Screenshot: Gilmore Girls

“The Fundamental Things Apply” (season four, episode five, originally aired 10/21/2003)

Guys, help me out. Maybe I have a possibly unreasonable amount of love for Kelly Bishop due to this show, Bunheads, even Dirty Dancing, for God’s sake. I get that Lorelai’s upbringing was obviously traumatic, and she felt like her own personality was being stilted. But that was almost 20 years in Gilmore Girls time, and all I’ve seen Emily do over these past few seasons is try to get back into her daughter’s life. The fact that Lorelai would fire a designer she really likes just because she once worked with Emily, or would turn down a job because her mother is involved, shows a pronounced state of arrested adolescence to me. Lorelai telling her mother whether or not she’s making it to dinner is a completely reasonable from Emily, and Lorelai’s insistence that this constitutes more unnecessary rules from her mother is annoying.

I guess we shouldn’t have expected much more from the person who moves her work office into the place of business of one of her closest friends, interfering with his meat orders and his ability to seat customers, not even adhering to his strict rule about cell phones. Wouldn’t meeting at her own house make more sense? So yeah, not a lot Lorelai does this episode makes sense to me.

Over these two episodes (am inserting Kirk’s from “Affair” in here too), we get to see three dates, and only one of them is straight-up disastrous. Rory really doesn’t have much experience in talking to anyone she doesn’t know, having grown up in such a tiny town and spending all those years at Chilton. But her conversational failings are ridiculous. Poor hydrated Trevor is really trying, and how hard is it to talk about Italy? Or Chicago? Or even all that food she likes? Kirk’s carefully choreographed dinner with Lulu the next episode downright soars in comparison.

Compare and contrast either of these, though, with the ease of Lorelai and Luke’s movie night. Casablanca is a good pick, as Luke is quite Bogart-like in his gruffness. It’s funny that he talks about his “successful” relationships with Rachel and Nicole, because neither of those seems like they were over-the-top successful. But even though it’s still several months away, L&L’s ability to fall seamlessly into a night of takeout on the couch makes it crystal clear where this relationship is heading.

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“An Affair To Remember” (season four, episode six, originally aired 10/28/2003)

Two Emily clashes in two successive episodes is too many. Lorelai has already lost her designer, now she loses a catering job, not before she and Rory both pull tremendously childish toddler-like tantrums.

First, it is straight-up ridiculous that, as Lorelai rightly points out, Rory can not find a place to study in all of Yale. Come on. There are different “vibes” to be had everywhere. Also coffeeshops, and couches, and cubbies. As fun as it is to see Rory not get everything she wants at Yale immediately—getting turned down for coffee date, guy who apparently takes days to read a single magazine doesn’t want to give up that tree—the loss of said tree does not in fact means she should drop out of college and will never achieve her life goals. I get that she’s young, and frustrated, but: dumb plot.

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Fortunately, Lorelai’s with Emily is much, much better, even though L is petulant for most of the episode, like when she demands that Emily treat her like everyone else, then is taken aback when Emily does exactly that. Sure, the elder Gilmore girl was probably having a bit too much fun at that tasting, but I don’t doubt that she’s probably like that with anyone who tries to get a catering job with her.

Still, there’s little to prepare us for the acting-class seminar sit-down between Lauren Graham and Kelly Bishop, two players that always absolutely bring out the best in each other. Emily, classy to an absolute fault, of course is not going to fire her daughter over the phone, and shows up to do it in person. Lorelai at least snaps out of her childish rant as soon as she realizes that the move wasn’t Emily’s decision, and unfortunately is unable to comfort her mother properly. But Emily unguarded and vulnerable is a stunning moment, all the more valuable for how rare it is. I might have rewound that scene a time or two.

At least Lorelai’s anger enables her to tell Rory to shape up, for once, and rant against our favorite whipping boy, Digger Stiles. Lorelai speaks for so many of us when she tells him: “You suck.” Still, as a grown-ass woman, basing your decisions on whether or not your mother would hate them, be it purchasing a lawn jockey or going out to dinner with the boy who once knocked you over in a canoe, seems like a poor way to go. Again, I like Chris Eigeman, but Lorelai and Digger’s first meeting doesn’t scream at me that these two absolutely need to be together. Not like the Casablanca/takeout scene did.

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Stray observations

  • Not enough Paris (can there ever be enough Paris?), but at least we got: “Charlie tried the same thing on our boys in Khe Sanh,” as well as ”The coasters I make are for everyone; the pushups are for you and you alone!”
  • The FBI warning joke was pretty funny. But that beer was MGD, gross.
  • “Where would you sit Tom Cruise?” ”In an acting class.” For some reason I always enjoy the Luke-Kirk combo.
  • “Change into what? A bra that says tasty?” Emily wisecracks are the best wisecracks.
  • Best Gilmore outfit: Rory’s Yale wear seems right out of a J. Crew catalog, with boots and cable tights and many skirts and sweaters. I really liked the striped one she wore with the jean skirt. I also liked Sookie’s cute maternity wear.
  • Worst Gilmore outfit: Argyle sweater vest above, yuck. Also the top half of the outfit Rory wore for her date was cute, but what was up with that wrinkly, awkward skirt? If you have a wardrobe person on set and your skirt still looks wrinkly, that is one bad skirt.
  • Next week: Downside: The Festival Of Horrifying Living Art. Upside: Sebastian Bach!

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