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TV Rewind: Gilmore Girls, Season 1, Episodes 3-6

28 Jan

Gilmore Girls, Episodes 1.3, 1.4,1.5, & 1.6
“Kill Me Now”, “The Deer Hunters,” “Cinnamon’s Wake,” & “Rory’s Birthday Parties”
Original Air Dates: Oct. 19 & 26 and Nov. 2 & 9, 2000

Gilmore Girls 1.06 birthday girlEmma: As we’ve got a whole lot of seasons to get through (especially in comparison to our previous endeavors) we’re going to be discussion more episodes than the usual two and I think at this early stage it particularly makes a lot of sense as they can be split into two groups – school problems and grandparent problems. There’s some overlap between the two with Rory’s birthday party being the best example of this, but so far it has been alternating between these two areas; episode 3 has Rory bonding with her grandfather over golf much to Lorelai’s dismay and episode 4 is all about Rory struggling at Chilton. This early on it works in establishing not only conflict, but also finding a point of entry in creating a solid relationship between characters who have barely connected at any point in their lives. With Rory at Chilton it is a classic fish out of water story as she has gone from a school where she was the smartest person and her economic status didn’t matter to one where her academic competition is mean girling her. Rory is not typical Chilton material which makes her standout whereas at her former school she didn’t appear on too many radars.

Rory is very much cut from the same cloth as a Felicity Porter, Lindsay Weir or Angela Chase in that she is also a pretty sweet kid but she has some fire in her. She is very much her mother’s daughter so when she isn’t allowed to take the test instead of slinking away she has an outburst that made me like her even more standing up to both Paris and the super skeezy CMM. Part of this is probably sleep deprivation related but I love that she stood up for herself like this. And while Rory does let things stew before she reaches this point (the same can be said for all the Gilmore women) and it does have a habit of coming out at the worst possible time (see her birthday party) I’m really enjoying seeing how she deals with conflict that is being dealt at all angles.

The complicated relationship between the three generations of Gilmore ladies is what I find really engaging right now from the passive aggressive sniping between Emily and Lorelai to Lorelai coming to terms with having to share her daughter with the parents she found it hard to communicate with on any levels. There are so many layers and years of hurt to wade through and it is enthralling. Rory’s birthday is the episode that a) had me sobbing (possible tooth removal related/maybe not) and b) blended Rory’s Chilton anxiety with the complicated Gilmore family situation. There is so much hurt coming from both Lorelai and Emily, but they are both far too proud/stubborn to unburden their pain without a big blowout and Rory is caught in the middle as the catalyst for why Lorelai left home. I just find this whole dynamic fascinating.

What do you make of all this? Are they balancing the two focal points well?

(ed. note – the facial expression on that background actor is A+)

Gilmore Girls 1.06 EmilyJulie: Well, I’ve been enjoying Gilmore Girls so much that I haven’t been able to limit myself to watching it in small chunks. I finished season two last night, in fact. I’m a Gilmore Girls junkie!

In our first discussion, I mentioned that I wasn’t sure how I felt about Rory, specifically Alexis Bledel’s performance as Rory. My fears are gone. I’m all-in on Rory and all-in on Bledel’s performance. She strikes me as a girl who is trying to imitate her mother’s cadences in some ways, while at the same time trying to find her own footing. In the first few episodes, we get the sense that Rory’s greatest influence on her life is her mother, and Lorelai likes it that way. In “Kill Me Now,” Rory takes her first steps toward a relationship with her grandfather, and she (and her mother) realize that Rory may have a lot more in common with him than anyone suspected.

On the surface, this show feels like simply a too-slick, fast-talking show, but it is so, so, so stinking much more than that. The relationships! Oh, my god! All of them are so fully realized and so complex. The mother-daughter dynamics, father-daughter, Rory and the Chilton kids, Rory and the kids from Stars Hollow. It’s all fantastic.

In “Cinnamon’s Wake” and “Rory’s Birthday Parties” we get to see the both the town and the Chilton kids fleshed out a little bit. Part of the reason this show works so well (both emotionally and humor-wise) is because of the characters that fill out the settings. At first, I thought the minor characters were a little too much, but I’ve grown to love them. The show reminds me of Parks & Rec, what with its fully realized town with all the history and baggage and relationships therein.

