Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Gilmore Girls: But isn't it always sunny in Philadelphia?

Spoilers for "Gilmore Girls" just as soon as I figure out who inherits my comic book collection...

Whatever the failings of the post-Palladino writing team are, these people know what to do with Richard and Emily -- which makes their absence from about half this season's episodes feel really unfortunate. (Is this a "Veronica Mars"-style budget situation where only certain actors are signed for all 22 episodes, or is this just Rosenthal and company trying to navigate a show with too many regular actors?)

Their handle on the elder Gilmores is so solid, in fact, that I spent a good chunk of this episode trying to figure out whose side they expected me to be on in Lorelai's increasing frustration with Emily. Having just been through a loved one getting surgery (which turned out fine) and obsessing over all kinds of minutiae, I was firmly with Emily throughout. (Even in her dealings with Luke, where her manners were terrible but she took him at his word about wanting to do anything to help.)

Yet I couldn't help shake the feeling that the writers intended me to, like Lorelai, be frustrated or appalled by Emily's behavior until the big heart to heart in the gift shop, at which point it was all supposed to make sense. Instead, it was Lorelai and her inability to understand her mother's needs that was bugging me. Now, Lorelai's always been an intentionally flawed character, so I could be misreading how I think the writers wanted me to respond, but Emily's explanation for why she was doing what she was doing was so blindingly obvious that I think even Zach would have figured it out by the second commercial break.

That gift shop scene featured the episode's only blatant call-back to season one's superior "Forgiveness and Stuff" (the first time I realized how well Amy and Lauren Graham could handle heavier material), but obviously there's a through-line with Luke again showing up to be there for Lorelai and company. As the hour was going along, I was prepared to cut Christopher some measure of slack: he just had a bad fight with his wife and stormed out, and who's to say he was even checking his voicemail for a while, when he could only assume it was Lorelai calling to in some way continue that fight? But then he had to go and be a total jackass when he saw Luke there, so no slack for him. The unraveling of this marriage is going to get uglier and uglier, and I'm not sure I want to see this show go to that place for very long. Here's hoping Chris and G.G. exit stage right within the next episode or two.

In obvious contrast to Chris was Logan. I still don't like the guy, but it felt very in-character for a crisis to bring out all of his best, most selfless qualities. Marian, on the other hand, started getting suspicious of him being so perfect in this situation, and of the constantly-buzzing Blackberry, and worried that there was going to be some revelation that he was with another woman or something equally damning. Doesn't look to be going that way.

What did everybody else think?


Tosy And Cosh said...

I didn't have the same feeling that we were supposed to find Emily's behavoir so off-putting. Annoyed bythesame entitled air of superiority that she always carries with her, sure (attacking the staff, commandeering faxes, etc.), but not seeing the reason behind it all as well. And while for us, the outsiders looking in, the reason behind her behavior may have been clear, I completely buy that her daughter - who in addition to all of the baggage she carries regarding her mother to begin with is obviously going through some emotional upheaval of her own - might be too close to see the bigger picture. Also - the breakdown in the gift shop will be her Emmy submission clip, right?

Joey Smallwood said...

It was an enjoyable episode, but I wish a device like a Major Medical Emergency wasn't required to distinguish Christopher's petty douchebagitude vs. Luke's unwavering concern for Lorelai.

Lorelai's behavior has been off throughout this arc, and last night when Christopher told Luke "I think you should (leave)", Lorelai said nothing and put her head down for about the hundredth time, it seems. If she doesn't get back into character, I may have to tune out pretty soon.

Blankity-Blank said...

I always thought not knowing exactly how to feel about certain characters and/or situations was Gilmore Girls' greatest accomplishment. It's been the one thing that, before this episode, was consistently missing from this season. Of course, Rebecca Rand Kirschner is one of the longer term holdouts from The Palladino Administration, so I guess it shouldn't be surprising that it would return in one she wrote.

But I am with this Marian on Logan. I didn't necessarily think his behavior indicated some future revelation of indiscretion, but it was almost creepy in its overt understanding. And I've (mostly) always liked Logan.

