This post contains spoilers about Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which is now streaming on Netflix.
Say whatever else you want to about Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, but the showrunners certainly made an exhaustive effort to include every single recurring character from the entire run of the original series. Most of them even stick around for a while! Here, a breakdown of what your favorite Gilmore Girls side characters are up to in the reboot - from Logan to Paris and everyone in between. (Even Digger and Gypsy!)
1. Miss Patty
Miss Patty's still holding down the fort at her dance studio, and we see her teaching classes and helping with auditions for the town musical. It's worth noting that the dancers have gotten hotter and more talented than ever since we saw them last … and Miss Patty herself looks way different! Sadly, there's no revival of her two-woman show with Babette but maybe that's something we'll just have to hope for in season two.
Of all the characters in A Year in the Life, Lane seems to have changed the least - and that seems to be a positive thing. She's still living in Stars Hollow, still married to Zach, and still raising their twin sons, Steve and Kwan. Incidentally, the boys should be 10 or so by now, but the (silent) child actors who play them look like kindergarteners. Hers is a happy life: She sees movies, jams at the town's secret bar, and continues to enjoy a very close friendship with Rory. She even gets along with her mom!
3. The Town Troubadour
The Town Troubadour (played by real-life musician Grant-Lee Philips) shows up exactly where and how you'd expect him to: serenading folks in the town square, right by the gazebo. He continues to do so throughout the series.
Taylor plays a fairly major role throughout the reboot - it's clear that some things have changed, but he's still pretty much running Stars Hollow. Some of his major projects throughout the series include trying to convince business owners to support his plan to switch Stars Hollow from a septic system to sewers, writing a musical about the history of the town, and starting (and then canceling) a gay pride parade. He is also somehow less annoying than he was in the original series. Absence makes the heart grow fonder?
One of the things the Gilmore Girls reboot assumes is that people really, really missed having Kirk on their televisions. Your mileage may vary on that, but Kirk has plenty to do throughout the reboot. He has a pet pig that he dotes on. Also, he's recently completed his second short film about the aforementioned pig, which he screens at the town's tiny movie theater. For a few weeks, he runs a ride-sharing business called Oober (not Uber!), which eventually gets shut down.
One of the nicest surprises of A Year in the Life's first episode is that there's no "Are they or aren’t they?" drama about Luke and Lorelai's relationship from the outset - they're together from the first episode on, albeit with some bumps in the road. Luke's presence is one of the anchors of the show. He's still running the diner, which he has no desire to build into a franchise, despite Lorelai's mom's insistence. He takes care of Paul Anka, loves Jess and April in his signature gruff way, and is so proud of Rory's New Yorker story that he prints it on the back of his menus at the diner. It's not a perfect life, but it's a good one.
Michel hasn't changed! (Although the show has in that it actually acknowledges his sexuality.) In the first episode, he's still at the inn, still Lorelai's sidekick, and still complaining - only instead of complaining about guests, he's annoyed by his husband's repeated attempts to get him to have a child. Annoyed Michel continues to be the best Michel. With Lorelai's help, he tries to learn to talk to kids so he doesn't sound "like a child molester." He also realizes he's grown too big for the Dragonfly Inn, and needs a place where he can try new things and make more money. Just when I was starting to like him!
Remember Gypsy? I didn't! But there she is in Stars Hollow, still working as the town mechanic, and still complaining about how difficult it is to service Lorelei's ancient Jeep. Later, she tries to convince Taylor to finally come out, and I've never loved her more. She pops up at town events throughout the series, and is the voice of sardonic reason every time she does.
Of all the folks I'd expected to see on the reboot, Lorelei's childhood friend and adulthood lover Jason Styles wasn't high on the list. But it makes sense that he'd turn up at Richard's funeral, even though their business partnership ended badly. He tells Lorelei that she looks like "the hottest Italian widow he's ever seen" and asks whether she's happy. No word on what his answer to that question would be.
One of the best things about A Year in the Life is that there's plenty of Paris, and we first catch up with her at the fertility and surrogacy clinic she owns, which she informs Luke and Lorelei (long story) is the largest of its kind on the Western Hemisphere. On top of her medical degree, she's a lawyer, an architecture expert, and a certified dental technician. She's also in the midst of a somewhat disdainful divorce from Doyle (more on him soon), with whom she shares two kids.
