Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"I can't wait to come home and watch flat sports": Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls fans across the internet world have been up in arms about the Palladino-less seventh season, but if there's one formula David Rosenthal has strictly stuck to, it's the old setup, setup, setup, payoff midway through the season routine. I'm being a little unfair, seeing as he did have Lorelai and Christopher marry in episode 7, but we've all been waiting for the inevitable payoff to their impulsive union and it looks like we shall receive it next week. The central conflict of the episode came as Chris discovered Lorelai's character reference for Luke and blew his top over her choice of language. Honestly, the whole thing's a little undercooked but I guess that's the point--Chris' immaturity.

The meat of the episode was dominated with other less compelling plots. Most dubious was the custody battle, which was happily resolved, and (even more happily) with April not going anywhere. The whole thing was rather unsettling, though--it all really felt like a story from another show. It's all very well and good have Luke standing up for his fathering rights, but since he's such an inoffensive guy and Anna has been portrayed as such a paranoid shrew, it was really obvious they were only ever going to go one way, realism be damned. I wouldn't object if the plot twist hadn't been so artificial, basically to give Luke something to do while Lorelai can't visit the diner. Basically, Gilmore Girls reminding me of Judging Amy is just not a good thing (not that I didn't watch Judging Amy in the day. But I'll watch anything).

Rory's conflict with new friend Lucy (Krysten Ritter aka Gia from Veronica Mars, who I've actually quite enjoyed although I think I'm in the minority there) also felt artificial and never really played right. Bringing back Marty simply to have him act weird and drive a wedge between Rory and Lucy didn't make much sense, considering how cute a character he was in seasons 4/5. Really a total waste, but I guess having him as a romantic foil for Logan wouldn't work, seeing as they already tried that. Having Paris resolve their tiff through her transcendence of social conventions was funny, though. Then again, when isn't Paris funny? She's actually been one of the most consistent parts of the show, even though she's had absolutely nothing to do. Also, Is it some sort of rule that Paris and Lane can't appear in the same episodes? We usually get one or the other, never both anymore.

There was also Jackson and Sookie acting weird and fighty and Lorelai trying to get to the bottom of it. Oh great, I thought! Finally, a storyline for these two, the most neglected in terms of solo plots. What was the grand revelation, though? Oh. Sookie's pregnant. Again. Now, I realize Melissa McCarthy is actually pregnant and the writers were forced to put it into the show, but jeez. Sookie's storylines after the first couple seasons have involved pregnancy, and pregnancy alone. Poor gal! Congratulations and all that, I suppose. The only interesting part of this plot was that it raised the idea of Lorelai as a mother (to a young kid) again, especially with Davey's "magic socks". As hackneyed as it might be, a pregnancy story for Lorelai might not be the absolute worst idea in the world ever. Just because I think Lauren Graham could play it really well, and Lorelai's quirks would be accentuated that much more. Just a thought.

Finally, Richard made an appearance for one. Richard/Emily have also felt extremely neglected in this season. They usually have at least one big long showcase every year (like Rory moving in with them in season 6, their separation/reconciliation in season 5, Digger Stiles in season 4, etc.) but they've been sadly absent except for their usual barbs at the dinner table this time around. Obviously Richard's health scare can bring them to the foreground for at least a few episodes, but here's another plot that just seems like it's from another series! Not that Richard didn't have a health scare in season 1 (the awesome Forgiveness and Stuff, one of my favorite episodes), but this one just seems more artificial, right down to his public collapse to leave the episode on a cliffhanger.

Here's looking forward to next week, anyway. Apparently the episode drops GG conventions and is set almost entirely in the hospital. Could be interesting.


Todd VanDerWerff said...

I'm really behind on this show, but a pregnancy announcement just ain't a pregnancy announcement without Norman Mailer.

Joey said...

That last scene was so out of place it was actually a bit scary. Maybe that was the idea - but Gilmore is not the kind of show that puts that stuff on-screen, ever. The whole Sookie pregnancy thing was also off-putting because McCarthy played it more like she had post-partum depression. Was I the only one creeped out by this episode?