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Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

gilmoregirls_hzka_us_preIf you haven’t at least heard about it, then you are officially living in a cave. It’s a Netflix series original, and a revival of the beloved show that aired on the CW (or whatever it was called back then) from 2000 to 2007.

Today, I’m chatting about it with two talented authors (and all-around fantastic humans), Susan Meissner and Rachel Hauck.

We’re a good mix, we three.

Rachel’s been watching Gilmore Girls from its inception. Susan didn’t watch it until recently, when she started hearing the buzz about a revival, and I’m smack dab in the middle. I didn’t watch it when it originally aired (I was too occupied by Dawson and Felicity), but I did jump on board before it ever reached Netflix, which means I own all seven seasons on DVD.

And now here we are, having watched the entirety of the revival, ready to dish about our thoughts and feelings.

If you haven’t watched yet, now is the time for you to exit and exit quickly, since the content below will most certainly contain spoilers.

Run, friend, run! Look away from the screen. It’ll burn your eyes.

Okay. If you’re still here, I’m assuming it’s safe to continue.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

The conclusion ends with three (Amy Sherman-Palladino says four, which confuses me to no end) jaw-dropping words:

Mom, I’m pregnant.

Fade to black. Credits roll. My jaw has almost literally hit the ground.

Here is Susan’s take on this bombshell of an ending …

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Without going into all the reasons why I am actually okay with what the writers decided to do, let me just say I’m one of those people who likes imagining what the future holds for characters I care about. I don’t always need an epilogue or a denouement or all the loose ends neatly tied up in a bow. For example, I have always been satisfied with how Gone With the Wind ended. Did Scarlett get Rhett back? Well, did she? The reader is invited – has always been invited – to imagine what Scarlett was able to accomplish in the days and months and years after the book ended. The reader gets to pick the result. The result she wants for Scarlett. The result she wants for herself.

I think the same is now and endlessly true for the Gilmore Girls, specifically Rory Gilmore. The writers could have paired her up at the end with Logan and fully infuriated the Team Jess fans, or with Jess and massively disappointed the Loganites. So they did neither. We viewers will choose. Do you want Rory to end up with Logan? She can. She can tell Logan she’s expecting his child (yes, it must be his then, and not the one-night-stand Wookie’s). He will break off his engagement to Odette and he and Rory will at last be together. If that’s you, just keep in mind that despite their obvious chemistry, Logan is a man who sleeps around on his fiancé.

If you want her to end up with Jess, she can decide she doesn’t want to know if the child is Logan’s or not and can confide in Jess, who, despite what he said to Luke, clearly still loves her. He can be the one to step in to take care of Rory and be the dad to the child she carries.

Or Rory can go it alone like her mother did. This is after all, why she went to her father to find out if he had any regrets that she was raised only by her mother.

So you have three options. Three doors. Which does Rory choose? Well, that’s up to us. And I’m not unhappy that it is.

Well, dear readers, what say you? Do you like the open-ended ending? What door would you have Rory walk through? Please let us know in the comments below!

I, personally, think it was a genius move. Because from now until Jesus returns, this will be the ongoing debate amongst Gilmore fans. Who does Rory end up with? Nobody gets to say they are unequivocally right (unless Amy comes out and gives us an answer, which would honestly make me quite sad).

As Susan says, we have three doors. Three possibilities.

I’ve developed my own theory about which door she chooses, but first, we must address the conundrum that is Rory.

As much as I loved the revival as a whole, I was utterly baffled by 32-year old Rory Gilmore. I never believed for a second that this is where we’d find her in her early thirties. The girl who has known what she wanted to do with her life since … forever? Driven, principled, type-A Rory? Yes, I know. She had her lost, aimless moments and her fair share of mistakes (some bigger than others, but that was when she was barely twenty.

I mean, come now. What has she even been doing for the past ten years? Writing that article for the New Yorker?

I don’t really get it, and I think the foreignness of this new Rory makes our postulating all the more tricky, since we’re not really sure who she is anymore.

With that said, I still have done my fair share of postulating.

I have no idea why the words, “Mom, I’m pregnant” left my mouth so hugely agape. The entirety of the revival’s theme was the cyclical nature of our lives. Rory falling pregnant outside of wedlock—faced with the same decision her mother faced all those years ago—is very much cyclical.

Still. Shock me, it did.

Originally (once I picked my jaw up off the floor), I thought, “So Logan is her Christopher.” And you know what? I was completely okay with that scenario. I’ve always been a big fan of Chris. I love the relationship he and Lorelei have. I love that no matter who Lorelei chooses, Christopher will always be a part of her life. If that was the role Logan was destined to fill, then okay. More than okay, actually. It seemed to really fit.

Until I woke up the next morning with a puzzle piece out of place.

My mind kept returning to that scene—the one between Rory and and her father.

