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TV Rewind: Gilmore Girls, Season 3

13 Sep

img_4257Emma: Season 3 is a big year in the Gilmore house as it is Rory’s final year at school, there’s a boyfriend switch-up and Lorelai has a lot of work and some romance stuff going on. And she finally kissed Luke… Or rather Lorelai dream kissed Luke in the opening scene of this season and I screamed even though I figured it wasn’t really happening.

There is plenty to talk about and it might seem like a strange place to start but I’m going to skip to the end because I was thrilled to see that it didn’t finish on a romantic cliffhanger or moment of devastation like last season. It was about everything Rory and Lorelai had achieved personally and as a mother/daughter unit. There was no way a dude was going to overshadow Rory’s academic success and Lorelai’s new and huge business purchase. Dreams had just been realized and no matter how much I want Luke and Lorelai to have a non-dream kiss, this finale was far more satisfying for focusing on the women. Jess called, but didn’t derail Rory or her success. She got to unload on him without having to hear his lame excuses because he is too much of a coward to give her any. And they wouldn’t suffice anyway.img_4205I realized when Rory decided on Yale that I have an emotional reaction to Rory’s academic success and I got teary when Lorelai found out that she was valedictorian and I got to sob levels during her speech. I love romance and all those kind of things that come with teen shows but ultimately the things that resonate with the likes of Rory Gilmore, Angela Chase, Felicity Porter and Lindsay Weir are the personal victories that don’t involve boys. The boys are just the bonus. Maybe not for Rory as Dean is the worst and so far Jess isn’t much better. But Dave can stay (although I’m guessing he won’t because of The O.C.).

What did you make of watching Rory’s final year at school and her decision to go to Yale over her original dream school?img_4220Julie: I loved the college switch-a-roo. I don’t know if that had been the writers’ plan all along, but I suspect it was. There would’ve been different drama if Rory had chosen to go to Harvard–being farther away from her mom, oh, and closer to her dad, who I think is still in Boston? But with her going to Yale, it sets up all this drama with the parents, which is marvelous. Of course Richard and Emily love that Rory is going to Yale, and it certainly has to burn Lorelai’s britches that her daughter is following in her grandfather’s footsteps. This whole situation makes her dad so happy, and that is never on Lorelai’s agenda.

I’m so with you about seeing the teenage girls accomplish things for themselves and not because of a boy. Rory’s graduation was all about her and her mom, and I definitely got teary. Lorelai getting to see her daughter accomplish so much while about to embark upon this new phase of her life where she won’t need her mom so much, EMOTIONS.img_4258And yay for Rory getting out of Stars Hollow. She needs to meet some new guys. Cast a wider net. I think Dave is nice for Lane, but what did you think about the whole “I’m a drummer!” storyline? I feel like that came out of nowhere. We’ve known all along that Lane likes music, but we had no idea she could actually play. And it felt kind of farfetched, like, “I’m gonna be a drummer!” even though I’ve never drummed in my whole life.

I think I needed to get that off my chest. It really bothers me.img_4250Emma: The college thing felt to me like it was maybe always planned for logistics, but I love that Yale didn’t come into play until this season. The trip to Yale underscored everything that is still fragile in Lorelai and her parents’ relationship and shows once again that Richard is more than just a sweet grandfather. It’s a sneaky move and it was good to see Rory explain exactly why it was so shitty. She is not her mother and she would’ve gladly taken this meeting, but to not let her prepare and just spring this on her sucks. Bad form, Richard.

The Yale trip is fun up until that point as we find out more about Emily and Richard’s courtship (there was another woman!) and see them a little giddy. Plus Lorelai gets to bond with her mother over skirt fixing solutions and everything is lovely until Richard pulls his “oh look where we are” meeting.img_4222For Lorelai as we saw last season there is a pang whenever college comes up as this is her path not taken. Rory is her everything, but she still wonders what could have been. Everyone thinks Harvard is still the one, but the pros/cons list says otherwise and rather than go against her parents, Lorelai puts those differences aside. It is a huge step in the compromise column and really the person that matters here is Rory. And of course there are still big bumps in the Lorelai/Emily relationship with the loan repayment.

