Future Stars And The Party Are Moving To The Closest Ivy-League School On Gilmore Girls
Roger keeps getting warned about how Gilmore Girls is going to go downhill, but at the halfway point of the series, he's still enjoying the ride.
Is it weird that I never "got" the phrase "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing," until I watched Gilmore Girls?
Don't get me wrong, one of the most fun moments thus far on this viewing journey of mine, a moment no doubt I will treasure as much as the Stars Hollow 24 Hour Dance trophy I stole from Kirk (happens every year), occurred not long after my Gilmore Girls Season 2 Marathon Diary, when an old, non-pop culture-consuming buddy of mine sent me a message on Google Chat for the first time in two months. Instead of "hey," he wrote, "Let's get one thing straight here. Luke Danes is the man." This was followed by the explanation that his wife "made" him watch the show (okay), and because our conversations are mostly about baseball and those silly New York Mets, he added that his wife had told him that Scott Patterson played minor-league baseball. It turned out his wife didn't just say that to trick him into watching: Patterson was a four-time minor-league all-star for the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees organizations (nobody's perfect), close to making the big leagues but never made it to the show (I would like to think Michael Winters was the Yankees employee who somehow held him back from stardom.)
Since I can see the coffee pot growing heavier in Luke's hand and can hear him telling me to get to the point already, it was a grade-A, major-league bit of trivia, but it was nothing compared to the feeling of relief of looking up "Scott Patterson minor league baseball" and not reading a huge spoiler about what happens on the rest of the series. Which was when my friend wrote, "All I can say is I'm sorry about Season 6."
Then the next day, via text, I made the mistake of also letting a conversation about the show continue after an acknowledgement of this here diary. After I'd impressed a friend with that Patterson baseball trivia, she said that Patterson and Lauren Graham don't like each other in real life.
I refuse to touch that one, since 1) trying to Google that would no doubt reveal spoilers, and 2) who cares life no longer has any meaning.
I know I can't complain about spoilers, since Gilmore Girls has been off the air since 2007, and has been on Netflix since late 2014, but I can sure as hell whine about it. And I'm whining because of how fun it is to see the patently ridiculous cameos I did not see coming and was not told about, or had heard about but forgotten, throughout Season 3 and in the first half of Season 4. In no particular order, just to get it all out of the way: Jon Hamm, who took Lorelai on a date we don't see and just hear how it was so boring, Lorelai has to be guilted by her parents into seeing him again to see David Bowie; Chris Eigeman (in the opening credits of Season 4, someone I desperately want to look up to see what has happened); Adam Brody in a bigger role than i expected; Adam Brody's replacement, the lead singer of Skid Row; Nick Offerman as a clothed jerk; Danny Strong, enjoyably smug; Bruce McCullough trying too hard when he just has to be more charming than Michel; Jon Polito, for a second time on the show, this time as a man lacking the imagination to make the world's biggest pizza; Adult Pete from The Adventures of Pete & Pete working Jess's father's stand; Ben Falcone without facial hair; Max Greenfield, who in four seconds of screentime gets shut down by a fellow Luke; Michael York, in multiple episodes as a good friend of Charlie Rose; Mr. Robot back when he was an Adventist-college-attending young adult robot.
Some of those appearances were enjoyable because of that phenomenon where the brain registers surprise in witnessing a TV or movie star "slumming" it in a smaller role before they became famous, ignoring for a few seconds that that's how the world works. Others were visual examples of a universe expanding and changing, entertaining because I couldn't figure out if the arrival of Sebastian Bach, or the time when Alex Borstein plays a completely different character years after she was the surly harp player in multiple episodes, or when Michael York frenches a now irresistible Paris Geller, is the moment "everyone" agrees Gilmore Girls lost its damn mind and started its decline, or if the consensus is from a forthcoming moment. Anyway, I did have theories on that.
Season 3, Episodes 1-7
Yeesh, a lot of teasing from Amy Sherman-Palladino at the jump. The very first scene of Season 3 gave the people what they want (I assume) with a scene depicting Luke and Lorelai together, as in as a couple romantic styles, with Lorelai pregnant with their twins, before it was cruelly revealed to be a dream of hers. Then in the second episode, Kirk throws down the Kirk-iest line of all-time to Lorelai ("By the way, I think you might be the prettiest girl I've ever seen...outside of a really filthy magazine"), and when Lorelai doesn't flat-out turn him down right away, and you remember Sean Gunn had recently made opening-credits status...no, of course she turns him down. Even if you're anti-Lorelai, or just found her annoying at this stage, there was Christopher's borderline terrifying outburst at Emily and Richard's place, upset over getting shut out of Rory's life suddenly after going back to Sherry. You pretty easily side with Lorelai here, thanks to Rory standing up for herself to him and Emily having to kick Christopher out of the mansion.