Unlike Rachel, I had no inkling that Rory was pregnant at the time. All I knew was that I was delighted to finally see Christopher, and also, what aging potion has he been drinking?

As I stayed there in bed, that scene kept turning over in my thoughts.

I remember watching it, perplexed. Up until that moment, Rory never struck me as a girl with daddy-issues. She seemed content with Christopher’s role in her life. Sure, their relationship had its ups and its downs, but never once did I think that Rory was in want of more. Lorelei was her everything.

Then the scene unfolds. Christopher keeps insisting that his lack of involvement was the way it was meant to be. Lorelei and Rory were “in the cards”. And all the while, Rory looks wholly unconvinced.

I found it entirely jarring.

I remember thinking, “She doesn’t agree with him. Rory Gilmore doesn’t think her mom made the right choice.”

Without knowing yet that Rory wasn’t contemplating her own upbringing as much as she was her future child’s, the whole thing was a mind-scratcher. Why, at 32, is she all of a sudden doubting her mother’s decision?

Here is where my theory comes in:

It’s one thing for Lorelei to raise her child on her own. It’s another thing for Rory, who grew up without a father and seems to most definitely feel that absence, to choose that same path.

Yes, the revival was about coming full circle. But coming full circle doesn’t mean Rory must turn into a carbon copy of her mother. In fact, I think the idea of her choosing a different path from her mother carries more poignancy.

Rory can’t help but wonder, “What if?”

What if Lorelei wouldn’t have been so determined to do this thing on her own? Who knows! Maybe Rory wouldn’t be living at home at the age of 32, under the delusion that writing a book is somehow going to pay any of the bills.

I’m increasingly convinced that Rory is going to tell Logan. That Rory wants to tell Logan. Because love it or hate it, Rory loves Logan. And Logan (who is afraid to ask her for more, given her rejection at the end of S7, but is waiting for Rory to ask for more) would never leave her to raise a kid on her own.

Because despite popular theorizing, Logan is not Christopher.

In fact, Rachel Hauck has some interesting insight on this very thing. Keep in mind, she’s Team Logan (like myself). Take it away, Rach!

 laughIn order to have a fair discussion, we have to set aside all of our personal preferences. If you’re the bad-boy, leather wearing, motorcycle loving kind, forget that’s why you love Jess.

The same thing if you go for the bad boy, preppy, Mercedes driving, yacht stealing, rich boy.

Also, lay aside your moral prejudices. Both men have faults.

Who changed for Rory?

I have to give this to Logan. When Rory and Logan first hooked up, literally, he was honest with her. He didn’t want a girlfriend. But when Rory couldn’t take sharing him any longer, Logan stepped up and changed to be with her.

Jess ran away. His changes never came from being with Rory but from plain old growing up.

Who caused Rory to change?

 Logan introduced Rory to a new world. The world of the upper class that was part of her DNA. While Lorelai fled the DAR, the country club and Friday night cocktail parties, Emily and Richard brought Rory in. It was in this season that brand new opportunities opened up for her.

Logan mentored and protected Rory through Yale. A life she chose. She pursued the Life and Death Brigade. She pursued Logan.

Logan caused Rory to see herself as something beyond a book geek and small town girl.

Jess, on the other hand, confronted Rory in her dorm room, demanding she choose Yale or him. He selfishly wanted her to run away, leaving everything behind that she’d worked so hard to achieve. He ignored her most of her dreams, only seeing what he wanted. He wasn’t willing to change, preferring to draw her into his mapless world.

He never understood or respected the country club aspect of Rory’s life.

Who encouraged Rory’s dreams?

Logan earns the highest points here. He was there for her that dreadful night the Yale Daily News almost didn’t go to press! He encouraged her as editor and as a writer. His nickname, Ace, spoke right to her passion and destiny. Logan’s family had the connections Rory wanted and needed—though she turned them down—to do what she loved. Logan understood the journalist in her.

Jess was not a part of Rory’s transformation. He never supported who she was becoming. I know Team Jess will say he encouraged her to write, even gave her the idea to write the Gilmore Girls book, but that’s just being a friend. I’ll give you he was that!

What did they have in common?

While Logan was not from a small town, he stood at the entrance to Rory’s move into a broader and higher class life. Logan and Rory had Yale, friends, and a similar social circle. His parents were friends with her grandparents.

Jess understood the Stars Hollow Rory. Sometimes. I recall him challenging her to get out of the backwards, hick place.

Other than the love of books, Jess and Rory never seemed to have much in common.

Whom did Rory say she loved?

Logan.

Who said he loved her back?

Logan.

Whom did Rory pursue when she had a chance?

Logan.

When she met Jess at his coffee shop/bookstore/artist hangout, Rory had a chance to choose Jess. But she did not accept his subtle invitation to be with him. She wanted Logan. She’s always wanted Logan.