The girl in a band thing is fun, but yeah it would’ve maybe made more sense for her to go the Almost Famous route of music journalism. She could’ve still met Dave this way and it wouldn’t have felt so out of left field. It is another case of them not being entirely sure what to do with Lane. Although I did love her brief change of hair colour. The doing something drastic to your hair with dye is an ultimate teen rite of passage. Lane also ticked off the getting drunk and vomming box this season and I liked how not crazy that house party was. Well until the fight. It looked like a lot of our parties, which is never the case on screen as they are always so big and so loud.

Sex chats came into play this season and it is interesting to see how Lorelai navigates this stuff. What did you make of this?img_4223Julie: Yeah, teenage sex hasn’t really been an issue on the show to this point, even though Rory has had two boyfriends (one very long term). Her thing with Dean always seemed kind of chaste. The two of them didn’t seem to have much romantic chemistry. They hardly ever seemed to be alone together, and the few times they were alone either ended in fighting or with them surrounded by other people.

But with Jess, there’s more heat. He’s a “bad boy,” and he seems way more experienced than Rory. That said, it appears he’s cool with taking things at her pace. So, yay for Jess on that.It has to be a big relief for Lorelai (who finds out about her daughter’s virginity status after accidentally overhearing a conversation between Rory and Paris), that Rory is not there yet. As cool as she is, and as cool as I’m sure she’d be with her daughter becoming sexually active, there has to be a part of her that’s like, “Please let us get out of high school,” since she’s the one who wound up pregnant at sixteen. I love that she wants to keep the lines of communication open with Rory, and asks Rory to please tell her whenever the sexing happens.img_4248Now, the unlikely one who has had sex is Paris, and I think they handle this pretty well. She’s very matter-of-fact about it, and when she first talks to Rory she sounds like they were safe, it was good, no big deal. But then her rejection letter comes from Harvard, and she deals with that by blaming the sex on some level–like she, Paris Gellar, could only have one of those things, not both. I think there are just a lot of emotions she’s dealing with, and I kind of like that they make Paris a basket case about sex, because of course she’d freak out. She freaks out about everything.

What did you think about Paris’s sexual escapades?img_4206Emma: The Rory/Lorelai chats about sex are great because even though they are super close there is still that super awkward vibe that comes from discussing this subject with a parent. Rory is very aware of her origin story and there is a sense that she doesn’t want to follow her mother’s path even if what came of it is really great. A subject that Lorelai has trouble navigating when she is asked to give a talk about being a successful business woman at Rory’s old high school. She doesn’t suggest getting pregnant at 16 is a good life plan, but she definitely got a good end of this deal. Lorelai rarely gets flustered and it doesn’t help that Luke is there to witness this display.

Lorelai wants Rory to be upfront and I get that so the initial part of the Paris/Rory convo is terrifying followed by quick reassurance. I also think she is very proud of how Rory responds to the Paris reveal and she sounds both like a teenager and good friend. Paris is typically Paris and I think part of the meltdown that follows comes from her belief that she isn’t worthy of being loved. Which sucks and is completely not true, but the environment she has grown up in can’t have helped with how she sees love. Her best friends are guy crazy and are never short of dates whereas Paris lusted after Tristan and was left with a solitary kiss and no further interest. In fact in the first episode of this season Rory is the one who tells her that she just got asked out on a date by Jamie.img_4228The speech meltdown made me all kinds of sad because of course she would equate romantic happiness with the Harvard rejection. It is like a version of the horror movie thing where if you sleep with someone then you are going to get killed. But this time it is with the college of her dreams. Jamie is also the thing that comes between Rory and Paris; not in the traditional way but because of a student government power battle and Francie might be least favorite character so far. I like her less than I like Dean (so that is saying something). Despite these fallouts the Paris/Rory relationship is strong and Rory is the one who helps pull Paris out of her funk. Paris is a high level of intense and yet Rory knows exactly how to bring these levels down and I can’t wait to see this friendship develop even further.