Speaking of doomed, hello Rory and Jess. "One's Got Class And The Other One Dyes" is notable for devoting 20 percent of an episode on network television to Rory looking at Jess wordlessly, Rory staring at Jess's lady-friend Shane wordlessly, or Rory taking a long hard look at Jess kissing Shane, sans words. By the time the classic "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?", Rory's obsession is so obvious and annoying that Doormat Dean breaks up with her, costing the Gilmores their long-desired victory over Kirk at the aforementioned Dance Marathon. There are so many great little scenes to that episode, an exhibition for all of the eccentricities of the already wigged Stars Hollow residents, added fivefold with competition into the mix. Also, Paris calms down a bit.
Season 3, Episodes 8-14
There seem to be a notable number of story arcs on the Gilmore Girls that arguably have crappy conclusions, or were just plain stupid, until one joke or scene stems from the story, and then you can almost forgive the whole thing. Both Rory and Jess kind of deserve each other in a negative way -- Rory was pretty awful to Dean towards the end of their relationship, and Jess literally just stalked Rory and Dean to get Dean to finally snap and break up with her. Their union is just indescribably off, and I'm not entirely sure it was intended to be. (Meanwhile, Jess and Luke's dynamic is great -- Jess endlessly teasing Luke -- never particularly harshly -- about clearly having a thing for Taylor's lawyer in "Lorelai Out Of Water" immediately leaps to mind.) But need a heart of stone to not find Jess and Rory's first kiss as a couple, upstairs in Luke's apartment, adorable. Two intelligent teenagers so good with, uh, words, suddenly unable to find any before going in for inaugural smooching.
Another example is the entire character of Francie, who was just there to cause a rift, and a brief one at that, between Rory and Paris. But it was almost worth it for the sight gag of Francie asking Rory to choose a place to talk privately, with a smash cut to Rory waiting for Francie in the never-before-seen, and never-seen-since, underground parking lot.
I'm sorry, Mrs. Kim, but Jesus, Lane Kim's story sometimes seems like it comes from a horror movie. The worst was in "Lorelai Out Of Water" when Lane, just off of her mother saying "maybe" to the possibility of her going to prom, announces to Rory that everything is coming together, and her and Dave Rygalski will live happily ever after, and he definitely will not move to Orange County soon. Okay, but her exact quote was "I feel like everything’s going my way this time." Again, the telegraphed ending was elevated by Emily Kuroda's line reading of "The guitar player?" There was also Lane and Dave's first kiss, scored to Bowie's "The Man Who Sold The World."
Melissa McCarthy got to exhibit some physical comedy early in her career in "That'll Do, Pig."
Did you think I would forget the swan that inexplicably gave Jess a black eye, and since Jess would never admit the culprit and Rory assumed he beat up Dean it ALMOST RUINED RORY'S LOVE LIFE? The Animal Kingdom Hates Rory Gilmore conspiracy remains alive.
Season 3, Episodes 15-22
As I was saying, a deer almost ruined Rory's Chilton career, then the swan, and then in "A Tale Of Poes And Fire," Papaya the stray cat probably caused the fire that ends up putting an end to the Independence Inn, right? It gives Lorelai and Sookie an excuse to bail and start their own hotel, so I'm betting Papaya was banished from the We Hate The Gilmores club.
This was a really impressive run. Everything happened. Sookie St. James's first pregnancy was about the 26th most interesting thing, and we all love Sookie.
Rory goes to Yale instead of Harvard, which was telegraphed back in Episode 8 when Emily pointed out the university's proximity to home. It's kind of annoying, almost made much worse by characters saying, "But it has to be Harvard, right?" before Rory officially decided.
"It's times like these you understand what's truly important in your life. I'm so glad I had all that sex." - Miss Patty.
Dean gets engaged to Lindsay a handful of episodes after we meet her. Dean would do this, and since he finally took a swing at Jess at Lane's first gig, it was a perfectly fine way to leave the show and do whatever they do on Supernatural.
Jess was skipping school to work at Wal-Mart full-time. Luke mocks and yells at him hard for it, and Jess ends up running away to Venice, in a failed backdoor pilot/B-story in the penultimate episode, to visit his father, Rob Estes. He did this thanks in part to Estes visiting him and telling him the truth about his identity as "Suffragette City" played. David Bowie was all over the place this season. More like Star(s Hollow) Man. (I'm ashamed enough for the both of us.)
Rory is valedictorian and makes a heartfelt speech that even makes Luke cry, about her grandparents and her mother. It isn't enough to thaw the ice between Lorelai and Emily, which went down after Lorelai technically gets out of the Friday-night dinner arrangement once the Chilton debt was paid off. Strangely, despite having the best grades in motherfucking Chilton, Rory still thought Lorelai would be happy with going behind her back and coming up with a Yale payment plan involving Emily and Richard? Good luck with that naiveté in New Haven, young lady.
