Movies & TV Shows

Its Biggest Mistake Was Using Gilmore Girls’ Original Ending

The 2016 Gilmore Girls revival series, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, ended with the final four words revealing Rory is pregnant, an ending that had been planned during the original run of the show but no longer worked. Having originally run from 2000-2007, A Year in the Life picked up almost a decade later, catching up with the titular Gilmores: Lorelai, Rory, and Emily (who, as the revival makes clear, very much belongs in that title).

The revival finds each of the Gilmores in very different places. Lorelai is mostly settled with Luke, perhaps ready to start a new family. Emily is trying to move on after Richard’s passing. And Rory is still trying to make it in journalism, though the warning of Mitchum Huntzberger that she doesn’t have it is looking more and more like the gospel truth. It’s Rory’s journey ending that leads Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life to its fateful conclusion and those hotly anticipated last words: “Mom?” “Yeah?” “I’m pregnant.”


Related: Gilmore Girls Revival Finally Resolved A Series-Long Mystery

It’s a startling (if not completely unexpected), emotional, and complicated ending. Sherman-Palladino had maintained even before the show’s initial ending that she knew the final four words of Gilmore Girls. So while she always planned to end it with Rory pregnant, the way that plays out in A Year in the Life is very different from how its landing would have felt in 2007. Sherman-Palladino left Gilmore Girls before season 7 so never got to see her ending pan out during the original run. Picking back up with the revival, while some things had to be different, Rory’s love interests and arc still feel a lot like what had been planned before, which serves to set up that big reveal but also means that her character feels as though she’s been in a sense of stasis: viewers are watching a 32-year-old Rory acting in a way that was initially written to suit Rory at age 22. A lot of the character’s behavior has been called into question, but it’s even harder to justify her actions at this point.

Gilmore Girls Recycled A 2007 Storyline

It’s unclear just how well the ending for Gilmore Girls would have worked back in 2007. There’s no denying that season 7 suffered as a whole because of Sherman-Palladino’s exit, but the finale wrapped up a lot of aspects rather well, especially for Rory. Years before the final four words Gilmore Girls eventually ended on in the revival, Rory got to meet her hero, Christiane Amanpour, and then set out to become her by going on the campaign trail with Barack Obama. Whether Rory was going to make it as a journalist wasn’t the point; what mattered is that her ending felt hopeful, ambitious, and open-ended. For a show that had focused a lot on her love life, to see it end with her putting her career first felt like the right choice. Rory being pregnant in Gilmore Girls would have been similarly full-circle – even more so, given her closer proximity in age to how old Lorelai was when she fell pregnant – but there was no guarantee it would’ve worked even then, though it could at least have laid the groundwork for it much more effectively.

The Netflix Reboot Was The Finale Gilmore Girls Never Needed

In the Gilmore Girls revival, it’s clear that Rory’s attempts at a career in journalism aren’t panning out, but she finds another path in writing her and Lorelai’s story. It’s possible that this alone might have been a satisfying ending to A Year in the Life, but it then tags on the last-minute pregnancy twist. There’s little hint in the original or revival that Rory wants to be a mother, but Gilmore Girls ends up coming full circle, with Rory always fated to repeat what happened with Lorelai (only it’ll be easier for her). There’s obviously nothing wrong with wanting kids, and it’s viable to have both a career and children, but the ending doesn’t seem tonally appropriate. The pregnancy feels a little more tragic for Rory as opposed to the happy ending Gilmore Girls needed given its status as a supreme comfort-blanket show.

The idea of Rory’s pregnancy also fits uneasily with Gilmore Girls’ greatest failure: Lane Kim. Like Rory, Lane was full of ambition to be a rock star and tour the world – and then she has an unplanned pregnancy, gives birth, and her husband gets to live out that dream instead. Paris is shown to be able to have it all, just, but largely because she is an irrepressible force of nature. Otherwise, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life‘s ending is yet another case of the show’s apparent need to make its ambitious women into mothers, and rather than the optimistic ending the original show did have, it feels a little sadder for it.

Related: Did Melissa McCarthy’s Sookie Return For Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life?

A Year In The Life Was Probably The End Of Gilmore Girls

The Gilmore Girls cast have all been asked about a Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life season 2. However, all have remained politely noncommittal. It’s not unreasonable to read between the lines: none of them seem overtly enthusiastic about stretching out the story of Lorelai and Rory for another season. Milo Ventimiglia, who played Jess Marino, had a particularly damning assessment (via US Weekly):

You can’t have something live on forever. You have to accept that there is a time and a moment where your favorite show is on and you get to see stories of these characters, but these characters have to go on. These actors that play them, the writers that write them, they have to move on.”

Lauren Graham (also speaking to US Weekly) explained that she’s always open to a return, but only because it makes professional sense to be “so that door is open. Is it creatively warranted? Is it, you know, something? I don’t know. I don’t know. But yes, technically yes.” Netflix has no known plans to renew Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life, and since so much time has passed since 2016’s Gilmore Girls season 1, a return looks pretty unlikely. It doesn’t help that the first season of the Gilmore Girls revival wasn’t as well received as expected. This means that fans will probably never get to see Lorelai and Rory receive a better, more satisfying ending. Will Rory be able to provide a stable life for her baby? Will her book about her adventures with Lorelai pay off? Sadly for Gilmore Girls fans, there’ll probably never be an opportunity to find out.

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