Screenshot: Gilmore Girls

“The Festival Of Living Art” (season four, episode six, originally aired 11/4/2003)

The fun of rewatching this Gilmore Girls season is developing new appreciation for these episodes for entirely new reasons. I remember thinking the “Festival Of Living Art” was straight-up creepy the first few times out (and how long can people actually go without blinking anyway?), but it wins points on the rewatch for being possibly the greatest Kirk episode ever. Not only is he boasting a new girlfriend, but his immersion into his Jesus role is spot-on and hilarious. He even saves the Festival Of Living Pictures with an inspirational speech. So Kirk, surprisingly, is the best part of the episode, narrowly edging out Sebastian Bach’s experienced and enthusiastic Gil joining Hep Alien. (Granted, the only competition is another Sookie pregnancy freakout and the reunion of Luke and Nicole, a tremendously horrible idea.)

“Die, Jerk” (season four, episode seven, originally aired 11/11/2003)

Watching these all in such short succession, you also get to see the beauty of how Gilmore girls juggled its various universes. The Festival of Living Art is completely Stars Hollow-centric, so the following episode lessens the quirk with a Yale focus and not one but two Friday night dinners.

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Also in changed opinions on rewatches: Okay, Digger is pretty charming this episode, basically asking Lorelai out in secret right in front of her parents, knowing that that’s like catnip to a girl still stuck in adolescent rebellion. The show always goes to such great lengths to keep Lorelai and Luke apart: It’s not enough for Lorelai to be interested in somebody, but Luke has to have an interest too, and they usually get into a fight. For Lorelai to hook up with Christopher at the end of season two, she and Luke had to have a major battle over Jess, culminating with Lorelai telling him to go to hell and Luke replying, “Right back atcha.” So with few other options for Luke, the show pulls Nicole back in, so that Lorelai can do her worst-ever impression of a human who’s actually had social interactions with other humans when she runs into Luke’s wife, leading to a fight with Luke that so clearly can’t be fueled by anything other than jealousy.

Fortunately, that leaves the field wide open for Digger, who makes the most of it. Even his introduction to Rory is cute, and it is about time for Lorelai to have a love interest who isn’t the horrible father of her child or the guy she’s bound to end up with eventually. No one is more shocked than I am at this turn of events. Next you’re going to tell me that I will like Christopher by the end of this TV Club Classic series! (Just kidding: That would never, ever happen, because Christopher is the literal worst.)

This episode also benefits from fabulous appearances from Paris, Michel, and Mrs. Kim, who are always welcome. Michel walking around Stars Hollow is even more fun than regular Michel.

And Paris is hilariously focused on herself throughout, relieved when her own story makes the paper, and developing a defense plan against the “Die Jerk” writer. “Retreat? I think not” is the motto for her entire life. And don’t expect to buy an antique from Mrs. Kim without some life advice.

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But the Rory plot is a major dud, unfortunately: Rory realizing that words have meaning, and people have feelings, all a bit too late. Also that she can’t stand for anyone to dislike her, so she comes up with the ridiculous plan to alter the effect of her review. Just be glad the paper wasn’t online, Rory. It could have gone viral.

Stray observations

  • This week in Gilmore entitlement: New feature due to a shockingly frequent theme! Poor Carol Dandridge gets kicked out of being the Renoir girl just because Lorelai wants it. Maybe she was looking forward to it, did those Gilmore girls ever think of that? Also Rory can’t believe that her Yale Daily News editor (welcome Danny Strong, or as we like to say, Jonathan from Buffy) is actually editing her, and not hazing her or performing some cruel, personal ritual on her perfect words. Naturally this is enough to convince Rory that she will never be a journalist. Also, what in the world could she possibly have against coupons?
  • Welcome to the world of reviewers, Rory: “Hurting people’s feelings is what we do.”
  • This week in pointless scarves: Lorelai’s hand-knit skinny striped choker looking thing.
  • This week in 2003 technology: Pregnancy beepers and magical wifi! Also antennae things sticking out of cell phones.
  • Best Gilmore outfits: I liked Brian’s retro Deep South Monster Truck Rally ’79 T-shirt. Also Sookie’s pink embroidered final maternity dress. And Lorelai’s pink and black dress at Friday night Digger dinner. With boots!
  • “Our former ally, France.”
  • The description of Sebastian Bach as basically a walking corpse would be a lot less painful if I also hadn’t been alive for things like the moonwalk and the bicentennial. Also that the Hep Alien members thought that was really old 14 years ago.
  • Other music stars in Stars Hollow: Troubadour Grant Lee Phillips as traitorous Judas.
  • Other guest stars: Nick Offerman as Jackson’s grumpy brother Bo.
  • Emily’s glare at Digger after being forced to invite him to dinner was epic.
  • Props to Hep Alien for covering Jesus And Mary Chain’s “Head On.”
  • Sorry this is going up a little late today, but I was at this last night. Totally worth it.
  • Next week: Oh god, it’s football season.

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