Caitlin Petrakovitz studies the Marvel Cinematic Universe like it's a course in school, with an emphasis on the Infinity Saga years. As an audience expert, she rarely writes but when she does it's most certainly about Star Trek, Marvel, DC, Westworld, San Diego Comic-Con and great streaming properties. Or soccer, that's a thing she loves, too.
"Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life," premieres this Friday, November 25, on Netflix. The fast-talking, pop-culture referential mother-and-daughter are a lot to handle, and if you haven't sat through the show's seven seasons, you're going to need a primer before jumping into the new mini-series.
If you have seen the show, you either love it (and probably signed at least one petition to revive the series somewhere at some point), or you think the characters talk way too fast and that "no one could possibly be that smart and witty" or knowledgeable about movies.
Regardless of whether or not you've seen an episode, you probably recognize the show. And in either case, this post is for those who didn't just spend the last week marathoning all seven seasons of love, life, heartache and coffee. (But if you want to do that before watching the new season, no one's stopping you.)
If you know nothing and want to know (nearly) everything, then this warning can be ignored. But if you're still working through the series, beware there are spoilers ahead.
Let's catch up real quick: The original "Gilmore Girls" (no, they're not sisters) aired on television from 2000-2007 and focused on a mother-daughter duo. Yes, they have the same name. Yes, the mom is young -- she gave birth when she was 16. The two begin the series living in a charmingly quirky small town in Connecticut named Stars Hollow (which is modeled after a real-life small town). Both Lorelais are beautiful, blue-eyed voracious readers and movie buffs who enjoy verbose conversations over coffee (or any food, really) and peppered with smart pop-culture references.
There are a lot of characters so here's a quick rundown (sans boyfriends) (actually sans a lot of people but we had to cut the list somewhere).
Lorelei Gilmore (played by Lauren Graham): A coffee-loving, fast-talking, street-smart, movie buff entrepreneur with a fondness for food and baseball-cap-and-plaid-wearing diner owners.
Lorelei "Rory" Gilmore (Alexis Bledel): A coffee-loving, fast-talking, book-smart, movie buff with dreams of becoming a hard-hitting journalist; to avoid confusion, she goes by Rory.
Richard and Emily Gilmore (Edward Hermann, Kelly Bishop): Lorelei's rich parents who have a sticky relationship with their "hippie" daughter, but think Rory is a perfect princess (usually).
Luke Danes (Scott Patterson): Local disgruntled diner-owner who falls in love with Lorelei (the mom).
Christopher Hayden (David Sutcliffe): Rory's somewhat-estranged father who appears whenever things are going just too well for the Gilmore ladies.
April Nardini (Vanessa Marano): The daughter Luke never knew he had, she appears in Stars Hollow in season six and causes a whole mess of problems.
Paris Geller (Liza Weil): Rory's high school nemesis turned college roommate-slash-best friend is quick with the insults.
Lane Kim (Keiko Agena): Rory's kick-ass, audiophile best friend from Stars Hollow.
Sookie St. James (Melissa McCarthy): A kooky chef and Lorelei's best friend.
Netflix's 'Gilmore Girls' revival looks even better than we imagined
Now that you've got the basics down, here are the top things you should know.
Luke and Lorelai sitting in a tree... maybe?
Luke is the curmudgeonly owner of the town's corner cafe/meeting place, and for the first four seasons he and Lorelai are the epitome of "Will they or won't they?" They've been on and off since season five but the series ended on a high note for the pair. Early trailers for the revival have hinted at trouble in paradise, and the news that Christopher will appear in the revival could throw a wrench in their relationship.
Episodes to watch: "Written in the Stars" (Season 5, episode 3): Their first official date proves just how long we've all been pining for this relationship. Also, "New and Improved Lorelai" (S6E1), which is where they truly start planning their future.
Team Dean, Team Jess, or Team Logan?
Rory really knows how to pick 'em, boyfriends that is. (We only covered her important boyfriends, because who counts Marty?) (Poor Marty.) (Marty was the worst! Epitome of "friend-zone" victim.) Everyone has a favorite and the best news is they're all back (with a vengeance?!?). No matter which ex you side with, we can all agree on one thing: #TeamRory will always endure.
Dean Forester, played by Jared Padalecki ("Supernatural"), is the tall, handsome, gentle giant with a heart of gold. He's the first boy Rory meets in the pilot episode and he quickly becomes her first boyfriend, first love and first for a lot of firsts.
Jess Mariano, played by "This is Us" star Milo Ventimiglia, is her second important boyfriend. Obviously we're biased because we're #TeamJess. He's the super-literate bad boy of the bunch, but the truth is Jess challenges Rory mentally, something Dean never could. Yes, he has communication issues and needs to grow up, but what 17-year-old with daddy issues doesn't?
Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry of "The Good Wife"). Even his name screams #firstworldproblems. OK, so it's cute that he calls her Ace, but less cute when he cheats on Rory and lets his father crush her journalist dreams. He's smart and provokes Rory in great ways ("You climb up here with me it's one less moment you haven't lived."), but he's quite difficult and unlike Jess he doesn't seem to want to grow up for Rory. In the series finale, he proposed to Rory but she eschews the engagement for life as an independent woman.
Episodes to watch:
Dean: "Raincoats & Recipes" (S4E22): Sure, it's kind of nice when he builds her a car. But this ep, where they have sex for the first time, is arguably one of the most important in the entire series.
Jess: Prepare for heartbreak. The one where we meet this mysterious bad boy (S2E5), or the one where he tells her he loves her and runs away (S4E13), or the one where he comes back to ask Rory to run away with him but she just stares him down and says no (S4E21). Or! The one where she sees him read from his novel (S6E18) or the one where he gets so sad that she's using him to make Logan mad and talks her back into being a grown up. Sigh. Jess is great and deserves better. OK, OK if I have to pick just one I say "The Bracebridge Dinner" (S2E10). No, wait! "Loralei's Graduation Day" (S2E21) when Rory ditches school (gasp!) to head to NYC and spend the day with Jess. Ugh, I don't know, all 30-something of them, I guess.
Logan: "Norman Mailer, I'm Pregnant" (S5E6): Rory really gets an introduction to Logan and the Life & Death Brigade. (And if you keep watching the next ep, we won't tell anyone.)
R.I.P. Richard Gilmore
Richard Gilmore was the kind, wise, dapper AF father/grandfather you wish you had. Edward Hermann, the actor who played the Gilmore patriarch (Lorelai's father/Rory's grandfather) passed away in 2014. Based on the trailer, the show is working this immeasurable loss into the narrative of the mini-series. His absence will be sorely felt, so make sure to keep a box of tissues handy.
Episodes to watch: "Kill Me Now" (S1E3): Our first outing with Richard and Rory proves just how important the patriarch's influence on the youngest Gilmore has been and will always be. And "Wedding Bell Blues" (S5E13), the series' 100th episode, for a glimpse at the inner workings of a devoted Gilmore family.
Those last four words
The genius behind "Gilmore Girls", creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, was not involved during the last season (season 7), resulting in a lackluster finale that left many fans unsatisfied. Many years ago, Sherman-Palladino, who makes a triumphant return as showrunner in the Netflix revival, shared the fact that she knew the exact four words the series would've ended on, but she's kept them top-secret. Now that she's getting a second chance to end the series on her terms, some fans are frothing at the mouth to fast-forward to the end to hear what those last four words will be.
Episode to watch: The pilot episode. The first four(ish) words were "Please, Luke. Please, please (please)." We're hoping for something more along the lines of "I love you Jess," (not just because he's the only boyfriend Rory *never* said it to) but whatever, Luke is a pretty good constant too.