stay tuned

Should I Watch Season 7 of Gilmore Girls? Your Pressing TV Questions, Answered

Photo: Scott Garfield/Getty Images

Welcome back to Stay Tuned, Vulture’s TV advice column. Each Wednesday, Margaret Lyons answers your questions about your various TV triumphs and woes. Need help? Have a theory? Want a recommendation? Submit a question! You can email, or tweet @margeincharge with the hashtag #staytuned. Today, in honor of the Netflix revival, a special edition, all about Gilmore Girls.

Like a lot of dedicated TV-watchers, I can tell when there is a changing of the guard. We all know the doom of West Wing season five or the painful spiral of Dexter. As someone who is now precious with TV time, is season seven a must-watch? I’ve completed season six. I assume the “revival” will be accessible for all, but especially rewarding for those who watched every season. —Collin

I answered a similar question back in 2014, but in the wake of revival news, let’s revisit this: Should you watch season seven?

Yes. In an interview with TVLine, creator Amy Sherman-Palladino said that the events of season seven exist in the revival and won’t be retconned out. Plus, season seven is not as bad as you’ve been led to believe. (Though … skip this next question, because it contains spoilers for season seven.)

I’m here to discuss the controversial viewpoint that Gilmore Girls season seven is actually not just good, it’s better than season six.

I watch GG when I’m sick or sad or bored, which means I’ve gone through several rewatches. Season six is where we meet April Nardini (whom I don’t hate as much as T.J., but still) and features a whole lot of time with D.A.R. ladies.

Meanwhile, season seven does a good job of minimizing April, plus it has some of my favorite moments: Emily and Richard’s Yale graduation song, the Christmas “Fisticuffs,” Richard’s moody golf-watching phase, the karaoke moment, the hay-bale maze! I even thought the finale was touching. Is this crazy? Should I be questioning my TV taste? —Nina

Am I the only one who thinks season seven (no AS-P) is better than season six (with AS-P)? I know people feel there was a change in voice, but in my opinion, one of those changes is that the characters actually maturely deal with conflict in their lives, which is a WELCOME change. Also, Paris is perfection in season seven. But let’s not talk about the Marty debacle. Poor Marty. —Jenn

Nina, Jenn, you’re not alone. You have each other, obviously, but I also think season seven gets too bad a rap. It’s off in certain ways, and I don’t love it the way I love earlier seasons, but the same can be said for season six. Season six’s moves are terrible: Again, all things April Nardini are the worst, topped only by Anna Nardini, so at least we know where the worst genes come from. “A Vineyard Valentine” is maybe my least-favorite episode of the series. Logan’s whole “I’m bad! Love me!” thing is exhausting. Lane getting married at age 20 still infuriates me. (Also, Dean got married right out of high school, too. What? Connecticut is behind only Washington, D.C., for the state with the oldest average age for first-time brides.) “Driving Miss Gilmore” is also bad.

Season seven has plenty of missteps, too: Do we need both Liz and Lane to be having babies? It’s also a crime against Lane Kim, who deserved so much better than this story. I found Olivia and Lucy to be grating beyond measure, and I just wanted Rory and Logan to break up, since that’s what usually happens for couples in which one member is in college and the other has graduated. Grrrr. I agree about the weird run-out for poor Marty.

I know a lot of people don’t like or don’t buy season seven’s Lorelai-and-Christopher story, but I love it and think it makes complete sense, given what we know about Lorelai. She has had strong feelings about Christopher for 20-plus years, her relationship with Luke imploded, her child is about to graduate from college, and she wants to feel like something is stable in her life. I’m Team Luke for her, but I get it.

So, sure, season seven is maligned, and rightfully so, but. .. If I were making a list of my favorite or the best moments of Gilmore Girls, not a single one would be from season six. At least season seven has the karaoke scene.