I don't know what happens from here (mostly), though I think it will be hard for any scene to be more fitting for a Gilmore Girls series finale than the one which concludes this season, when Lorelai points out to Rory that big bad Chilton doesn't look so scary anymore, and the two walk out of the building they unquestionably conquered. That huge, pretentious generator of anxiety and careerism the Lorelais crane their necks to see all of way back in "The Lorelais' First Day At Chilton," a scene immortalized in the opening credits since day one, would be run by the humble but tough middle-class mother and daughter if they wanted to. But they have better things to do.
Season 4, Episodes 1-7
The rift between Emily and Lorelai seems bigger than ever, and the constant bickering and misunderstandings and questionable motivations is all redundant and tiresome. This is a fairly accurate representation of some families, especially during the holiday season, and with that in mind I can give the show credit. It's still annoyingly cyclical, improving later with a new wrinkle in the person of Jason "Digger" Stiles, complicating things and making the family fighting more interesting. Jason's flirtation with Lorelai at the dinner table, fooling Emily into helping him pick a romantic restaurant to take her daughter to, showed an energy not seen by a gentleman caller with Lorelai before or since Christopher. These kids might make it, which is something I am confident I think I might want.
"The Festival Of Living Art" is a spiritual cousin of sorts to "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?", and it's almost as memorable. It's the one where Sebastian Bach shows up to join Lane's band and replace Dave, Nick Offerman as Jackson's brother complaining about how long it's taking Sookie to pop out Davey, and the big titular event the whole town is a part of, starring Kirk as Jesus. It's also a rare episode where Taylor Doose is someone you can root for. Taylor's gradual descent into madness is kind of funny, since it isn't just Luke who points out his corrupt, self-centered nature, and he's incredibly ridiculous with that damn soda shoppe. A little troubling was the season premiere, which played Taylor's shoppe for laughs but also featured Jackson's conservative talking about how he would be better off in the 1950s, including smoking cigars with other men after his baby is born and proudly displaying his button proclaiming he does not want to know the gender of his upcoming progeny. Jackson doesn't get enough screentime to really evoke anger as much as Taylor, and fortunately it's Taylor that gets physically threatened by Lorelai.
I don't know why I was surprised that Paris finagled her way into becoming Rory's roommate at Yale. I also didn't realize until somewhere in this set of episodes that it was probably called the Independence Inn because symbolism.
Season 4, Episodes 8-11
Michel has a new look. I still wonder what he does in his spare time, besides not eat any good-tasting food, and based on how he corrected Lorelai and Sookie on what locations constituted Arthur Fonzarelli's "officies," watching Happy Days reruns. Him wanting to work for Lorelai and Sookie made me happy, enough for me not to question why he never sought to look for hotel work in another town, one where he would have almost as many friends.
Jason and Lorelai have a connection -- you can tell on their date when the two bicker, yet they never want the night to end. I wouldn't say he's weird, particularly if you compare him to some Stars Hollow citizens. He has his quirks, that for now just come off as entertaining but harmless (I at first thought he was going to double-cross Richard. He still might, shut up), like needing to fashion a very expensive guest room and rehearse and refine five-minute conversations with his lovers so they don't take offense over his insistence that he is such a light sleeper he could not sleep next to anyone overnight, excellent sexual intercourse be damned. (Apparently Ambien doesn't exist in Connecticut?) Also he has a dog who refuses bacon and moves in only tiny distances.
The scenes in Jason's apartment were a touch Twin Peaks; "The Nanny And The Professor" scene when the Gilmores attempt to have a regular dinner during a Historical Society walking tour of the house ("WE ARE NOT ACTORS!") was glaringly farcical, a sign as much as Sebastian Bach rocking out that the show is bending and changing, for better or worse.
So Luke is still married. We don't see his wife very often. Maybe he's needed Jess all along to egg him on?
Oh, Lane. Lane. LANE. Lane. She was finally caught, her excellent CD collection finally discovered by her mother. Maybe her life is more Greek tragedy than horror movie. I won't forget the scene when Lane finds her mother in her room, her entire beautiful inner life of the music that shaped her soul and formed her true religion exposed for the first time, looking at the woman whose eyes will see it all as nothing of a betrayal. Lane was at peace, after years of unconsciously elaborate lying, and she was smiling when she outlined a plan of transferring to a community college from Adventist school (Rami Malek will find you anyway, Lane) and getting to continue rehearsing with her band. Of course, Mrs. Kim said she could do all of those things, if she stayed under her roof. And Lane ended up, for now, crashing with Rory at Yale. Yale is not very rock and roll, but I like your story, Lane. May you get your CBGB gig by Season 6.
Episodes Left To Watch
Roger's Gilmore Girls Marathon Diary
In advance of Netflix's 'Gilmore Girls' revival, Roger Cormier takes his very first trip to Stars Hollow and tells us all about it.
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