In 2015, rumors spread that Netflix would be reviving Gilmore Girls, the beloved WB (and later, CW) show about the close bond between caffeinated flibbertigibbet Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and her studious daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel). That news was confirmed in a January 2016 tweet from Graham. “It's time for me, and this jacket I stole in 2007, to return to work,” Graham wrote.
Fans of the series freaked out at a chance to finally get to return to Stars Hollow, nine years after their beloved dramedy went off the air. For many, Gilmore Girls’s return is also a chance to right many of the series’s biggest wrongs, after showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino left the series following a contract dispute. She was replaced for the seventh season by producer David S. Rosenthal, and things just, well, weren’t the same.
If Sherman-Palladino wants to make things right with fans, she may have a lot to answer for. Here are the show’s nine biggest missteps.
1. Luke gets a lovechild because of a behind the scenes disagreement.Photo: The WB
Rumor has it among fans that tension behind the scenes began in the sixth season, when Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband, Daniel, who also served as an executive producer, wanted a two-year contract extension. The CW declined, given that the show’s stars, Graham and Bledel, were only signed for another season. In retaliation, Sherman-Palladino began to slowly dismantle the show behind the scenes, throwing in April Nardini, a long-lost love child who shows up on Luke’s doorstep to throw a wrench in his relationship with Lorelai.
The tale is apocryphal, but it’s hard to argue with the fact that bringing in April is, by far, the worst creative decision in Gilmore Girls’s seven season history. Throughout the show’s run, Gilmore Girls would have to find increasingly heavy-handed ways to keep Luke and Lorelai apart (see: their fight over the boat). Rather than just letting them be happy already, the writers threw an annoyingly precocious tween and a custody battle in between them. It didn’t help that April wasn’t even remotely believable: yes, this is Stars Hollow, where everyone talks like they’re auditioning for Jeopardy!, but what 12-year-old knows who Jay McInerney is?
2. Christopher and Lorelai get back together for no reason in Season 7.Photo: The WBGilmore Girls’s Ross and Rachel problem meant that the show kept pushing Lorelai together with Christopher, her high school sweetheart and Rory’s father. In the show’s early years, it made sense - the two have a shared history and they seem to get each other in a way no one else does. (Getting pregnant at 16 breeds a certain familiarity.) But the romantic tension dragged on way past its expiration date, culminating in a seventh season arc where the two pull a Kardashian. Lorelai and Chris get hitched in Paris, before having the union annulled quicker than you can say “jump the shark.”
3. The entire Digger-Lorelai relationship is filler.Photo: The WB
If you can get a great guest star on your show, surely you’ve got to use them right? '90s indie movie darling Chris Eigeman signed onto the fourth season of Gilmore Girls as Jason “Digger” Stiles, the much younger business associate of Lorelai’s father, Richard. As the one-time muse of Whit Stillman and Noah Baumbach, Eigeman is perfect casting for Gilmore Girls (the man knows how to handle a dense script), but Digger would have been better suited as one of Rory’s professors at Yale, not a Lorelai love interest.If you have a hard time taking seriously any man whose name is “Digger,” the producers may as well have hung “FILLER BOYFRIEND” across his neck (on that note, remember Alex?). Gilmore Girls never gave you a reason to root for their relationship.
4. Rory cuts her hair and then becomes a character you don’t like anymore.Photo: The WB
Sending your characters off to college is always risky for a teen-centric show. In the case of Gossip Girl, the writers had to find a way to keep all the Upper East Siders in New York (or there’s no show). For Gilmore Girls, however, the biggest problem is that sending Rory off to Yale turned the studious muumuu-wearing girl into a preppy swan princess with a hint of entitlement. Rory ditches her signature ponytail for an Audrey Hepburn-like bob and starts hanging out with the “Life and Death Brigade,” a bunch of trust fund kids who enjoy almost killing themselves for fun.Lorelai spent her entire life running from her parents’ privilege, and seeing Rory embrace that life by palling around with the cast of an Evelyn Waugh novel felt like a huge letdown.