Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (summer) AKA the problem with musicals

Summer

Of all four parts, I liked this the least and I have the Stars Hollow Musical to blame for this. I did not watch Bunheads. I only know of Julia Goldani-Telles, the actress who played Sandee in the Spring story, as Whitney Solloway in The Affair. I feel like Amy Sherman Palladino assumed everyone who would be watching this revival would of course have seen Bunheads. Bunheads was apparently a show Amy Sherman Palladino did for one season. This musical felt like it was geared towards people who were fans of the show. It took up almost ten minutes. I timed it. It went on for way too long for the ultimate visual gag of watching Lorelai fill out multiple clipboards detailing her complaints and she seemed to be the only person complaining. This really could have been completed in like two minutes so maybe we could have gotten more time with Lane and Paris.

Aside from those ten minutes and the scenes by the pool which feature Rory and Lorelai fat shaming and judging people and enlisting two boys to hold their umbrellas and engage in some very questionable child labor practices, there are some subtle moves forward in the lives of the Gilmores. Although, the fat shaming did seem particularly disturbing. For a series that tries to be accepting and positive, watching Rory and Lorelai insult and demean a person for being overweight was crossing several lines. Also, I don’t buy that any child would be okay standing there in the middle of summer being servants for two grown adults with no pay. Though, I did laugh a little at Rory wanting to be referred to as Khalessi but other than that, it was unnecessary.

Rory is back living in Stars Hollow, living back at home despite her constant demands that she’s not actually back. Her entitlement is showing a lot here, especially when Babette introduces her to the “thirty-something gang” at the town meeting. Babette tells her that these are a group of people who graduated college and life chewed them up and now they’re back. Rory’s reaction seems to be that she feels much too good for them and she’s above them somehow and the thirty-somethings are supposed to be viewed as losers.

I’m not sure if the intention was to get us to feel bad for Rory or root for her because at this point, I’m just shaking my head and wanting to slap her.  A woman who is cheating on her boyfriend whom she constantly forgets about while sleeping with a man who is engaged to be married maybe should hold the judging for a bit. I actually would have liked to have gotten to know this thirty-something gang. Maybe they could have helped Rory out? Maybe they could have helped her with the Stars Hollow Gazette where she ends up working after begging Taylor Doose to hire her and where it seems like she’s also working there for free. These could have been people who could have helped her, especially if they were people going through the same experiences as she was currently going through.

I’m not sure where Rory went wrong? Was it after she stole that yacht back in college? Something that was conveniently forgotten and let’s not forget that even though she committed grand larceny, she still managed to get a job writing for Obama which honestly, I don’t think she would have gotten because I would assume they would have done a background check on any reporter they hired. Or not? She spiraled downward and has not returned to her high school self which seems to be where she peaked. Part of me wonders if her upbringing is responsible for this downfall. Anytime she did something wrong, the blame went somewhere else. Even when she destroyed Dean’s marriage, she was never held responsible. Maybe the problem was her mom and her grandparents saw her as perfect where the rest of the world had different opinions and maybe that’s where this struggle is? Trying to rectify all these different opinions of her?

Of course, Jess is the one who comes to save the day. I love Jess in this revival and very happy that Milo Ventimiglia did not have his 70’s era This is Us mustache.  Jess always seems to be there to save the day when it comes to rescuing Rory when she’s hit rock bottom. When she dropped out of Yale, he convinced her to go back. Remember when she dropped out of Yale because Logan’s dad gave her criticism? Anyway, Jess is in town and gives Rory advice to write a book about her relationship with Lorelai. The mother-daughter relationship. Rory brings this up to Lorelai while they are both with Emily to look at the new headstone for Richard.  Lorelai says no to this idea and Rory throws a temper tantrum in the middle of the cemetery declaring that this is what she needs to do and Lorelai needs to support her and be understanding.

Here’s the the thing, I’m on Lorelai’s side here. It is Lorelai’s story. Lorelai Gilmore who is private and does keep things from people as both Emily and Luke have accused her of doing. Also, not sure if Jess is going to be publishing this said book or what have you but who does Rory think she is that it will automatically get published? It’s moments like that where I feel Rory takes her mom for granted. Lorelai gave up her life for her daughter. When she got pregnant at sixteen, she did everything for her including give Rory a false and very inflated sense of self. Now, Lorelai also has a sense of entitlement and can be just as self absorbed but I have often given her a pass. Lorelai had a child at sixteen and in many ways, she stunted at sixteen. She’s stuck and in her relationship with Luke, she’s still stuck.

Now, Gilmore Girls seems to excel in fight scenes. The fights between Lorelai and Emily are legendary and in this episode, the fight between Lorelai and Rory is brutal. Lorelai is expressing her frustration and her anger just as much as Rory is expressing her’s. Lorelai feels betrayed by this idea of a book and Rory feels this is the thing that will help her out of her rut. While I’m still going to side by Lorelai in this, I always appreciate the scenes where Lorelai and Rory clash. While the relationship is a spectacular one, the characters are very much fused together and there’s a true realism attached to it when they try to separate, when they disagree. It’s painful because they’re separating part of themselves.

The other big fight here is between Lorelai and Luke. It was a big one revealing things that both had kept from the other. Lorelai had not told Luke that she was still attending therapy without her mom and Luke had not told Lorelai that he had gone with Emily to look at places for him to franchise Luke’s Diner. Richard had wanted Luke to franchise his place and had left him money to do so, something Luke did not want.  This explosive fight in the diner felt necessary given what we are meant to believe about their relationship, that they did not and do not communicate, they kept everything separate. In a way, they’re revealing to each other that they are indeed roommates with benefits and not partners. They are stuck in the place they were almost ten years earlier.

The ending of Summer has Lorelai leaving, wanting to attempt Wild–the book, not the movie. While ignoring the fact that it is wildly out of character for Lorelai Gilmore to hike in the wilderness, maybe it is something that is necessary. She needs to become “unstuck” and sometimes we need to do something we would never do just to get some clarity.

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