The reason I love "Gilmore Girls" is because it did what Hollywood so rarely does — delve into the lives of two well-developed, complicated female characters. It does that delving with heart, compassion and plenty of great writing by creator and show runner Amy Sherman-Palladino. The script is beautifully handled by the talented actresses in the lead roles, Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. They play the smart and hilarious close-in-age mother-daughter duo Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, respectively. It's not at all a mystery why the series, which ran from 2000 to 2007, was a hit when it aired, and why it became a streaming classic on Netflix. It's a drama that's genuinely funny and heartbreaking in turns, with some perfectly executed quirkiness and great music for additional fun.
Now the critically lauded show is returning. Netflix ordered four 90-minute "mini-movie" episodes that began filming in February, though it's not yet clear when they will air. Fans (including myself) have been pretty excited about the revival since it was announced. The show, which ended almost a decade ago, found new life on Netflix, so there's all sorts of speculation from fans new and old about the status of the show's main characters when the show returns.
I've watched all seven seasons through twice, so I've been following all the tidbits that have dropped via social media about what might happen during the four upcoming episodes. Will Lorelai still be running her own bed and breakfast, or will it have morphed into an empire of hotels? Will overachieving Rory be working for The New York Times, running The San Francisco Chronicle or will she have founded her own news site and be in the midst of selling it for a billion dollars? I have so many theories and suppositions about two of my favorite TV characters of all time!
But all anyone seems to care about is the ladies' former paramours. Huh? Lorelai and Rory's romantic lives were definitely a part of the plots of many of the original episodes, but this was not a show about romance. These two women certainly had romantic lives, but Lorelai and Rory also had a particular and wonderful relationship with each other, and relationships with the frustrating and wonderful parents and grandparents (see video above), weird friends and a town at large, who often rallied behind them.
Most of the articles and social media attention have focused on the romantic prospects of Rory. There's all sorts of speculation about which of her high school or college boyfriends she'll end up with. I find that strange, not only because the focus of the show wasn't singularly about romance, but also because who ends up with a lover from the time when you were barely an adult? Sure, in the real world people occasionally do marry their first or second love interest, but it's pretty rare, so the assumption that this would happen for Rory is just weird, in my opinion.
And since the show ended when she graduated from college, there seems to be some kind of assumption that she hasn't dated anyone new since she was 22. Keep in mind this was a young woman who always chose her schoolwork and then her professional work over the guy she was with. Rory consistently prioritized life experience over young love (like plenty of smart men and women do), so if she's with a guy 10 years later, in her early 30s, it would likely be someone she met since graduating.
This is a show that dealt with topics like navigating study groups, the anxiety of applying to college, the stress of overachieving, working hard at school to the detriment of relationships, the pain of screwing up on a story for the school newspaper (and the joy of writing a great story) and the excitement of interning at a first potential job. Similarly, Lorelai faced many interesting struggles in her work, and though she was not quite as driven as Rory, there's plenty of interesting things she could be doing now that Rory is on her own.
What if Rory is happily single and focused on her work, or hasn't been able to date much because she's been taking care of her ill grandma? (Please let Emily Gilmore be as healthy as ever!) Maybe she's helping her mother run a successful inn, or traveling around the world with a new beau? There's just so much more that Rory could be doing that's of interest beyond rehashing past romances. But there are endless stories about a wedding happening during these four episodes. I love speculating about the character's love life, but when that's to the exclusion of everything else in her life — especially a character known for how hard she has worked and how important her work was to her — it's disappointing.
Or to put it in "Gilmore Girls"-ese: Oy with the poodles already!