Back to Rory and sex because it does look like she is edging there as things were getting hot and heavy with Jess. As you mention with Dean it was always pretty chaste and the chemistry between Rory and Jess is undeniable (maybe because of IRL stuff slipping in *phrasing*). Rory is edging there and the house party was the almost point. But rightly so Rory tells Jess to stop (and he does) because of things like the door not being locked and because Jess is clearly distracted. This leads to an almighty fight between Dean and Jess which trashes half the house and pretty much spells the end for Jess and Rory. Also Dean has now proposed to his girlfriend which is pretty much the dumbest way to try and get Rory’s attention and he is the worst.

While we’re on the subject of sex, what did you think of the flashbacks to young Lorelai and Christopher?img_4236Julie: Dean is terrible, and his new fiancee should RUN far, far away. And then Dean should chase her and get the hell out of Stars Hollow.

I’m glad that Rory stops things with Jess before they go any further. She deserves better than a party hookup in an unlocked bedroom. And I think Jess knows that. As “bad” as he thinks he is, I really don’t think he’s even remotely that bad.img_4242I think we can all agree that Rory and Paris are OTP, especially during this season. Maybe it’s a little unbalanced: Paris seems to need Rory more than Rory needs Paris, but they’re really two sides of the same coin–the good girls with big dreams. As far as the speech goes, I feel like the YA publishing community would pooh-pooh Paris’s handling of it–she’s slut-shaming herself; she’s Paris Gellar, guys shouldn’t matter–but I thought Paris’s reaction was painfully real. By her account, she should’ve been a shoo-in for Harvard. She’d done everything right. What was the one thing she did “wrong?” She slept with her boyfriend. It was like karma and tempting fate, and I think she was just looking for an easy explanation.

As far as Lorelai and Christopher go, I loved the flashback episode with Rory’s conception and birth. We got to see so much here–how her relationship with Emily has been strained all along, how her parents handled the situation as best they could while Christopher’s didn’t, how everyone was worried about his future, even Lorelai. And then to bookend it with Chris’s new daughter, Gigi, tears. He’s going to be there for this kid from day one, unlike how he was with Rory.

Speaking of pregnancies, how about Sookie and Jackson?img_4240Emma: My main gripe with the Lorelai flashback is down to the actress playing Lorelai as she ended up irritating me. It’s a hard line to play with a character that is so quippy and self aware and sadly she was no Lauren Graham (a tall order for anyone). I loved seeing Emily in late eighties attire and it was fun seeing the foundation of all this drama. It did also break my heart a little for Lorelai’s fractured relationship with her parents and the difference between Christopher now and then.

It is also interesting how the Christopher stuff kind of fizzles, which I guess makes sense now that he has another kid and Sherri while being sweet also seems like hard work. Also organizing a birthing party sounds like a really terrible idea. Lorelai also has another flash from the past with Max coming back to town and the two share a couple of awkward moments and a kiss. There is still chemistry there but a lot of this feels like the writers stalling until something happens with Luke. Same with Alex who (as Lorelai even said) just fizzled. He was fine, but nothing spectacular. And the actor has gone on to crazier things with Zoo (I need to catch up but l love this bonkers show).img_4213One other potential suitor who really didn’t last long was Jon Hamm with a bad haircut. Lorelai liked him (well who wouldn’t) until she found out how dull he was and this caused all kinds of issues for Emily as he also happened to be the son of one of her society friends. Awkward. This has been one of my favorite guest star spots so far.

