Screenshot: Gilmore Girls. Below photo: Warner Bros./Delivered by Online USA/Getty Images

“I’m A Kayak, Hear Me Roar,” season seven, episode 15, originally aired 2/20/2007 

Wow, it’s hard to believe how much hating on a certain character and their whole storyline affects your enjoyment of watching a TV program you traditionally like. The lack of Christopher lightened the whole weight of the Gilmore world off of my shoulders. I believe I had been watching the show in a tensed-up state, dreading his every appearance. What a relief.

So even though not much happens these two episodes, I already feel fonder toward them than I do toward any Christopher-centric ones. First up, the Gilmores deal with post-cardiac surgery fallout, as Richard is not a very patient patient and Emily grapples with handling things she’s never handled before. It’s actually insulting how little she thinks her business-owning daughter can help, but once the booze starts flowing, we get one of the nicer Emily-Lorelai moments we’ve had in a while.

“Scene In A Mall” comes to mind, when Lorelai points out to Emily that the reason she knows how to manage people is because she’s seen her mother do it her entire life. And the moment in the real estate office where Emily actual touches Lorelai to console her. She does so again this episode, a little tanked up but seemingly genuinely sorry that Lorelai and Christopher’s marriage has so quickly failed.

She also praises her daughter for being a one-person kayak, not a two-person canoe. It actually explains a lot about their relationship: In college, Emily was just out for the Mrs. degree; like many women of her generation, especially of a certain class, she looked at becoming a wife and a mother as her true career (and yes, many women still choose this option, if they are fortunate enough to do so and not have to work. And some women who could stay home opt to work, because they want to. Motherhood ideally should be all about choosing whatever path works for you, is the point I’m trying to pin down here). It’s why marrying Christopher, even as a teenager, would have been okay for pregnant young Lorelai, because she was still marrying into a good family: It was Emily’s original plan, just sped up a bit. But Lorelai’s view of her own future was entirely different, knowing full well that a teenage marriage to Chris wouldn’t last long (just like an adult one, ha), and setting out to make her own way in the world, with no help from anyone. So these commendations from Emily about the way Lorelai has shaped her life are few and far between—since Lorelai’s whole life is a rejection of how things were supposed to go. Which is probably why Emily’s compliments are so moving when they actually happen.

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Is that why Emily automatically shuts down the next day? I guess so. After all, if Emily was too sympathetic, we wouldn’t understand why Lorelai had to run away from that house in the first place. Throwing Lorelai shade about having to cancel a party that she didn’t even want is stone-cold.

In other news, Luke is lonely, but not lonely enough to want to hang out with Liz and T.J. and Doula for too long, and Logan screws up a huge business deal because he is Logan. Rory’s continually flummoxed looks at Mitchum during that fancy birthday dinner were pretty funny, though.

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“Will You Be My Lorelai Gilmore?”, season seven, episode 16, originally aired 2/27/2007 

I’ve gone off before about how mad I am at the show’s treatment of one Lane Kim Van Gerbig. Sure, she had the perfect boyfriend in Dave Rygalski before The O.C. intervened, fulfilled her life’s dream of being a drummer in a rock band, and has a pretty cute relationship with Zack. The show insisted that she stay a virgin until her wedding night (although others have pointed out to me that as someone who was raised a Seventh-Day Adventist, it was probably difficult for her to do otherwise), have a horrible experience the first time she does have sex, and gets knocked up with twins immediately afterward. Lane’s speech a few weeks ago about the little peephole she once had into how her life could be made me so sad.

It’s also, some more savvy commenters have pointed out, in direct opposition to how Rory was able to live her life, able to access the privilege her mother once rejected when she needed it: going to Chilton, heading to Yale. So in the revival, Rory is this globe-trotting freelance journalist while Lane is pretty much the same as the last time we saw her: Raising the twins, still playing in the band, still in Stars Hollow. It’s not that it’s a bad life—it’s practically the one that Lorelai rejected her Hartford upbringing to discover—but it’s not like Lane ever seemed to have a ton of other options.

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In Gilmore Girls’ continued pile-on on Lane (honestly, she’s like the Miranda of this show), she gets zapped with bedrest the day of her fun baby shower. Fortunately, Lorelai makes use of her considerable party-planning skills to help the town rally around to turn Miss Patty’s into the shower spot, complete with movable bed. That’s what Lorelai means when she says, “I love this town” in a previous episode; Stars Hollow is like the dysfunctional family she never had, and although they’re really nosy, they’re also ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice to go decorate a barn for Lane. Lorelai even helps broker a peace deal between Lane and her mother beforehand. Man, I would love to attend a party in a bed, but that could just be attributed to my natural laziness. So I think that’s what Lorelai’s smiling at at the end of the episode: She’s in a good place, and so is Lane.

This show kind of drives me crazy with its see-saw aspects: For Lorelai and Christopher to ever get close together, she and Luke had to be on the outs (see the Rory-Jess car crash episode, “Teach Me Tonight”). Now that we have finally rid ourselves of one overprivileged male heir, Logan has to switch from the perfect boyfriend he’s been for several weeks—hanging out in hospitals, sending care packages—to the Life And Death Brigade asshole he was when we met him. In a way, it makes sense: Logan has no capabilities to deal with his crushing, million-dollar fuckup other than absolute escapism, but just the mention of the names “Colin and Finn” are enough to make me shudder involuntarily.

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Luke finally realizes that change could be a good thing, finally letting go of his dad’s old boat to buy a new one. This episode continues to stoke that Luke and Lorelai fire, as she wonders that if he’s becoming more flexible about boats, maybe he is about other things as well? Every scene they have together seems much too brief now, showing once again that the Christopher marriage didn’t stand a chance.

Stray observations

  • This week in Gilmore entitlement: Just suck it up and drink your mocktail after your dad’s had open-heart surgery, Lorelai.
  • Too-brief glimpse of Paris this week: Doing yoga with Doyle. “Is Rory asleep?” “Do you mean spiritually or literally?”
  • I was on bedrest with my twins for two months and let me tell you, while it may sound fun, it was not because I was terrified about going into labor too soon the whole time. I did get to watch a lot of Columbo, though, it was very soothing.
  • IMDB tells me that Gil (Sebastian Bach)’s appearance at the baby shower is his last in the regular Gilmore Girls run. That kind of struck me like nothing else that these recaps are winding up as well. What will I do with my Saturday mornings? Finally hit the gym? Anyway, three more weeks after this one, friends, thanks for reading.
  • Next week: Road trip! And hay bale maze!

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