This past week millions of people, myself included, watched the long anticipated Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. There will be spoilers from this point forward.
The wonderful thing about the show is that there are many story lines, the character’s rich complexity, a sharp wit and endless pop-culture references leave you in awe of the writer’s ability to story tell. From a young age, I’ve always appreciated a person’s ability to weave an intricate story that takes a while to unfold and digest.
It doesn’t help I’m woefully sappy.
Gilmore Girls has always been near and dear to my heart. I along, with my cohorts, identify with Rory and our shared coming of age experiences. Yet, you also have Lorelai and the many shenanigans she gets into along with juggling rearing a child, career, her love life, and a tension filled family dynamic. We follow the journey of Richard and Emily Gilmore. A wealthy New England family attempting to preserve a legacy and provide for their daughter and granddaughter.
I want to focus on the themes I picked up most in the revival. It draws out so many things that people struggle with.
Rory’s rut in her career and need to be established. Lorelai’s feelings of invalidation in her relationship with Luke and Emily’s need to establish a new life after the death of her husband and grief over losing her identity.
Rory’s character was one that fans thought could do anything. We certainly thought she had the world by the teeth and she would be extremely successful. Rory did not do any of those things. Ten years later she is in a rut. She is basically homeless, in two unhealthy romantic relationships, and has no work prospects. It’s sad. She takes the year to find herself. I kept thinking this should have occurred ten years ago. This is a reminder that ruts and uncertainty can hit at any time in our life. She contends with the feeling of being stagnate while her friends were all successful and doing their thing. Who hasn’t felt like that? Throughout the year Rory decides what she wants for the next phase of her life and works to obtain it and of course life throw a curve ball at the end. One I don’t totally hate. I didn’t expect Rory to become pregnant but the writer’s adequately prepared me for it.
Lorelai feels as if she has wasted the last ten years of Luke’s life. She feels that she robbed him of children and his dreams. She and Luke spend the year together but making each other somewhat unhappy. Lorelai goes on a journey to soul search and finds her answers. She goes back to Luke work out the animosity they have developed. The revival ends with them becoming married. Lorelai also works out the tension filled relationship with her mother. They are finally in a good place. The bitter resentment Lorelai had for her mother was resolved.
Emily’s storyline was my favorite and the most complex. Emily lost her husband, her world, and identity. She had to rebuild what she had and she did so. She sold her home and bought a new one. She started a new romance. She ended her affiliation with the DAR and moved to Nantucket. She became a new person. She was given an opportunity to grow and she did.
All of their storylines, especially Emily’s, introduce important themes well all experience in life. The biggest take that I had was that people deserve to have the space to grow/evolve. We are not the same person throughout our life. People change. It’s a simple fact. If we aren’t growing and changing parts of us throughout life then I’d say the life you are living isn’t much of a life. Your insight deepens, your opinions change, and you feel differently about things as you grow. It’s a part of living. We assimilate our old selves into new identities. Some people never take that opportunity, whether for fear or stubbornness it’s not good. Emily spent seventy years building a comfortable life and then her husband died. She had to forge a new life. Pick up the pieces and create something else. She did it wonderfully. Not everyone is afforded that opportunity. I get that but she was able to start over. I think that is why they call them “phases”. Life happens in transitions; some of them longer than others, some of them unexpectedly and without consent, some of them naturally. Our ability to accept and trudge through is what gets us through. We can meet life like a mighty oak or a wispy palm and in doing so we dictate the quality of our life. Maybe, like usually, I read too much into something as simple as a T.V. show but as I watched the revival of my favorite T.V. show these were some of the themes I picked up and why I believe this show will be timeless. Everyone experiences love and lost, ruts in life, and family issues. It’s whether we remain in the valleys or climb that mountains that make life what it can be.