Never thought I’d see the day when new episodes of Gilmore Girls were available. My wife and I loved watching the show when it was on the WB (remember that wacky network?)and later the CW back in the early aughts. It always had a reputation as a “chick flick” type of show, but that was lazy pigeonholing, probably because the cast featured very strong female characters. In my humble opinion, it was one of the best written shows going, and show creator/producer/writer Amy Sherman-Palladino and her writing partner husband Daniel are true geniuses.
The show never made much of a dent in the ratings during its seven seasons on the air. But the episodes hold up very well (due to the strong writing, naturally), so it gained a new generation of fans thanks to the magic of Netflix. So much so that they “got the band back together” and created four new 90-minute episodes which debuted on Netflix yesterday.
My wife and I watched the first one last night, and after nearly a decade away, they haven’t missed a beat. All the things that made me love Gilmore Girls were present and accounted for:
- rapid-fire dialogue
- witty pop culture references – no one else could pull off lines like these:
- “you Spinal Tapped the painting”
- “Brett Ratner gave him the keys to his pool house”
- quirky characters
- fantastic music
The characters and the dialogue make the show, but for a music-head like me, the songs are a great big cherry on top. As soon as I saw Grant-Lee Phillips reprising his role as the town troubadour, I knew all was well in Stars Hollow. (And the woefully underappreciated Sam Phillips – no relation to Grant-Lee – is still featured in transitional “la-la” music too!). Later in the show, we got to hear snippets of Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love”, and Kirk singing The Carpenters segueing right into the Shonen Knife version of “Top of the World.”
The Tom Waits song “Time” was a perfect choice for the scene at Richard’s funeral.
And Lane’s band (featuring Sebastian Bach from Skid Row!) rocked out a great version of Joe Jackson’s “I’m the Man.” Joe could rock it too:
Grant-Lee also chased off a competing town troubadour (his sister), played by Louise Goffin (Carole King’s daughter, who duets with her mom on the show’s theme song). But my favorite moment was when Grant-Lee was featured later in the show, doing a Fountains of Wayne tune, “Valley Winter Song.” It was probably only 10 seconds of screen time, but it truly made my day.
Here’s the original from Fountains of Wayne, it first appeared on their fantastic album Welcome Interstate Managers.
Being on Gilmore Girls has been a boon to Grant-Lee Phillips’ career too, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Here’s a quote from a recent interview:
“It’s wild. When I first started appearing on that show, I couldn’t really get a sense of how it would impact my notoriety, my profile. But what I have experienced is there’s a younger crowd especially—and this exists all over the world where I tour—they have discovered me through the ‘Gilmore Girls.’ They show up to my gig in Hamburg with their ‘Gilmore’ DVDs. I think it’s quite amazing,” he explained. “I’m very grateful for ‘Gilmore Girls,’ and the fact it’s turned on a whole new generation to my stuff.”
Here’s a clip of all of Grant-Lee’s tunes on the original run of GG:
Thank you Amy Sherman-Palladino for a wonderful Black Friday gift for every member of your cult audience: more heaping helpings of greatness. And thank you Netflix for giving Gilmore Girls a new home.