How It Should Have Ended: Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life

Why didn’t Amy Sherman-Palladino ask for my input?

WHO photoshopped these beautiful women into oblivion? Unnecessary, just as the 11 minute musical crammed into the “Summer” episode was.

Disclaimer: I know I’m posting this about two and a half years too late but I’m still upset about it.

This CW classic from the early aughts has a loyal, devoted fan base that was reignited and expanded upon the show streaming on Netflix. Fans know this show. They love this show. They want to move to Stars Hollow, eat at Luke’s Diner, go antiquing at Mrs. Kim’s store/home, attend Friday night dinner, and eat junk food while hate-watching 80s actions films with Lorelai and Rory. Every episode somehow simultaneously felt like a reliable friend who told the same jokes over and over while still offering surprises and a plot that moved the characters into increasingly new territory and situations, creating a series filled with beloved episodes.

Ok, so some of season six went off the rails (e.g. Rory and Lorelai not speaking, Christopher comes back, etc.). There was also some behind-the-scenes drama (click here if you’re interested in the details). However, those plot derailments were nothing compared to the travesty that was Season 7 sans the guidance of the Sherman-Palladino dynamic duo. So, when news of the ASP reboot was announced, many of us were DYING to a) see ASP’s intended ending and b) to find out how our beloved characters were doing. Unfortunately, ASP smashed our hopes and dreams to bits, albeit with a hammer that was covered in pretty floral wallpaper and well-decorated sets, per ASP’s aesthetic.

Credit Where it’s Due: What Went Well

EMILY. Upon rewatching the og series in my late twenties, I realized too late in life that Emily is the real role model of the Gilmore Girls saga and honestly, I’d consider even including her as one of the eponymous Gilmore Girls. I truly love Lorelai and Rory, but Emily. gets. it. Sure, she often struggles to empathize with Lorelai and the issues that she goes through, but overall, she is a strong woman who loves her daughter the only way she knows how in the confines of being Richard’s support system and a dependent woman with a fiercely independent (stole that description from Netflix) daughter. In the reboot, her arc of finding herself and becoming independent after Richard’s death was heartbreaking at times, but empowering and admirable. She’s going to live out the rest of her years full of purpose and happiness. Way to go, ASP.

Sookie is killing it as a chef at a famous restaurant, Blue Hill Farm. As much as it hurts to know that she and Lorelai aren’t bantering in a beautiful not-a-bed-and-breakfast kitchen, it’s good to know that Sookie’s remarkable dishes are being served to snooty foodies rather than snooty townies.

The tribute to Richard was lovely and necessary.

The main problems in the reboot:

1. Rory isn’t successful

What the hell? It’s been over a decade since she graduated from YALE as the EDITOR OF THE PAPER and worked for Obama’s campaign where we can only assume she soared. WHY isn’t she writing? Why doesn’t she have a full-time job, especially considering the fact that she studied and worked nonstop throughout the series? These choices really broke character in all the wrong ways.

2. Luke and Lorelai are wondering if they should procreate

Ok, I’m all for women doing what they want to and not letting age stop them. HOWEVER, Lorelai doesn’t need to put herself through a geriatric pregnancy since she’s busy being awesome and running a successful business. Also, she has a grown kid and so does Luke! There’s no need for them to introduce a baby into their lives at this point in time.

3. Lane and Zach are losers

To be honest, these problems go way back. For starters, Lane never should have married Zach. She should have gone the distance with Dave and maybe even moved to California back in Season 4 in order to further her musical career. As such, she stayed in Stars Hollow and married a fool all while having an unplanned pregnancy after her losing her virginity on her honeymoon. ASP, Lane deserved better.

4. Too many singing sequences

Don’t need them. This isn’t Glee.

5. What the hell was the Across the Universe “homage”/rip-off

Again, this isn’t Glee nor is it your chance to prove that someone should fund your future musical projects.

6. Fuck off, Logan

There’s definitely a purpose in this romance as ASP is showing that, yes, it’s true that offspring often follow their parent’s path; however, it was disheartening to see this phenomenon take place since Lorelai worked her butt off for Rory to go to the school of her dreams, pursue a journalism career, and encouraged her to find a partner worthy of her. However, at the ripe age of 29, Rory falls apart and seemingly forgets every example and sacrifice her mom/best friend made for her.