Speaking of relationships, these episodes introduce love interests for the two leads — Max and Dean. What do you think of these guys? Are they worthy of the Lorelais?

Gilmore Girls 1.05 Rory and DeanEmma: Wow! You really have got into it (I’m blaming the big stack of books I got for Christmas and the Mr Robot catch-up for my not so stellar effort).

The Rory/Richard relationship is an interesting one because there’s no pretense between them and it doesn’t have the same built in complexities of Emily and Lorelai rubbing off on her. I get the sense that Lorelai has never really had that much of a relationship with her father either because he was away on business a lot or there is no shared common ground between the two. Rory instantly gets that one step closer to him because of her academic interests and because she agrees to try out golf in “Kill Me Now.” Not that Richard is all that happy she will be interrupting his Saturday leisure time. Except she is not only a hit with his friends – who are kinda the worst and who he seems quite tired of – and she gets all the gossip while she is in the sauna earning a Peyton Place reference. I think Richard is genuinely taken by his granddaughter’s ambitions even if she can’t hit a ball properly and the talk of Fez comes up once again in “Rory’s Birthday Parties.” Upon googling Fez I found out that Cristiano Ronaldo was on holiday there recently.

There’s a lot of different emotional levels that Rory has to hit in these early episodes and already Alexis Bledel is nailing the different directions she is being pulled in and I wonder if being slightly inexperienced is actually helping her portrayal of keeping up with this balancing act. Her relationship with her mother already feels so lived in from how close they are to the ridiculous fight over the borrowed sweater and who has bigger boobs.

I can definitely see the Parks & Rec comparisons and at first I found the neighbors and their cat story to be too much, but as “Cinnamon’s Wake” continued it still remained all kinds of ridiculous but I also found it far more endearing. Especially the whole scale of the house and how tall her boyfriend/husband is. I am also so here for Emily reacting to Lorelai going to a cat wake but not one of a family member she hasn’t really ever interacted with.

This town is larger than life and filled with lots of kooky customers, but they have done a good job of making them more than just caricatures. This a community that supports each other, but will also tell you when your outfit is a bad choice. If it didn’t have that bite of hilarious honesty it might get too saccharine.

So love interests ahoy and I already think Lorelai can do better as this dude is far too slick for my liking. Luke is obviously for the long term (and Emily can totally see how he feels about her daughter in that two second ice interaction) and the dating one of Rory’s teachers seems like a natural path. I don’t see Max lasting for too long.

Dean is a whole different story and he has longevity written all over him. For starters he has that super cute boy appeal, he seems nice and he has the most late 90s/early 00s teen boy haircut ever. Perfect bangs to hide behind. Rory likes him, he likes Rory but she is really nervous around him and it’s clear she hasn’t had too much (if any) experience with boys. Which is why it comes as such a shock to her mom when she sees Rory with Dean outside getting a very thoughtful birthday present. I do have a feeling there will be heartbreak and conflict in the future.

The other potential love interest I guess is CMM’S super skeezy and extra annoying Tristan. Really, he is the worst. Rory has no interest in him, but Paris does and things begin to thaw when Paris realizes that Rory does not want to be her love rival for CMM’s affections. And they oh so civilly agree that Harvard is a big enough school for them both to attend.

What did you make of these relationship developments?

Gilmore Girls 1.06 iBookJulie: Ah, see, I liked Max right from the start. He’s definitely slicker than Luke, but he has a good rapport with Lorelai. One thing I really like about this show is how honest they are about Lorelai’s dating life. She’s freaking Lauren Graham, and the men on the show do notice that. But she’s Rory’s mom first, and you do get the sense that she’s put her own personal life on hold while Rory was growing up. Now that Rory’s older, Lorelai’s starting to take steps toward serious dating. I can only imagine how tough that must be, to walk the line between “my daughter is my best friend” and sheltering Rory from that part of her life.

