Gilmore Girls Season 7 — Was It Really So Bad?

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From what I understand, Season 7 of Gilmore Girls was judged as less than, as compared to the previous six seasons–maybe even a travesty.  Something was missing.

That something was creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino.  Beyond being showrunners, they were auteurs, creating a complete living-and-breathing fictional world.  Along with writing and directing episodes, they supervised every plotline, word and image .  The show had their distinct voice, especially evident in the dialogue and characterizations of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore.  This took a lot of work and after six seasons, the Palladinos rightfully asked for extra staff to help ease the grind.  Despite excellent ratings for the network, Warner Bros. turned them down and did not renew their contract (they took away their parking spaces suddenly, like a slap in the face).  Fans were and are still angry about this, feeling that although the show continued and came to somewhat of a conclusion (Rory graduating and getting a journalism job, Lorelai and Luke reuniting), the show felt unfinished.

The team that Warner hired to replace the Palladinos were certainly talented and “kept the lights on”, but the show wasn’t the same.  And ironically, they had to hire extra writers anyhow to make up for the vacuum left.

Ratings sagged and the show was cancelled.  The cast and crew didn’t find out until after the season’s wrap party, robbing them of a proper goodbye.

As Gilmore Girls fandom has grown over the years, with the series binge-watched and debated (i.e. the Gilmore Guys podcast and more), Season 7 has been generally derided.

lorelai-rory-asia-trip

However, when asked about Season 7, Amy Sherman-Palladino said she did not watch it at the time, but has caught up with it on re-runs.  She didn’t diss it–seemingly more interested in seeing where the storylines had gone.  She obviously wanted to note this information in case she had a chance to finish the show as she had intended, last four words and all.  And now she has her chance.

For me, Season 7 is a mixed bag, good with the bad.  It’s a testament to the world and characters the Palladinos built so well, giving the new team a clear template to work from.

The biggest problem for me is the handling of Lorelai and Rory, and since they are the center of the show, it is big hole, but not quite a sink hole.

Here’s the good and bad, at least to me:

The Bad

Chatterbox Lorelai barely speaks in the first two episodes.  After grieving the end of her relationship with Luke, Lorelai does start speaking once again and generally the dialogue is good, sometimes sparkling although the signature pop-culture references are muted.  Character-wise, she seems to go with the flow and doesn’t drive the action.  She falls into marriage to Christopher, then out, then spends time tending to Emily and Rory.  However, I did like the way they repaired her relationship with Luke slowly and in an unforced way (Luke calls Lorelai when April is sick, Luke shows his new neice to Lorelai, Luke comes to help with Richard is in the hospital, Luke stitches together the tent for Rory’s goodbye party).

Rory was a biggest letdown for me.  We got to know her as a super-bright, super-ambitious girl who dreamed from an early age about attending Harvard and then becoming Christiane Amampour.  She pursues these dreams with great persistence despite the many bumps and detours along the way.  Relationships are important to her but what we truly admire is her ambition and talent (yea Team Rory!).  In Season 7, she becomes a simpering girlfriend type, mooning over Logan, seemingly helpless without him.  His ups and downs domiante her life.  She’s not the Rory who faces down Paris, talks back to Emily, or takes charge of the Yale Daily News.  Also, her passivity over handling her future–fearing a void after graduation, worrying she’ll never get a job as a journalist.  Maybe it’s realistic–I had no clue when I graduated.  But Rory was always self-driven, better and smarter than us mere mortals.

Paul Anka turned into a fairly regular and rarely seen pooch.  Disappointing.

kirks-diner

The Good:

Generally, I found there were some terrific moments in Season 7–actually some of my favorite.  Plus in general, the supporting characters and eccentric Stars Hollow happenings were handled much as before.

Here are some of the moments I loved the best:

  • Luke and Christopher’s Neanderthal fight in the town square, wrecking the Christmas decorations.  This was so primal and satisfying, a long time coming.
  • Lane being wheeled through the streets on her bed, Monkees’ style to her baby shower.
  • The Knit-a-Thon that Christopher ruins, showing how he doesn’t get or belong in Stars Hollow.
  • Lorelai heartbreakingly singing “I Will Always Love You” while Luke looks on.
  • Kirk wrecking Luke’s Diner and then opening Kirk’s Diner across the street, taking advantage of the situation, even offering Luke a job application.
  • Christiane Amampour giving Rory advice in the final episode, “Bon Voyage”.
  • Emily in jail.

