There really isn't another show quite like THE GILMORE GIRLS. No other series so thoroughly dedicated to words. There are no doubt other series with great talk: BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER definitely comes to mind. But no other show that I know put language and witty talk so completely at the heart of what it was trying to do. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino said that she was inspired by great Hollywood comedies like the Thin Man series and HIS GIRL FRIDAY (one of the few films where the characters talked faster than they did on THE GILMORE GIRLS). And for five absolutely brilliant and one less than brilliant season the show was magical beyond any reasonable expectation. Then came Season Seven. I still watched with great interest. Well, until the marriage to Chris part (I asked a friend to tell me when Lorelei and Chris busted up and stayed away until they did). Season Seven was not a truly awful season. There were still many great moments during the year, including an absolutely splendid series finale, but by the end the show was having fewer and fewer of those wonderful moments that made it so special.
One major reason Season Seven struggled so much was the absence of the show's guiding genius. During contract negotiations at the end of Season Six, the WB offered Amy and her co-producer husband Daniel Palladino a one-year contract. She wanted the respect to be offered a two-year contract. The WB refused to budge and she and Daniel left the show. Since the two of them had either written or directed separately or together the bulk of the episodes on the show, the loss was irreparable. The show was built mainly around great talk, but what happens when the person most responsible for that talk leaves? Unfortunately, the brilliance of the talk went with them.
Those left behind tried gamely to carry on. But they also had the misfortune to be left with the remnants of an exceedingly bad story arc that Amy left behind. Most fans of THE GILMORE GIRLS came to dislike Lorelei at times during Season Six, including Lauren Graham. While most agreed that Luke was being too secretive about learning that he had a daughter he knew nothing about, most also felt that Lorelei's reaction was excessive. She became pushy and needy and impatient and just generally unlikable. Then incredibly stupid by giving Luke an ultimatum to either elope on the spot or lose her. And Season Six ended with her sleeping with Luke.
This whole story arc has to be laid at the feet of Amy Sherman-Palladino and the show had no choice but to continue the arc in Season Seven. As brilliant as Amy was over the first five seasons, the falling apart of Luke and Lorelei's relationship in Season Six and then whole Chris mess in Season Seven were her worst contributions to the show. Luckily, it didn't last forever. By the end of the season Rory had graduated from Yale and Lorelei was yearning to be with Luke, acutely conscious of what she had lost.
The season ended on some of the best moments of the year. One memorable episode had all of Stars Hollow laid out as a vast maze, in a weird plan by Taylor that for once truly worked out. Lorelei and Luke meet and express some of the regrets that they had felt for some time. It was a great moment. But the highpoint of the season and one of the highpoints of the entire series occurred in a scene in which Rory gets her mother drunk enough to sing on karaoke night. She starts off singing Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" (and the Dolly Parton arrangement, not the overly ornate butchering that Whitney Houston did) in Rory's direction. But Luke walks in as she sings and inevitably her gaze shifts. As she sings (and quite well, thank you), you see a world of conflicting emotions overcoming her: regret, yearning, hope, resignation, good will, and love. I don't know of another actress on TV other than Lauren Graham who could have pulled it off. It was one of those utterly perfect TV moments that reminded me not just why I watch THE GILMORE GIRLS but TV in general.
Until the very end of the season it appeared that there was going to be a Season Eight. The CW (which had taken over the show when the WB and UPN merged) hoped to have a 13 or 16 episode shortened season, but in the end Lauren Graham and Alexis Bedell, who were both up for contract renewal, declined to sing new contracts. But after seeing what turned out to be the series finale I am almost grateful of their decision. What a lovely end to a wonderful series! Few shows get to go out perfectly, but THE GILMORE GIRLS managed one of the most perfect finales ever. As Luke marshals the town for a farewell party (on one day's notice) we get a beautiful episode that allows us both to see all our favorite characters one last time and to say goodbye to them. Everything that should have been done was done. Rory is off to join the Barack Obama campaign as a reporter. Lorelei, when Sookie tells her that the planning of the party "was all Luke," realizes that Luke, who is sometimes slow to speak, has shown how he feels about her with actions. When she thanks him and he tells her that he likes to see her happy you know that they are going to be fine. You don't even need the kiss that follows. And the series ends just as it began seven years earlier, Lorelei and Rory sitting in Luke's diner.
