Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Danes' Dames

It usually takes critics about a week of press tour before they lose their marbles (which means I'm going to get my head bit off a few dozen times just for saying "Hello" when I show up next week), but it looks like the insanity is happening early this time, judging by Matt's first blog entry and this column by Lisa de Moraes, who deserves some kind of lifetime achievement award for her skewering of the tour.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, as we sat down to watch "Gilmore Girls" last night, Marian asked me, "How long has it been since we've seen a new one?" I don't know exactly what it is that makes the WB's scheduling practices different from the other networks, but it always feels like there are longer gaps between batches of new episodes than there are at, say, CBS. And, of course, Lorelai and Rory enter Luke's diner with some meta references to their long absence from Stars Hollow.

Fortunately, this episode was packed with enough funny that it didn't take too long to get reacclimated. In particular, Paris was gold in every single scene. She and Doyle are clearly meant to be; their constant sparring in the apartment reminded me of Clouseau and Cato in the later Pink Panther movies, though Clouseau was never smart enough to think of a safeword. ("Saroyan! Saroyan!") She was even better tearing Logan a new one at the Yale Daily offices; I don't even think Logan looked that intimidated when Richard was accusing him of stealing Rory's flower. I think Amy was right that Liza Weil wasn't exactly right to play Rory, but I'm very glad she came up with another part for her to play.

Speaking of the actual Rory, Alexis Bledel was actually really funny during Rory's therapy breakdown. She usually does better with the dramatic stuff, or when she's letting herself be carried by Lauren Graham or someone else, but this was all her. Other great moments: Lorelai's horrified reaction to the new apartment (the only way it could've been better was if Alyson Hannigan randomly poked her head in and yelled, "Oh, HELL no!," though I think every comedy could be improved by such a moment), Sookie shutting down Luke's attempt to contribute in any way to the wedding planning, Lane turning into a darker version of Mama Kim (is it just me, or does Keiko Agena really look her age without the glasses?), and Mama Kim breaking out the dreaded spirits to help Lane get over Zach and the band.

The only thing I didn't like was Luke being struck by a case of Ebert's Idiot Plot Syndrome, where all the problems would be solved if the characters actually spoke to each other like grownups. I don't think I'm going to like next week's episode very much, judging by the previews. Also, when Sherilyn Fenn did that "Hmmm..." gesture after Luke left her house, was it "Hmmm... that went better than I expected" or "Hmmm... why did I break up with him again?"

More on "House" and "The Shield" after I get to the office and watch the former. And speaking of work, today's column includes a review of ABC's "Crumbs," which could be a lot better if it didn't have a laughtrack; it's basically "Ordinary People: The Sitcom" (or maybe "Garden State: The Sitcom").

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