But, yeah, Rory doesn’t need Lorelai as much anymore. She’s got Dean with the floppy late ’90s/early aughts hair. I’ve never gotten the Jared Padalecki “thing” before, but he’s super cute on this show. I can understand how the women who grew up with him as Dean on GG followed him to Supernatural and never stopped talking about him.

Dean of course feels “long-term” here, and that makes sense to me. Rory feels like a “long-term” girl. She and her mom don’t let people in easily and they’re going to make sure Dean’s gonna stick before they let him into their world.

Speaking of Rory and Lorelai and Dean, I LOVE how the writers have thrown this wrench into the mother-daughter relationship. Lorelai got pregnant when she was Rory’s age. Now there’s a Dean. Lorelai obviously doesn’t want to repeat the mistakes of her own mother, so how is she going to navigate Rory’s dating life without fretting that Rory could end up like Lorelai?

Also, Paris. I love Paris. She can do so much better than CMM. Everyone can.

What else do you have to add?

Gilmore Girls 1.06 Rory and ParisEmma: The Lorelai dating stuff is great and while I’m not here for Max at the moment they do have good back and forth banter, which is very much the tone of the writing on this show. I like that we are joining Lorelai and Rory at a time where just the two of them and everything that has made their relationship quite insular is being opened up to all these other relationships/outside factors.

Dean definitely fits the ideal cute boy on a teen show thing and I’ve never seen the appeal with Jared Padalecki, but I’ve never seen Supernatural either. But it definitely makes sense for why he is such a heartthrob and it would have been like if Joshua Jackson had done Fringe straight after Dawson’s Creek. Okay, Joshua Jackson is still very much a thing for me.

I hadn’t even considered the whole Lorelai being worried that Rory will fall head over heels and make the same mistakes thing and this is another case of layers on top of layers. For every aspect of Lorelai being a cool mom (and not a COOL mom) there are going to be cases where she is going to resort to the types of parenting she would see more in line with Emily. This is about to get juicy.

Paris is someone who I also adore and I was hoping they would make the traditional journey from enemies to frenemies to besties. As long as Lane can come along for the ride.

Gilmore Girls 1.03 Rory and LorelaiFashion wise the early aughts continue to prove just how awful they were for style taking all the worst aspects of the 90s including chokers on both Rory and Lorelai (Lorelai’s one had some kind of belt clasp in “Kill Me Now” at the world’s creepiest wedding – although I did adore the mother of the girl twins and how little fucks she had left to give). Rory’s golf hat (which I wrote about here) was a fave for all the Carol connotations and I also appreciated Lorelai’s B-52’s tee. The bracelet Emily gets Rory is very much like all the plastic jewelry I adorned my arms with (although none of it ever lit up) and those party dresses are very much of the time (and they can stay there). And just like Felicity, Rory got an iBook Clamshell. The WB laptop of choice (and once again I am very jealous).

Small moments like Lorelai telling Rory the story of her birth at 4.03 am feels like something she does every year and I like that even at this early point in the show they know their strengths in this relationship and the storytelling.

What do you make of Sookie? I know we discussed her last time and they’re still alternating between her being more of a human being with this super kooky side. I like what Melissa McCarthy does most of the time but sometimes it comes across as a little too manic/hyper. The stuff with Luke was very funny and I can definitely see them winding each other up in the future.

Gilmore Girls 1.06 Sookie and EmilyJulie: It’s hard to talk about Sookie and Luke now that I’ve seen so many episodes. Short answer: I love them. Melissa McCarthy is a bit manic in this role, but Sookie does settle down after a few episodes.

That bracelet Lorelai said Rory would love seemed like something Rory would never wear to me. Was this Lorelai trying to sabotage Rory’s relationship with her grandmother? Plot twist!

From the relationships to the people in the town, I love how this show feels so LIVED IN. You really get the sense that everyone on screen existed before they filmed the pilot and we’re only just now getting to know them. I adore it.

Gilmore Girls 1.06 shoppingEmma: I am glad however, that Emily did not go for the guitar purse. That would have been true sabotage from Lorelai.

Julie Hammerle is, according to Klout, an expert in the areas of both Morgan Freeman and glasses. Her writing can be found at chicagonow.com/hammervision and you can holler at her on Twitter as well.

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