Edward’s abdication from the throne as well.

The fifth episode titled “Smoke and Mirrors” takes viewers to an inside look of how a transition to a new monarch looks like. The coronation scene, however, seems anti-climactic as most of it can be seen only through a televised footage of the event and through a distracting narration from Edward.

For the most part of the series, Elizabeth is presented as indecisive and quite still naïve of how things run at the Palace despite being the reigning monarch. She relies on the advice of her mother, her private secretary, from Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and other people. She is also adamant in following her husband’s wishes but for the most part she fails. I’m surprised to learn that she doesn’t have a college degree as she is educated only by a private tutor. She also seems detached from her children. Her husband seems to be the one spending more time with their kids.

Photo credit: engadget.com

Philip, on the other hand, is relegated to the sidelines. Apart from being with their children, he spends most of his time learning how to fly a plane, complaining and sulking about his position and being emasculated, and going out with his male friends. He doesn’t do much until he is given tasks to do, such as heading the coronation committee or accompanying Elizabeth in her diplomatic tours. He looks bored for the most part.

But perhaps the most notable of all these characters is Winston Churchill, played by John Lithgow. Lithgow presents Churchill as a grumpy old man desperate to cling on to power while a much younger and able protégé is eager for him to step down. With Churchill looking ever so frail, I thought he might drop dead at any moment. While the “Assassins” episode focuses more on him, it lacks the tension and drama needed to grab the viewers’ attention. His decision to step down as prime minister after the realization that he’s too frail and old for the position is not as emotional as I expected it to be.

The Crown Season 1 (Photo credit: vox.com)

Which brings me to the 10th and last episode of the season titled “Gloriana.” The season ended on a weak note as it veers away from Elizabeth and focuses on Princess Margaret and her doomed love affair with Peter Townsend. Throughout the later part of the series, Elizabeth’s sister tries to defy the monarchy by wanting to marry a divorcé who is also a member of staff at the Palace. But this final episode shows Elizabeth putting her foot down and forbidding the marriage – after she sought advice from the Church of England and the new prime minister.

The final scene looks uncertain as it only shows Elizabeth decked in her lavish white gown with the crown on top of her head. It doesn’t seem to hint on what lies ahead for her, or what the series will tackle in the next season.

For me, The Crown is likable enough but still lacking the depth and oomph of Downton Abbey. But perhaps this is because The Crown is merely a speculative story on what might have transpired behind closed doors of the Buckingham Palace during that period. The Crown might be based on real events, but the characters suffer from becoming fictionalized as it attempts to humanize Elizabeth and most of the royal family. In reality, they are a family notorious for keeping their private lives just that – private. We never know how they feel about certain things or events. And I think it’s better that way – that we don’t know about or pry on their private matters.

I know it might seem unfair to compare the two shows, but part of the appeal of Downton was because of its larger than life characters like Lady Violet and Mr. Bates. And even though some of its story arcs were based on real life, it was mostly fiction. Thus, its creator was given more freedom to take the characters to wherever he wanted, with a humor or two thrown in.


(NOTE: This article originally appeared on creators.co)

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