Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"The man I want to want": Gilmore Girls

The episode I (and, I suspect, most GG fans) was expecting last week instead came yesterday, and "Farewell, My Pet" was a nicely understated piece of work, an effective epitaph to the Lorelai/Chris marriage that avoided the histrionics I had feared.

As an episode en totale, it wasn't exactly the most exciting Gilmore Girls has ever been. Aside from Lorelai and Chris' two showdowns (the first somewhat heated, the second rather muted) there was Michel in mourning for his deceased chow puppy, Sookie slowly coaxing Lorelai to a realization about her unresolved feelings towards Luke, and Rory flirting with her new TA and instantly confessing it to Logan, in that adorable way lovers do. Probably the funniest moment of the episode came with Zach's horror at having to perform "My Heart Will Go On" at the canine funeral, but other than that it was a pretty quiet affair.

Which is good, considering they could have played Lorelai and Chris' marriage breakdown by pushing it in the other direction, just escalating their fight (over Chris' abandonment of everyone at Richard's bedside) until breaking point was reached. Instead they let Chris air his legitimate grievances as well as display his immaturity, and they let Lorelai admit that she was in the wrong for locking up her feelings about Luke rather than confronting them. The writing here was fine but it was, unsurprisingly, Lauren Graham's performance that sold the whole thing, a totally believable mixture of vulnerability, betrayal and stoicism. She's basically what's keeping the show somewhat on track during this muddled seventh season.

I say that not because I have a problem with Rory or Bledel's performance in particular, but it's not hard to see that the younger Gilmore has suffered more with the Palladinos' departure. She's always been a tougher character to write for, and while her relationship with Logan has developed nicely, they don't have a whole lot for her to do except be cute or pout. The Tucker Colbertson (can this show ever give someone a normal name?) character looked fine, but his entrance was hardly as dazzling as Jess, Marty, or Logan's--he seemed more like bland a nice-guy academic, good-looking but sans personality. I'm sure he'll play a role in Rory/Logan's relationship in the latter half of the season (Rory confessing her mild flirtation to Logan was cute, and smart, because couples keeping secrets is a storyline we don't need to see again on this show) but right now I'm pretty unconvinced.

Not much else to say, except I guess I'll miss Chris, but not that much. I think the idea behind this whole arc was to finally give him his shot at Lorelai, but in retrospect it seems a little unfair--to marry them so quickly after she breaks up with Luke was pretty much a sure sign they would never last. I'm sure things are now going to progress slowly, but surely, towards the inevitable conclusion fans have been waiting for. Whether the show sticks around for another year (really, I can't see how that would benefit anything) will decide how big this conclusion is, I guess.

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