***Warning, spoilers ahead***
What do we do with media that is outdated? Should we consume media that is outdated in the sense that it is racist/homophobic/sexist? Should we just edit out the bits that are wrong? Should we leave them in but critcise them? Personally I lean strongly toward the edit/discard side, I mean do we need racist caricatures in old Disney movies? Not really. On the other hand there is culturally significant and enduring works that should probably be kept but with the caveat that we recognise and critique their prejudice. I’m taking the long way round in saying that watching the old Gilmore Girls from 2016 is…strange. How do we relate to Rory who has problems like “which rich relative will pay for my college tuition at Yale?” when many of us are overwhelmed by student loan debt and a job market that is less than promising? What about when she jets off to Europe for the summer on someone else’s dime while we are encouraged to get into debt in the sake of “gathering experiences, not things”? Is a town full of straight, white people really representative of the America of today? The writers, one assumes, heard these critiques and answered them in the most soulless way possible. Michele (Yanic Truesdale) comes out as gay, hardly surprising as he was always gay the show just didn’t want to tell us directly. There are a few POC in the background but they don’t play any major role in the show, or even get named for the most part. Mrs. Kim, Lane’s mother, trots out a choir of scared looking Koreans who have just come over and are using all of her toilet paper, seemingly because the writers don’t know that Korea is a modern, peaceful and largely westernized country, or because they don’t expect their audience to know that. It all feels like the Palladinos wanted to shut up any voices that said their show was less than representative without doing any real work to correct the flaws of the original show.
In any case we find ourselves back in 2016 in Stars Hollow. Lorelai is still in a good (but UNMARRIED) relationship with Luke. Their unmarried status is something that is presented as a flaw which seems odd considering even way back in 2000 common law and civil union couples were treated as serious relationships, on television at least. Her relationship aside Lorelai’s life is in a bit of turmoil with Sookie having left the inn and Michele considering a job in a different hotel. Rory, meanwhile, is aimless, working on a book that she doesn’t enjoy and trying to get a meeting with publication giant Conde Nast. She’s sleeping with an engaged Logan, while dating a guy who she keeps forgetting about. Some have argued that this is out of character for Rory but I disagree. Throughout the original series Rory often seemed ambivalent to the feelings of others around her, doing what she wanted regardless of who it hurt. That she would date someone she didn’t really care about? Sure. That she would have an affair? She already did that once. That she, someone who always had everything handed to her by people who consistently told her how wonderful she was and how she could do no wrong, would find the “real” world of work challenging? I believe it. I suppose the question is not is it believable but is it necessary. I’m ambivalent about most of the reboots (with a few exceptions). I don’t think we need a new Spiderman every few years. I’m not a Full House fan and don’t know what that show which is seemingly so mediocre needed to be revived. Although it did lead me to read this very funny blog Full House Reviewed which I basically spent every waking minute reading until I finished it. In any case here we are. My unpopular opinion remains that I think a mean-ish and self absorbed Rory was the right direction to take her character. I don’t think we should like or applaud her behaviour but I think it was the right choice or at least as right as making her a kind and successful one. As for Lorelai, Lauren Graham is a strong an actor as ever and Lorelai’s sorrow at her fathers death, her confusion about Luke and her relationship and the uncertainty about the direction of the Inn without Sookie were well acted and well written. As for the final four words…eh. I like them, I think. I like the unconscious message that suggests that an unplanned pregnancy can happen to anyone, even a well-adjusted, educated and adult woman who has seemingly been birth control savvy for the last 15 or so years. I like the full-circleness of it all. Of course, however, this ending if it had come when it was intended to at the end of the original run, would have relayed a mostly different message. Although I guess the idea that even a “good” girl can get pregnant would have been the same. Quite progressive for early 2000’s television. Anyway we can argue about whether characters exist outside of their roles another time. I guess the final question is whether there will-and should- be more Gilmore Girls. I’m certainly curious and would likely watch more episodes but I’m going to say no, there shouldn’t be more Gilmore Girls unless the writers tackle the problems of diversity and class in a real and helpful way.