So I finished Autumn about an hour ago and have been processing ever since. I’m almost ready to end my self-imposed media blackout but first I’d like to share my meagre pundit’s thoughts, as a long-time Gilmore Geek and a shameless Palladino fan. First of all, let’s join Lorelai for a well-deserved drink.
Starting with the finish: I liked it. I didn’t love it because I like a neat resolution as much as anyone, however we know that this is what Amy Sherman-Palladino has always done. Whenever the water has even threatened to look calm she muddies it with an atom bomb. Remember Rory and Lorelai’s faces as bridesmaids at Sookie’s wedding, when mere moments before that Christopher was joining the family and Dean was a sure thing? Or when Luke and Lorelai were finally getting it together but Emily tells Christopher he should be the one with Lorelai?
Lorelai (to Emily): You and me? We’re done.
We know this. I also like to think it’s two fingers to the studios for cancelling shows without warning (like Gilmore Girls and Bunheads) and thereby not giving the writers a chance to end it on their terms. Like it or lump it, this ending is purely on Amy Sherman-Palladino’s terms.
I’m also of the opinion that if you’ve reached a happy ending, then you just haven’t reached the end yet. I believe those last four words were the intended last four words and that we shouldn’t expect any more even though Netflix has surely recouped. This is how the Palladinos roll and as the numerous musical and dance numbers remind us, this is the business of show and you’ve gotta leave the audience wanting more. The final words are also a reflection on how this all began and maybe nudge us into re-watching the entire show and enjoying the journey all over again, as if Emily and Lorelai’s earlier conversation wasn’t enough to take you back to the start.
Emily: I’ll call the lawyer.
Lorelai: Really? Thank you.
Emily: …on one condition.
Lorelai [drops head]: So close.
Assuming this was the ending that was intended, it fits the show just like Rory’s eventual partner will fit her, because of course she’ll find somebody. In my heart it will always be Jess even if Logan or the Wookie is involved but even if that’s too complicated to imagine, that’s only because people tend toward ‘normal’, which should never be something to strive for. We should leave it alone now so it doesn’t become one of those shows that gets a terrible second season when they never intended it to go past season one. Quality over quantity.
Between the barn-busting Winter episode and the upbeat Autumn finale, Spring and Summer were the difficult middle children. Drama outweighed comedy as Emily and Lorelai reached Cold War levels of catastrophe, Rory’s entire life was melting down Fukushima-style and Lorelai hit a proper mid-life crisis. But you can’t have the feel-good later if you don’t endure the pain now (and then more pain after the feel-good etc.)
Bunheads cameos throughout were heartening as well as Parenthood buddies and I was relieved to see Dean and Sookie fill what would have been noteable absences. In the last episode I started checking my watch to see how much time there was left – thankfully the finale ran an extra ten minutes. Cameo-wise, Liz and TJ’s absence was amply filled by a running joke with a fitting pay-off and I woke the neighbours up cheering when this guy made an appearance:
My goodness, there’s just so much material. Just off the top of my head, I want to talk about Emily’s ending, her calling literal bullshit on the D.A.R. then picking up sticks and seeking a different happiness without Richard. Was her final scene her natural state of happiness and if so, was she just compromising all that time for Richard? I have my fingers crossed that you guys and the critics liked it as much as I did and I want to talk about how the show hasn’t had to evolve to fit a modern audience and that audiences don’t like or dislike trending genres, they just like good shows. I must talk about that 15-minute musical interlude, Lorelai’s humour being used as a defence mechanism, ‘Never or Now’, the Secret Bar, ‘Ele-alert’, Kirk’s Second Movie, Not-Tristan, Wild (the movie), Wild (the book), Lorelai’s New York queue-jumping, Paris’ five-floor apartment stairs, sparing re-use of the original show’s music, Matt Czuchry’s award-winning goodbye, Christopher’s penance, ballsy two-minute takes, What-Drella, the town square sets and Jess making puppy eyes through the window. For starters.
Thank you Netflix for not being tight on the budget – at least it looked that way – it looked amazing. Thank you Amy and Dan for creating the show, understanding this was so necessary and seeing it through to the end with a flourish: I will die that little bit happier. And thank you if you’re reading this: You and I have some interesting chats ahead of us.
Rory: Such a long time getting here.
Lorelai: Sometimes it’s just a journey, you know?
Can’t wait to see what you guys thought of it. I’ll start reading things again this week. I bet everyone’s obsessing about the ending :)