Anonymous said...

I like Logan. I think his coming drama is that he's going to lose his trust fund soon.

I still don't like how they're writing Lorelei - although I did like the last phone call in the snow. I also liked the moment with her mom at the end. It's not often that they understand each other but in that moment I think they did.

Finally, I think they overplayed Christopher's immaturity and pettiness. He's always been self-centered, but that was over the top.

Anonymous said...

Alan, for me the two best relationships on the show have always been Lorelai-Emily and Richard-Rory. Bringing these excellent actors back really picked up the quality of the episode. But I think that that the writing again underestimated the intelligence of the audience. Those viewers left after last season's debacle are commited to the show and are aware of its history. It's why I thought that Emily's "you again" line when she saw Luke was a nice of a shout out to the Forgiveness and Stuff episode.

But to put Luke in the angel white hat and Chris in the dark hat was silly. Having Logan drop everything for Rory, Emily pine over Richard while Chris wasn't there (but Luke was) hit way too hard with the anvil.

We need to understand while Lorelai went back with Chris other than he wasn't Luke. So far, I don't have a clue why, and as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of the marriage, move in, break up, etc. with respect to Gigi is something which has been blithely ignored on a show involving a child raised by a single parent.

Anonymous said...

I maybe the only one, and I hope it's not some sort of crush on Lauren Graham in my subconscious, but I never liked Christopher OR Luke, and I've always been slightly annoyed at both relationships. So that scene at the end just gave me the eyerolls.

Emily's behavior made total sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I thought the part at Gilmore Manor went on waay too long (and the fish stuff blew.) We already know that Rory loves her grandpa--we didn't need THAT hammered home a million times. I agree that Logan is gonna lose his shirt on that deal OR Rory is gonna pony up the other two(?) million he needs. I just found it all rather boring, although I did enjoy Babette and Zach. Christopher is a tool, but I don't even care anymore if Luke & Lorelei ever reunite. Emily looked fab in her sweatsuit, though, no?

Anonymous said...

First I just have to say that besides agreeing with the last post on what is the deal with GiGi, what is the deal with Lane's pregnancy. Am I just missing how much time has gone between episodes but all of sudden she was HUGE, i mean I know it's twins but really now, was it 8 months between finding out they were pregnant and last episdoe because otherwise she was way too big. Ok, I liked this episode because I too love Emily, and I agree with tosy's comments about both her and lorelai's reactions that was spot on writing for how both of them would react--which is nice because sad resigned i let chris walk all over me lorelai doesn't quite seem realistic. but maybe the guilt that she doesn't want to be married to him is weighing her down. i also think (and this is a complete change of mind for me) that this seasons writers are doing the best they can to not only fix the bomb drop of the finale last year but all of last season which was painful. the april leaving for new mexico thing was a perfect way to not discount her relationship with luke but also quietly move her into a secondary role. and while i think they could have made the chris & lorelai thing go longer and a little bit more belieavable (you date, get married and ruin it that fast?) i think they are going speedy before the fans revolt.

also i think something is a brewing with logan, but i'm not sure how much i care--i'd like to see rory's character get a bit of zip back (not that it means leaving logan) because it's been super dragging for me.

whew ok now i got like two months worth of comments off my chest.

Anonymous said...

First of all, the power went out last week so I missed last week's episode. Grr, argh! But the lights were on this week :)

Emily & Lorelai:

I could see both sides on this one. I thought Emily's behavior was odd in the beginning but I wrote it off as shock and panic. I could completely understand her asking for the living will and DNR, but asking the regular will seemed odd to me. I also didn't know why she needed Lorelai's SSN. Maybe, like asking for the will, it wasa premature step in the probate process? But, once again, due to shock and panic.

I could also identify with Lorelai's reaction to her mother's behavior. For starters, you have the usual tension between the two, so Lorelai is already set to be critical of Emily's behavior. Second, the two are in different points of their lives. Richard and Emily are older, and closer to death, and thus have had to think through various end of life decisions. And, as Emily said, having already gone through a previous medical emergency with Richard they would be even more likely to have a full plan in place. Third, different people react differently to these situations. So the situation was realistic to me.

