October 21, 2015

ALUR | Gilmore Girls: The Risks in Reviving Television

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For this week, I’ve decided to take a break from my typical music-centric columning to discuss two topics that are of great importance to me: Gilmore Girls and Netflix. One of the hot subjects of this week has been the alleged return of the 2000-2007 dramedy Gilmore Girls via Netflix. If you’ve watched the show, you’ll know that the final season was lackluster at best. Due to the ‘07 writer’s strike, the highly acclaimed writer and show creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, did not supervise its production and the season lacked in plot development and wit. The season ended on an ambiguous note, with Rory embarking on a cross-country campaign, and Lorelai reconciling with Luke without making any concrete decisions on their future. The whole last season left me craving more resolution and spark, and I finished the series underwhelmed. The six previous seasons of Gilmore Girls are fantastically witty, provocative and captivating, so I expected to be equally stimulated by the concluding episodes.



With this in mind, I’m skeptical about the Netflix revival. To me, it signifies a kind of generational issue: We can’t let go. With scientific efforts focused on extending human life through 3D printing and astronauts looking for a new place to settle after Earth, us post-modern kids have grown up in a world where we can’t ever seem to let things end. We want stories to continue, characters to live on, and Netflix knows this.

While I love what Netflix has done in terms of creating innovative and edgy television (i.e. Orange is the New Black and House of Cards), I haven’t agreed with every Netflix choice. I’m largely alluding to Arrested Development. The show finished up on broadcast television in 2006, but Netflix brought it back in 2013 for a final season. This seemed off to me in more ways than one, as the actors had all grown up significantly and the dialogue lacked the wit meets slapstick humor that I had grown accustomed to. This season just didn’t do it for me. Apparently, Netflix is said to be planning a subsequent season, but I don’t have high hopes.

Like Arrested Development, I worry that the new season of Gilmore Girls will incorporate characters that do not ring true to the story. The original series is continuous; you watch and grow with Rory and Lorelai, supervising their development. I wonder how the writers will be able to catch us up on the eight years since the final episode without being too expositional. I would also be somewhat skeptical it if the writers tried to make it seem like only a year had passed since the final episode. Alexis Bledel, while still youthful, is thirty-four and its hard to imagine that she could pass for a 19 or 20-year-old. There’s a lot of catch-up work to be done and unless it feels smooth and natural, it could really bring the show down.

On the contrary, there is a part of me that longs for answers on those burning questions. I was very late to the game with Gilmore Girls, having only (binge) watched the series last year. These questions have lingered in my mind since I finished the final season in the spring. For instance, Rory breaks up with her college boyfriend, who, while irritating and definitely not right for her, was an important character for at least two seasons of the show, and she somewhat randomly decides to escape from home and work on a political campaign. As the show largely centers on Rory’s relationships, I did hope to see more than this unexpected ending.

I’m all about women in television who do not need relationships to find fulfillment and purpose, but I felt like Rory had options, specifically with Jess, to be in a healthy, productive and creatively charged relationship. Jess shapes up, especially during the final season and helps Rory find herself again. I found it a bit unfortunate that she did not at least reconnect with him again or give some indication of a future there. Similarly, Lorelai and Luke reunite, but there are still big questions about the fate and nature of their relationship by the end of the series. A fundamental part of me longs for these conclusions, to feel like I can rest easy at night knowing that these characters found their way. I worry for the fate of Gilmore Girls and for the other Netflix revivals to come. While painful, I think that it’s a good exercise for all of us, to learn how to let go.

Anita Alur is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected]. Millenial Musings appears every other Wednesday this semester.