Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life (AYITL) should never have happened as it did. A limited series to tie up loose ends in Stars Hollow is a good idea in theory, but AYITL‘s execution left much to be desired. Releasing in 2016, the four-episode miniseries seemed like an interesting addendum to the original seven season comedy-drama, offering to fill in narrative blanks and revisit classic characters. Unfortunately Gilmore Girls: AYITL retained all the worst parts of Gilmore Girls without any of its charm.
Given that there are 10 years between the end of Gilmore Girls and A Year In The Life, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the miniseries made some significant narrative changes. However, despite the understandable development of the main characters and constant callbacks to the original Gilmore Girls, AYITL ultimately failed to strike the correct balance between storytelling and nostalgia to satisfy fans. While critics generally regarded the revival well (AYITL holds a respectable 87% on Rotten Tomatoes), many long-term fans were quick to voice their dissatisfaction. In particular, the lack of new information and constant references to the previous show muddied the waters. So, despite critical success, here’s why AYITL shouldn’t have happened.
A Year In The Life Added Nothing To Gilmore Girls’ Story
The storylines in Gilmore Girls: AYITL were all either obvious, nonsensical, or unresolved. One storyline that can be easily inferred from Gilmore Girls is Lorelei’s worsening relationship with Emily. After all, it makes sense for their mother-daughter bond to be even more frayed after Richard Gilmore’s death. Without Richard to act as a peacemaker, keeping both Lorelei and Emily’s worst tendencies in check, of course, they would be fighting even more. Add in the grief and pain they both feel; it is a recipe for absolute disaster.
The show also brought in several confusing and unresolved storylines, which is a poor choice for a limited series meant to bring a definitive ending to this franchise. For instance, Emily Gilmore mentions a scathing letter that seems to be at the heart of her distrust of Lorelei’s motives, but Lorelei insists she didn’t write it. From the description, it does seem out of character for Lorelei. After all, cruelty isn’t one of Lorelei’s traits in Gilmore Girls. However, of course, Emily doesn’t believe her. They never do find out who sent the letter. Another central plot point, and Gilmore Girls: AYITL‘s biggest cliffhanger, was Rory telling her mother she is pregnant, which happens in the very last scene. This too went unresolved.
AYITL’s Characters Felt Disconnected From Gilmore Girls
The Emily of Gilmore Girls would not have reacted to the nasty letter on her birthday like the Emily of Gilmore Girls: AYITL did. In Gilmore Girls, Emily mentions that Richard’s mother, Lorelei, wrote him a nasty letter the night before his wedding, urging him not to marry Emily. An intelligent character like Emily is portrayed as in Gilmore Girls would have therefore assumed that the cruel mystery letter was written by her mother-in-law Lorelei the First, rather than accusing Lorelei the Daughter. Of course, Lorelei says she didn’t write the letter, but Emily doesn’t believe her. Gilmore Girls’ version of Emily’s character knows that Lorelei wouldn’t lie about something like that, leading to inconsistency between the two portrayals.
Rory’s character was also much different in Gilmore Girls: AYITL. She ended the original series at 22, heading off for an adventurous career in journalism. At 32, she seems exhausted rather than excited by working hard. She bombs an interview with an entertainment website by being too lazy to prepare properly. Although she was growing more entitled by the end of Gilmore Girls, Rory still overprepared and worked hard at everything. By contrast, in Gilmore Girls: AYITL, she is unprepared and has a terrible work ethic. A story about burning out would have been an interesting narrative direction, but it could have been told much better if that was the goal.
AYITL Was Missing Important Gilmore Girls Characters
One of the most significant flaws of Gilmore Girls: AYITL was the minor role or major absence of essential characters from Gilmore Girls, most notably Jess, Dean, and Logan, all of whom were hugely influential on Rory. In the original series, Dean and Rory have a dramatic breakup, and he is working in construction near the end of the series. In the revival, the only interaction he and Rory have is a brief greeting, which leaves fans who had hoped to see more of their current relationship disappointed. Dean’s current career path was also left unexplored.
In Gilmore Girls season 2, Luke’s nephew Jess comes to Stars Hollow. He quickly became Rory’s next love interest. However, they were too young when they tried to date, and it wasn’t until Gilmore Girls season 6 that Rory and Jess could have been suitable for each other. Unfortunately, their friendship ended when they quarreled over her relationship with Logan. Fans were hoping for Rory to reconcile with Jess in Gilmore Girls: AYITL, but sadly, he was barely in the series. Logan appears briefly in Gilmore Girls: AYITL as well, but only as Rory’s affair partner and the likely father of her baby, which seems improbable after the end of their relationship in Gilmore Girls. This all results in an unsatisfying conclusion for many classic Gilmore Girls characters.
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