After a very long time waiting, Gilmore Girls finally come up streaming on Netflix starting Friday. For people like me who has been helped and widely embraced by the series in terms of references for books, movies, culture and events, the 4 episodes of the Revival is one of the biggest thing, I even camped myself out of the house to get better connection to stream the episodes smoothly.
Watching the first episode, I instantly switched my viewer point of view into a filmmaker point of view. I feel the need to understand better, to pardon. It was hard to not to, even from the first flat lines, they let me know the writers is not the same one (in concept) and they could’ve done a much better job.
For example, there were 20 minutes of ‘Prenancy Surrogacy’ discussion between Luke and Lorelai, that is too easy to forget. It doesn’t seem significant, nor important to even mentioning, even though now the episode has 80 minutes duration running.
With millions viewers around the world is watching, now we get to finally sit face to face with the serial to get answers. Many answers that is long awaited since the 6th season when Amy Sherman-Palladino left the series and many turbulences hit hard on some characters, that didn’t even feel logical for a simple cause and effect in terms of character developing.
Some of them tries too hard to be the answers, for example the Dean scene. Even with the corn-starch, it is almost feel sweet and yet imposed to be just there and satisfy the need of showing Dean. But it didn’t successfully deliver, and actually can be more. Sookie’s absence in the whole kitchen scenes was weird, and even with the ending where she made many versions of wedding cake for Luke and Lorelai’s wedding, -including the one with he favourite flower ever: Daisy-, it didn’t add up. She wasn’t there, unless for that one scene. She wasn’t there.
The Stars Hollow Musical was a flat note to me, even though I understand the intention. Let me be clear about this, Stars Hollow can be absurd as they want to be. As far as I know, it’s the only city which can shape the absurdity into a very unique discovery. But this time, from the way they set the mood in the town meeting, -where (random) people usually have more responds, not just the main characters-, the effort for the unique discovery start to feel overrated. Why? The meeting room for instance, and the whole town generally, they usually have this sense of charm when it comes to preparing an event, and especially in the scenes of the Musical, it was poorly delivered.
The most important note I made was the girl, the soul of the show: Rory Gilmore. To this note, the show must take full responsibility for I have come to realised when I finished watching Gilmore Girls, that Rory Gilmore is dead.
You see, the old Rory was far from perfect, but she maintain as a character we never seen on TV: that a shy, smart teen girl in a little town still gets the guy and able to manage herself while growing up in an emotional rollercoaster family. But then in the Revival episodes Rory lost her soul and died. The episodes highlighting some of the character treats we never hope to be there in Rory: impulsive, selfish, snob (about her own worth), easily broken, and most of all is that we see her now as a grown woman, but she didn’t seemed like she learned her lessons from her own mistakes. And here is the time when I covered my face, as I reveal the biggest hole is her life: the life of Rory without a moral compass, in any sense of it.
The last time we saw Rory was almost 10 years ago, when she graduated Yale from a journalism job (joining the Obama Campaign press team on bus) and back as a 24 year old single young woman. She was a green leaf with a strong line of root backing up on her, so even though there will be a edgy paths come along her, we were convinced that she will be okay. Now that she is 32 year old woman, we see her working as freelancer here and there but hasn’t able to make a living. And as she put in a statement in a scene with Jess (like they couldn’t find another way for the Jess scene): “I am broke”.
We are not sure what that means especially when we learned that she has been managed to have a residence in Brooklyn and going back and forth to London, where she maintain to ‘keep in touch’ with Logan in a form of a love affair, which again, once again: unimportant to even makes it as a part of the story. Rory has a boyfriend, actually, Paul, to whom she is so indifferent she can’t even be bothered to break up with, despite cheating on him repeatedly with Logan. There was a running joke in the Revival, that not only Rory, but everyone repeatedly forgets about Paul, all the while Paul was just a very charming guy to be with.
Rory seems so messy that we wonder where were all the girlfriends she had before? Lane was there, with her band and Steve and Kwan. But even Lane seems struggling to show Rory that she is there with her. We saw Lane’s father in a second and Mrs. Kim show up with her own signature way of being Mrs. Kim, but even the dialogue with Lane is floating. Paris, was being Paris, but somehow it wasn’t as much as beautifully weird surprise anymore for us. She is now the Pablo Escobar of fertility, as she stated clearly. She still pointing so many awkward thing fabulously like it is a common general things, she has her own sophisticated practice, she talks and walks like Paris, but she, -in all manners of being Paris-, somehow can’t handle her own children and spoiled by her own privileges. Paris was crazy, but we love her in the old series, because she had remorse. At least a sense of it. She was the real meaning of self-madness until she had a boyfriend. We understand that when it comes to love, she will get honestly humble down and even though still rocky road to communicate, she can still show it in the most marvellous way anyone can think of. Basically, she acted crazy because she was just one broken hearted person who try to take control of things she couldn’t control at her own house, in her own family. And for that we know, there is a little ‘Paris’ in each of us.
Rory’s professional missteps keeps happening, she throws away a perfectly good opportunity to write for GQ and squanders an interview for a gig that she deems beneath her. And when we thought she will makes one thing thats makes sense, she is informing her mother that she will be revealing the painful details of her past in a book that she is going to write and then get emotionally upset, throwing a tantrum when Lorelai, understandably, objects. Her reaction is not just childish but also nowhere near a professional.
And here is the biggest sin the Revival does: as far as I recall, I never see Rory with a book, reading, or sitting on the floor while accompanying her friend Lane, maybe in her home, anything connecting Rory to books that makes her solid, separate her with any other typical teenage girl on TV.
And when she said to her mom that she is pregnant, we remember Lorelai humming towards camera in one scene, saying, ‘It’s a full circle’. I suddenly feel like I am watching the most irresponsible horror movies ever.
Because I remember, and I still do. Rory made mistakes in the original series. She threw herself out the window, made huge life-altering ones, such as sleeping with her married ex-boyfriend, stealing a yacht with her then-boyfriend Logan and finally dropping out of Yale. But those were the sins of a very young woman who was both sensitive and a little bit selfish. She was flawed in the way plenty of interesting leading characters are and still kept our attention as one of the few female teenagers on television who was allowed to be incredibly studious and incredibly desirable to every male in her vicinity. We forgave and empathized with her mistakes, partly because we saw how much they pained her and partly because she wasn’t like any TV character we’d seen.
But regret or remorse, or even self-reflection, do not seem like qualities that the new Rory is familiar with. Calling the Rory of today “flawed” creates a too-generous comparison to more-interesting leading ladies such as, frankly, Lorelai Gilmore. Rory isn’t “flawed.” She’s simply unkind and ungrateful, in the most common way possible. It’s too disturbing to see her behave that way.
In the end of the original series, we’re convinced, we believe she will face the hustle and bustle of life, but she somehow will manage okay, she will be fine. But in this Revival, I personally don’t care anymore. And as much as I hate to write it here, this is not an effort to create dramatic storytelling, it is simply an unsuccessful attempt to rise a real-lovable character, but killed her in the process instead. May you Rest in Peace, Rory Gilmore.