Luke meanwhile also has a new love interest and she happens to be Taylor’s lawyer. I don’t see this going the distance particularly as Nicole has picked up on the strong Luke/Lorelai vibe. Plus they haven’t really crafted much of a character for her. Also I figured that when they got the extension in Luke’s apartment he and Jess would at least have their own rooms, but nope.

Ah yes, Sookie is pregnant which is lovely but not a surprise. I do find Jackson to be a bit much on occasion including his reaction to the pregnancy news especially after his whole wanting a crazy amount of kids thing. I get the back and forth bickering is part of their thing but sometimes it is a lot to deal with.

The other big Sookie news involves Lorelai and their inn dreams. What did you think about the progression of this storyline and the maybe convenient fire at their workplace?img_4229Julie: Yes, with the stalling! It’s kind of fun seeing Lorelai out and dating, but the writers are VERY slow about getting her and Luke on the same page. The Max thing feels like a bone thrown to the Max-Lorelai truthers. (They’re out there.) She did sort of dispense with him quickly, and there was nothing wrong with him. Max Medina is great!

Alex is fine, too, actually, and I love seeing Billy Burke in stuff. (I watched every episode of My Boys, one of those Chicago shows–like The League–where I’m not sure if the writers have ever been to Chicago.) And I know I squealed (and probably tweeted) about Jon Hamm making an appearance. This was the kind of one-off journeyman actor role he apparently did a lot before landing Mad Men. Since it was JON HAMM, I went in expecting a lot of out of that character, but he didn’t really get a chance to sparkle in any memorable way.img_4225I CANNOT with Nicole. While Lorelai gets some decent suitors, Luke is stuck with this lawyer chick and there really is no there there. She appears only to be a vehicle for change for Luke–he starts thinking about new places to live and new menus. And she certainly feels threatened by Lorelai, so she can kindly step away from the show.

I agree on Jackson. While this show his heightened in its language, the actors tend to bring a lot of groundedness to the roles. With Jackson, maybe we just don’t get to see him enough, but he’s often too much. I can buy him stressing out over the new baby and him not having the reaction to the pregnancy that everyone assumed he’d have, but it felt more schticky than real. Asking a chef to get rid of her knives for a baby who won’t even be moving on its own for a while? Stop.

That fire was very convenient, but I do love that the ladies are talking about their own inn now. And I like how the show deals with it realistically. There’s a lot to consider here–Lorelai is about to be paying for college, Sookie is about to be a mom. Is this best time? How do they work it financially? What will happen to Michel?img_4212Emma: A lot of the time I want to tell Jackson to chill the fuck out and that hit new heights in season 3. I think my favorite Jackson moment came in the season finale at the graduation when he’s chatting about the Chilton building with Luke. More of that Jackson please.

The cause of the fire itself is also never really explained with a suggestion it was maybe electrical. For some reason I thought they might do an arson thing and blame Jess. Regardless it did lead to some good moments including Lorelai realizing the severity of it and what could have been if they hadn’t got everyone out. A very near miss. And it does help with their future plans except it scuppers their chances of getting the inn at first as both Sookie and Lorelai lose their jobs and can’t afford their new inn.

I find the way they deal with money issues on the show to be pretty realistic particularly with things that can cost a lot like education. Money is one of the major sticking points between Lorelai and her parents and you can tell what a relief it is for Lorelai to pay them back for Chilton. And of course Emily sees this repayment as the ultimate fuck you; it wasn’t a loan in her eyes and it was also the only way she could guarantee seeing them on a weekly basis. The problem here is that Emily shouldn’t have to make an arrangement like this, but she also thinks that it will go back to the lack of contact they had for all those years before Chilton.img_4245It is another case of both Emily and Lorelai refusing to listen or talk to each other; ultimate stubborn WASP behavior. Lorelai has been on her own for so long and she clearly hates being indebted to her parents in this way so it is the ultimate irony that paying that money back means she can’t pay for Yale (as financial aid is no longer an option). Rory then makes her own deal and she has less qualms about these strings than her mother ever did. I feel bad for Rory as she is very much in the middle of all this and tells both her mother and Emily how ridiculous they are being. After relatively smooth sailing the Gilmores are back to uneven territory.

