I saw a little bit of the new Gilmore Girls mini-series, and a few things really stuck out to me. First was that in the opening back-and-forth, Lauren Graham was much more on her Gilmore Girls game than Alexis Bledel. Rory was holding in giggles while Lorelai was doing her thang. The more important thing was the 30-something gang, as they felt like Amy Sherman-Palladino (the creator) had had a plan for the series and didn’t deviate even though a decade had passed.
That’s evident from ASP (as many refer to the creator) holding onto the final four words of the series. She said she always wanted to end the series with four words (though the actual words were met with a mixed response). I couldn’t get it out of my mind with the 30-something gang though. For those who haven’t seen the new episodes, the 30-something gang is a group of 30-somethings who have left Stars Hollow, had jobs and degrees, then moved back into their childhood rooms. Just like (SPOILERS) Rory does. What doesn’t fit is that these are 30-somethings. It feels like something a 20-something would do, which is what Rory would have been had the series not taken a break, as Rory was a 20-something when the series ended.
Rory still has relationships with the same men, her mother has not advanced in her career, and everyone is the same. A decade has passed in reality and the show, but it feels like it has been unfrozen (minus Rory’s career). Gilmore Girls‘s seventh season was the final one and it was not run by ASP, as there was a contract dispute. Because of that, the series did not end how she wanted it to. This revival was her way of ending the series how she wanted to. The issue, and the point of the blog post, is that the show changed, so the originally ending may not have fit. As many of the plot points wouldn’t have, because a decade has passed.
Another series which suffered from a similar mistake (though not a revival) was How I Met Your Mother. (Spoilers coming up) The pilot was so intriguing because of the twist: the girl Ted fell for was not the mother, she was AUNT Robin! Gasp! But the creators realized a problem: Ted and Robin were too good together. So what did they do? They filmed the ending of the series at the end of season 2 and said that Ted’s actual wife (and the mother) passed away due to cancer and the whole story was his way of getting his kids to be okay with him dating Robin. That would have worked well enough during the first few seasons, but as the series progressed, the show found that Barney and Robin had chemistry. So much that they had them get married. Also, they spent the entirety of the ninth showing how Barney and Robin are perfect for each other. The series evolved, but the ending did not. It made the ending both infuriating and unsatisfying.
The question is: When should a creator change the ending? Or should s/he change it at all? If a series is conceived with a particular end, should the series fit that ending or should the ending fit the series? The two examples I provided may have been negative, but I’m sure there are more. Some have probably worked really well. The Dexter finale wasn’t written until the final season, and it was truly awful. Truly. So is there a right answer to my question or is it a case-by-case basis? I haven’t seen the end of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, so maybe I’m speaking too soon. (But I looked up spoilers…)
– Max Dosser