Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gilmore Girls: So long, farewell, amen

Sigh... It's all over. Spoilers for the "Gilmore Girls" series finale coming right up...

David Rosenthal knew. He obviously knew this would be the end. In form, if not always in style (because nobody could write Amy Sherman-Palladino dialogue as well as Amy could), this is exactly what a "Gilmore Girls" series finale should have looked like. Rory meets her idol and gets a lavish send-off from the town, Luke and Lorelai get back together (but not for such an extended period that we have to deal with whatever the hell has been going on with Lauren Graham and Scott Patterson all these years), Lorelai makes peace with her father and her mother, Lorelai sends Rory off into true adulthood, and we close with a mirror of the pilot, with Lorelai and Rory having coffee and an excessive breakfast at Luke's. Short of Amy coming back to write those legendary final two words (any guesses? "Shut up," maybe?), I don't know how much more we could have wanted.

In a lot of ways, it reminded me of "The West Wing" finale, another show where the chief creative voice had left the building and the product had suffered, and yet the replacement found a way to do right by the fans in the end. In particular, Richard's "It takes a remarkable person to inspire all of this" speech to Lorelai may have gotten me more misty-eyed than anything I've seen on television since Jed Bartlet said goodbye to Charlie. Even when "Gilmore Girls" had its problems -- and the last few seasons have given us many, many problems -- it was always worth watching for the interplay between Lauren Graham, Edward Herrmann and Kelly Bishop, and all three were in top form at the end. (As touching in its own way, if not as waterworks-inducing, was Lorelai realizing that her mother just wanted an excuse to keep having the Friday night dinners, and finding a way to agree without embarrassing Emily by calling her on it.)

Luke and Lorelai's reconciliation was very spare and nicely-done, with Luke's "I just like to see you happy" all the words that were needed. Interesting choice, though, to immediately pan up to show the party instead of the lingering kiss; were they giving the couple their privacy, or not forcing Lauren and Scott to smooch at length? (See? This is why I'm glad the show's not continuing, because I don't want to be thinking this much about off-screen rumors and whatnot.)

The hour wasn't perfect, of course, though again some of that is because of things that happened a long time ago. The Lane/Rory scene, for instance, would have had far more impact if Lane had actually been written as Rory's best friend the last three or four seasons, instead of the townie pal she left behind for Yale. (Still, it was nice to take a trip down Lane's love memory lane, including a Dave Rygalski shout-out.) And outside of Michel and Rory mocking Lorelai's behavior around celebrity guests, most of the humor didn't really work. A shame for such a historically funny show to go out so relatively flat.

Still, given everything we and the show have been though, Amy's absence and the fact that there had to be some wiggle room left open for one last season (which probably would have featured the return of Logan), this was about as good a finale as I could have hoped for. I'm bummed that Lauren Graham will likely never again have a part this good to show how amazing she is, but it's time. Bye, Stars Hollow. It's been fun.


Anonymous said...

I thought it was time for the show to go, but I was a little worried the finale would be unsatisfying. It wasn't at all. In fact, even though I know it was meant to work as a season OR series finale, I don't know how they could have continued beyond it. Very well done.

And, honestly, I don't think Dave Rosenthal has gotten enough credit. Was this season perfect? No. But Gilmore Girls had been in a creative slump for a while and this season, while not up to their long ago best, was certainly better than some of the later Palladino years. Frankly, even knowing about the behind the scenes switch I didn't really notice any difference on screen.

Besides the "final words" question, I am also curious to know what the original version of the finale was before Lauren Graham demanded rewrites.

Anonymous said...

I bawled through most of the episode.

It wasn't time. It really wasn't.

(And darn the CW for spoiling the kiss in the previews last week. Loser promo idiots!)

Anonymous said...

I really feel like at least a good portion of Team Gilmore knew that season 7 might very well be the last, and to me, this finale felt a little bit rushed. I wish they had been alotted 2 hours for a potential series finale, but I know that TV doesn't work that way. Although Veronica's getting a 2 hour finale, ain't she?

