A Year in the Life, Round Two!

1280_gilmore_girls_revival_fallMy sister and I finished up the Gilmore Girls revival tonight—er, last night?—with “Summer” and “Fall.” While the first half of the revival was göööd, the second half was… lacking. The following review is mostly spoiler-free, and contains some complaining from the perspective of a storyteller and longtime fan.

When “Summer” started, there was still no sign of Jess or Dean, and Rory was still really lost. Lorelai and Emily were working through some things. During a town meeting, Taylor announced that they’d be putting on a musical. This musical took up entirely too much time. It was awful. We got it already, okay? Everyone else seemed to enjoy it, except Lorelai. The musical didn’t really seem to fulfill any purpose other than filler. I actually considered fast-forwarding, which I’ve never done while watching Gilmore Girls. Ever.

There were still funny parts, of course, but the whole thing just seemed to lose direction. I didn’t even mind that all three generations weren’t on the best of terms, because that’s been a theme throughout this show. What bothered me was the long segments that did nothing to move the story forward. Between the never-ending musical and the caricature of a dream sequence that was actually the return of the Life and Death Brigade, I was bored and frustrated. Lauren said she felt the same. We actually paused during the musical to make some tea. I wish I’d just let it keep playing, because literally nothing new happened.

In “Fall,” things finally started coming together in the second half. But they seemed rushed. It was almost as if ASP really didn’t know which direction she wanted to go in. I know the cast members all have other commitments, so it’s not that I’m bummed Dean had two minutes of screen time and Jess had only a few more. Both Rory and Lorelai felt very out of character to me. The things Rory was doing just weren’t her. And Lorelai’s quest in “Fall” was so bizarre. That’s not how Lorelai handles things.

It all just seemed like filler.

And, without giving anything away, the ending felt very anticlimactic and left me with no closure. That’s what this whole thing was supposed to be about. There were three things I was left wanting after the abrupt end of the original series:

  • a Luke and Lorelai wedding
  • to know that Rory had her life together
  • a real match for Rory

I didn’t feel like I got any of those things. If they’d canned the 30-minute musical, we could’ve had more than an elopement montage and a thrown-together ending with zero resolution.

Even more frustrating, the ending left us with more questions than answers. I was very disappointed and, like Lauren said, almost wish they hadn’t even bothered. Though I will say I’m glad things were finally resolved between Lorelai and Emily. Even that felt rushed, though.

The four words—I won’t give them away, I promise—were pretty much what I suspected. But they just left another cliffhanger for dedicated fans to tumble off of.

In a nutshell, the first half was great and the second half was rushed. I’m deeply disappointed. If by some chance they do more, I won’t be watching. I feel punk’d.

Have you seen the Gilmore Girls revival? What did you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

PS: I’m thinking of doing a live stream in Romance Readers Anonymous where we can talk about our feels. First I’ll survey the group and find out how many of us have seen it, that way I don’t accidentally spoil anything!

A Year in the Life with Barone’s Belles

I made this for the reader group I co-run, Romance Readers Anonymous. Jess or bust!
I made this for the reader group I co-run, Romance Readers Anonymous. Jess or bust!

Technically I’m supposed to be unplugged for the weekend, but I couldn’t resist sneaking on and sharing some of my thoughts on the Gilmore Girls reunion on Netflix: A Year in the Lifespoiler-free, of course!

I grew up on Gilmore Girls with my mom and sister. Those nights are some of my best memories. No matter what was happening in my life, I always had my girls and the Gilmores. We also got my Noni hooked on it, and even my dad watched with us sometimes. (He was convinced from the very beginning that Luke and Lorelai were meant to be.) So when I heard about the reunion, I knew I’d have to binge it with at least two of the women who have always been my rock. We’d originally planned on trying to do it on launch day, making it an all-day fest—complete with coffee and Chinese! But I screwed up the date and my mom ended up having to work.

