Gilmore Girls, Episodes 1.1 & 1.2
“Pilot” & “The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton”
Original Air Date: Oct. 5 & 12, 2000
Julie: There are certain shows you love so much that you envy people who haven’t yet seen them and get to experience the shows for the first time. I know I felt that way about Breaking Bad and The Wire and the first season of 24. I’m feeling that right now with my son, to whom I’m reading the Harry Potter books (we’re on Prisoner of Azkaban). I’m always like, “You are the luckiest person in the world! You have no idea what’s to come. I wish I were in your shoes.” But at least I get to experience it vicariously through his eyes.
Maybe some of our readers are jealous that we’re Gilmore Girls virgins.
Going into the pilot, I knew very little about the show. I knew Lorelai and Rory were mother and daughter. I knew Lorelai had Rory at a very young age. I knew there was a Paris. And a Luke. That’s about it. I actually thought the show took place in North Carolina for some reason.
Let me just say that two episodes in, I am HOOKED. I’m actually going to have to force myself not to skip too far ahead, because all I want to do right now is binge watch Gilmore Girls. I’m here for all of it — the mother/daughter/mother/daughter stuff, Luke shipping, the private school bitchiness, etc. I’m even here for the snappy dialogue my husband so maligns. It works for me. Probably because Lauren Graham is everything. I may have a tiny huge crush on her right now. I want to be her. I want to wear Daisy Dukes to drop my kids off at school. (Maybe I will, but no one will know because they’ll be under my parka and snow pants.)
Before we get into the episodes, what is your history with the show and how did you like the first two episodes?
Emma: Judging by the response to the Instagram photo I put up saying I was about to start watching this show for the first time and my Twitter mentions I can safely say that there is that kind of ‘you’re so lucky reaction.’ The reunion at the ATX TV fest this year was huge on my TL as was the announcement that they’re doing a revival and it’s nice to watch a show that means a lot to so many. Plus I have a friend who has been trying to get me to watch for forever because he knows how much I adore teen shows. And because of this my hopes for Gilmore Girls are set to high and these first two episodes do not disappoint.
As with you my knowledge of the show is very thin – I know there are several guys in Rory’s life who I know from other shows like Matt Czuchry, Jared Padalecki and Peter Petrelli (who Alexis Bledel dated IRL) and that there is debate over who she should be with (isn’t there always?). And I knew about her mom having her at a young age and that they don’t have your typical TV mom/daughter relationship.
The fast paced snappy dialogue was also something I was expecting as I’ve seen the longer than normal script length referenced before. But really it’s a pretty clean slate. Like I didn’t even realize Chad Michael Murray was in this being as skeezy and squinty as always. The WB and CW REALLY wanted to make him happen.
Count me in too and I am so ready to watch a show that focuses on a mother/daughter relationship of a different kind (it made me think of Jane the Virgin in this respect) and I already love how much it embraces both humor and emotion. Making jokes is how these ladies deflect and this makes them my kind of women. And the private school stuff is also right up my street.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lauren Graham in all that much (I still need to see Parenthood) but yep I also heart her. It’s is also instantly believable that Alexis Bledel is her daughter as the chemistry is there. Rory feels very much like a Felicity, but with parents of a different kind and I think they would definitely be besties (Rory’s actual bestie is pretty great and I’m glad she’s still around even though they’re at different schools).
It also gave me so many flashbacks to 2000 from Macy Gray to a whole lot of ill fitting baggy jeans. I am looking forward to reliving fashion disasters of this decade.
So we’ve covered what we knew going in, how did you think it did in setting up who everyone is/the vibe of the town?
It’s funny that we’re watching this right after Felicity, so we can pick up where we left off, fashion-wise. I’m loving Lorelai’s short-skirt business suit. Though, I went to Catholic school and no way would we have worn our skirts as long as Rory wears hers. I’d be rolling that thing up and down all day.
I also knew that Melissa McCarthy was in the show (pre-superstardom). She’s cute here, as usual, though her character, of all of them, seems a bit thinly drawn right now. The clumsiness is already wearing thin, considering we don’t have much more to go on with her at this point. She seems to be a capable chef, though, and I’m sure we’ll see more of that as the show progresses. (And I’m already shipping her and the peach delivery guy.)
Luke, the owner of the diner, has a great contentious rapport with Lorelai, but that also seems like too much at times. And I’m not sure how I feel about the writers hinting at a romance already in episode two. Let it simmer, guys! We feel the tension. We know where this is going. No need to draw attention to it at this point.
I did not realize that was CMM bugging Rory at Chilton. What a jerk. I suppose that’s par for the course with Chad, though.