Logan is exactly where you'd expect him to be: He's living in a palatial apartment in London, working a job that requires him to wear incredibly sexy suits … and having a clandestine affair with Rory while he's also engaged to a Parisian heiress. Some things never change. He remains the King of the Grand Gesture and prepares an incredibly elaborate reunion of some of the members of the Life or Death Brigade to cheer up Rory when she's down.
12. Zach, Brian, and Gil
Hep Alien lives! They reunite for a band practice at Lane and Zach's house, but it’s not clear whether they're still serious about the band or jamming just for fun. Even though Zach is working for his dad and hating the corporate grind, he still gets to rock out every now and then, which is nice. (Also nice: seems like Brian's finally moved out of Lane and Zach's house!)
13. Mrs. Kim
Mrs. Kim is up to her old tricks - she's recruited a whole new choir of Korean kids to hit the hymn-singing circuit and has the same barely concealed disdain for them that she always had for Rory and Lane. And we even get to glimpse Mr. Kim for the first time! It's awkward.
Real talk: It's always weird to see Jackson without Sookie! But it's fun and nostalgic to see him up to his old vegetable-selling ways, at the town's annual international food festival. (Related: Has he always been this handsome?!) We don't hear much about his life these days, but when Sookie finally shows up (!!), she mentions that Jackson has been reading Little House in the Big Woods to their daughter. Awwww.
Again, Mitchum Huntzberger was pretty low on the list of folks who I wanted or expected to return during the new series, but there he is, horning in on Rory and Logan's lunch in a London restaurant (which turns out to be owned by the family). He's bombastic but it's not a total loss - he calls Conde Nast and gets them to finally make a long-postponed meeting with Rory happen.
In the years since Gilmore Girls, Danny Strong has become a massively successful screenwriter, so it's a bit of an in-joke that that's what his character Doyle does for a living as well. It's turned him into a bit of a tool, which is one of the reasons he and Paris decide to divorce. Rory tries to talk Paris into staying with him, saying they were once a good team, and Paris sadly replies, "That was before Brett Ratner gave him the keys to his pool house." He wears faded band T-shirts with jeans and is all-around insufferable.
This one is a bit of a stretch, because while Tristan has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo, he's not played by Chad Michael Murray, who originally played the part. It's not clear whether Tristan's part is so small because Murray wasn't available or if Murray turned down the return because the part was so small. Still, his very brief appearance is enough to send Paris into a tailspin, even though he doesn't say a single word. Bumping into your old high-school flame will do that.
Speaking of both "Paris" and "tailspin," she and Rory run into Francie, their one-time student council rival, in the bathroom at Chilton during an alumni event. Paris believes that Francie is still trying to sabotage her - and still blames her for her failure to get into Harvard, all those years ago. Francie makes it pretty clear that she doesn't think about Paris at all, because she's moved on to her adult life. However, we don't learn what she's been up to since high school, just that she's left high school very much in her past.
Hey, remember when Luke's daughter April turned up in the final seasons of Gilmore Girls and everything got WAY MORE IRRITATING? Turns out that college at MIT has really kicked her up a notch, rather than mellowing her out. She writes Luke long, insufferable letters that require a thesaurus for deciphering, pierces her nose, and acts overall snippy and too cool at dinner with Luke, Lorelai, and Rory. She also lies about having met Noam Chomsky and plans for a trip to Europe on Luke's dime in a quest to get signatures for the legalization of pot. April admits to Rory that this "too cool" business is a front but it's aggravating regardless.
In the past, Andrew attended town meetings and said some things. In the present, Andrew attends town meetings and says some things. Consistency!