Then I found out Noni and Aunt Wendy wanted in, making it a three-generation celebration! We did some planning and decided to watch the first half tonight and the rest tomorrow (and maybe Sunday, if we need to). And of course, we had Chinese (though not coffee because it was already late in the day and I am one of those people who believe you can’t sleep after drinking it, haha.) I have a lot of thoughts and feels, but I’ll keep it spoiler-free, because I don’t want the wrath of Taylor sicced on me. 😜

Side note: I call my reader group Barone’s Belles*, because I’m Barone and my kick-ass main characters are my belles—plus my strong and beautiful readers are my belles (and beaus sometimes), too. After I told my family about the group, Noni started calling us her Barone’s Belles. So it’s an extra special name now. I was super excited to get to spend time with these ladies, because life is life-y and we don’t often all get to gather.

We watched “Winter” and “Spring” back to back.

First of all, this reunion is funny. Like, Gilmore Girls was always funny. Rewatching it again recently, I thought it was even funnier than I’d remembered. But Amy Sherman- and Daniel Palladino really brought it for this—as well as the entire cast.

And it’s so pretty! The set is gorgeous and even though some things are different, it’s definitely my Stars Hollow. Even the way it was shot and everything… Just beautiful!

I teared up when “Winter” kicked off, because hearing the rewind of the original series and  knowing we were about to see the reunion just made my heart squeeze. As each cast member made their appearance, I got so excited. It was like seeing old friends.

Now, this isn’t a spoiler if you’ve watched the trailers, so I think it’s okay to mention. All three Gilmore women are going through a rough time. It’s so painful to see Emily grieving Richard, and it’s hard watching Lorelai struggle with her worries, but I think it’s hardest for me to watch Rory feeling so lost. Rory has always been something of a role model for me. She’s always been so confident, and to see her struggling with her confidence is both heartbreaking and relatable. I’ve been feeling a bit lost myself, lately.

But I know Rory will find her place and come back swinging, because that’s my girl. (And so will I, because if Rory can overcome Wookies and bitchy CEOs, I can handle my stuff, too.)

I really want to gush and squee over the details, but I don’t want to give anything away. So if you want to leave a comment, keep it spoiler-free for those of us who haven’t watched yet. (I can tell you right now, I won’t be checking anything internet-y until I’ve seen all four episodes because I will cut a bitch**.)

Oh, and speaking of episodes… Netflix is calling this “Season 1.” While I kinda think that’s just because it’s how they do things, part of me is hoping it’s because there’ll be more. But even if there isn’t, I’m so, so, so happy that we got this reunion—and we finally get to hear those four words.

Which of Rory’s exes are you rooting for? All five of us are Team Jess, and so is my dear CP Molli Moran, but I know my dear work wife J.C. Hannigan is staunchly Team Logan. 🙃  Tell me who you’re hoping Rory ends up with in the comments!


*If you’d like to join my reader group, click here and request to join. I or someone else will approve you ASAP! I post behind-the-scenes tidbits while I’m writing, Belles-only excerpts, early cover reveals, and more! I also co-run Romance Readers Anonymous with Molli, J.C., and the lovely Rebecca Paula.

**I don’t actually think spoilers are a big deal. I mean, am I going to avoid going out into public for fear of spoilers? No! I think people who get angry about them are overreacting a bit. But something like this, something we’ve waited ten years for… I think it’s decent to maintain the surprises for everyone else. Thankfully I have Netflix so I don’t have to wait—THANK YOU SANDY!—but I’d be a little miffed if I went on Twitter and all the details were immediately in my face. Not everyone has the luxury of extras right now, and I understand that all too well. As far as everything else… Well, I’m married to the king of blabbing TV and movie spoilers, so I’ve learned to deal. I actually call him Spoiler Alert sometimes. 😂 He knows better than to spoil certain things for me, though. 🔪😈😉

Unplug, For Fuck’s Sake

via Unsplash
via Unsplash

For quite some time, I had a hard and fast rule: no social media on weekends. Over time I started bending it. After all, my life doesn’t stop on Saturdays and Sundays, and I enjoy sharing it (especially on Twitter). I still try to hop on as little as possible, using my time to just recharge. But this weekend, I needed a cold turkey cleanse.

I completely unplugged from both Twitter and Facebook—a feat that required gargantuan effort. Actually, Friday night I hopped on several times “just to see.” What I was trying to see, I don’t exactly know. Truthfully it was my way of getting another fix. I didn’t cut myself off from Instagram and Pinterest, but I used them only minimally. Mostly I relaxed.