I'm not sure that this is a show that can be replaced. Some shows are sui generis, truly one of a kind. This is one of those. The premise of a mother and daughter who were best friends was at the heart, but it didn't make it unique. It was the combination of the amazing group of characters, the wonderful town, and the endless stream of magnificently written scripts.
I want to end by praising Lauren Graham. This was a great cast with a number of remarkably gifted actors. But Lauren Graham towered above them all. The Emmys never did her justice. It is almost inconceivable that she never received a single Emmy nomination. Yet for seven years she was without serious competition the finest actress on television. How can such a travesty occur and the Emmys not feel a profound sense of shame? It is true that last year the Emmys were "reformed" in order to make it possible for deserving performers more likely to be nominated. Lauren Graham's name was the one mentioned as an example of such a performer. Yet even with reform she didn't receive a nomination. But to me her performance as Lorelei is one of the great achievements of television acting. No one came anywhere close to her in handling comedy; no one could rival her delivery of the machine-gun like dialogue. But neither could many rival her with drama. The karaoke scene I mentioned is a perfect example.
I will truly miss this series.
on May 15, 2007
After crying all throughout the series finally I have to say that it really was time to say goodbye and I would buy this seasons set for the last episode alone! That scene when Lorelai and Luke make-up is precious and as a fan of the show from the beginning I truly feel that in that moment Lorelai is completely happy, and she finally realized that Luke is a big part of that happiness. The show has definitely had it's up and downs but I'm giving it 5 stars because as a whole I have never seen a show like this one and don't think I ever will. I often feel that GG fans are so hard on the show because they really don't realize how good we had it, we got use to such a high standard of writing and acting that anything less brought out red flags. Nonetheless, it seems unreasonable to think that the series could keep that standard for every episode in every season, especially after the original creators left abruptly after the sixth season. So whatever that's worth I feel this show is a great investment and although it's centered around a mother-daughter relationship, a lot of men like the show as well even though they might not like to admit it:-)
Growing up with the Gilmore Girls has been such a pleasure and I cannot wait for the day when I can re-watch the series with my daughter and relive all that funny banter, crazy town meetings and just all the wonderfully unique characters...I think Lauren Graham and Scott Patterson will go down as having some of the best chemistry on TV as we watched their love grow and Alexis Bledel has a great future ahead. I think I will instinctively follow these actors around and continue to see their new work, how could I not? After seven grateful years I feel like I know them, and as the song goes, "Where you lead I will follow..." Thank you Gilmore Girls for such a wonder journey! You will be missed!
on November 3, 2007
What to say about a show that outdid nearly every show on the books. Unfortunately this show's seventh season was nothing at all like the show we all loved the first six years. As an avid fan of GG I own the first 6 seasons, which have been lovingly watched again and again. I do not plan on buying season 7. As far as I am concerned the show ended with season 6! It broke my heart to see the show I loved more than any other morph into a substandard version of itself. Sadly Amy Sherman-Palladino's shoes were just too big to fill, and the new showrunners failed miserably to capture the original essence of the show. Gone was the quick-witted dialogue we all adore, the biggest deficet of this season. But there were other problems. The scenes during this season didn't flow very well, and many were just too long. Previously the show did a superb job of keeping things moving, giving us enough in each scene without over-cooking. In seasons past it was artful, allowing the audience to put together a fantastic puzzle of our favorite girls. But in this last season there were far fewer scenes, fewer puzzle peices to work with, and the scenes they did deliver were too long and frankly got boring. This more rapid pace in previous years also allowed us to get more of all of our favorite characters that populated Lorelai and Rory's lives. The longer scenes of the seventh elimiated more time with these other wonderful characters, especially Emily and Richard. The unfortunate tone of this last season was also hampered by the odd lighting. There is a rather big difference in the lighting between the seventh season and all the others. What happened to the warmth of Stars Hallow? The warm hues were replaced by drab, colorless gray tones that in the end couldn't help but contribute to the rather blah feeling that best describes this season. Plotwise my biggest complaint centers on the Lorelai/Chris/Luke situation. I'm not a Chris person or a Luke person per se. I found myself pulling for each during different times. In the end I did believe the Chris ship had long sailed and Lorelai belonged with Luke. I think it was a mistake to spend so much of this season focusing on Chris. The marriage and divorce should have been quicker so that the show had time to do justice to the eventual reunion of Lorelai with Luke. We watch the show for seven years, witness the marriage of Dean, witness the marriage of Lane, witness the marriage of Liz and even witness the renewal of vows by Richard and Emily, but for Luke and Lorelai all we get is a kiss? A stinking kiss! For that matter this show could have ended with season four!
