The overarching tone was different and many characters' appearances felt dropped in for the sake of it. Some references felt forced with over-the-top nods to Chinese takeaway and Pop Tarts, the kitchen looked far too shiny for someone who hates tidying and cleaning, and although the show was never realistic, it felt completely staged. The unnecessary crudeness and swearing didn't feel at all at home in the family show, making it feel more like a bad American comedy film, the efforts to be more modern were uncomfortable, with tacky references to Zoella and Yelp, and the constant drinks of straight whiskey would have been more at home in an episode of Mad Men. For women who were meant to appreciate the simple things in life, far too many characters were bragging about their money to them and offering them loans and gifts, as if the girls were meant to feel looked after by ridiculous and extravagant gestures.
While it was made up of an episode for each season, which suggested that it wouldn't necessarily have a continuous story, the execution was poor. The episodes felt choppy and the whole mini-series felt somehow both rushed and dragged out, as if the content hadn't been properly thought through. The musical scenes were embarrassing and went on forever, and the episode with Logan, Colin, and Finn was unnecessary, leaving the viewer thinking that maybe it was just too much. Rory's subplot with the eccentric British writer was uncomfortable as if it was trying very hard to get a laugh, and her affair with Logan went round in circles with little substance.
The actual story lines were lazy. The explicit reuse of events that happened the last time round was confusing, as if the whole thing was an excuse to redo the final season whilst pretending than no one had moved on. Rory's job crisis and Lorelai's conversation with a therapist were the exactly the same as the last time around, and it was clear that Rory had learned absolutely nothing from sleeping with a married Dean to sleeping with an engaged Logan. Not only was this tedious, it completely removed the possibility for any emotional reaction to the events, over which we have already cried. The disjointed and quickly resolved wobble between Lorelai and Luke did nothing to provoke even a single tear, and it seemed like the writers were totally unaware of how hateful Rory was during scenes when it seemed we ought to have felt sorry for her, casting a dark shadow over what should have been a feel-good story.
This revival couldn't have been further from the original, a show renowned for its pace and quick wit. Not only was the timing off, the self-sufficient and strong protagonists seemed ditsy. Lorelai, once fierce in her protection of her daughter and her belief in the importance of morals, seemed unfazed by the revelation that her daughter was making the exact same mistakes again and not taking responsibility for her actions. Rory was frankly detestable, showing no respect for her 'boyfriend' and walking around as Little Miss Entitled, particularly at her interview at SandeeSays, for which she should and would have been overly prepared. It was difficult to understand how the ambitious and determined Rory would have not matured and developed as a character from her college graduation to the age of thirty-two.
Fortunately, Paris, Kirk, and Jess were as you might have expected, and their acting was on point. Scott Patterson's portrayal of Luke was strong, and his continued devotion to the family was clear, but the plot was unusually lacking in his presence. As someone who should have been vital to this revival, it felt like more attention should have been given to scenes including the brilliant exchanges regarding his WiFi password, which felt perfectly natural.
'Summer' was a disappointment and a disaster, especially after 'Winter' which had been at least promising. The performance by Kelly Bishop (Emily) was excellent, although she was let down by some bizarre lines. However her lack of attendance at the end was more depressing than anything, and it felt like throughout the whole show, nothing had properly been worked out between her and her daughter. Lauren Graham (Lorelai) was brilliant as always, and the scenes between her about Bishop carried the show. A Year in the Life was meant to be a final chance at resolution for a story that hadn't finished right, but we actually ended up with less closure then the last time. Due to an ending with a complete lack of clarity and one that felt like it needed more, the viewer is left feeling dissatisfied. Did Michel leave? Is Sookie back? Has Jess walked out again? Whose baby was it? Did Logan get married? When the viewer should have been left sobbing at the end with the warm and fuzzy feeling we know so well, we are left very angry and sad. Sorry Amy Sherman-Palladino, poor effort.