Logan & Rory:

I thought, wow, having a job has really caused him to grow up. I didn't read anything else into as others have done. But, the "losing his trust fund" possibility seems viable to me. I don't think the "other woman" scenario is as likely, and here's why: Logan was behaving the way he was supposed to behave. Yes, he was spoiled rich kid in college. Yes, he goofed off in college. Yes, he hasn't been the model boyfriend throughout the show. But, he comes from a family and class where manners are drilled into you, and Doing the Right Thing is of utmost importance in situations like this. So, to me, it felt right.

But, here is where that argument falls apart, maybe:



Assuming he listened to his voice mail (yes, it's possible he didn't), he behaved abysmally. And, even if he hadn't, he still behaved abysmally once he saw Luke. Like Logan, Christopher would have been raised to behave better in this situation. But, unlike Logan, Christopher is weak, and thus couldn't stand up to his father's demands the way Logan can still be his own person even with what's-his-name as his father. In other words, I think Logan is a stronger person and has been able to grow beyond the selfish, adolescent stage, whereas Christopher is weak and couldn't get past the demands of his parents, etc. (Did that make sense?)

Other notes:
I liked the scene in Richard's hospital room where Lorelai and Emily start their usual bickering, and Richard throws out his Arizona comment as a way to get their minds off the pillow issue and bring some peace to the room. It was sweet. On the one hand, he was probably doing it to get them to quiet down - I know I wouldn't have wanted to listen to them. But, I also think it was to calm his daughter and wife down because he didn't want them to be so upset.

I thought Luke's reaction to Christopher was well done. In a normal situation he may have let Christopher have it, but Luke understood that now was not the time to fight with Christopher, so Luke made a quick exit.

Finally, when Christopher returned and was talking to Lorelai with Logan and Emily standing behind him, I paid more attention to Logan and Emily. I can't remember the expression on Logan's face, but I think it was one of mild disapproval, while Emily looked like she wanted to kill Christopher.

I hope in the near future that we see Rory laying into Christopher for being a JACKASS. (Of course, I hope Lorelai tells him off, too, but I'm interested in how Rory reacts.)

Anonymous said...

the thing that gets me is that lorelei is not a weak woman. but when it comes to christopher she always, always gets hurt, and acts like a poor insecure little girl. so again, she can't stand up to him. I just hope she doesn't keep on with this "i'm so sorry, no, i love you christopher" stuff. Like the letter lorelei wrote for luke said, HE was the father in rori's life NOT chris. chris is such a jerk sometimes, but if the story line this year was for them to stay together, they should just stay together! poor rori, she's gotta deal with this whole thing again...

Anonymous said...

I love(d) the show, but the new writing staff is winding this thing right into sit-com heaven. They've ruined their lead by lopping off 1/3 of her IQ, and made the Rory character completely unpalatable with her amazingly obscene string of over-achieving successes. This show is getting absurdly WASPish for something that started off with an underdog mentality. And the Logan/Chris binaries are just dime-store fiction. Why was this allowed to happen? There was so much room for greatness with the Marty story-line--the possibility of injecting some reality into Rory's world. I don't mean they should have ended up together--but why take the easy way out? This is a drama, right? Where's the drama in booting the intellectual pauper for Richie Rich?

I don't like Logan. The beauty of Luke was that he was a real, hard-working character who actually suffered through Lorelei's relationships with other men. Logan's just another Jess who blew in and swayed the weak, weak ingenue.

I don't see how any audience connects with Rory. This is a character who was reading Mencken in the 10th grade. She was the valedictorian; she had a shallow life-goal--get into Harvard--and she did. Now she's about to win a fellowship and ride off into the sunset. Don't they realize she has to fall?

When this show turned sappy and sentimental it lost its charm. It's a fairy-tale that viewers never wanted.