By Christopher Rosa. Photos: Courtesy of Netflix, Twitter.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Netflix's highly-anticipated Gilmore Girls revival—Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life—finally made its debut over Thanksgiving weekend, and fans are in heaven. The four-part epic is a coffee-scented nostalgia parade that answers hot-burning questions, but still leaves us yearning for more. (Um, those last four words, anybody?) The small-town charm that made us fall in love with the original series is present in spades, and that's comforting.
But also infuriating. The writing in the OG Gilmore Girls series is colorful and fun, yes, but, at times, it's also dated and filled with jokes that don't exactly land today. We live in an era that (rightfully) rejects offensive and downright mean jokes, and I thought Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino would take this into consideration when they wrote Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
But there in between the delightful Tori Spelling references and saccharine boyfriend reunions are tone-deaf quips about "gays," non-English-speaking folks, and, in two uncomfortable scenes at the pool during the "Summer" episode, plus-size people.
"Summer" begins with Lorelai and Rory debating the purpose of pools while sitting at the pool. As they're talking at a lighting-fast pace, two larger men with exposed stomachs pass by, and Lorelai feels the need to say, "Belly alert!" Rory chimes in with "Holy moly," as if she's never seen plus-size men before in her life. (If she thinks all dudes have rippling six-packs like her emotionally unavailable Logan Huntzberger, she's in for a world of pain.) But it gets worse: Midway through the episode, the gals are back at the pool with a new batch of body-shaming insults. One unsuspecting man (whom Rory and Lorelai nicknamed "Back Fat Pat") warmly goes up to the girls and welcomes Rory back to Stars Hollow, and Rory thanks him by accidentally calling him "fat" to his face. In two short scenes, Rory and Lorelai went from my favorite mother-daughter duo to my worst nightmare at the pool.
Because I'm overweight. For me, going to the beach or pool is an emotionally harrowing experience; I strategically plan my shirtless moments so I won't get fat-shamed. I'll walk to the edge of the pool with my shirt on; then, I'll quickly rip it off and jump in before anybody can get a good look at my body. And this is on a good day: Most of the time, I'll just sit with my shirt on, even though I'm burning up and desperately want to swim. It took until the last day of a four-day cruise with my friends for me to gain the courage to go shirtless. I essentially spent $400 to watch other people have fun because I'd rather be sweaty than ridiculed.
The source of my fear is comments like Lorelai and Rory's "jokes." Frankly, their casual bullying took me out of my Stars Hollow bliss. I had trouble fully engaging in the revival after it happened.
Because I thought Lorelai and Rory were better than this. They've always seemed more concerned with their friends' brains than their waistlines. Take Lorelai's best friend, Sookie (Melissa McCarthy). For much of the series, Miss Patty was curvy. Would Rory and Lorelai body shame these women if they saw them in swimsuits? After watching these scenes in the revival, I can't definitively say "no."
And that sucks. For me, the revival—which I'd been looking forward to for months—was spoiled by these thoughtless scenes. Not only that, they made me strongly dislike two characters I once revered. I'm not the only fan on this train. Just look these pool scene reactions on Twitter.
SMH. I'd say, "Do better next time, Gilmore Girls, " but there might not be a next time. This could be the last impression I have of the show, and it's not a good one.
This story originally appeared on Glamour.
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