While we’re on the subject of the Gilmore ladies, have you seen the photo EW posted yesterday from the new series? I’ve been trying to avoid everything but this one was all over my Twitter feed yesterday. It is crushing and instantly made me tear up (this sound vague as I’m not sure you’ve seen it).

img_4218So what about standout episodes? The first one that springs to mind is the 24-hour dance event that saw the end of Dean and Rory and was also peak Stars Hollow events. I love that Lorelai ends up asking Rory to be her partner and all the drama. Even if Dean is the worst. Plus there is Dave and Lane adorableness, Kirk dominating and forever Lorelai/Luke flirting. The four Thanksgivings was also super fun and if anyone can get through that much food it is Lorelai and Rory. Also Jess getting beaten up by a swan was pretty magical even if it did put Rory in a difficult position because he wouldn’t tell her what happened. Emily appearing all super chill with Rory about Jess and then going off at Lorelai is peak Emily.img_4238Julie: I totally haven’t seen the new Gilmore Girls picture. Somehow I managed to avoid it. Yay for being too busy to stalk social media!

I find it really interesting how comfortable Rory is straddling the line between her mother and her grandparents. She, obviously, does not have the same qualms her mother does about their money and owing them anything. It’s much easier being a granddaughter than a daughter, I suppose.

img_4219Standouts for me–I also really liked the 24-hour dance. I love when the whole town comes together, especially when Kurt is there and feeling competitive. I actually loved the stuff with Sookie and her old friend. It’s nice to see Sookie being recognized as the hot piece she is. Luke helping Lorelai with fishing, and Lorelai busting his balls about the new menus–there’s such an undercurrent of “You let HER change the menu” there. I liked the progression of Rory and Paris’s friendship. And I like that Dean has a new girlfriend, so he can finally MOVE ON.img_4216Emma: The dance episode also gave us some A+ 1940s style attire and hair from Rory and Lorelai, which I am so here for. Which brings me to my next important question; any notable fashion moments?img_4252For me this show continues to showcase how terrible this period was for jeans. So many bad jeans. And for some reason Jess travelled to see his dad dressed like he was auditioning for Grease: Live ten years too early. Gilmore Girls features a lot of dudes wearing bad leather jackets.

I’m sad we didn’t get the full Rory prom experience because Jess is the worst at going to school so we missed out on fancy gown fun. But I did love seeing Emily trying on outfits for Rory’s graduation and how sparkly her final choice is.

img_4256Julie: Now that you mention it, Rory’s lack of prom dress was a bit sad for me. I am firmly in the “more dresses” camp. Whenever a show can give us more dresses, it SHOULD.

I’ll add, too, that while I’m staying away from new Gilmore spoilers, I saw the show on the fall calendar in Entertainment Weekly, and I am SO EXCITED.

 

Hi, there! Like Julie’s writing? Buy her new YA novel, THE SOUND OF US, right here!

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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3 Responses to “TV Rewind: Gilmore Girls, Season 3”

  1. Joanna September 14, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    I also finished season three just now and your recap is the best! Really enjoyed reading this, made me relive all the moments.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Out of the Box: Look of the Week | TV Ate My Wardrobe - September 16, 2016

    […] and for more Jon Hamm (this time with a bad haircut) check out our brand new Gilmore Girls chat.At Michael Kors, Emily Blunt also gives great lipstick and ticks […]

  2. ‘Gilmore Girls’ Style Retrospective: Why Early ’00s Fashion Stayed in Stars Hollow | Tera News - November 22, 2016

    […] done the teenage rite of passage extreme hair change thing. Look to best friend Lane for her very brief dalliance with purple hair before she realized she wasn’t ready to tell her mom about her real passions that remained hidden […]

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