on August 15, 2007
I wish shows would end while they are ahead instead of limping off sadly leaving fans with a bittersweet taste in the mouth. Season 7 had a lot to clean up and I think it was not too badly done, overall. As a rabid lover of GG, I can still say, with criticism of something I love, that this show took a horrific nosedive around the end of Season 5 and Season 6 was cringe-inducing at best. The LL relationship was sweet and satisfying in Season 5 and Rory's life was interesting enough, until we got that horrible moment that revealed Rory cannot deal with life unless she's being lavished with praise. The Mitchum freak-out never got called by its right name. Instead we had a season 6 of "poor little spoiled rotten brat Rory got yelled at by a meanie." Not only was Rory impossibly self-centered and obnoxious and disagreeable during season 6, but the LL relationship was BAD! That relationship was borderline emotionally abusive. I started violently disliking Luke (after he had been sweet for 5 years) and I just wanted Lorelai OUT. So, yes, Season 7 had a lot to do. They had to clean up Luke's personality and Rory's personality, make them likeable again, and they had to somehow bring us back our happy escapist show that once was.
The new writers succeeded in making me like Rory and Luke again. Rory had gotten so selfish that the only thing to do was just stop and rewrite her character, ignoring previous "character growth." Which is what they did. Instead of stomping and sulking around, fighting with her mother and grandparents, and making wild accusations like, "the only reason you want your son to get a job is to separate him from me," suddenly she was sweet and modest again. She reconnected with friends. Maybe this sudden turn-around of character should be completely unrealistic, but I didn't care. I was glad to be able to like Rory again. On the other hand, rather than pretending that Luke had never been a jerk, the writers wrote in a very believable realization of faults on his part and regret over his behavior. I liked when he threatened Kirk, "If you do anything to hurt that sweet girl . . ." And eventually he even apologized to Lorelai. That needed to be done. I am grateful to the Season 7 writers that characters become nice and loveable again.
However, I don't think we ever got that special Stars Hollow feeling back again. Season 6 took us away from our favorite charming alternate universe to a painful, unwatchable world of fracturing relationships where the old Lorelai and Rory did not even exist anymore. Season 7 was not so harsh and so cold, but it continued along like a soap opera. The show never slowed down (I mean in plot, not dialogue) and recaptured that perfect balance of family, work, romance, and cat funerals, swan attacks, biscotti-ballroom-dance-a-thons, etc. In the early seasons, Lorelai's and Rory's romances, fun as they were, did not get center-stage. There would be a Jess-heavy episode, and then an episode about the inn, and then about a fight with the parents, and then college applications. GG, at the end, turned into your average 90210--One Tree Hill--Dawson's Creek type of show, and, while I am not knocking those shows, GG had always stood out because it was different. Boys were important, but so were friends, family, literature, a work ethic, self-respect, and those wonderful little moments that make up life, like getting a cup of coffee with a friend. The beauty of Gilmore Girls was in the details. Season 7 did not have that. We just got drama every week. I find all that drama exhausting. I prefer to watch the girls chatting about clothes or homework while strolling down the street.
Season 6 was just plain bad, Season 7 was better than that, but still sub-par. The older seasons are the best. Since they had evidently lost the ability to create that kind of magic, it was time for the show to end. I wish they had ended it before we suffered through Season 6. But since we weren't that fortunate, I'm glad Season 7 wrapped things up as nicely as they did.
