Score = 3 /5
(Comedy/Drama) Rated- TV-14
Review by: Kisho Wolfe
Logline: Gilmore Girls, ten years later
It’s been about ten years since we’ve last experienced Gilmore shenanigans and the world is excited to see what they have been up to. The series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has definitely birthed a monster of a series with these crazy characters and I for one have thoroughly enjoyed watching the original series. (Most seasons anyway. We won’t talk about that last season and a half before it ended and the series desperately missed Mrs. Palladino’s stamp…)
In the revival we have four episodes and each episode is broken down into seasons. We catch up with Rory (Alexis Bledel) Gilmore’s exciting journalist lifestyle as she’s living a whirlwind existence bouncing through different countries and homes while doing her career thing in the Winter episode. She seems like she has it all together in the early half of Winter, but the reality of the situation becomes evident towards the end when the wavering shows through. We also catch up with Lorelai (Lauren Graham) Gilmore and her now live in boyfriend Luke (Scott Patterson) Danes. Anyone who has followed the original series will know this is a monumental accomplishment for our momma Gilmore as she tends to run like the wind when things get too serious.
Ever since the first season of the Gilmore Girls series, I’ve been hooked on Amy’s writing style. It’s fast, it’s witty, but also has purpose. I think she does an amazing job of setting up the pegs in the early parts of an episode she’s writing and then successfully knocks them down in the later parts. It’s just one of those things that very few manage to do consistently, but she’s absolutely one of them! Her husband/partner in crime Daniel Palladino unfortunately does not share this same skill set. After catching up with the girls in the Winter episode of the revival, we eagerly anticipate the comedy and progress of the Spring episode to see what’s going to happen next. While the progress of the story comes through here, the laughs are far and few between. The writing style between these two partners is definitely apples to oranges. Amy’s style is more laugh out loud comedy and I love her for that. Daniel’s style is more of the martini dry I-see-what-you-did-there type of comedy. While that style has its place, it’s just never quite seemed to fit within the originals or this revival. The feel good time typically experienced when watching the show is simply just not there during the episodes of Daniel’s writing.
Halfway through Spring I found my mind wandering and started checking emails as the show droned on. I did perk up anytime one of the more dynamic characters like Paris (Liza Weil) came back into play. This woman has not missed a beat in the last ten years and snipes ALL of her lines perfectly each time she is on the screen. It’s a beautiful thing! The same can be said for Alexis as well. Lauren, however seems to just either not be feeling it for the first three episodes of the revival, or is maybe just mad tired for the majority of it and doesn’t really get going until the last episode.
Is this performance decline a residual from her other long running series where she pretty much is tasked to cry almost every time she’s on the screen? Has the genuine happiness been pushed so far back from the melodrama acting elsewhere that she is unable to recall it on command now like the tears? I don’t know. But it certainly shows here. She used to outshine almost EVERYONE in the cast with her verbal and facial expression chops and it’s sad to see that energy absent in her recent performance. I still have love for her though. I just hope that resolves itself if they decide to keep going with more episodes because it did look like the light started to shine a bit in the Fall episode.
While watching the Summer episode, there’s even a 30 minute musical…scratch that, it was actually only about ten minutes (I literally just went back and had to scrub for the timing) but it felt longer. Had to fast forward through it when I was watching it, as it seriously annoyed the crap out of me and my short attention span. Call me crazy, but spending that big of a chunk of precious screen time on something that has absolutely nothing to do with the main character’s progress/story is a waste. Fluff or filler as they say. They would have been better off shortening the episode instead. The main characters nor support characters are even performing in the damn thing and had me failing to see the point of it.
By the last episode, (Fall) I was elated to see Amy’s name back up there for Writer/Director. The entertainment was back on track as well as the timing. The short cameos with Rory’s past love life and even her father admitting defeat at losing Lorelai to a marriage with Luke tied everything together for the final episode. The enjoyment factor throughout the 4 seasons was about 50% for this fan.
That number could have definitely been boosted with the writing and better support appearances in the Spring and Summer episodes. I would have loved to see more screen time with Lane(Keiko Agena) and maybe how she interacts with her mother in regards to her marriage with Zach and the kids. I just feel like there were higher entertainment values that could have been exercised in the middle two episodes to support the lives of our main two protagonists in addition to the evolution of our beloved support characters then saaaay a pointless musical. The trite running gags that refused to end needed to be taken out back and put down after the first couple runs as well. Found myself squinching my own face when certain bits ran on too long. (poolside anyone…) And for the record, I DO enjoy the occasional musical…when it’s good.(I’ll just leave this here for proof- Shen Yun)
Overall, I gave Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life a rating of 3 out of 5 stars. After ten years, it’s only expected that everyone has moved on to other things in their life and might not have the same performance spark as they did back then. Understandable. I’ve watched all 4 episodes and noticed the difference in not only the writing between the episodes, but also the acting in response to the writing. I honestly believe with the right mind behind the pen, there is definitely potential in going another few rounds with the Gilmore Girls. I am a tad curious to find out what becomes of Rory and the bomb she dropped at the end of the revival. Although without properly fleshing out the support characters along with our main two, I do believe things will get pretty dull and deem it not worth the efforts.