Thursday, December 1, 2016

Podcast #95 - SPOILERS - A Year in the Life - Discussion

Hello! Welcome to Return to Stars Hollow - a spoiler-free, retrospective podcast about Gilmore Girls! This is a special SPOILER FILLED podcast about the new Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. This is our discussion podcast for all four newly released episodes.

You can direct download the episode here: AYITL Discussion
You can also follow our RSS Feed, or subscribe to us on iTunesStitcher, or Google Play Music.

Comment on this post to leave your feedback for the next podcast!
You can also send feedback and voice clips to
Or you can tweet us at SeriouslySwatch (Cordia) or CelesteFohl!

The next podcast will post on Thursday, December 8, 2016 for our Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life feedback podcast.


  1. I apologize in advance because I have a lot to say.
    While I was waiting for the podcast, I already worked through some of my feelings over on my tumblr, so I'll start by copying some of those posts in here, it's easier for me. I hope that's ok.

    SPOILERS from here on out.

    First off, some thoughts on my Rory Gilmore dilemma that I already touched on in my comment about the season 4 finale:

    I went into the revival with a lot of expectations about what I thought or wanted Rory’s arc to be and the person she has become. By those standards, I was pretty much thoroughly disappointed by her storyline.

    But. Rory screwed up quite often in the original run and these used to be my least favourite storylines (her sleeping with Dean, stealing a yacht and moving in with her grandparents being the biggest ones). I don’t feel that way anymore because over time I have learned to differentiate between “Is this story bad because it’s not what I want to see?” and “Is this story actually bad or badly executed?”

    The Rory we see in the revival is self-centered, she’s arrogant, she’s whiny, she doesn’t deal well with failure, she doesn’t have a problem with cheating or being the other woman, she doesn’t see her privileges. But these things have always been in character for Rory, increasingly coming to the forefront in later seasons. I’m honestly surprised by the number of people I’ve seen saying the new episodes have ruined Rory or who seem to just now be figuring out that Rory has the potential to be a terrible person. They must have been watching a different show than me.

    The Rory we see in the revival is much more at home in the world of wealth and privilege that Emily and Richard belong to. She’s always been more drawn to that world than Lorelai ever was. This is also the reason why, in the end, at this point in time, I’m coming down on the side of Team Logan because he also belongs to that world and he shares all of the characteristics I mentioned above. It doesn’t mean that Rory and Logan are bad and deserve each other in their terribleness, but they do fit together.

    Did I want to see a Rory who developed in a different direction and who has learned from past mistakes instead of repeating them? Yes. Do I think it’s unrealistic that she has grown to be this person? No. Do I think she can and will change in the future? Yes.

    I’m going to rewatch A Year in the Life with this in mind (I've still only watched it once so far) and see what I think about Rory and her storyline then. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be any problems with the characterisation left. We never see her read a book? What? And it doesn’t mean that some of the plotlines weren’t kind of a mess and they should have spend more time focusing on some details that would have helped explain things. (And here I totally agree with the things you poiinted out in the podcast.) But I can hopefully focus on figuring these things out when I’m not generally distracted by hating Rory and who she has become.

    TL;DR: I have to stop judging Rory by who I want her to be and remind myself to judge her and her storylines by who she is. And that is a complicated character, who is not always sympathetic, who is definitely not perfect and who still has a lot to learn.

    On Mr. Kim:
    I wasn’t a fan of Mr. Kim’s appearance here at first, but I have found a way for it to make sense even though Mr. Kim’s existence/non-existence never made sense on the show.

    My theory is that he went to Korea (with Lane) at the end of season 1 and just didn’t return for at least 6 years, but now he’s back. This would work because Lane refers to her parents until about halfway through season 2 and from that point on it’s only Mrs. Kim. If Mr. Kim isn’t in the country and Lane gets used to that, I can accept this.

    On that note: I have put myself on Mr. Kim watch at the beginning of this rewatch because I wanted to figure out when exactly he disappears from the narrative. I'll get back to you with that in the final final feedback.

  2. More SPOILERS:

    On the ending and the final four words:

    I understand from a structural perspective that the show ending with Rory being pregnant with the next generation of Gilmores makes a lot of sense. It also works thematically on this show that has always been about family and mother/daughter relationships. And I could really love this ending if it happened under different circumstances and Rory's life wasn't pretty much a mess.
    So on one hand, I love a story coming full circle as much as the next person and this was certainly that.
    On the other hand, even in that regard, it feels like a little too much and I’m pretty sure Rory literally never talked about having children, so I have no idea how she feels about this whole thing in general, even apart from her current situation.