"Gilmore Girls" has finished its seventh and final season and now fans will have to wait patiently for it to come out on DVD to complete our sets (i.e., everybody reading this review is waiting to pre-order this set having already watched all of these episodes). The seventh season has been the most disappointing one by far, and when it was announced on the eve of the series finale that the show was not coming back, I had convinced myself in my own mind that this was a good thing. After Rory literally turned away from her mother at the end of the fifth season ("A House is Not a Home"), I really did not care about her again until she called up Mitchum Huntzburger and read him the riot act when Logan was in the hospital ("Super Cool Party People"). Then Lorelai ends the sixth season in Christopher's bed ("Partings") and I am spending almost the entire seventh season unhappy with her character. Not as upset by the fact Lauren Graham never even received a single Emmy nomination, but enough to allow the heresy of hoping the show would be cancelled if this was what we were going to have to endure from here on in.
I remain convinced that when creator Amy Sherman-Palladino walked away from the show that she put Lorelai in Christopher's bed as the season six cliffhanger knowing that the show would not be able to write its way out of that situation. But it turns out that Graham, now also a producer for the show, argued for other romantic complications because she thought it made the story better. I still maintain that breaking up Luke and Lorelai was the biggest mistake the show ever made, reducing it to being just another soap opera. I thought the whole point of putting off the inevitable and devoutly wished for union of Lorelai and Luke for four seasons was that when it happened it would not be a deathblow to the romantic dynamic as it was on "Moonlighting." I remember when Luke was up on the roof telling Lorelai that he had to tell Rory about the engagement and that he was not happy being in the middle ("Fight Face"), and I saw this as clear evidence the two could still have funny fights as a romantic couple. There was a bit of this at the end of the seventh season ("It's Just Like Riding a Bike"), but that just added insult to injury since it proves they could have been doing this all along.
You see, for me a key element in a dramatic romance is the Grand Gesture. Luke's Grand Gesture is to not only organize a surprise graduation/bon voyage party for Rory, but to stay up all night sewing together the tent because it is going to rain ("Bon Voyage"). What is Christopher's Grand Gesture? To use his inherited money to pay a restaurant staff to get up in the middle of the night to make a fancy dinner for him and Lorelai ("French Twist"). Forget about Lorelai's inherent distrust about wealth and her carving out a life on her own financially, I want to know where is her moral outrage as a person who runs a successful inn over the sort of guest who would pull that sort of crap? So Luke has Christopher beat from start to finish in the Grand Gesture department, but at least Christopher had one, which is more than we can say for Logan and his proposal to Rory ("Unto the Breach"). Talk about ending a relationship with a whimper.
The ironic theme of season seven seems to be ignoring the obvious, of which Christopher is the most gifted, proving once and for all he is an outsider. After all, Christopher seems to have no idea that Lorelai's friendship is forever ("To Whom It May Concern"), that she loves Stars Hollow as much as it loves her ("Knit, People, Knit"), and that Luke is still a better friend to Lorelai than Christopher is a husband ("I'd Rather be in Philadelphia"). If I could change one thing in the final seaon it would be having Christopher go to Luke, admit that he took advantage of Lorelai every step of the way and that he knows Luke is the right man of Lorelai. Instead, Christopher sulks away ("Farewell, My Pet"), and it takes several episodes just to have Lorelai and Luke even acknowledge the elephant in the room let alone talk about it. This delaying action increased my sense of frustration rather than heightened my anticipation towards a happy reunion.
The CW's promotion of the series finale ("Bon Voyage") made the gross mistake of giving away what was going to happen with Lorelai and Luke (I would have loved to have heard a heartfelt comeback from her regarding his declaration that all he wants to do is see her be happy instead of going right for the kiss). It should have been a moment we could enjoy, such as the big moment a couple of weeks earlier when Lorelai is singing "I Will Always Love You" to Rory on karaoke night and you just knew Luke was going to walk into the bar and she was going to end up singing it to him instead ("Lorelai? Lorelai?"). But the promos totally took away the sense of anticipation, and so the choice moments ended up being a couple of emotional exchanges between Lorelai and her parents, which reminds me: another problem was that Richard and Emily were woefully absent from episodes in the first half of the final season. Good thing they were around for the end because it was what Richard said to Lorelai and what Lorelai said to Emily, along with the final scene bringing us full circle that finally persuaded me to round up on the seventh season (I guess I like the characters too much to stay mad at them forever).
