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Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life: Here's Everything You Need to Know About the Revival

It's not just about the final four words!

Kaitlin Thomas

You hoped and you prayed and you maybe even made a deal with a shady guy who claimed to the Devil but was actually just a random unwashed hoodlum hanging outside Gypsy's garage. But none of that matters now. Even without obvious divine intervention, we're still getting another chapter in the lives of the fast-talking, pop culture-loving Gilmore Girls. All we had to do was wait for our Netflix overlords to make a deal with series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband, executive producer Daniel Palladino, to grant our deepest desires.

The result is a four-episode trip back to the wacky world of Stars Hollow, where time has passed but seemingly nothing has changed except Luke has gotten even more annoying about his strict diner rules (no pictures of food!). Although the revival, which covers a year in the lives of the Gilmores, isn't with its faults, it feels so good to be back in this dream-like small town existence that it's easy to overlook them.

Here's what to expect when the four 90-minutes episodes of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life debut on the streaming service Friday, Nov. 25.

Where we pick up: When the series returns, 10 years will have passed since Rory (Alexis Bledel) left Stars Hollow in the show's Season 7 (formerly series) finale and four months will have gone by since the death of Gilmore family patriarch Richard (Edward Herrmann passed away in December 2014). According to Sherman-Palladino, who spoke with reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour earlier this year, the show will focus on "how that's going to project them all into different life streams."

When we next see her, Lorelai (Lauren Graham) will still be working at the inn and living in Stars Hollow with Luke, having settled into a life of (presumably) happy domesticity. Meanwhile Rory, who has been criss-crossing the globe while pursuing her journalism career, will find herself at a crossroads, unsure of where she's going next. And Kelly Bishop's usually strong-willed Emily is cracking under the pressure of trying to figure out what her life looks like in the wake of losing her partner of 50 years. She's wearing jeans, people. JEANS!

Elsewhere, Luke (Scott Patterson) is still grumpy, Stars Hollow is still filled with crazy people, everyone still talks a lot and Paris Geller (Liza Weil) is still a national treasure.

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Scott Patterson, Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Saeed Adyani/Netflix

It's not just about the final four words: As any true Gilmore Girls fan knows, before Team Palladino departed the original series amid contract disputes following Season 6, Sherman-Palladino had planned the final four words to be spoken in the series finale. However, once they left and David S. Rosenthal took over for Season 7, all hope of learning those words quickly evaporated. Until now. Will they live up to expectations? Maybe! Maybe not. It depends on how hard you've been thinking about them over the years. But Sherman-Palladino warns against skipping to the end just to hear those almost mythological-level words.

"It would be great if people who wanted to see the last four words first got some therapy before it actually aired and got rid of that inclination," she says. "Because it really is a journey leading up to the last four words. And I do think that it's going to mean a lot more if you've taken the journey, and it's going to mean a lot less if you just flip to the last page. That being said, what can I do? So I would hope that people would want to take the whole trip. It's a fun trip. It's worth it."

Rory and Lorelai have a new dynamic: Despite being best friends, Rory and Lorelai's relationship during the duration of the original series was still very much that of a mother and a daughter, even when the former was in college. When the series returns that will have changed now that they're both more or less functioning adults. "It was fun to play with Rory and Lorelai, who we always saw as best friends first and mother and daughter second. It's always how we broke stories [in the original series]," says Sherman-Palladino. "[In A Year in the Life] we broke girlfriend stories, not mother-daughter stories. It was interesting to actually now play them as girlfriends -- girlfriends who travel and talk on the phone and keep in touch the way I do with my friends. It's just that they happen to be mother and daughter. It was more interesting. I think Alexis thought it was more fun playing Rory as a grown up human being with the problems that come with being a grown up human being."

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And then there's the ongoing saga of Rory's love life: Arguing about which of Rory's three serious boyfriends -- Dean (Jared Padalecki), Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) or Logan (Matt Czuchry) -- was best suited for her has become one of the show's lasting legacies, right up there with coffee addiction and a very real, gripping desire to move to New England. Despite continued insistence from Sherman-Palladino that Rory's story is about her and not the admittedly very attractive men in her life (preach!), all three men appear in the revival. Bledel promises that there will be some kind of resolution and everyone's questions will be answered by the end of the revival's fourth and final episode. Hopefully this means we'll soon all be able to go back to arguing about what really matters, which is whether Paris is the best or the greatest person in human existence.

Melissa McCarthy is back and it's great: After the very public back and forth about whether or not the uber successful Melissa McCarthy would reprise her role as Sookie St. James, Lorelai's best friend and business partner, fans will be happy to know the Palladinos squeezed as much out of the movie star's short time on set as possible. "We got her for one day, but we utilized that day. Oh, we worked her," says Sherman-Palladino of Sookie's "big scene" in the revival (of which you can see a tease in the full series trailer released last month).

"It was like three days for anyone else," adds Palladino. "She left exhausted, but it was great. She brought her classic game. It was really fun working with her."


Todd Lowe and Keigo Agena, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Neil Jacobs/Netflix

Oh yeah, there's a parade of familiar faces: Although McCarthy's star shot through the roof in the years since the show went off the air, she was but one actor who returned to reprise their role in the revival. By now you're probably intimately familiar with the list of everyone who returned, but if you're not, here's a quick run down of the most obvious returnees: Keiko Agena as Lane, Sean Gunn as Kirk, Yanic Truesdale as Michel, Michael Winters as Taylor, Sally Struthers as Babette, Liz Torres as Miss Patty, Rose Abdoo as Gypsy, Todd Lowe as Zack, John Cabrera as Brian, Sebastian Bach as Gil, Emily Kuroda as Mrs. Kim, Danny Strong as Doyle, Vanessa Marano as April and David Sutcliffe as Christopher.

According to the Palladinos, it wasn't just about bringing people back for the sake of bringing them back, it was about bringing them back organically. "We couldn't bring everyone back because it wasn't just a nostalgia trip. We didn't just want people coming in and waving," says Palladino. However, if given the chance to produce more episodes -- which they say they have not discussed at all yet -- they would love to bring other people back. You know what that means: It's time to start your petitions to Netflix so we can find out what the hell Adam Brody's Dave Rygalski is up to, folks.

Gilmore Girls: What's the same? What's different?

It's also a Bunheads reunion: Although Bunheads, Sherman-Palladino's dance-centered series starring Bishop and Sutton Foster, only made it one season before cancellation, some of the cast has been put to work in the revival. In addition to Tony Award-winner Foster, who shows off her impressive skills in a musical within the show, Stacey Oristano, Bailey De Young, and Julia Goldani Telles also appear.

Dealing with unfinished business: For many of the folks involved in the show, the Season 7 finale didn't feel like a proper ending. And that's because it wasn't one. "We didn't know it was the end," says Graham. "Our director just mimicked the shot from the pilot. She was like, 'I've got to give people something if it's going to be the end.' We were all up in the air and so that, I think, is why we're sitting here to some degree. ... It's not like a grab for attention. It was just really we didn't get to end the show. ... So yes, it felt like unfinished business and now I think it feels resolved... ish."

Resolved... ish? We'll take it!

All four 90-minute episodes of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premiere Friday, Nov. 25 on Netflix.