    One thing I know for sure is that if this was the ending ASP had always planned, I am glad she didn’t work on season 7. Because if I imagine these being the last words we hear from 23 year old Rory, just fresh out of college, who never had a shot to go out into the real world and travel and write about it and become a journalist … well, I don’t even want to think about that. That would have been Lane’s season 7 storyline all over again. And now I've read somewhere that apparently ASP hated that storyline for Lane because she couldn't go out and realize her rock 'n' roll dreams. Which is literally what she would have done to Rory if she had had the chance? And I totally agree with Cordia. I wanted to see so much more of Lane here or at least know how she feels about her life. I was wondering forever what she's even doing when she's not listening to Rory because I'm pretty sure it was only in Summer that we learn she's working at Kim's Antiques? And this is so weird, especially if ASP hated the decision to make her preganant, this would have been her chance to rectify it even a little bit.

    And seriously, is there no sex ed in this universe? Do condoms only work in 50% of the cases? Women with unplanned pregnancies that I can think of of the top of my head: Lorelai, Sherry, Sookie (I think?), Lane, Rory. What's up with that?

    Even for 32 year-old Rory, I don't like it and I agree with you that it was delivered as this shocking cliffhanger-like ending which doesn't feel fitting. I like how you described it as bleak, that's exactly what it is. It's really depressing and feels like a betrayal of the character. For seven seasons, they showed us that, even though Lorelai and Rory are very similar, they are not the same person and everyone was trying their best to prevent Rory from becoming like Lorelai and making the same mistakes. Even though Lorelai's life worked out well and she was happy, Rory was supposed to have more than that. And I loved how season 7 ended with Rory going out, single and following her dreams. But now with this, it's like all of that doesn't matter because she was always doomed to repeat her mother's life. I don't like it now and I would have hated it 9 years ago.

    1. Oh, I've found the character limit on comments.

      From little interview snippets I've seen post revival, I get the feeling that ASP was writing a very different show from the one we thought we were watching. I always thought Gilmore Girls was a charming, quirky, little show that has drama and comedy and conflicts and sometimes a certain layer of sadness underneath, but it's ultimately a happy, positive show that shows that you can achieve your goals if you work for them. And yes, I was expecting it to give me a happy ending.
      ASP meanwhile seems to be following the Joss Whedon school of thought (don't even get me started on that guy, I'm watching Angel right now and I'm very angry), hating happiness and thinking it's boring. Apparently Gilmore girls needed more CONFLICT and DRAMA because they don't like to end things with a nice little bow because that's not what real life is like (because realism is what I come to Gilmore Girls for).

      She's also said that obviously abortion isn't out of the question and obviously Logan is her Christopher and Jess is her Luke (which I also have problems with). I mean it's fine that she thinks that, but then why didn't she tell that story? As it is, it doesn't feel like it's finished. Imagine if Rory had anounced her pregnancy at the end of Summer and then spent Fall working through her feelings and making a decision and we ended on a at least somewhat hopeful note.

  3. Even more SPOILERS:

    I was so happy when Michel casually mentioned his husband. I was prepared to be happy if they stopped making homophobic jokes and thought that was the best we could hope for. I also noticed that there were a lot more non-straight and non-white people in the background, some of them even had lines! And then came the terrible fat shaming. I really don't understand how anyone could think that was ok or funny. And the racism with Emily's maid's family that nobody could understand and that kept growing and growing, as well as the funny Koreans afraid of the instrument whose name I can't remember right now. Because of all of this, I also took the gay pride parade discussion not as them pointing at the characters' homophobia, but as them being homophobic again. I still don't think they get it.
    At least they managed to talk about Germany without making any Nazi jokes. That's nice.

    I loved what we saw from Jess even though I wish it was more. I'm happy to know that he's doing well. I also love how he gets along with Lorelai now. It makes a lot of sense that their relationship has changed over the years but considering how much she wasn't a fan of him, that was great to see. As for the book idea, I like that it's again Jess who gets through to Rory and sets her back on some path. It was a little weird though how he just straight up told her to tell this story. I think within Rory's story it might have been better to see that she has had this idea before and Jess just encourages her to do it when she has her doubts about it, instead of her going with this idea coming from outside. And I agreed with Lorelai in their graveyard fight, I could totally understand why she didn't want her life's story told for everyone to see.

    Ok, I think that's it for now. Overall I'd say, I have a ton of problems with the revival, but I was still very happy I could spend more time with these characters.

  4. Hello there! Long time listener, first time commenter here. Before I start, I want to say how much I enjoy listening to your podcast. You bring a lot of nuisance and complexity to a show that I have absolutely loved for going on 8 years now, and I'll forever be grateful for you opening my mind to new aspects of the show I've never considered before. So thank you!