The last episode was supposed to work as either the season finale or the series finale, but it clearly leans towards the latter from start to finish. I was worried that the show would forgo the opportunity to say goodbye, as it were, but the party for Rory covered that bet. I also thought that when Christiane Amanpour she was going to serve as a "deus ex machina" to get Rory a job, but they did not go that route. Then I was worried that they might do the whole "Six Feet Under" ending with Rory driving away into the future. However, they went for a simple final scene, allowing viewers to project the futures they want onto the characters. Of course, those wanting more explicit resolutions to various relationships will be underwhelmed. I do wish that what I assume were to be the final two-word line that Sherman-Palladino had in mind for the series (to wit, "Thanks, Mom") had been uttered explicitly, but I think the sentiment is still there.
The above quote is oddly enough very approprate when talking about the final season of 'Gilmore Girls.' Coming off a lackluster sixth (which had its strengths, but overall was the worst season of the series), the new producers had a lot of bad Blood to fix, as well as the problem of continueing a show that for the most part was the brainchild of a single woman - who was now completley out of the picture.
After stumbling over the first several episodes the season starts to take-off around episode six, and while it never blossoms into the 'Gilmore Girls' of years past, it definately held it own as an entertaining and engaging series. The main focus for this year was Rory coming to terms with Graduating from College - and what life after college has in store for her. She spends the year questioning her goals, relationships, and place within the world (just like every other 22 year-old about to strike it on their own for the first time). Lorelai finds herself in a similar delimma. After playing Rory's mother for so many years, she starts to have to life a life without her daughter. She eventually falls for her one time flame Christopher with interesting results.
But than anything this is the season of growing up and a season of change. While this season also includes the series finale, it was not decided as a series finale until 10 days before it aired. The producers were trying to get another season out of the series, which in my opinion would have been a mistake. While this series finale is low-key and not exactly a 'blockbuster ending' some series are graced with, it fits the series perfectly. All loose ends are tied up, all the characters have grown up, they know their place in the world, and everyone is looking forward to a new life ahead of them. It's sad to see the girls go, but they couldn't have ended on a better note.
The last season of Gilmore Girls may not be the best of the series, but it by far surpasses most other television shows currently on the air. The witty banter is still just as break-neckingly amusing, and the chemistry between Lorelai and Luke is still just as amazingly palapable. Rory is still just as smart, cute and funny. Kirk is still way out there crazy. Sookie is still cranking out babies and cooking great food in her hilarious manner. Paris is still a neurotic over achiever. The elder Gilmores are still charming and controlling, and Christopher still can't be counted upon when he is needed. The fact that the fringe characters and the town of Stars Hollow itself are so important to the series is part of what makes this such a memorable and wonderful show. I can't think of another series that just makes one smile as much as our beloved Gilmore Girls.
on May 14, 2007
This 7th and last season of Gilmore girls may not contain the same number of crazy referances as the previous seasons (since creator and writer Amy and Daniel Palledino were not longer with it) but it is still a wonderful show that I will sorely miss next year. This is a crucial year with Lorieli getting married, and divorced, Rory getting ready to leave college and evaluating her relationship with long time boyfriend Logan, and all the other crazy characters being, well, crazy! Luke has a fist fight with Chris, Kirk seals himself in a clear box suspended above the street and Taylor breaks his leg, again. The banter may have dwindled a tad but it is still a brilliant show with fantastic actors. I really hope the WB/CW change their minds (or who ever's mind needs to be change) and bring it back for another year! I cried when I found out that this was the last season. It should stay!
on November 24, 2007
I admit, I read the spoilers and Season 7 episode summaries (DVD insert) before watching the final season of my favorite TV show. I always wait to watch the show only after a complete season has come out on DVD, as catching the occasional, commercials-ridden WB/CW episode would be frustrasting and incomplete. So, it was like Christmas before Thanksgiving when my long-awaited Gilmore Girls Amazon order arrived this past Tuesday. Since Tuesday, I've done little else besides watching episode after episode until I finally made my way through the entire season this evening.
