Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Last Four Words Heard ‘Round the World: Gilmore Girls and Criticism


            “Mom.”
            “Yeah?”
            “I’m pregnant.”

            I called it. When Rory was sitting in her biological father’s office, asking him how he felt, watching her mom raise Rory on her own, I knew how it was going to end. “She’s pregnant,” I blurted out. I couldn’t help it. It didn’t dawn on me until a few days later that I probably should have let my watch-mates come to that conclusion on their own.
            Even in my enthusiasm for guessing the ending, I couldn’t help feel the ending fit the series well. It was all about “full circle” and Rory and Lorelei’s relationship with each other. It made sense. Of course, I thought it would certainly have made more sense if this had happened when Rory was 22 when Amy Sherman-Palladino Intended for this ending to occur.  Still, I was left with enough information to imagine the rest of the story and enjoyed watching A Year in the Life.
            To my surprise, many critics took lethal shots at the ending, calling Rory a “Monster” and a “Selfish millennial.” They said Rory should have chosen her career first and they referred to Stars Hollow as a place Rory was incapable of escaping—as if her attachment to the town and her family were an addiction about which she really had no choice.
            Huh. Never thought of it that way. In fact, there were a lot of pieces written about Gilmore Girls where the authors had almost the exact opposite perspective as I did. It was quite enlightening.
            This isn’t a critique of the story. It’s a critique of the critique of the story. It’s a realization that no matter what you create, someone somewhere will not like it. No matter how tacitly you expound your views, someone will think differently and might even write very widely read feedback for the public, telling the world exactly what they think of your creation.
            This criticism of the Last Four Words of Gilmore Girls has caused a light-bulb moment for me. It has challenged me to be gracious in all of my critiques of someone’s creation. Even if I think using rock-robots to symbolize angels is the worst idea (see my critique of the movie Noah), I need to remember that this was someone’s idea. Someone’s creation.
            I’m not saying this because I love Gilmore Girls. I don’t love Gilmore Girls. I didn’t finish the series and watching A Year in the Life was the most time I’d ever spent in one sitting watching anything—except Stranger Things. I don’t consider it a personal affront that someone didn’t like the show. I just thought the criticism was way harsh and it got me thinking about criticism in general.

            I want to be honest in my criticism, but I also want to be kind. It’s the sort of thing I’d want someone to do for my creation.

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