Where did the “Gilmore Girls” characters end up in “Year in the Life?”

Source: Netflix

Source: Netflix

Chiara Nardone-Gross, iNews class reporter

 In 2000, the first episode of “Gilmore Girls,” a heartwarming, yet witty show about a single mother and her teenage daughter, aired. The show ran until 2007, and 9 years later in 2016, the revival “Gilmore Girls: Year in the Life” came out.

The original series focused on Lorelai Gilmore, a single mother who had her daughter Rory at the young age of 16. The two lived in a quirky and charming, small town called Stars Hollow, a drive away from Lorelai’s wealthy parents, Emily and Richard Gilmore.  

In the revival, Lorelai remains her diverting, independent self. However, one thing that has changed is her feelings towards the outdoors. Lorelai has never been one for nature, but suddenly at the end of the episode titled “Summer,” she has decided to do “Wild,” a long hike based on a book.  

In “Fall,” Lorelai goes to the hike but never actually makes it on the trail due to poor weather conditions and not being able to access her permit. After being sent back to her motel for the second time, she finds herself on a mountain top calling her mother who she has been arguing with all year after not telling a nice story at her father’s funeral. On the phone, she reminisces on an old story of her and her father, reconnecting with her mother and seemingly making amends. 

When I was first introduced to the idea of Lorelai doing “Wild” I was confused, seeing as it is out of character for her. However, once the trip was over and she found what she was looking for, I understood more. Lorelai had gone to Wild in search of herself and in search of clarity.

This phone call improves Lorelai and Emily’s relationship severely, and while they have always had a tough relationship and probably always will, it is currently in a good place. After Richard’s passing, Emily is coping realistically and in character. By the end of the revival, I am happy to finally see her happy in Nantucket, seemingly getting along well with Lorelai.  

Lorelai’s daughter, Rory, another main character, has some negative character development in the revival. Since graduating from Chilton in the original series, Rory has been in a downward spiral: stealing a boat, taking a break from Yale, and struggling with her journalism career. However, things seemed to be looking up for her after going to work on the Obama campaign in the final episode of the series, but when we meet her again 9 years later in the revival, things have only gotten worse. 

I am disappointed to see Rory, a once sweet, driven girl with a bright future, doing so poorly in her adulthood. Not only is her work life going badly, but so are her relationships, romantic and platonic. 

In terms of platonic relationships, both of the Gilmore Girls’ best friends had a disappointing, even nonexistent storyline in the revival. 

Lorelai’s best friend and business partner, Sookie St. James, played by Melissa McCarthy, appeared only in one scene of the last episode. In the scene, the two best friends caught up on Sookie’s leaving the inn and Lorelai’s upcoming wedding with Luke. Although she only appeared in that one scene, we also heard about what Sookie was up to through other characters like Jackson and Michel. Watching the revival, I felt disappointed that Sookie, a beloved character, had such a small role in the show. However, the reason for Sookie’s absence from the revival was that Melissa McCarthy was only able to film one scene. 

Unlike Melissa McCarthy, the absence of Rory’s childhood best friend Lane Kim, played by Keiko Agena, was not due to the actress’ inability to film scenes, meaning there was no excuse for her lack of a story. For one, she made very few appearances in the show, despite being a major character. Additionally, in the original series, nearly the entirety of Lane’s storyline was about her secret rebellion from her strict and religious Korean mother. It took the form of secretly playing the drums in a rock band, dating non-Korean boys, wearing makeup and clothing she wasn’t allowed to, and more.  

However, in the revival, Lane seems to have accepted her mother’s strict aspirations for her. She is working at Kim’s Antiques, living in Stars Hollow, and after becoming a mother towards the end of the original series, her music career has taken a back seat. Now, she only plays her drums as a recreational activity, but she seems very happy to be doing so. I am unsure how I feel about where Lane has ended up because she does seem pretty happy, but I am sure that she deserved much more than Stars Hollow.

Similar to Lane, Logan Huntzberger did not end up where he previously wanted. However, this was pretty expected since he went to London to work for his father in the original series, against his own wishes. In the revival, Logan is engaged and is having an affair with Rory, who is aware of his fiancé and has her own boyfriend, Paul, who she keeps forgetting to break up with. Once again, Rory is a mistress, just like she was with her first boyfriend, Dean Forester, who had an affair with her years after they broke up and he had married someone else.  

Jess Mariano, Rory’s high school ex-boyfriend, makes his first appearance in the episode titled “Summer,” where he gives Rory the idea to write a book about her life with her mother. The two remain only friends with each other, and are never seen rekindling their old relationship. However, in “Fall,” Jess is seemingly still in love with Rory when he is shown secretly admiring her and talks to Luke, his uncle and Lorelai’s now husband about it. 

I am satisfied with Luke’s life in the revival. He is still working at the diner, refusing to franchise it, living with Lorelai, and it all seems very realistic for him, and he seems pretty happy. Personally, I do not think he and Lorelai need children, which is why I was not disappointed to see them childless 9 years later.

The last words of the revival are spoken by Rory when she shockingly says, “Mom, I’m pregnant.” This leaves viewers questioning who the father is, what she is going to do and more. The father is most realistically Logan because he and Rory have been having an affair for months. However, there could’ve been something the audience was not shown, considering Jess’ longing look at Rory, making Jess the father. While it is unlikely that Jess is the father, it is fun to revisit the love triangle between Jess and Logan in the original series.  

The show itself was pretty good, but the original was much better. While the original show contained some controversial comments, it is easier to excuse due to when it aired. In the revival, there were definitely some comments made by the Gilmores that were utterly unnecessary and even offensive,  such as enforcing racial stereotypes with Emily’s maid, body shaming overweight pool goers, referring to surrogates in offensive ways, and more. The show would have been much better without these comments.

In all, I enjoyed watching the series to see where all of my favorite characters ended up. I was certainly disappointed with a lot of the characters’ fates such as Rory and Lane, but others made sense.  Although I enjoyed the revival and want more episodes to find out who the father is, it is likely that I would not have continued watching if not for the nostalgic, Stars Hollow charm and urge to revisit the Gilmore Girls.