Sunday, June 16, 2024

Boyfriends and Villains on Gilmore Girls

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Oh, hi there! Good to have you back. When last we left off, we were very much in the process of untangling all the messy family drama in the first season of Gilmore Girls. We’re gonna work right through that now, and then finally tackle the dreaded part of the series I’ve been avoiding: the love interests.

More Family than you know what to do with

Things calm down after Richard’s hospitalization. For all intents and purposes, everything is basically fine between the Gilmores for a while, frictions arising from Lorelai dating a Chilton teacher notwithstanding. So as fine as things can ever be really, considering no one is over anything, ever.

Until this asshole comes rolling into town.

Hello, I am here to ruin everything.

Side note: There is this great shot of Lorelai staring at him and shaking her head in disbelief while saying his name. I am going to need that gif’d, because that perfectly mirrors my reaction every time he appears, and I have a feeling that I’m going to use it at least once a season from here on out.

This person on a motorcycle is Rory’s biological father. The guy who knocked Lorelai up when she was 16. The person Richard mentioned in the first episode, who has a successful internet start-up company in California.

He just struts into town one day to see his daughter, without, you know, announcing himself first, spends a few days there, and destroys everything. Take a drink, because I’m announcing this to be another trend for the entire series.

In the first seconds of meeting him, at the end of episode 14 and the beginning of episode 15, he tells Lorelai to take off her shirt on the open street (as a charming joke, of course), makes fun of her for being upset with him just dropping by unannounced, worms his way into staying with them even though Lorelai is clearly not comfortable with it, and then undermines her authority by letting Rory ride on his motorcycle with him even after Lorelai said no.

This is not how you responsibly parent, people! Or decently human, for that matter.

Rory is over the moon about seeing her dad, which is an exceedingly rare occurrence. Lorelai constantly tells her not to get her hopes up, because chances her Christopher is going to ditch. Again. What a catch that one is.

Rory spends a day with her dad, where he gets closely investigated by the entire town population. This furthermore shows that in the 15 years of them living there, Christopher has never once bothered to visit his daughter in her own home.

I’m torn between this and ‘you’ve done enough damage, stay away’.

The next red flag straight from the list of shitty parenting: When Chris tries to buy Rory a book, his credit card gets rejected. He tells Rory, immediately, not to tell Lorelai about this. Telling your kid to lie to the other parental unit! Stellar behavior!

Lorelai finds out anyway and confronts him about this at the end of the episode, so at least this particular instance of shittyness gets acknowledged.

True to form, Emily is truly delighted to have the entire little family together, and invites both Christopher and his parents over for the next Friday Night Dinner™.

Everyone is thrilled!

This is, I believe, the only time we ever meet Christopher’s parents, and thus Rory’s paternal grandparents, outside of flashbacks. And if you thought it ridiculous how hung up on things that happened 16 years ago the Gilmores are, you have not met the Haydens.

In rapid succession, Strobe Hayden dismisses any kind of accomplishment made by Lorelai (who is running a pretty successful inn, for crying out loud) or Rory both, rages at the idea of them all pretending to be a happy family, and accuses Lorelai of seducing Christopher into throwing life away.

Okay, hold your hippogriffs, I smell some bullshit.

Strobe elaborates that every man in his family has gone to Princeton University (Side Note: The show has a maaajor Ivy League boner. This is just the tip of it.) save for Christopher. And that’s somehow because of Lorelai getting pregnant. Now I know the state of sex ed in the US has been perilous for a long time, but so far most people I heard talking about this at least knew that it’s usually the mother who ends up being unable to go to school or work because she has to carry a baby around, both inside and out of her body. In fact, every other pregnancy on the show is portrayed that way, too.

So… Was Chris a really dedicated babysitter? Did the whole ordeal weigh on his soul too much for him to go to college afterwards? Man, and all that from not even being in the delivery room with Lorelai. He must be a really sensitive guy.

