Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life — Spring

It’s spring in Stars Hollow, London, and New York, and everyone’s gone just a little bit nutty. You know, the way Sookie used to get before figuring out she was pregnant, except no-one’s pregnant yet and Sookie’s still not back from… wherever she is up North.

For all of you busy bees, here’s the tl;dr version of the review in handy video format:

Lorelai’s in therapy with her mother, and it’s going /terrifically/. Once we got through Trombone Stan, all the good material was gone. I have, however, never seen Emily Gilmore slouch like this, and I love it. I want to freeze-frame that and, well. Frame it.

“Gypsy’s over there, she can watch me.”

Lorelai around the most amount of food Stars Hollow has ever seen — yes, this requires a watcher.

It’s a while into the episode that the real bomb drops, though. Logan isn’t just seeing someone else besides Rory — he’s ENGAGED. And it’s necessary for us to learn this from his father, because we entered so far into their relationship, obviously, that it doesn’t even come up anymore. It’s a non-starter, for them, and it falls to Mitch Huntzberger to throw a glass of water in our faces for our trouble.
But not only that — Logan isn’t exactly nobody, and neither is Rory. One by birth, the other by merit, or so we hope, and Rory’s panic at Logan’s father seeing them at lunch together should tell her how possibly disastrous it could be for her to Logan Huntzberger’s mistress. And, seriously: they’ve been in and out of London’s restaurants, probably fancy ones for heaven knows how long — so how are they so public about being “friends,” anyhow? And where are the gossip columns? It should be common knowledge that the Huntzberger heir is engaged to a French heiress, but that he’s cavorting around London with Rory Gilmore, the New Yorker writer. Hello???

And I just… I can’t get over it. How is Rory accepting being the Other Woman here? We’ve been here before, at length and in detail. This is Dean all over again — Dean, who told her some cock and bull story about Lindsey knowing that the marriage is as good as over (which she did NOT, she was fighting for him), then fucks Rory, gets mad at her for wanting him to sort out his shit, then wants to be with her, and then cuts and runs when it hits him how different their social and economic backgrounds are. Rory went through ALL of that, and then sleeps with Logan again and again while he’s engaged. And what, does she justify this to herself by telling her conscience, “He doesn’t really love her, so it doesn’t hurt anybody?”
Because it DOES harm somebody, namely the women her boyfriend(s) had a duty to. Both Dean and Logan may have gotten married or engaged for the wrong reasons, but that is neither excuse nor justification. Dean was too young to get married, and married Lindsey even though he was still pining for Rory. Logan is probably doing what is expected of him, for some reason, even though he has been able to stand up to his family in the past, especially when it came to Rory.

I don’t know what the narrative is trying to sell me here. Both Rory and Logan are obviously deeply unhappy with their Vegas arrangement. Rory wants to stay in London for a few more days to be with him, and Logan would like nothing better. But Rory has no claim on him, but it’s blatantly transparent that she likes to pretend that she does, seeing as Odette seems to be spending most of her time in France. This is where tropes collide: theirs is the hallmark of ill-fated epic romance, the whole If Our Love Is Wrong Then I Don’t Want to Be Right shtick. The trouble is: they’re not vocal about it. They’re both hiding behind Vegas, behind theirs just being a casual relationship between friends with benefits; instead of admitting their feelings to each other. I would have expected Rory to demand that he make a decision; and I would have expected Logan to break down and tell her that he still wants to marry her, not Odette, instead of going along with this sham. If ASP hates Logan as much as many in the fandom theorise (mostly Logan stans), then this could be her way of making him the villain, here. Thing is, Rory is as much to blame for this, so I just don’t understand what they think they’re going to achieve.

Also, the cognitive dissonance is astounding — I just rewatched Season 5 of the original show, and there, just after getting done breaking up Dean’s marriage, she warns Christopher to stay away from Lorelai, because she’s with Luke now. She denies him asking Lorelai for help with Gigi, she forbids him to even call her; and then when he accepts an invitation Lorelai extended to him, she accuses him of lying to her and weaselling his way back in to break up her mother’s new relationship. Clearly, Rory doesn’t believe the apple falls very far from the tree; and clearly, she still believes that she gets to decide who is best for whom. Perhaps she even congratulates herself on not making Logan choose! I genuinely don’t know with this Rory anymore.

Also, Logan: the person whose calls you always take… that’s the relationship you’re in. (And, yes, I’m quoting The Devil Wears Prada.)

