After years of speculation and rumours, it was officially confirmed earlier this year that Netflix would be bringing mother and daughter duo Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) back to our screens. The revival, entitled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, is set for release in late 2016 and will be formatted as four new feature length episodes, each set in a different season of the year. Netflix has recently released all previous seven seasons of the comedy-drama globally in anticipation for the new season. Without further ado, here’s a beginners guide to what to expect for newbies and a lowdown on who’s who.
What’s it about?
Much to the disappointment of her upper-class parents, Lorelai finds herself pregnant with Rory at the age of sixteen and after rejecting a marriage proposal from Rory’s father, decides to run away to find a new alternative life with her newborn child. The first season sees Lorelai, now in her early thirties, reconnecting with her estranged parents, Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop) and Richard Gilmore (Edward Herrman). Lorelai attempts to guide Rory, now aged sixteen, through her teenage years and to make sure Rory doesn’t fall for the same mistakes that she once made.
The relationship and much beloved friendship between Lorelai and Rory is the essence of Gilmore Girls as they share nearly every aspect of their lives together and have relatively no boundaries with each other. Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel have flourished as actresses as they have developed one of the greatest on-screen chemistries together. The conversations between the pair are a delight for any popular culture nerd. Their dialogue is littered in references to popular culture from the 1970s to the early 2000s.
So, Who’s Who?
Lorelai Gilmore: Fiercely independent, fast-talking and constantly cracking a joke, Lorelai is an exceptional main character who is easy to fall for. After abandoning her education in order to raise her daughter Rory, she has worked hard to create a career as manager of a local inn and has regularly been voted as television’s greatest mother. She is a strong character who faces the everyday challenges of being a young single mother. However, she does have her flaws as she often runs away from problems rather than actually facing them and uses her humour as a defence especially in the company of her estranged parents.
Rory Gilmore: A lover of literature and culture, Rory is bound for great things as she has political and journalistic ambitions and is seen as the gem of the Gilmore clan. The first season sees her accepted to a highly prestigious school in order to achieve her goal of attending Harvard University. She is often caught in between her mother and her grandparents as they both want similar things for her but in a rather different fashion. She attempts to mix and match the happy alternative small-town life with her mother and the formal luxurious classy life with her grandparents which often backfires on her.
Emily Gilmore: A difficult character to love at times, sixteen years on from her daughter Lorelai’s unexpected pregnancy and departure from the family home, Emily still feels the hurt. She feels embarrassed that Lorelai had Rory out of wedlock and struggles to understand her daughter’s life. Emily provides plenty of comedic moments but can also be manipulative and vindictive at times. She desperately wants her granddaughter Rory to have the life that she wanted for Lorelai. Due to the sad passing of Edward Herrman who portrayed her husband Richard, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, will see Emily face a new chapter in her life as a widow.
Sookie St. James (Melissa McCarthy): Once the news broke that Gilmore Girls was indeed returning; one of the biggest questions was whether now mainstream Hollywood actress Melissa McCarthy would be coming back as Lorelai’s best friend and business partner, Sookie St. James? Fortunately, she recently confirmed that she would be on the Ellen Show. Melissa McCarthy has always flourished in this role as Sookie is eccentric, quirky and bubbly. She is a talented chef who works alongside Lorelai and is usually seen wrecking complete havoc in the kitchen. Her character bounces well off Lorelai but can sometimes feel neglected as she is lacking in a worthy storyline; let’s hope this changes soon.
Lane Kim (Keiko Agena): Raised by her very strict Korean mother, Lane is Rory’s childhood best friend who flings herself into rebellion. She is content as she lives a secret double life away from her mother, she throws herself into the rock and indie music scene and craves to become a rock musician. Compared to Sookie, Lane is a much more developed as a character as she battles the culture clashes between her Korean and American nationality and lifestyle choices.
Luke Danes (Scott Patterson): Last but not least, Luke is a pivotal character. He is the local diner owner who is never seen without a flannel shirt and a backwards baseball cap. Despite his disapproving attitude to Lorelai and Rory’s coffee and junk food addiction, Luke is a loyal friend to them both. He’s a grumpy bachelor stuck in his ways but essentially acts as a father figure to Rory and cares deeply for the pair.
The one and only criticism that can hopefully be amended in the new season is to introduce a more diverse cast. Despite being praised on its exceptional portrayal of female characters, throughout all seven seasons, Gilmore Girls screams heterosexuality. Lorelai and Rory are socially and politically liberal-minded but there has been a complete failure to recognise characters who identify as members of the LGBT+ community. To add salt to the wound, Gilmore Girls has had a tricky past record of occasionally using the terms ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ as a slur or an insult which can provide uncomfortable viewing at times. Equally, besides Korean-American Lane Kim and Frenchman Michel Gerard (Yanic Truesdale), the cast remains predominantly white and is in desperate need of catching up on the times.
All seven seasons of Gilmore Girls are now available to watch on Netflix and Gilmore Girls: A Year in Life will be released later in 2016.
Written by Anna Richards