When the series finale of Gilmore Girls originally aired, I was prepared to cry. I was ready for an emotional outburst and I had my metaphorical box of tissues at the ready (but not a literal box of tissues, because who am I, your grandma?). As I’ve mentioned time and time again, I react very viscerally to my entertainment and I don’t like to reign in my feelings. So when Alex* and I sat down on the couch in our parents’ basement to watch the very last episode of GG ever, I knew I’d feel things.
But you know what? I didn’t. I didn’t cry. I didn’t do anything. When it was over, I just said, “That’s it? That’s it?”
A couple of weeks ago, we decided to give it another shot. Perhaps I’d judged it harshly. Perhaps time had been kind to it. I don’t enjoy being what the kids call a “hater,” so I went into this experience with a generosity of spirit heretofore only seen in Mother Teresa.
And guess what? IT STILL SUCKS.
If you aren’t up on your Gilmore Girls trivia, you should know that the show’s creators/head writers/visioneers Daniel Palladino and Amy Sherman-Palladino (she of the big hats) left in the final season because of contract disputes. So the last season was overseen by someone who, from what I can tell, had no idea why the show was so good in the first place. In my opinion, there are three reasons why Gilmore Girls was a truly great television show:
1. Witty, fast paced dialogue: The quick-talking is something people often made fun of, but it kind of made the show. But they weren’t just talking quickly; they were making jokes quickly. Gilmore Girls was laugh-out-loud funny at times. Watch any episode from seasons 1-6 and see what I mean. Lots of pop culture references that typically didn’t feel gratuitious, lots of wordplay, lots of silliness.
2. The drama: There was the family tension (Loralei vs. Emily, Loralei vs. Rory), but the real excitement was in the romance! Luke and Loralei are one of my favorite TV couples (in their pre-April years), and while most of Rory’s boyfriends sucked, they were at least always interesting. Especially when she started sleeping with them.
3. The warm fuzzies: Just watch the intro. No, seriously, watch it. Those sepia tones! Those hugs! That Carole King song (oh, oh, OH!). I watch Gilmore Girls all the time, no matter what mood I’m in, but I really need it when I’m at my worst. Just seeing Stars Hollow is like sinking into a warm bed, covered in blankets, completely comforted. I literally don’t know if what I’m saying makes any sense, but when I see the twinkle lights in the town or that last shot of Loralei and Rory in Luke’s diner, I can feel what I’m trying to say. Something about Gilmore Girls actually makes me feel like we are not all destined to die alone.
Take away any one of those three elements and you wouldn’t have the same show. AND YET! That’s exactly what whoever was writing the finale did. They seemed only to understand the “comfort” aspect of Gilmore Girls, and even that they didn’t really grasp. The finale resolved every single plot line, but it did so methodically, unrealistically, and, what’s worse, boringly (not a word, but I think we should make it one).
The biggest crime of the finale, by far, was the complete lack of jokes. Seriously, there were no jokes. I only laughed twice during the entire hour, and that was because of jokes Alex made (one involved creating an alternate version of Keiko Agena named Kelko Agena and is very hard to explain; the other was when Alex reminded me of the Gilmore Girls fanfic he read that hypothesized that Taylor secretly had a huge penis. I’m sorry for telling you about that). There were entire scenes where two actors did not move or make a single joke. “Hey, do you want to plan a party for Rory?” “Sure, I want to plan a party for Rory!” THAT WAS THE LEVEL OF DIALOGUE I’M TALKING, HERE.
So, if the episode was entirely plot centered, at least it was a good plot, right? No. No it was not. It was a terrible, unrealistic, unsatisfying plot. Listen, in general, I don’t think television writers “owe” anything to the people who watch the show. David Lynch didn’t need to tell viewers who killed Laura Palmer at the end of the first season, you know? But when a show’s been on the air for 7 seasons, I would appreciate conclusions that didn’t feel like they were written immediately before they were shot. I would appreciate feeling like the writers had a modicum of respect for the viewers.
Here are the worst parts of this terrible episode:
1. Rory meets Christiane Amanpour?
Why did this need to happen? It didn’t need to happen. You know what ELSE didn’t need to happen…?
2. Rory gets a job on Barack Obama’s campaign bus?
Like, what? This seemed so out of place.
3. The party. Just…ugh.
So the people of Stars Hollow decide to have a going away party for Rory. That’s a nice idea, I guess. But I don’t need to see them procure the vegetables or set up the tables for the party, because that’s hella boring. Also, Luke’s solution when it starts to rain is to collect all the tents and tarps in the town and then sew them together to create one giant rain guard. Seriously? First off, I hope you guys didn’t want your tents back, because Luke Danes just ripped them apart to create a very inefficient tarp. Secondly, this would not work. Unless he’s using a machine (which he is not), those stitches are going to be pretty far apart, which means they’re going to be letting in ALL THE RAIN. ALL OF IT! The lack of logic here actually makes me angry.
4. Everybody loves everybody.
“They’re tying up these plot lines as clumsily as Luke Danes sewed together those tents,” I told Alex. Everyone told (not showed) each other how they felt in a very clear, boring manner. “I don’t know what it’s like to have a sister, but I feel like I do, you know?” Rory asks Lane. “I would rather these relationships had no resolution than see this scene,” Alex said.
Still pissed Lane has babies. I’m not getting over that one.
6. Rory is so whatevs about Logan.
So in the second to last episode, Logan proposes to Rory after graduation. Marry me, we can get an avocado tree, blah blah blah. She says no so he breaks up with her. You’d think she’d be the slightest bit emotional about the end of her years-long relationship. So how does she express this in the last episode? “It comes in waves. Big ones. Close together,” she says about her grief. And then she leaves it at that. I call bullshit on this, Rory Gilmore! No one acts like that in a breakup.
7. The Travesty of Luke and Loralei.
Okay, this is by far the worst transgression. The big conclusion that (presumably) everyone was waiting for consists of Luke saying, “I just…wanted to see you happy.” And then they kiss while “Inside Out” by the Mighty Lemon Drops plays. That is the worst. That is not what you wait 7 seasons to see.
After we watched this, Alex asked me if I wanted to rewrite the finale. I said he couldn’t write about Taylor’s penis and he said never mind.
So…what about you guys? Did you hate this shitshow of an episode as much as I did? I am just assuming you’re all extremely invested in Gilmore Girls. If you aren’t, then I’m sorry. Sorry for you.
*If you don’t watch CW dramedies with your brother, then I pity you.