I also wish someone had had the good sense to play Yo La Tengo's version of "My Little Corner..." over the closing credits. That would have been perfect symmetry, as the song closed out the first and last episodes of season 1.

I agree that Rosenthal doesn't get enough credit. Everyone was on pins and needles about him taking over, but I think he did an alright job in the end. Sure, he decided to run with the Lorelai & Chris thing, but that could have been a desire of Lauren Graham's as well, to see that relationship finally play out. Only problem is--said relationship took up too much time in a crucial season. I don't think Rosenthal ruined the show. I found the majority of season 6 to be horribly boring, actually--Dan and Amy did not leave their show in flawless shape.

Anonymous said...

I loved this show. Yes, the last couple of seasons have been disappointing, but overall, it's been wonderful. And what a great finale. I agree with all the comments so far, especially you, Alan--you're right on, as usual. And I was horribly bummed out that I already knew Lor and Luke would kiss. What a dumb move on CW's part...

Can someone fill me in on the Lauren Graham/Scott Patterson feud? I never heard about it...


Anonymous said...

I completely agree - DR must have known this was the series finale. Everything was way too wrapped up for me to believe otherwise.

The episode wasn't that funny, but plenty sad, and a good send off for the characters.

Anonymous said...

They had to throw Liz in there (thank goodness there was no TJ)?

They had to make Taylor irritate me one more time?

Still, what Alan said. I agree 100 percent. I misted up when Richard said that line to Lorelai -- it was so perfect. And I like how they left Lorelai and Luke, in a way. Anyone else think 13 more eps would have been total overkill?

For 2/3 of this season, GG was a train wreck. They nicely righted the ship in the last few weeks, and it went out really well.

So, I'm glad. It was time for GG to go, and this was the way to do it.

Anonymous said...

SP on the supposed "feud" (from Ausiello's interview):

Over the years there's been speculation that you and Lauren had some rocky times. Would you say that's accurate?

Patterson: No, I think it's not accurate. I think it's really inaccurate. And I think people thrive on rumor and innuendo; that sells papers, gets people to click on websites. Lauren has always been pretty much the rock of that whole production. She did the lion's share of the work, and she did it with real aplomb. I wouldn't have wanted that schedule. Not for 10 minutes would I have wanted that schedule. I mean, that schedule would've broken a workhorse, and she just plowed through it every day and it was pretty amazing to watch. We would hear those things and just laugh. We had a very comfortable working relationship. I enjoyed doing scenes with her because I knew she was going to hit the ball back over the net as good as she got. All of that stuff is just overblown.

Would you like to work with her again?

Patterson: Oh, absolutely. I would work with her again in a heartbeat. She happens to be a very, very, very good actress. I would jump at the chance to work with her again.

Anonymous said...

Yep, 13 more episodes would have been total overkill. This show is best when it's understated, and the Luke and Lorelai relationship was left perfectly.

Kelly Bishop, I think I'll miss you most of all! The Emily/Richard scenes were perfection. If I hadn't already been tearing up, they would have done it for me. Returning the emphasis of the show to the town, and ending it in the diner, was a fitting way to wrap up. My only complaint: where was Mrs. Kim?

Unknown said...

This was my first episode ever because my Tivo suggestively tivoed it. I think this show was helped due to LAUREN GRAHAM being ridiculously hot!!

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Alan Sepinwall said...

I've said before that, for the most part, Rosenthal did the best he could, given A)he couldn't write Amy-style dialogue as well as Amy, and B)Amy and Daniel left him a major mess to clean up.

And I can see why he wanted to spend as much time on Lorelai and Chris as he did, trying to let the whole thing play out as it probably would with these characters. In retrospect, though, they devoted way too much of the final season to that, and had Rosenthal known for sure from the start that this would be it, I suspect he would have made different decisions.

Anonymous said...

I only ever watched one episode of this show, either. Not a good sample, but I did agree with the quip on tvtattle.com (or the review it linked) that it substituted pop culture references for meaningful conversation. But again, I only saw one episode.

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watching this show has made me gay.