On Saturday, I slept in until 2:30pm. My friends with children are glaring so hard at me right now, but in my defense I hadn’t slept Thursday night, and I’ve been fighting off flareup fatigue while juggling anxiety attacks. I desperately needed the rest—even if I woke up somewhat panicked because more than half the day was already gone.

Sometimes, you just need quiet time.

Because the last couple of weeks had been full of panic attacks, I really needed to calm my mind. Thankfully, my old therapist E gave me some really great tools. I used eucalyptus essential oil to combat my three-day tension migraine. If you put some on your chest, the back of your neck, your forehead, and temples, it really helps sooth the pain.

I also binged The Fosters. If you haven’t caught this show, you need to. Going in, I thought it was going to be a lighthearted family show. And for the most part, it is; no matter what happens, you know the Adams-Foster family goes to sleep with love in their hearts. But damn, do they tackle some heavy stuff. They do it in such a way, though, that you can’t help but feel good (even after they’ve played with your emotions and made you cry). I love the healthy relationships and choices they portray. No matter how hard things get, there’s always a chance for these characters to move forward. And the fact that this show is so pro-LGBT+ makes it even more of a winner.

In between episodes, Mike and I started Luke Cage, which is like a billion times better than those other Marvel shows. *cough* Daredevil *cough* Jessica Jones *cough* I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who doesn’t dig those shows. I tried really hard to like Daredevil, but I couldn’t even get through one episode of Jessica Jones. However, Luke Cage is kick-ass. Maybe it’s because Mike Colter is oh-so-damn handsome. Or maybe it just took some time for the team behind these shows to really hit their stride. But the acting, pace, story, and characters are just phenomenal. We’ve only been able to watch one episode a night, and I’m dying for more.

Side note: I recognized Colter from Ringer and The Following right away. I was super excited, because I loved him on those shows. He’s such an awesome actor. And did I mention how gorgeous he is? 😍

We also went grocery shopping, which ended up a bit more of an adventure than intended because we ran out of money before we could finish. Starving artist problems, sigh. I’m so looking forward to the day when we don’t have to worry about these things. But we have enough to get us through the next couple of weeks, and that’s all that matters.

On Sunday, I spent the entire day binging The Fosters and working on a project I’d thought I’d completely abandoned. Back in 2007 when I was in college, I took a crafts class as an elective. It was a difficult course because it was very hands on, and that was around the time when my arthritis first started. I had to get a doctor’s note to skip certain projects because they put too much strain on my wrists, and it broke my heart. However, there was one activity that I really fell in love with: embroidery.

Even after the semester ended, I continued playing with it, learning new stitches and working at my own pace. Though it is hard on my hands, I’ve found that using a hoop really helps. Frequent breaks, too. 😉 I’d started a project in 2012-ish, recreating leaves placemats that I’d seen in the Kohl’s store I worked in at the time. They weren’t even that pretty, and the store had jacked the price way up. I thought to myself, I can totally make those, and started… but never finished.

In fact, when I picked it back up again this weekend, I realized I’d made even less progress than I’d thought. I was able to finish my first one, though, and nearly completed a second. By the time I went to bed last night, I was so relaxed, I dropped off to sleep almost right away. And I didn’t even need the eucalyptus oil!

This weekend I also got to spend a little much needed time with my sister-in-law. We jammed out to this song on the radio, which I’d heard before but hadn’t caught the artist. Now I know and Kiiara is fantastic writing music. I just love how chill this song is, and her voice is angelic.

This weekend I learned something really cool about myself: No matter how hard things get, I’ll always work through them and move forward. In the past, my anxiety and depression have felt suffocating, like they would go on forever and ever. While my anxiety was pretty bad these last couple weeks, the key difference this time around was that I knew eventually it would pass—especially if I kept using my self-care tools. This time last year, I was so lost, but in the past twelve months I’ve grown in leaps and bounds. I’m a completely different person. I’m still me at my core, but I’m also stronger. More confident. Empowered, not ashamed.

In the quiet of my calm mind this weekend, I sat reflecting on all of this. It feels so good to be in this place, to be this version of me. Even though I still have my challenges to work though, I’ll always keep moving forward.

And when I need a break, I’ll keep making myself unplug, for fuck’s sake. 😉