In general, I liked how Emily was handled, feeling she stayed in character–as controlling and clueless as ever.

I especially loved Lane’s pregnancy–which apparently Keiko was not thrilled about–because it brought her in direct conflict with her mother.  But through this, Lane began to understand her mother’s motivations a bit more, while also hating how much his mother and Zach bonded over the pregnancy.

lane-wheeled-in-bed

Paris was as Paris as ever, whether typically crazy detailed plans on her pre-graduation plans or breaking up with Doyle to not influence her choice of graduate school and career direction.  I’m always happy whenever there’s a scene with Paris.

And finally, I think they got Luke right.  In the absence of Lorelai, they filled the vacuum his family and the other supporting characters–April and the custody battle, his sister Liz and her husband T.J. having a baby, plus Kirk and Zach at the diner.  Throughout, Luke showed what an upstanding guy he was and why we got to love him so much.

All in all, whatever the merits or demerits of Season 7, things did feel unfinished leading now to Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.  More Gilmore Girls, finally!  So for that, I judge Season 7 to be a success.  Huzzah!

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14 thoughts on “Gilmore Girls Season 7 — Was It Really So Bad?

  • November 24, 2016 at 4:26 pm
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    I agree with most of that (which was amazingly written, btw). I just feel like Emily was missing something – even Kelly Bishop felt a little OOC about Emily.
    The thing is, a big part of the Gilmore girls’ voice come from Amy Sherman-Palladino herself, so removing her was the biggest mistake the network made. That’s why the writers couldn’t keep it up. But it’s also because of that that we’re getting this chance to experience this revival. All in all, I’m grateful fro season 7.
    I hated that Rory became a shadow and that someone thought Lorelai would ever get married and not have Rory there. So. Freaking. Unbelievable.

    Anyways, I do agree that the townies had their chance to shine in season 7. I loved the amount of Patty and Babette we got in the final season and Luke-Zach relationship was actually pretty interesting. Most of the plots involving SH were really good.

    Season 7, in general, wasn’t bad. You can pick good parts from each episodes.

    Again, AMAZING POST.

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  • November 24, 2016 at 4:43 pm
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    I agree. I think season 6 was way worse. Season 7 is definitely different, but it has a lot of great moments.

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    • November 30, 2016 at 10:33 pm
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      Totally agree. I hated season 6.

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  • November 24, 2016 at 8:25 pm
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    I have introduced many friends to the series. They loved it all the way through as they had not clue about the Amy and Dan situation. I think that us die hard viewers watching the episodes as they aired gave us bias against the creators of season 7 because we loved Amy and Dan.

    I personally liked season 7 as it is. I would watch bad episodes of Gilmore Girls because I just flat out loved the show. I really liked the ending too. The words Richard says at the end are way more meaningful now since he has passed.

    When it comes to cancelling the series it was mostly Alexis that killed it off. The last 4 episodes she was tired, burned out and flat out miserable. I got the info from a good friend who was a crew member and he also told me it was cancelled three days before the official announcement. He was not surprised. Was it the substitute creators? maybe, but for the load that Lauren and Alexis had to burden it was just time to end it. The batteries got charged again and the revival will show that I believe.

    Great writing for this story.

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  • November 24, 2016 at 10:49 pm
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    Really that bad— no, but much like season six it felt like a third of the season had been squandered on plotlines that seemed implausible for the main characters and then the writers had to get into high gear and pull a Lazarus to save the program from going out with a wimper instead of a bang.

    So a bit of a wated opportunity and then the whole what’s next nonsense related to a continuation into season eight!!

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  • November 25, 2016 at 3:37 am
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    I didn’t think s7 was so bad. The first few episodes were a bit lacking for me. Like the writers needed to get the hang of things and also clean up the mess left by s6. I’m not fond of s6. Something was missing there too and luke felt ooc. Also by then the continuity errors really started to bug me. I also liked Chris a lot in s7. I always liked his character and felt that before he often wasn’t done justice and simply used to derail storylines in one way or another. S7 had good and bad moments for me. So I don’t feel s7 is worse than other seasons.