Also, someone should really give his fiancé a heads up on how terrible he is.

7. Jess

Jess is in the show for a full four minutes of this six-hour saga. My thoughts on this are mixed because if we’re thinking about the old Rory, the one we rooted for for seven seasons, then we want them to be together. However, turns out Rory is a hot mess now and Jess can do better. Either way, I wanted more Jess.

How It Should Have Ended

The show opens the same way: Rory has returned to Stars Hollow to visit her hometown and, most importantly, Lorelai because it’s been over a year since her last visit, the longest she’s ever been away. But it’s all for good reason: she’s been busy working on an investigative report for The Atlantic. She has two cell phones because she has so many publications that are trying to get ahold of her that it’s hard to answer them using one device. Lorelai has saved every article that Rory has written and she’s running out of space to store all of the albums that contain the clippings. Although her daughter has been successful, so has she: her inn has won all kinds of inn-type awards that regular people don’t know about but that mean a lot to people in the industry. These trophies and plagues fill up the adorable foyer to the Gilmore Girls house.

Luke and Lorelai are happily married. Sure, they have their ups and downs just like every couple, but the majority of their relationship has been up since we as the devoted viewers watched these characters date other people for many years and watched them fail because they were dating incompatible partners. There’s been no questions of whether or not they should have kids because they’re getting older and guess what: they already have kids who are grown. However, they realize that they are, in fact, fantastic adults and so rather then try to navigate IVF and a geriatric pregnancy and subsequent 2 am feedings, they decide to become licensed foster parents. Episode 2 chronicles their time in the foster classes; hilarity ensues when they realize that Paris and Doyle are also in attendance; Paris’ uterus was not hospitable for embryos and so they decide to adopt a child who needs a home with capable parents. Also, they’re feeling ready to expand their family because Paris has started a successful doctor’s office that the Mayo clinic trusts to serve as an outpost for their East Coast patients. They briefly considered getting divorced because Doyle wanted to become a screenwriter in LA, but they realized that he could send his manuscripts from anywhere and can always fly out to Hollywood if he actually makes it. During the third and fourth episodes, Luke and Lorelai wrestle with the difficulties of bringing foster children into their lives. It’s tough at times, but overall, it’s rewarding and brings them closer together as a couple. In episode four, they consider adopting a 12-year-old girl. They also decide they don’t need to get married because their love is stronger than a silly piece of paper.

Rory’s main conflict does not involve men. Instead, she has to decide whether to accept a permanent job at the New Yorker and move into the city or to pursue her dream of becoming the next Christianne Amanpour and work remotely from Yemen and become an employee for Al Jazeera. She struggles with this decision because she has finally been offered her dream job but realizes that she will have to sacrifice comfort and security in order to take this role on. However, ASP knows that viewers enjoy the guilty pleasure of Rory and her consistent love triangles, so in episode three, Logan and Jess show up and both declare their love for her. Jess confesses that he still loves her and wants to make it work. Also he owns a successful publishing company and wants to print her memoir that she’s been penning. She is unsure about this. Logan is engaged but wants to see if he still has a shot with Rory before establishing roots with his fiancé (even though they’ve been together for four years). Rather than be flattered by this betrayal of his fiancé, Rory tells him that he’s being unfair to his partner and that she doesn’t want to entertain a wishy-washy relationship. At the end of the episode, Rory tracks down Jess at the bridge where she admits that she wants to be with him. The episode ends with a passionate kiss and a song by The Smiths or The Cure, probably. However, in the fourth episode, he encourages her to take the job and says he wants to date her long distance. He enjoys traveling and will happily come see her whenever possible. Armed with his support and Lorelai’s encouragement, she takes this job and enters the next chapter of her life.

Other Events That Should Have Taken Place:

Emily attends a Stars Hollow town meeting and puts Taylor in his place.

Kirk and his wife manage a yogurt shop that also functions as a video rental place.

Lorelai and Rory engage in fun, witty exchanges about Trump and Big Little Lies while consuming a dozen Pop Tarts and a variety of dishes from Al’s Pancake World. The next day, their pants don’t fit, so they go on a diet like the rest of us need to after binge-eating.

All we wanted was a 20 minute back-and-forth dialogue.

Writer, reader, teacher, laugher, cynic www.ashleymarieingle.com