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.
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?
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.
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.