Could we perhaps get a Dave Rygalski return for the revival? Possible dark horse for Rory’s beau? Second marriage for Lane? Temptation for Lane that doesn’t actually turn into anything? —MNG

I would be very pro–Dave’s return, but not as a match for Rory. Rory has enough dudes! As previously stated, Lane deserved a better story, though I’m not sure how that gets rectified in the revival: Divorce? Open marriage? Zack matured tremendously and rapidly? (I still think he and Lane could start a rock-and-roll church.) Part of me wonders if it would be weird to root for Dave and Lane to get together now, since … well, how often do people marry the person who was their first kiss? I don’t know if that seems charming and adorable or stifling and conscribed. Maybe they are just good friends now?

So I’ve just started watching Gilmore Girls. I know, I know, I’m about 5,000 years behind, but with all the raving everyone does  (and my deep love for Bunheads), I decided it was time to jump in, and I am definitely not disappointed. However, I often hear a lot about the Gilmore Guys podcast and was just wondering if I, despite not being a big podcast kinda guy, should give it a go? And if so, should I be listening to it in tandem with the episodes (i.e., after each episode)? —Charlie

I’m a big podcast person, so my judgment is skewed, but yeah, if you are loving Gilmore Girls, you should definitely give Gilmore Guys a try. But I think watching the TV episode and then listening to the corresponding podcast episode is a little bit of overkill, and Guys works a bit better with some space. I think the best way would be to stay about a season behind on the podcast — so if you’re watching season three of the show, listen to the podcast eps about season two. You’d also be fine waiting until you finished the series and then going back and listening to the podcast as a sort of replacement therapy.

I say this as someone who loves analyzing TV shows and loves Talmudic study of episodes, and could spend (and frankly, has spent) hours obsessively deconstructing one small scene or moment: I think those joys are sometimes better experienced after the show, not during the show. Especially for something like GG, where there is no central mystery, no code to crack, no “did you miss this subtle clue, and if so, you suck, and the IRS is here to collect your TV tax,” no larger mythological framework there to explore. You want these kinds of dissections to expand your understanding and interest in a show, not create that understanding. Gilmore Guys, which I treasure, is way more thorough than a recap — even the glorious, expansive old Television Without Pity recaps of yore — and it works best when you already have your own fully formed opinions on the show and the episodes.

My fiancé and I got into a heated debate about Gilmore Girls. A very minute detail of Gilmore Girls. He hates when people pronounce Target “Tarjay,” and thinks Lorelai would be the kind of person who would do that. I argued that Lorelai hates cutesy things that people say in trying to be clever (citing her and Rory’s disdain for abbreviating hot chocolate to “ho-cho”), and that she would hate “Tarjay,” too. We eventually agreed to disagree, but I would like to call on a TV expert. —Lauren

Eeep, I think your fiancé is right. I can completely imagine Lorelai saying “Tarjay.” It does not feel that different from “Oy with the poodles already,” or that “ya ya” bit from “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days.” I also am not sure that Lorelai actually hates cutesy things. She certainly enjoys kitsch, and she enjoys things that are bedazzled in some way; her wardrobe includes baby tees, which were fashionable at the time but perhaps not among 30-year-olds. She’s not twee at all, it’s true, but I’m not convinced that “Tarjay” is twee.

There’s a scene in season seven’s “‘S Wonderful, ‘S Marvellous” where April Nardini actually says “Tarjay,” though Lorelai is not present. April is encouraging Luke to spruce up Chez Danes, and she suggests a trip to Target, a place Luke has never been. I think in general we’re supposed to like and support April and her quirks (though, just personally, I do not at all and instead super hate her/everything about her), and we know that Lorelai gets along well with her. April has a sort of Rory 2.0 vibe sometimes, which doesn’t really make sense, but given that we can extrapolate that Rory herself might say “Tarjay,” that means Lorelai would, too. QED. Sorry.

How will the freedom of network limitations change the type of content AS-P is writing? Will the lack of censorship naturally lend itself to a more cablelike kind of dialogue, or any kind of change in the way our heroes speak? —Brandi

Luckily, AS-P answered this one herself in that same interview mentioned above: “We’ve [written] a couple of lines where we’ve thrown [curses] in and it’s sort of … just feels weird.” She also says that the show never really needed the cursing in the first place, unlike, say, a gritty cop drama that happens to be on network.

So no real cursing. But we have to assume that Miss Patty’s stories will become even more lewd, right?

Should I Watch Season 7 of Gilmore Girls?