    On to the revival! Overall, I did really enjoy A Year In The Life. Winter was absolutely the perfect season to start off with and ending in Fall brought us right back to where the show started all those years ago. I originally was quite annoyed with Rory the entire run of the revival, but in a way I feel her scrambling around was the show's way of saying her life hasn't turned out the way she expected it to. Her affair with Logan being problem number one. I am in complete agreement that Logan is her Christopher, and her talk with Chris at the end of Fall cemented that for me. When we first met Chris in the original run of the show, he's abandoned his familial duties and responsibilities to pursue his own "career" if we can call it that despite his parents wanting him to work for their business. His specific career is always vaguely referenced, so who knows what he actually does. However, when Rory meets him in Fall, he has fallen back into the family business.

    Logan is exactly the same! At the end of Season 7, he has chosen his own career path instead of following his father's footsteps and that seems to be a progressive move on his part. However, many years have gone by since then & he has fallen back into the family business. When he mentions the "dynastic plan," he does not sound thrilled, much like Chris when he discusses his job with Rory, but like he feels he has no other choice.

    This is the only way I can justify Rory & Logan's affair. The whole show has been selling to its audience that Rory is Lorelei through & through, except for some minor differences such as Rory's love of reading. Rory has fallen into Lorelai's footsteps, only she is older. I don't doubt for a moment that her baby is Logan's, and that Jess will be her Luke. Especially considering that look he gives her through the window! (insert heart eye emjoi here).

    The only other problem I had with the revival is the diversity problem, which you guys discussed through the character of Emily maid, Berta. I'm going to link an article that I hope you will read & consider. It is very interesting & voices a lot of my personal opinions on the show, as a black female watcher myself. And while I see problems with Gilmore Girls, it will always have a special place in my heart & I'll love it forever.

    Best Wishes,

  5. I'm going to try very hard not to repeat things that others have already said. But it seems we're generating a critical mass of dissatisfaction...I knew there was no possibility of it living up to the hype, but it was way, way worse than I had expected.

    I now think that ASP's reputation benefited from her absence in season 7. if she had ended the show's original run with "I'm pregnant," cut to black -- I don't think people would remember the show as fondly as they have, and there wouldn't have been as much anticipation for a revival. By not being present in season 7, she's gotten to spend the past decade saying "that's not what I wanted, what I had would have been sooooooo much better," and there was no way to prove otherwise. For the past 9 years, ASP has gotten to be the Mistreated Genius With the Secret. What is she now?

    Continuing what Mareike said above: I always viewed GG as a show with a hopeful ethos, not a tragedy where everyone's fate is doomed by their character. The show's original conflict is Lorelai's estrangement from her parents, but over the course of the show we see how that relationship improves (though with a lot of two steps forward, one step back along the way). I never thought that "history repeats itself" was the theme of the show.

    I now imagine Lorelai responding to "I'm pregnant" with "I have failed as a mother." Lorelai's entire parenting style was always geared towards keeping Rory from making the same mistakes she had made (and keeping Rory away from the parts of Richard/Emily world that were damaging). That is a pretty bleak conclusion, and wildly out of place with the tone of the rest of the show.

    You guys already talked about how there was too much or too little of certain characters, and I mostly agree with that. Keep in mind that these Netflix episodes were not limited by typical TV episode time constraints; if ASP had wanted another two minutes of Lane, she could have expanded Lane's scenes by two minutes.

    Small things I enjoyed, but wasn't expecting:
    -- the Paris/Francie scene in the bathroom. I know you guys hated Francie but I thought she was well used here. She busts into the bathroom, tries to be nice to Paris, but they both regress 15 years in 10 seconds, bust on each other, and then she storms out. I can enjoy 30 seconds of Francie if it's just 30 seconds.
    --Similarly, I can enjoy 5 minutes of April as a pretentious/anxious college student.
    --And 5 minutes of Christopher: he's playing the role of Rory's dad, not Lorelai's potential love interest. I really liked that scene because the two characters are talking past each other: Christopher thinks he's explaining to Rory why he was an absent father, but Rory is actually talking to Logan through Christopher, testing out her justifications for not telling Logan about her pregnancy.

    After watching the revival, there were only 3 bits that I could imagine wanting to see again:
    --Hep Alien. HOw is it that Brian hasn't aged at all but Zach looks 20 years older? It was just joyful to see the 4 of them still making music together.
    --Paris kicking doors (and ass).
    --Lorelai on the phone with Emily telling her Richard story.

    Given my lack of interest in re-watching the rest of the revival, I'm concluding that it failed. We'll see if I want to come back to it when you guys finish season 7!