Who has the best ABS?

Logan! Come on … please.

Logan is Rory’s Luke. 

  • Luke gets Lorelei’s snappy repartee and coffee addiction. Logan gets Rory’s. And banters back.
  • Luke has always loved Lorelei. Logan has always loved Rory. Even though he’s engaged to Odette, there was a sense he wanted Rory to confess her love for him.
  • Luke proposed to Lorelei. Logan proposed to Rory.
  • Luke has a hard time expressing his feelings. Logan has a hard time expressing his feelings. Lorelei said, “I love you,” first. Rory said, “I love you,” first.
  • Lorelei went from the country club to Stars Hollow to Luke. Rory went from Stars Hollow to the country club (Yale) to Logan.
  • Luke has this odd loyalty to his family even though they drive him crazy. Logan has the same odd loyalty.

Jess is Rory’s Christopher.

  • Christopher was selfish, abandoning Lorelai to raise Rory alone. Same with Jess. He was selfish, angry, and abandoned Rory when things didn’t go his way.
  • Christopher never really knew what he wanted to do or who he wanted to be. Same with Jess. Though both figured it out in the end.
  • Christopher hated the country club set. Jess hated the country club set.
  • Christopher understood Lorelai because they had a history. But he never knew how to take her where she wanted to go. Jess understood Rory wanted to spread her wings and fly, but not how to get her there.
  • Christopher was the man who would always be in and out of Lorelai’s life. Jess is that same man to Rory.
  • Christopher missed the monumental moments in Lorelei’s life. Jess missed Rory’s.

Well, howdy do! Rachel is most certainly not agreeing with popular opinion here. Tell us—what do you think? Who is Rory’s Christopher? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Me? I happen to think Rachel’s theory makes a lot of sense. I mean, let us remember who rode in on a motorcycle, donning a leather jacket the first time we met him. Bad-boy, drifter Chris. Sounds a whole lot like a certain other bad boy drifter we know.

So there you have it, folks.

This is the door I’m choosing to walk through.

In my happy place, the Rory and Logan ship will finally set sail. And this ship will not sink. But even if it did, “You jump, I jump, Jack.” <3

And now that I have that out of my system, I’m dying to know …

Am I off here on the conundrum of Rory Gilmore? Did you find her 32-year old self believable?

Rachel, what do you think?
i
She was not believable. In fact, author great Susan May Warren and I were talking about Rory and felt she became younger as the show went on! She seemed more mature at 15 than at 32. 
k
First, for a seasoned journalist her career should’ve been more established. After all she is THE Rory Gilmore. The girl who edited the Yale Daily New and used the word “hubris” correctly on a Ivy League panel.
l
She seemed lost. Unsure. Went into interviews without confidence, seemingly unprepared.
o
She was supposed to be so busy she never lived in her Brooklyn apartment yet at the end of the day, she had no jobs, lead or connections. The crazy celebrity book she was working on couldn’t have been her only opportunity. I never really understood that story line OR why she constantly traveled to London.
o
I feel like the writers were never really ready to let Rory grow up. I also didn’t buy she wanted to live “footloose and fancy free” at 32. Her personality likes stability, planning, knowing her future. I get throwing caution to the wind after college, but not “again” at 32.
o
I’d love more episodes seeing her raising her daughter and deciding to MARRY Logan. Not another Lorelai story but one that creates a cohesive family like Emily and Richard.
What’s your take, Susan? 

This is a great question because it gets to the heart of why I think there might be a fourth door here. And that door is located in Christopher’s office. You are absolutely right, Katie. Rory doesn’t leave that office satisfied with the answer her father gives her. She is troubled when he hands her the coffee (of course, there is coffee) at the beginning of this scene and she’s still troubled when she leaves. His answer doesn’t give her the clarity she is desperate for and underscores why I am neither Team Jess or Team Logan or Team Rory solo. What I get out of this scene is that Rory clearly doesn’t believe she was meant to be raised without a father’s daily influence. She is wondering, as am I, if she would have made different choices if Christopher had had a more direct role in her life.

Rory began to unravel for me when at 19 she lost her virginity to a married man. She continued to unravel, such that thirteen years later Yale-educated Rory is now homeless, unemployed, direction-less, alone, and having an affair with a man engaged to be married to someone else. I barely recognize this Rory from the 15-year-old schoolgirl I met in Season One. And in Christopher’s office, she realizes she doesn’t recognize this woman either.

The fourth door could be that Rory will fall in love with the kind of man who will reconnect her to the woman she might have been if she’d had the fullness of a loving dad’s presence in her life. That man will be the father who raises this child with her. That man will make the 150 episodes and Rory’s depressing decline worth the watching. The people who love us best bring out the best in us. She has yet to meet the man who loves her best. But I believe it’s possible she will.