The other relationship I’m totally digging so far is Lorelai’s with her mother. It’s so heightened, yet so real at its core. I live only a few blocks from my mom and dad. I love it for so many reasons. They are always around to help out. But. They are always around to help out. I will always be their baby. They are always ready with loving advice or suggestions. Sometimes it’s welcome, and sometimes it’s like, “I’m an adult! Let me be.” I really felt that in all of Lorelai’s interactions with her mom.
How are you liking the town of Stars Hollow?
Emma: Timeline wise this does feel like a natural post-Felicity watch even though we’re going back to high school, although the weighting of the characters puts the adults as equals in terms of storylines. It will be nice in that respect rather than Felicity and Ben’s parents showing up to add more drama. I am all for parents being just as integral and Lorelai is just that.
The Sookie is super skittish and clumsy thing did get a bit much in the pilot and I get that they have to ham it up for the pilot but that was one fire too far. The peach thing was better and I like the dynamic she has with Lorelai. Hotel employee wise I also liked how everyone is a little brash from the harp player to Michel and I maybe laughed quite a lot when he was asked by the old ladies where to find the best antiques. It is the kind of thing that also might get tired pretty quick so hopefully there is more to him beyond French sass.
It does feel like a very lived in town even if it borders on small town quirky – do places like this exist? I do like cake so I’m glad there’s a good bakery. Miss Patty is my fave town person so far especially her threats about Harry Potter. I also found it surreal to see her smoking because it seems to recent for that to be okay.
What I liked about Lorelai and her relationship with her parents is that it’s difficult because of all of them; they didn’t kick her out when she got pregnant and that’s not why they’re estranged but there’s definitely this aspect of her feeling like she didn’t live up to their expectations. Yes she’s achieved so much and her stubborn streak is part of why she is so estranged from them and I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops now they are very much back in their life. And not just for the holidays.
The Luke stuff is early and I’m with you on it being unnecessary to push it this early. And yeah they don’t want to not be able to go back there – those chilli fries looked so good.
What did you make of Rory?
Since it’s early, I’m willing to give most of the characters a pass. All of the supporting characters are their own most dominant trait right now. Mrs. Gilmore is 100% nag. Mr. Gilmore is just a bumbling dad who falls asleep at the dinner table. Sookie is clumsy and distracted. And Luke is a total sad sack. I mean, right now I don’t even want him and Lorelai to get together. He’s too depressing. Lighten up a bit, Luke.
As far as Rory goes, I don’t love Alexis Bledel’s line reading. I kind of figured that going in based on the little I’d seen of the show before. She’s cute and she looks like she could be Lauren Graham’s daughter, but she’s not the best actress. I’m sorry if that hurts people’s feelings. Maybe she gets better. Maybe I’ll get used to her.
I do like the character, though, and I love that she first tries to help Paris and then stands up to her in class. She’s a tough cookie. I appreciate that.
What’s your take on Rory? Are you excited to see high school through her eyes?
Emma: Lorelai is definitely the one who feels the most fleshed out so far, but as you say it is fine at this early stage for the supporting cast to have such broad characteristics. I kind of like Luke’s grumpy demeanor, but he is not love material at this point. I was also kind of surprised that Rory’s dad is still on the scene or that they know what he is up to at least. I don’t know why that surprised me or what I was expecting (a lot of shows tend to kill of the young dad), but I expect he will show up at some point.
So I quite like Rory so far and I quite like Alexis Bledel in general as she’s very non-offensive, but Rory also has a bit of fight in her thankfully. I just checked her IMDb page and this is her first role (aside from an uncredited part in Rushmore) and she definitely comes across as pretty green. So I think she will get better. I also just remembered that she’s married to Pete Campbell IRL. Matt Weiner sure loved casting from teen shows of the 90s/00s which is exactly how I would cast a show.
What I like about the whole Rory high school set up is that she isn’t just a poor student going to a fancy school a la Ryan Atwood; instead there is money in her family but also SCANDAL. So it is a fish out of water tale with a twist. And because she isn’t afraid to ask questions or confront others like Paris and CMM about the whole Mary thing (ugh). I am so ready for boy drama and rich school politics.
One other thing I’m wondering is if the town is going to have a dark side or maybe I’ve been watching too much cable drama. It all seems to lovely at the moment to be real. Which, considering how the real world is right now I’m kinda ready for a whole lot of pleasantness with a big side order of passive aggressive and bitchy comments.
Matt Weiner is all of us. I think you’re right about Rory, too. She’s not bad. She’s just not on par with Lauren Graham yet, who is stellar. It’s a lot to ask of a girl taking on her first acting roll. She’ll get there, I’m sure. And I love her and Vincent Kartheiser together. I think they even have a secret baby now and everything.
There are, what, seven seasons of this show? I’m anticipating we’re going to see all of it — from class wars to romance to town mysteries. I can’t wait!