“Fall” | Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
With Thanksgiving being this week, it hasn’t been too busy on our TV screens, but with the series that have aired, we’ve been exposed to some very wonderful things. Timeless showcased the strength between the travel team beautifully. This Is Us dropped bombshells after another in an emotional Thanksgiving special. And Brooklyn Nine Nine gave us a glimpse into Amy Santiago’s family life. But it was in the final installment of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life where Lauren Graham took us on a journey that crushed our hearts.
If you’ve yet to watch the series, there are spoilers ahead.
The cast and crew were right when they stated that the late Edward Hermann’s Richard Gilmore would be a presence throughout the revival. And when Lorelai embarked on a Wild (book, not the movie) journey of self discovery, we were all resorted to tears during my viewing party. There was not a dry eye in the room.
I was 13 years old. It was my birthday. Royston Sinclair III had broken my heart in front of everyone. I had snuck into your closet that morning and took that green beaded top that was your mother’s…that you kept so carefully wrapped up in tissue paper in your cedar closet. I was never supposed to touch it, but I stole it. And I wore it to school with my Chemin de Fer sailor jeans. And I thought no one was as stylish as I was. Royston laughed, he said I was cheap. He said that the only reason he’d been my boyfriend was because he was mad at Angie Morgan and he wasn’t anymore. He called me loud and weird. And he said there was a rumor going around that I wasn’t actually a Gilmore..that…I was the gardener’s daughter and…you’d bought me because you couldn’t have children of your own. And I was crushed. And I ran out of class. And I ran out of school. And I went to the mall. And I was sitting in the food court, wishing I had some money to buy a pretzel because I was starving. And I looked up…and there was Dad..standing in front of me..at the mall. He never came to the mall. That day…he went to the mall…and he was furious. Why aren’t you in school?, he asked. Tell me right now, Lorelai. Why aren’t you in school? And I tried to think of something…some lie that would make sense, but I couldn’t. All I could think was that yesterday I had a boyfriend who loved me and today I didn’t and I started to cry. I just sat there like and idiot, bawling. And finally, after what seemed like forever, I managed to control myself a little bit. And I calmed down and I waited. I waited for him to yell at me…to punish me…to ground me forever…to tell me how disappointed he was in me. And nothing came. And finally I got up enough courage…to look up at him and he was standing there with a pretzel…a giant pretzel, covered with mustard. And he handed it to me and he said, let’s go. And he took me to the movies. We saw Grease and An Unmarried Woman. Something for me and something for him, he’d said. He bought me popcorn and Red Hots and we sat in the dark and we watched. And then he took me home and he gave me a sweater to cover up the stolen top and he told you that he’d picked me up from school and taken me to the club for a soda. And that was it. We never discussed it again. That was the best birthday I ever had. I just thought you should know.
Lauren Graham is an incredibly gifted actress — no one else can keep the chatty, sarcastic dry humor in motion like her. But in this scene, we watched Graham bring out a part of Lorelai that’s been hidden for decades. A part of her that’s haunted and healed her. A memory she’s held onto with a fervency unlike anything other. This was a part of her she needed to revisit in order to grieve — to truly grieve. There’s never closure with loved ones. Death is sudden sometimes. There are no prior goodbyes. There aren’t always warning signs. But telling this story to her mother allowed the two of them to be reminded of Richard’s grace and profound adoration while giving them the means to move forward. And Graham did so with a performance that was exquisitely empowering. And Emily thanked her daughter, Kelly Bishop delivered the scene with a serene contentment we’ve yet to see from her. For the first time in years, she and her daughter were able to share a moment that’d mean the absolute world to each of them. And that’s exactly how Richard Gilmore would’ve wanted it. This isn’t just this Week’s Most Exquisite TV Moment, it’s a moment for the year. And this isn’t the last time we’ll be writing about it.