Now there’s an interesting thought! Heaven knows there’s plenty of them to be had. Make sure to tell us YOURS in the comments below!

Don’t miss Susan’s full blog post on the revival, as well as Rachel’s, with commentary from the three of us along the way!

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Hope y’all have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Poldark: An Unfortunate Case of Character Assassination

It happened in season 6 of Parenthood. Close your eyes if you don’t wanna know!

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Parenthood fans know what I’m talking about. When our beloved and loyal and devoted Joel turns into this unrecognizable character that leaves his remorseful wife and refuses to work on their marriage. Mostly because of a kiss that, lest we forget, also happened between him and Racquel in season 1 or 2.

I was irate, because that was not my Joel! My Joel would stay and fight for his wife. He would never leave. This new, lookalike Joel was some imposter from the underworld, sent to make us Parenthood fans turn violent on our televisions.

It’s called character assassination.

This moment when we, as the viewer, feel betrayed, because the character we have fallen in love with, the character who has won our hearts, has suddenly turned into a total and horrendous jerkface.

Enter Poldark.

A show a few good friends of mine had been talking about.

Enter this weekend, wherein I needed to check out from post election insanity and find a happy place. And so, while I organized all the things and folded all the clothes, I watched all of season 1 in a day. My husband says I have an addictive personality. He’s probably right.

And I fell in love.

Spoilers ahead: don’t read if you’re not caught up on last night’s episode.

Swoon! Ross Poldark and Demelza.

Could there be a better couple in all the land of television?

I mean, seriously. The unexpected marriage. His fondness for her in the form of THAT GRIN. The one he tucks away in one corner of his mouth.

The moment that fondness turned into love.

And then baby Julia, and the more precious-than-presh scene where Ross is holding Demelza while Demelza is holding their baby and we have all the very best feels.

Then baby Julia and his wife fall ill and Ross loses his mind, he loves them so much. How can any of us forget the desperate, tortured look in his eye when he asks annoying-Elizabeth to pray that he doesn’t lose the LOVE OF HIS LIFE.

Oh, right. I guess Ross forgets.

At this point, there is nothing I love more than Ross Poldark’s love for Demelza. Together, they are my most favorite.

And then we get to season 2.

Which I watched the next day. (It’s a disease I have, y’all. A disease.)

We still have our beloved Ross, whose integrity and honor are both his strength AND weakness. How could you not love a man like that?

He goes to court, wherein every possible card is stacked against him. Yet, despite the odds, the verdict is not guilty. We all rejoice!

And then everything falls in the toilet.

The Ross we deeply admire slowly disappears. We see glimmers of the old Ross. Like when he tells Demelza about the dog star. Or when he gives her the Christmas present. But it’s kinda hard to stomach in the midst of those simmering looks he keeps giving annoying-Elizabeth.

It seems to come out of nowhere. One minute he doesn’t want anything to do with her, because Julia. Then they all make up at some harvest thing, and suddenly, he’s whispering things to her that make me want to punch him in the throat.

It escalates from there, wherein Elizabeth becomes a widow (RIP sweet Francis) and Ross becomes downright neglectful of his wife (and son … who we all forget exists because nobody ever talks about him).

Then the BIG BAD AWFUL happens, wherein he tells Demelza to get out of his way. TO GET OUT OF HIS WAY, people. I about chucked my computer out the window. I don’t know what’s worse. That moment, or the morning after, when he claimed to have no choice.

Um, Ross? I watched the U.K. version of the show. From my angle, it looked like Elizabeth was the one who didn’t have a choice.

Basically, he lost his integrity AND his intelligence, all in one fell swoop. And Demelza’s not having it.

slap

How does a person possibly come back from that?

How do we, the viewers, get over it? I mean, what in the world happened to Ross Poldark?

The writers of Parenthood found a way to redeem Joel. But then, Joel didn’t do what Ross did. Whatever creature from the underworld that possessed Mr. Poldark was a thousand times worse than the one who got a hold of Joel.

Look.

I understand that this is  based off books, and they want to stay true to them or whatever. But at what point is it just better for the writers of the show to say, “Um, I think there’s a better way.”

I mean, do any viewers think it’s worth it? To make a character change so unimaginably? To go from the underdog hero to the guy who makes us all want to break things? I have to tell you, as an author, it seems like a poor move. It’s one thing to put your readers on the edges of their seats, to make them despair, even. But to make them viscerally hate the main character?

It doesn’t seem wise. But then, the Poldark books have been successful enough to be made into a television series. Twice. So maybe I’m missing something.

All I have to say is, I wish I would have stopped watching after episode 2 of season 2, and taken that for my happy ending. Back when Ross was still Ross and not the unrecognizable creature he was last night, when the assassination of his character was made complete.

What do you think? About Poldark. About this thing called character assassination. Does it make you stop reading/watching, or become all the more maddeningly invested?