Oh and can I just whinge for a moment: the pop-up kitchen scenes are so, so boring. They add nothing to the story, if only to show off how much everyone misses Sookie. Ugh, my god. Have it end already.

Luke and Lorelai are seeing more of the roots of their communication problem: she’s hiding from him that she’s going to therapy without her mother now, and he’s hiding that Emily kidnapped him to scout locations for franchising the diner. Which, he’s doing at Richard’s behest, apparently; and although I love extended interactions between him and Emily, this storyline is easily one of the weakest, mostly because it (as the original show has been fond of doing from the moment on he met Nicole, really) makes him the butt of the joke again and again. I know that we’re very fond of seeing grown adults being steamrolled by the Gilmore elders and helplessly going along with it, but it’s a rehash of things we’ve seen before. Most especially because this was the thing that Richard wanted to force Luke into in, again Season 5, when Lorelai and Luke first got together and both Richard and Emily were dead-set against their relationship. And while Emily was making plans to break them apart (which she would, ultimately, achieve), Richard set to work making Luke the patsy for a franchise that would lend him some “credibility” and make him less of an embarrassment to the Gilmore name. God, I hate these two snobs sometimes.

Seeing Paris and Rory at Chilton was fun, and the way they instruct the students is a callback to the Old Times as well as a contrast to the one time Lorelai stood in front of a class, asked to tell them about her success. Fortunately, neither Rory nor Paris have to answer any uncomfortable questions about their personal lives — Paris mostly because she scares them to death within the first ten seconds.
However, Rory being so offended at the Headmaster suggesting that she get her Masters and offering her a position at the school… come on, Rory. Sure, some of that attitude stems from older generations rejecting students going off to work without a graduate degree, I know teachers of mine who weren’t thrilled when I left university after my B.A., they feared I’d be selling myself short. But to Rory, being offered a teaching post is akin to being called a failure, and that’s ridiculous. What Headmaster Charleston is doing is offering her a very lucrative position at one of the best schools in the US, and though he may partly be doing it because he’s mildly worried about her rootlessness, he would not being doing it if he didn’t believe she’d be a valuable addition to the school’s educators. I would understand if she rejected teaching because she doesn’t find it exciting enough, or too stationary, and students too much of a hassle, but she takes it so utterly personally that she doesn’t even get there. Charleston was perhaps wrapping some slight against her chosen career in his offer, but it’s not the sole reason he made it.

The scene with Rory and Paris in the bathroom… I can’t get over how dumb that is. Paris freaking out about Tristan like this, oh my god! That was ages ago! It was one date, and after that, she had long-lasting relationships with Jamie, with Asher, and with Doyle. How is she freaking out about the pretty boy jerk she went on ONE date with? Where is the Paris who called Charleston a “sexist, white-haired…” over suggesting that she and Rory could only be fighting about the same boy.
It ties in with the whole “the girls are all still hung up on their old boyfriends” theme, as though once you fall in love a few times when you’re young, those are the only men you could possibly be attracted to for the rest of your life. How did Paris not meet anyone more interesting than Doyle? (Same thing I asked last week about Rory and Logan.) I understand that it’s easier to use characters we know rather than introduce new ones within four episodes, even if they are feature-length, but… you know, ASP once complained that all people were interested in was Rory’s love life. Um, well, yes, because all Rory gets are romance subplots next to her school work and her relationship with her family. So if the narrative focuses on that so much, then so will the audience.
That, along with the empty briefcase Paris carries along in the hopes of seeming more important… this is a worrying trend of building up these young women, giving them hopes and dreams, and then knocking them down a peg (or ten); meaning to achieve, what? To advance the thirty-something with terrible job prospects narrative? That doesn’t work for Paris, she built and owns her own company. This woman has achieved something — she may have gone overboard in her pursuit of degrees, because that’s how Paris Geller the Overachiever works, but that could have been a quirk, instead of an indictment of her character as empty and directionless.
It’s ok for Paris to be vulnerable and to miss Doyle, I’m not saying that success in female characters means they can’t have emotions, and these emotions do not make them /weak/, they make them human. Humans are not infallible. But this thing with Tristan (not even the real Tristan)… is just stupid. And her rant about her achievements and nips and tucks strongly implies that she did it all to be seen as a woman, not just a walking library.
Also: how does this show, of all shows, fall prey to Lena Dunham as the benchmark of feminism? Distinctly white feminism, it must be noted, which doesn’t surprise me in this terrifyingly pasty white version of Connecticut and Stars Hollow. London, too, is one of the most diverse communities in the entire world, and certainly in Europe, but of course we only see Rory in fancy clubs and restaurants that are startlingly lacking in diversity.

