Amy Sherman-Palladino is aces at capturing nontraditional relationships between mothers and their kids. Her show Gilmore Girls, about a single mom raising her daughter in a quirky town away from her WASPy parents, is one of our absolute favorite dramedies. Unfortunately, her follow-up, The Return of Jezebel James, didn’t make it past one season even though it tread the interesting ground of surrogacy. We think Sherman-Palladino could have a winner with her latest project: Adapting The Nanny Diaries, the novel about a nanny working for a privileged family in the Upper East Side, into a TV series for ABC.
Even though she’s had her missteps — who in the TV business hasn’t? — we know that Sherman-Palladino is a superb writer, able to translate the mundane details of adolescence and motherhood into compelling plotlines. Then again, Gilmore Girls wasn’t a perfect show. Drawing from the show, we’ve come up with the best and worst elements that Sherman-Palladino can bring to her new job.
What we can’t wait for:
- A precocious child. There may be Rory haters, but watching the repeats I find that I’ve always loved the kid, even in her most know-it-all episodes. The other option is having a child who can’t interact with the main characters, and then it’s just a waste of airtime. Also, considering the fact that Grayer grows up in New York City, he’d naturally seem a bit older than other kids his age.
- Pop culture references. As long as she sticks with the TV/movie/music name-dropping that made Lorelai and Rory’s conversations into a verbal tennis match, we’ll be good. She could misstep by rushing to include every new gadget that’s hit the market since Gilmore Girls bowed in 2007; the only commentary we need on Grayer playing with an iPad at the age of four is just to see him using it.
- Commentary on the upper class. We couldn’t get enough of Lorelai struggling to disentangle herself from her parents’ world, which was portrayed as farcical at some times (Emily firing her maid each week) and at others constricting and sad.
- That quiet slap of an ending that will stick with you. Sherman-Palladino and Joss Whedon made an art form out of hitting us with a breathtaking final line before the credits. She’s already got her work cut out for her: The most affecting part of the movie was when Grayer is scared at his birthday party and runs past Mrs. X to hug Nanny.
What would make us hit fast-forward:
- Too much will-they-won’t-they. It was smart to make us wait four years for Luke/Lorelai, but then the writers had to keep dangling Rory’s dad Christopher in the way. There was a point where Lorelai sabotaging her relationships was fascinating; then it became pathetic.
- “Quirky” small-town characters. We don’t need another nagging Mrs. Kim or manchild like Kirk. Even the troubadors got on our nerves really quickly. Luckily, you don’t have much of these people in a setting like New York, anyway — though we wouldn’t put it past Sherman-Palladino to include a wise homeless man on the subway.
Oh, and one more request: Can Milo Ventimiglia play Harvard Hottie?
…A girl can dream.