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  • November 25, 2016 at 5:04 am
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    It was not that bad but something was missing which I also felt in Season 6.

    Still the de facto series finale was good especially the scene with the townpeople cheering for Rory, what a beautiful shot

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  • November 25, 2016 at 6:20 am
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    S7 is way better than what Amy did in the revival. It’s a good thing DR took over. Watch the revival at your own risk. I have an extremely hard time imagining that this is the story she planned for Rory in s7. Not only is Rory’s story in the revival bad, it goes against everything we learned about her since S01 E03. What she did to Logan is also horrible. She regressed him back to before he committed to Rory in s5. It honestly makes no sense. My love and respect for ASP’s talent is squashed. Stay away from the revival. Remember Amy for s1-6.

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  • November 25, 2016 at 7:39 am
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    Ooh goodness I hated Lane’s pregnancy. it felt like such a rip off to me. I was never really fond of Zach in the first place, but I hated that for her.

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  • November 27, 2016 at 11:31 am
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    I think that saying season 7 was bad is part of some stupid thing because the original people left. Honestly, season 6 was worse or at least already going down an inane path. I bet if people didn’t know about the contract dispute, they wouldn’t notice a difference one way or another.

    All that being said, there’s not one single season of the original Gilmore Girls that is one-tenth as bad as this stupid revival show. I was really looking forward to this and it was just terrible.

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  • November 27, 2016 at 1:56 pm
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    I guess I am in the minority, but I actually liked season 7. I didn’t like Lorelai and Christopher getting married but I almost think that had to happen to close that chapter for good. I agree with the article, a lot of good things happened in season 7. I loved Bon Voyage. I loved seeing Rory struggle a little bit when everyone else knew what they were doing after Yale and she didn’t. It showed that she was not perfect and not everything came easily to her. I loved the Gilmore girls only outing to Mia’s wedding. I loved that Rory and Paris became even better friends and we got to see a softer more vulnerable side of Paris. I am not sure Logan was handled in the same way he would have been under ASP, but I loved that he proposed to Rory and I love that she said no. Honestly, I liked season 7 better than season 6. While I enjoyed A Year in the Life, it did seem to me that this storyline would’ve made a whole lot more sense nine years ago than it did now. Obviously that was Paladino’s intent, but played 9 years later, it did not provide that nice closure tied with a bow. The passage of time versus the accomplishments made Rory seem unsuccessful, which I doubt was the intent. I know ASP had a story she wanted to tell and did not get to during season 7, but I really think she should have updated the story to better reflect the passing of time. I loved seeing these wonderful characters anew, but I’m not satisfied with Rory’s ending. This show needed a lot more Sookie, Paris and Lane, and I really needed a happy ending for Rory. Season 7 endeared me to Logan, who fought against his family and proposed to Rory even though she was not the family’s choice. The Logan we saw this year was probably the Logan ASP always intended but it was a very unsatisfying finish for me. Rory agreeing to a friends with benefits kind of relationship was very out of character, and both the forgettable boyfriend and the one night stand really did not play well for me. Those things might have played better had she been 22 and not 32. Unlike a lot of reviews that I read, I loved the scenes with the Life and Death Brigade. They were very fun and reminiscent of the good times at Yale. Given the time constraints, I think the history of Stars Hollow scenes should have been shortened. I loved most of the scenes with Emily and with Paris. It was always my opinion that Lisa Weil, Kelly Bishop and Melissa McCarthy were the best actors on the show. Having a strange family living with Emily was a little out there. Learning that Luke and Lorelai lived together for nine years and never married and had a family was also unsatisfying. All in all, I’m glad I got to see these wonderful characters again. While I enjoyed it, it left me more sad and nostalgic than satisfied.

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  • February 2, 2019 at 12:43 am
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    Have been watching the show from season 1 and was completely addicted till
    Lorelai and luke split and she went straight to Christopher. Then season 7 just didn’t feel right so stopped watching. Feel very dissapointed.

    Reply

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