In New York, too, there seem to be mostly white people in line for… everything. New York, as a whole, is an exercise in cringe. Condé Nast may be really good at procrastinating, but they gave her an actually worthwhile piece. There is a great piece on the diversity (ahem…) of New York City in there, where people queue for completely different things one block from each other, where so many different cultures and sub-cultures rub shoulders. And Rory falls asleep in the middle of it — probably because she listened to the one hipster white dude who had absolutely nothing interesting to say. Rory whinging about not feeling the piece… man, they insist on framing her as having no original thoughts of her own, right?
Rory says she wants to go where there’s a story to write, but she seems incapable of finding those stories (the music downloads story, anyone?), instead depending on editors handing her prompts on a silver platter. And when those prompts dry up, she’s flailing. Does Rory Gilmore honestly have no idea how to chase a story? Her Life and Death Brigade piece in Season 5… anyone who knows how to use Google and a library archive would have found all that information; the rest is just perseverance and a lot of time to click to the back pages of search engine results pages. None of it required a huge leap; and she happened upon the story by accident or, rather, Gorilla Girl.

And then, the Wookiee one night stand?? After all that nerd cosplay condescension while waiting in line? Ugh.

What really gets me about this whole thing, though… Lorelai not being more upset about her daughter sleeping with a man engaged to be married to another woman. After her instant and decided response to Rory’s first night with Dean, all we get here is… a shrug, and a sympathetic face? How is she ok with this? How does she not confront Rory about repeating her history with Dean, why doesn’t she demand Rory explain why Logan won’t break up with Odette if he still has feelings for Rory? Is this the writers’ way of making /us/ more amenable to the idea by showing Lorelai as accepting it? But then, why would they go to all that trouble if Logan = Chris, i.e. Satan?

Rory feels lost, which is fine and understandable, and it happens. And she says it’s only been the past year, which mitigates it at least a little. But she’s freaking out, and panicking, and doing dumb shit; instead of taking stock and cleaning up her messes. She knows being with Logan is a mistake and wrong; she’s taking on projects she’s not feeling. She knows the way out of this: make a break, get a clean slate, and start over. Lorelai reminds her, “life’s been pretty good to you.” So, she needs to learn how to deal with curveballs like this.

What’s more: 10 years, there have been no curveballs? This is the first time that she’s had trouble coming up with ideas? She’s just been floating from piece to piece? This is 5-courses-at-Yale all over again; things were just magically working out — until they aren’t. And Rory bails.

The interview at SandeeSays is a goddamn nightmare. Rory is utterly unprepared, has no ideas to present, and then she has the gall to be rude and hostile to Sandee upon being informed that she’s not getting the job; going on and on about how Sandee wasted her time on a job she didn’t even want. Rory is so entitled and incapable of seeing privilege that she blasts someone for not giving her a job she didn’t earn. Again, quoting The Devil Wears Prada: where others would kill to work to jumpstart their career, Rory would only deign to work.

“We’re selling… that’s a whole different outfit.”

What. The. Fuck.

And I don’t understand it, it’s just lazy characterisation. Rory constantly has to pitch herself and her ideas to publications, she has to have started somewhere. How does she not have a routine spiel on what her writing is, what her qualities are? And why did she not adapt that spiel to the target audience of SandeeSays?
Oh, and the “idea” about slagging off fake geek girls — WOW. Way to be completely fucking tone-deaf, Amy.

“What about ‘We need Rory Gilmore’s voice,’ you promised me that job!”

Well, turns out that Rory Gilmore’s voice is boring as heck, and that it’s apparently beneath her to prepare for a job interview. (And no, searching high and low for that lucky outfit does not count.) Rory didn’t think she had to /earn/ that job because it’s just an online publication, because it’s only a website and several rungs below GQ. And, most crucially, because she’s Rory Gilmore, and she deserves things to just fall into her lap.

Well, sorry, Rory, you have to earn your laurels before you can rest on them. I have never disliked Rory Gilmore as much as I did in this scene. The overt classism and snobbishness is off the charts here, and it shows how much Rory could not shake off her grandparents’ influence, no matter how much she denounced it. The fact that she let Dean leave rather than fight for him on the mansion’s lawn, the fact that she so easily fell in with Logan’s crowd after breaking up a marriage to be with her first boyfriend again… it all speaks volumes on how blind Rory is to privilege; and how willingly she lets it couch her when things get hard.

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