I’m admittedly pulling this information from a season 3 episode featuring a flashback, but since this show is quite consistently written, what we see there is never contradicted. And what we see is that when Lorelai and Christopher fooled around as kids, he was actually more rebellious than her and made plans to defy his family. After the pregnancy happens, we see their parents planning for Christopher to work at Richard’s company to support his family, and for the two to get married. Lorelai rejects that idea because, well, they’re 16, and she feels just a bit too young to do so.

Flashforward to a flashback with an even more dated wardrobe!

Then Lorelai runs off and almost literally raises Rory in a barn on her own. Christopher is in the picture very, very infrequently, giving him all the time in the world to get a college degree.

So how exactly did Lorelai seduce him out of that? Is this what teenage sex causes, does it get you rejected by Ivy League schools and doom you to a life of unsuccessful internet companies?

…Come to think of it, there is some evidence later on the show to support at least one of these hypotheses. Oh boy.

No one thinks to mention these things to Strobe, however, and instead there’s just a lot of shouting between him and… Richard, of all people. Richard throws him out of the house after he insults Lorelai, even though they’re all old friends.

There is also something about old guys fighting that’s just immediately hilarious to me.

This is followed by a heart-wrenching scene between Lorelai and Richard. These two really don’t get many scenes together. Lorelai thanks him for defending her to Strobe, Richard yells at her for hurting her parents the way she did by running away when she was 16, and how certain protocols simply have to be followed.

It’s very telling for both of them, and also illustrates the generational conflict between them perfectly. Also, while Lorelai occasionally has a way to get through to her mother or connect with her, her and Richard just… Can’t seem to get each other, at all.

Speaking of Emily, she has one of her best moments in this episode. See, before things got really ugly between Lorelai and Strobe, Lorelai sent Rory to the kitchen so spare her the argument. This is after after Rory pulled out her signature deer in the headlights look when her paternal grandparents just don’t gave a damn about her.

I mean, say what you want about Chirstopher, at least he has the courtesy to like his daughter and be nice to her. The way these people treat a 16 year old girl that has god knows nothing to do with their grievances is downright irresponsible.

Or, well, Emily says it best.

She and Rory have a very nice talk about how Rory was never, ever part of any of the ugliness that happened that night and in the past, and that she shouldn’t take to heart what Strobe had to say about her. It’s probably the nicest moment Emily has all season, second only to taking care of Lorelai when she threw her back out.

It’s a nice break from her villain arc, is what I mean.

On-again, off again: Not good for your kid

Meanwhile, a very upset Lorelai and Christopher meet on the balcony in front of Lorelai’s childhood room. A room that is almost completely untouched from how it was when Lorelai lived there. I like to think that this is partially due to sentimentality, and partially to the fact that there are only two people living in a gigantic house, so Emily can have all the sewing rooms she wants without touching Lorelai’s place.

In any case, after some assessment of how horrible this night has been, we’re told that this very balcony was the place of Rory’s conception.

And I have to give it to the show, there is… Something between Christopher and Lorelai. Something more than magical attraction we’re just told about. Their history, the unfinished business between them… Up until probably season 7, you’ll never hear me say that this dynamic doesn’t work. It does. It is highly effective at what it does, and I sort of get where Lorelai is coming from, now and in future instances in which Christopher just shows up and they have sex in the same episode.

Oh, yeah, that’s what happens.

Do all of us a favor.

So it’s not that the actors don’t do a really good job with the dynamic they’re portraying. It’s just that I despise Christopher as a person in general, and as a father in particular, and especially in the early seasons. He comes around in the later ones, but not without issues there, either.

Christopher is irresponsible, fickle, immature, and completely devoid of any sense of adequacy or perspective, very preoccupied with how he feels right now and everyone else has to fall in line.

He is, in short, painfully realistic, and one of the worst kinds of fathers to have. The one that always means well and treats you like a pal and that you can’t really be mad at, all things considered, because he always has a reason to ditch you and be out of your life again. But he’s so great when he’s around!

And while Rory isn’t quite ready to identify this dynamic yet, Lorelai is, calls him out on it, attempts damage control… And sleeps with him anyway.