I was expecting the worst. Review after review bemoaned how all standards had gone to pot after Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino split when the CW didn't meet their demands. I was prepared for forced dialogue, the stellar wit that set this show apart (and kept its viewers on their toes) taking a nose dive. What I found, however, was that the Gilmore magic was still there, witty dialogue intact. Yes, a lot of things happen during this season, a sort of "pulling out all of the stops" in terms of plot twists and turns. Yet Christopher and Lorelai's marriage and subsequent divorce plans didn't seem as contrived as it sounded when I read complaining reviews and the DVD insert. Yes, it was a rebound, impulsive marriage, but it was made more plausible by Christopher and Lorelai's (lifelong) history, Rory's paternity, and Lorelai's personality. I even briefly rooted for this doomed marriage, despite my preference for Luke.
Other storylines: lucky Lane, who proves that one time is all it takes, knocked up during her disastrous honeymoon, and even luckier Sookie (pregnant with baby #3 after her husband's noncompliance with a vasectomy mandate); though both women eventually come to terms with their pregnancy and see it as a blessing. Luke gets partial custody of April (I wish I had been that together in the eighth grade); unfortunately, Lorelai's written character reference for Luke in the custody battle threatens Christopher, cementing divorce plans. The one plot twist that I thought was unconvincing/completely out-of-character was Logan's "now or never" marriage proposal. Usually, Logan wasn't a now-or-never kinda guy, and he only recently turned 25 himself. He should have known to give Rory her time and space before expecting such a commitment. I guess the writers wanted us to know definitively that this relationship wasn't going to work out whereas Luke and Lorelai were (hopefully) in it for the long haul. Though if you analyze Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" lyrics (Lorelai's unintentional "serenade" to Luke during a tipsy, countrified rendition of this early 90's hit), or see the movie, "The Bodyguard" (which I haven't), you get that the two lovers never get together, despite their mutual sentiment and goodwill. But the kiss on the lips sealed the deal for my interpretation--hopefully, they'll work through whatever is holding them back and get together.
I love Luke's characterization (though the grunge flannels and backwards baseball cap gets a little old); he's such a sweet guy. Kirk is over-the-top as usual, beyond quirky but a little short of DSM-IV, nonfunctioning insanity. Paris and Doyle are so cute together, and Doyle will follow wherever Paris leads. Richard and Emily are still Richard and Emily, but they show their appreciation for Rory (and Richard tells Lorelai that Stars Hollow's tribute to Rory is as much a celebration of Lorelei as it is of Rory--I was bawling unabashedly during this scene, along with Luke's "I just want to see you happy" gesture to Lorelai). Emily seems to be one of those "one step forward, two steps backwards" types of people (the way she treats her maids and "socioeconomic inferiors" is an obvious sign of unhappiness, i.e., how an uppity attitude backfires). When you see her softer side, you see her dark side in full-form a few scenes later. Yet it was sweet when she contrived a plan to keep Lorelai in her life. She was going to spot Lorelai a loan to improve the Dragonfly, with Friday dinners (mutated to business get-togethers from time-to-time) part of the interest-free arrangement. But Lorelai promised that she would continue coming to Friday night dinners without any other reason than to keep in touch with her parents, as these dinners were now a well-established ritual.
Yes, like other fans, I'd like a ring on Lorelai's finger and an exchange of vows with Luke, but a kiss will have to suffice. Yes, like other fans, I'd LOVE a WB 2-hour TV movie to wrap up loose ends and let us glimpse into Gilmore World for just a little longer. But my rewatching the seven seasons of the Gilmore Girls will have to suffice for the time being.
Loved the extras that featured a day in the life of Keiko Agena and the Gilmore Fashionistas. I love Lorelai and Rory's wardrobe...all those beautiful clothes just sitting in storage (did I mention that Lauren Graham and I are about the same height and build?)...But mostly, I just love this show. Kudos to the creators and writers of this very special TV series.
on March 6, 2008
I have never been so disappointed. All throughout Season 7, I cursed myself for watching what had become a watered down, slow and painful version of this previously outstanding series. But how could I not find out what happened to the most beloved characters of modern television? Season 7 had the patina of all of the limp "WB"/"CW" shows - colorless, with unfortunate story lines and bad dialogue that left a bad taste after the rich seasons of Stars Hollow's past. Buy Seasons 1-5, watch them again and again. But be warned - Season 6 starts to show wear around the edges, and Season 7 is like Frodo's return from his adventures. You can never go home again when writer Amy Sherman-Palladino has left the building.