Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life – why fans owe thanks to Netflix for this well-timed revival
Copper boom! Amy Sherman-Palladino is the voice we need after the year we've had
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is coming to Netflix on Fri 25 Nov. It's been a decade since last we visited Stars Hollow, where we left its beloved residents in a harmonious place: Lorelai had rekindled her romance with Luke, her tempestuous relationship with parents Richard and Emily was back on track, and Rory had accepted her first official job as a journalist covering Barack Obama's presidential campaign trail.
I for one can't wait to see what will happen with Obama (will he become president, will he not?), but Barack's future isn't the only one that us fans are interested in. Though the show's finale was never heavily criticised, it wasn't overtly praised, either, and that's due in no small part to the absence of the show's creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino.
Together with her husband Dan Palladino, she pulled away from the show due after season six due to unsatisfactory contract negotiations, and to put it bluntly, you can tell. Season seven of the show, while still a cut above your average family drama, was missing that Palladino spark. The characters, the storylines, that familiar whimsical setting, they were all there; but Sherman-Palladino brought Lorelai and Rory to life in a way that other writers and directors could not. She knew how she wanted the show to end before it had even begun, and she never got the chance to see it through.
Now, though, she is back on board, and ready to end the series the way it should have ended ten years ago. The series comprises four episodes, catching up with three generations, two girls and one Kirk. Every episode is dedicated to a season, since any good Gilmore fan will know that capturing the magical essence of different times of year is what GG does best.
This revival feels timely, but more than that, it feels necessary. In a world where women's roles and influence in society are being talked about more than ever, we need Amy Sherman-Palladino. She gave voice to three of the most memorable female characters on television, she redefined the way that women's issues were represented on screen, and most importantly, she brought us Lorelai Gilmore.
Lorelai Gilmore is a powerhouse: the antithesis of stereotype, and a reminder to women everywhere that we can be whoever, and whatever we want to be. She is a fast-talking feminist, who encourages education and prides herself on self sufficiency. Her female power isn't rooted in a hatred of men, she celebrates them.
Her relationships, her sexuality and her interactions with the opposite sex are a reminder that to celebrate women and their work, we don't need to disengage from men, we need to work, love and live together. Lorelai is serious about life, but she jokes constantly. She has had heartache by the bucketful, but she still has heart. She loves culture high and low, and is as interested in Proust as she is in Prada boots.
In short, Lorelai is exactly who she wants to be: a fiercely independent woman in a codependent relationship, a mother, a daughter, a lover of fashion, a quick-witted quipper and an icon to women all over the world. There is no box she fits into, and rightly so: how many of us truly embody a stereotype completely? How many of us would even want to?
Rory, too, showed women all over the world that it's OK to be whoever you want to be. She studies hard, loves homework more than any reasonable human being, and had boyfriends good and bad. She went to college against the odds, travelled the world with her mother and pursued her dreams relentlessly (whilst still fitting in a trip to Florida for spring break).
In fact, Rory and Lorelai are often painted as 'perfect': beautiful, hard working, kind and funny women who impact the lives of those they meet immeasurably. But crucially, they aren't perfect. Lorelai cheats on Luke with her ex Christopher when things get tough. Rory loses her virginity to Dean, her married ex-boyfriend. Lorelai struggles to finance her business at the start of the venture. Rory drops out of Yale after criticism of her work.
As hard as these moments are for the fans to watch, they are necessary, and part of Sherman-Palladino's genius. Every day we see women struggle and fail (I think there was some kind of election recently where a qualified, experienced woman lost to a politically-inexperienced businessman whose beliefs are as baffling as his hair). When Lorelai messes up, she fixes it. When Rory falls behind, she catches up. When women fail in the Gilmore Girls, they learn from their mistakes and move on, and this is what the world needs to do right now.
We need Sherman-Palladino to restore that fighting spirit in us. We need to see what she has planned for the girls beyond a saccharine-sweet happy ending. We need to see Rory struggle to find a job and overcome it. We need to see Lorelai hit a rough patch with Luke and not head for the hills (or the Hayden). In short, when the world gets tough, we need the Gilmore Girls. Copper boom!
NB: Copper boom means, 'Let's move'. It's on Urban Dictionary and everything. If you didn't already know that, consult your box set one more time.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premieres on Netflix Fri 25 Nov.