Where you lead, I will follow. And I will probably complain about it being a disappointment once we’ve arrived—but I’m excited for the journey!
Fans of Carole King theme songs, precociously close and occasionally fraught mother-daughter relationships, dizzyingly caffeinated banter, and Lauren Freaking Graham are having 140-character orgasms on Twitter Monday afternoon, with the news that Netflix will be reviving Gilmore Girls.
According to TV Line, the streaming service as nostalgia’s fairy godmother will add Gilmore Girls to the growing list of pop culture relics it is resuscitating—following in the footsteps of Arrested Development, Wet Hot American Summer, and the upcoming Full House spin-off, Fuller House. The original Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and executive producer Daniel Palladino will write the new series, which will consist of four 90-minute episodes, so adorably and Gilmore Girls-ily dubbed “movielets.”
Negotiations are still in the infant stages, but it’s expected that original stars Lauren Graham (Lorelai), Alexis Bledel (Rory), Kelly Bishop (Emily), and Scott Patterson (Luke) will return.
Conspicuously absent from TV Line’s list is Melissa McCarthy, the now-megawatt famous Oscar nominated film superstar whom Gilmore Girls obsessives obnoxiously like to remind you they knew first! when she was delight and cheer personified, bubbly chef and best friend to Lorelai, Sookie St. James, on the show.
Also absent is Liza Wiel, who has, in the years since her tyrant/savant/Rory BFF Paris Geller graduated Yale, gone on to bleach her hair, rock a fierce femme fatale blunt blob, and learn how to brood, sulk, and, most importantly, get away with murder. Imagine the Rory-Paris reunion, though. “Holy crap, Paris…??!!” “Rory, I have killed.” Then Alexis Bledel does her trademark “oh, brother” eye roll. We can’t wait!
While the likes of McCarthy, Wiel, and fellow future breakout stars Matt Czuchry (currently on The Good Wife) and Milo Ventigmilia (Heroes and a lot of other failed TV shows that made us sad about his potential) aren’t confirmed for the reunion series, there is such a resounding amount of affection between this cast and Sherman-Palladino that it would be shocking if all of them did not return in some capacity. All, sans McCarthy, appeared on a reunion panel at the ATX Television Festival back in the fall.
A Gilmore Girls revival, eight-ish years since the dramedy went off-air (Gilmore Girls earned the “dramedy” distinction long before we were lobbing it at Orange Is the New Black, Transparent, and Glee), is a justice moment of sorts for Sherman-Palladino.
The creative mastermind of the series—and the one largely responsible for the show’s signature voice, whiplash dialogue, and sarcasm-tinged heart—never finished the series the way she had envisioned. She left the show before its final season amid contract disputes with Warner Brothers.
That final season, which aired on the spinoff network The CW once its original network, The WB, went defunct, was largely revolted against by the show’s biggest fans, who were frustrated by where the characters ended up.
Back in 2009, Sherman-Palladino even conceded in an Entertainment Weekly interview that “I haven’t [actually] seen the last season, but I heard it from other people.” What she did say, however, was that it didn’t match up with how she originally envisioned the series ending.
Maddeningly, Sherman-Palladino has teased over the years that there were four specific words she envisioned the series would end with. (The actual series finale featured Rory and Lorelai gabbing over coffee for one last time before Rory heads off to cover the fledgling presidential campaign of promising politician Barack Obama, eventually their conversation fading out to the familiar “la la la’s” that scored many-a-Gilmore-scene.)
Even at this summer’s ATX Television Festival reunion, Sherman-Palladino refused to share what those four words are. “At this point, I’m just being an asshole,” she said. And TRUE! The good news is that fans are now apparently getting a 90-minute movielet per word.
When asked about a Gilmore Girls revival back in June, a question she had received ad nauseum in the years since the show was canceled to the point that we’re impressed she doesn’t throw bricks at people who ask it, she said, “It would have to be the right everything—the right format, the right timing. If it ever happened, I promise we’ll do it correctly.”
And while pop culture revivals are almost unilaterally disappointing, crushed under the weight of nostalgic expectation and crippled by the near-impossibility of fulfilling all of fans’ hopes and dreams about what happened to their characters, Sherman-Palladino is at least right about the “right format” part.
Netflix, in a way, has already saved the show.
The service began streaming all seven seasons of the series last year, bringing a windfall of appreciation, glory, and newfound recognition to a show that found its legacy potentially marred by a subpar final season muddied with behind-the-scenes strife.
The show’s best moments were ranked in countless listicles. Binge-watching guides directed fans and newcomers alike to the show’s most pivotal episodes, an instant reminder of the spark and warmth that the show managed to kindle when it was firing at its best. The supreme talents of Lauren Graham and Kelly Bishop, who were both unjustly snubbed of Emmy nominations throughout the show’s run, were bowed down to again.
The show was discovered and subsequently adored by new fans. So now, as anyone who was on Twitter Monday afternoon surely learned, there are more of us to geek out and, alternately, stress over the news that the show is returning.
Will Rory be covering the Bernie Sanders campaign, or will she have long abandoned the fuddy-duddy dinosaur that is print journalism, now writing provocative first-person essays about Tinder for Vice? And will she be jealous that Lorelai had moved on to another, even more perfect family, the Bravermans? (No one has taste like Lauren Graham. She followed her Gilmore Girls run with a six-season stint on the similarly underappreciated NBC cryfest Parenthood.)
And the biggest question will be how freaking sad, to the point of will we ever be able to recover from it sad, will it be when Lorelai, Rory, and Emily address the death of family patriarch Richard, whose portrayer Edward Herrmann passed away last winter. (At the ATX Television Festival the cast left an empty armchair on stage in honor of the late actor, and just remembering photos of it are enough to have me weeping over my keyboard right now.)
So let’s raise our coffee mugs to the news that Gilmore Girls, unequivocally one of the finest shows that the turn of the century has gifted us thus far, could be returning to offer the ending it’s always deserved. To make us cry again, to make us chuckle 10 seconds too late at Lorelai’s joke because she told it so fast and she’s already on to her next one, to make us wince as she and Emily spar again, and then to make us swell with all the emotions when they inevitably make up.
Let us also, of course, raise a skeptical eyebrow. As exciting as these revivals are, they’re terrifying, with the risk of ruining an entire legacy. (And a history of just that happening.)
But for now let’s just relish the promise of more Friday night dinners.