  6. Ok, one more Rory comment because it's relevant to the Season 4 discussion about Rory!

    As the show goes on, it gets less and less interested in what's going on in Rory's brain. I now have no idea what Rory writes about! Did she ever try writing about foreign wars like her hero Christiane Amanpour? Did she write about Hillary Clinton? Does she write about culture, feminism, politics, economics? What is Rory's area of expertise? What is her passion?

    I have so little information in this area that I'm concluding her New Yorker article was a fluke: she met Naomi Shropshire somehow and Naomi is such a vivid subject that she leaped off the page without Rory having to do much work. But without a supernova subject, Rory has nothing to offer.

    I know this is harsh, but she is 32 years old. 10 years into a career is when she should be hitting her stride. But all the high-school-Rory traits of hard work, persistence, and list-making seem to have fallen away. Watch her body-language during her interviews with Sandee and Conde Nast: she's leaning backwards, totally disengaged. Come on Rory, watch His Girl Friday a few times, channel Rosalind Russell, and then try to make it as a journalist.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Hello Ladies

    I may be toooo late for your recording :( But my broadband went down for a week- so I only got to watch over Dec3/4 ... And wow am I disappointed.

    The best bits are around Richard. I too was in tears for most of Autumn. Emily was amazing.

    Great to see Hep alien ... even for only a moment.
    The pop up secret bar - loved that too.

    80% of my thoughts you have both said in the first podcast last week.
    I feel that this rant is going to brought to you with the word WHY !

    Now I was never a Dean "hater" as many are ... but WHY WHY did we need the cameos !!! Really Dean pops up to tell her he has a family and is then gone !?!?!
    Mr Kim -another cameo ... well nice to know he is there

    WHY ... was there not conversations about the past 9 years ... telling us what happened .

    WHY .. did we need Paul .. errm you know that guy everyone forgets ...not funny so sad

    WHY .. is she so bad at the interview after the panic melt down she had in the original about not being prepared for the college interviews ?

    OMG ... you could have lost that musical.

    Logan and Rory - why is the marriage proposal never mentioned ! Logan should have said "Hey you had your chance" ... Although having extra on the side seem to run in Logan's family.

    Overall ...
    When I watch it again ... there will be moments I will be fast forward.

    1. PS... system would not allow me to login - this is Zoe ...

  10. Allow me to stand up and be the one person that LOVED almost every minute of A Year in The Life. I laughed, I cried, I had a huge smile on my face during most of it. I just don't relate to how disappointed some fans are. I had super low expectations after being incredibly disappointed by the Veronica Mars movie. I wasn't expecting it to recapture the magic of the original run, but I think for the most part, it kind of did. Emily's storyline was pure perfection and I loved every moment of it. Luke and Lorelai could have had more smoochies, but overall, I liked their story. It really works for them. I agree that it doesn't make sense that they NEVER EVER spoke about the reality of having kids because I would think since they decided they were monogamous forever they would have considered long term birth control, which in turn would have prompted a discussion about having more children. But, sure, they are terrible communicators so maybe Lorelai thought he didn't want kids anymore and he thought she didn't want kids anymore, so they just continued on whatever birth control they had been using. I thought the musical was hilarious and I didn't stop laughing the entire time. I also don't think the Unbreakable song would have been as impactful without the complete ridiculousness of the rest of the musical. As for Rory, eh. I don't think any of it is out of character. Things have come easily for her for her whole life and suddenly she is really challenged and she just doesn't have it. Maybe Mitchum was right all along! And I find it somewhat insulting that finding herself unexpectedly pregnant by the finale (which I sort of guessed - I thought the final words would be "I'm pregnant." "Me too!" but someone told me that was too predictable. Oh yeah?) points to a tragic end. Conversely, it could be what saves her. She's obviously unhappy the entire year. She's chasing after this dream and she's failing, making poor choices all over the place and fumbling, and now she has to put that on the back burner and rethink her choices. I think it shows how entitled she is when she is offered a seriously amazing job at Chilton (any subject she wants?! Probably tenure and benefits and maybe even a pension? That is seriously amazing) and she acts like its beneath her.

    Ugh, I can go on and on. I loved this revival. The only thing that distracted me was Luke's wig. It was kind of awful and they should have given him something closer to his real hair or let Luke be balding. It was almost as bad as Taylor's toupee. I'm okay if they leave it like that because I don't want more conflict for Emily or Lorelai and their stories ended perfectly. I would mostly likely watch more and love it, but I don't need more.

    Oh wait, I did think of something else I didn't really love. Jess' wistful look through the window at the end. Meh, didn't really add enough. He didn't look in love, he looked like he was having a kidney stone attack. Milo can act better than that. Poor direction? I don't know. Didn't work for me.