Even though the original Carole King theme song isn't used in this series, Carole King herself returns as Sophie, the owner of the town's music store. Carole is a vocal participant in town meetings and works on the advisory committee for the town musical that Taylor creates. When Taylor bemoans the lack of original songs for the show, Sophie takes to the piano and offers up "I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet," which Taylor dismisses as not catchy enough. It is confusing that Sophie plays a Carole King song and passes it off as her own. Does this mean there's no Carole King in the Stars Hollow universe?! WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Jess seems to finally have grown out of his surly adolescent phase, which is a relief, since he's in his 30s now. He runs a moderately successful small press and seems to be happy doing so, saying he'd be delighted if Dave Eggers knew his outfit existed. He also seems to return to Stars Hollow on a fairly regular basis. Jess comes back to help his mom and TJ escape from a vegetable cult (long story). While he's there, he both offers Luke some real emotional support and gives Rory the idea of writing a book about her life with Lorelai. It's genuinely touching.
23. Robert, Finn, and Colin
In additional "The band is back together!" news, Logan reunites a few of the members of the Life or Death Brigade for a night of the best debauchery rural New England has to offer. They show up in their traditional secret society gorilla masks, and cause trouble all over Stars Hollow and its surrounding towns, and they're very sweet to Rory all the while. We don't learn much about their adult lives, save for the fact that they continue to drink, womanize, and burn through their trust funds. Sounds about right.
24. Babette (and Morey!)
Nothing seems to have changed much for Babette - she's still Stars Hollow's best source of gossip and scratchy-voiced banter. She's a fixture at town meetings and instrumental in the development of the Stars Hollow musical (although if I never hear Sally Struthers say "kinky boots" again, it'll be too soon). While Morey was constantly by her side during the early Gilmore Girls seasons, he only turns up here as her date to Eraserhead. Jazz must be keeping him busy.
Only Gilmore Girls fans with deep, deep memories will recall Bootsy, a townsperson from the series' earliest seasons. He only appeared in five episodes originally, but he's a featured recognizable member of the community this time around. His best moment comes when he heckles Luke for caring too much about the storage cabinet Luke donated to the town pool for storing float-y toys. He speculates about what the children Luke has with the cabinet might look like, since Luke apparently loves it so much. Heckle on, Bootsy.
Kirk's girlfriend Lulu is working as an usher at the tiny town movie theater. She offers Luke and Lorelai seating on a love seat, then heavily implies that she and Kirk have had sexy times on it. Yay? She and Kirk seem to be happy and going strong, although it's hard to tell from her very brief appearance on the show. Also, no one says it outright, but it appears that Lulu plays an instrumental part in supporting Kirk's aspirations as a filmmaker, something no one should do.
Rory and Dean have a short but sweet interaction at Doosey's Market, where it all began between the two of them, and it's a nice full-circle moment. He has three little kids and his wife is expecting a fourth. He hates his sister's boyfriend, who climbs things for a living. And he's lovely about the fact that Rory's writing a book and that he's going to end up in it, although it probably helps that she assures him she's going to say he was "the greatest boyfriend alive."
Sookie is conspicuously absent for almost all of the series, something that's not a surprise, since it was famously difficult to get Melissa McCarthy on board. But she's worth the wait - when we finally see her again, she's baked a whole kitchen of cakes for Lorelai's wedding to Luke. She's left the inn after a short sabbatical to work with a world-renowned chef becomes a new calling. While that's hard for Lorelai to accept, they come to a place of understanding and declare that they're still best friends. Also, apparently what she's doing now involves literally eating a lot of dirt?
We seen Christopher in an office he refers to as "the cave," and he explains to Rory that means he's finally given in and taken a job within the family business. He doesn't seem too miserable and seems to have a decent relationship with his other daughter, Gigi, who lives in France. He's in a good, strong enough place to weather some tough questions from Rory about why he was OK with letting Lorelai raise Rory mostly on her own. I can't say it's great to see him but it's good to know he's all right nonetheless.
30. Headmaster Charleston
Headmaster Charleston is still at Chilton and still terrified to be in a room with Paris alone for more than 30 seconds. He seems a little kinder than he did back in Rory and Paris's high school days though. When Rory confesses that she's living "here and there," Charleston worries about her and offers her any job she wants on the Chilton faculty, once she's gotten a master's degree. It's a nice gesture, although I'm not sure Chilton parents would be thrilled that that is how he goes about hiring teachers.
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