And then this happens:

Oh for fuck’s sake…

Lorelai turns him down flat, and the ensuing argument is part really great and part really immature, and all just… The two of them. They tend to bring out the worst in each other. Mark my words. Another trend.

I guess that’s the downside of a consistently written show. All of this is so well constructed, pointing out how themes established early on still matter seven seasons down the line gets repetitive.

Rory somehow learns about the proposal anyways, and Lorelai awkwardly explains how she does love Christopher and probably always will, but how he’s just not ready for them yet.

Rory… Well, takes it well at the time, but let’s just say the complex relationship between her parents isn’t exactly ideal for her.

Dean the Dreaded

As in, I have dreaded talking about him, and about all of the boyfriends on the show, to be fair.

However, after examining the relationship between Lorelai and Chirstopher, this feels like the perfect point to finally address baby Jared Padalecki and make a few broader points about this show and its romantic plots. You know, beyond cracking jokes at leather jackets.

This is an actual trend for all 7 seasons. I wish I was kidding.
I am too proud to have found that connection to let it go now.

See, in my humble opinion, this show is about family, first and foremost. About Lorelai and Rory, yes, and also about Emily and Richard, the kind of family you are born into. It is also about their friends, like Sookie and Lane and Paris later on and sort of Luke, the family you choose for yourself, with all of the obnoxious neighbors as distant cousins that show up occasionally.

And yet, the most covered and most hotly debated part of the show is the boyfriends. Those are all different links. And if I might notice yet another trend here, but a meta one for a change, it is usually Rory’s boyfriends. If the leather jacket collage wasn’t enough of a tip-off, Rory basically has 3 boyfriends over the course of 7 seasons, and spends the majority of each season in a relationship, staying single only during season 4.

And now we get to Dean. As I have hinted before, this is baby Jared Padalecki, and Supernatural is still a long way off, so he’ll be sticking around for a while.

Disclaimer: I am not wild about Dean. At all.

If you follow up on all the boyfriend links I posted up there, you will notice that not many people are too fond of Dean, either. But they’re mostly talking about the turns his character takes in seasons 4 and 5, whereas season 1 era Dean is usually considered the “perfect first boyfriend” Dean, both in-universe and out. After recently rewatching the entirety of his first boyfriend era, I strongly disagree. But one thing at a time here.

Dean was introduced in the pilot as the apparently only cute boy who ever paid attention to Rory in Stars Hollow. With her perfect skin and body and angel face. Yup, I absolutely buy that. He is the catalyst for the uncomfortable fight in the pilot, too, and then sort of vanishes until he starts stalking her in episode 5.

I’m sorry, I mean follow her onto a bus in a cute and not-creepy way.

Credit where credit is due, after Rory’s only reaction is to either freak out or go deer in the headlights, he tells her that’s going to stop doing that since she’s not interested at the end of the episode. Turns out she is interested though. Yay?

For her birthday in episode 6, Dean gives Rory a hand-made bracelet. Maybe a bit much for a girl you’re not even dating yet, but hey. That… Might just be foreshadowing right there.

They officially get together in the next episode, called “Kiss and Tell”. Because Rory got kissed and didn’t tell her mother immediately. We also get to enjoy the town all dolled up for a seasonal holiday for the first time! It’s Thanksgiving!

On on the plus side, the interaction between Rory and Dean leading up to the kiss is probably the least awkward conversation they’ve ever had. On the downside, the way he just kisses her out of the blue while trying to make her guess in which hand he has the soda is… Well… I don’t know. Is disrespectful the right word? This is a girl who just a week or so ago couldn’t even speak to you in complete sentences, maybe give her a little time before actual kissing happens?

True to form, Rory says thank you and then runs away, straight to Lane, to tell her the news.

They gush about it for a while, like you probably did with your best friend too after your first kiss, until Lane’s mother hears them. This becomes important later when she tells Lorelai before Rory does, who was waiting for the right moment after coming home to find Lorelai in a bad mood. Also, Rory is still a bit shocked from the fight they had about Dean in the pilot. You and me both, honey.

Lorelai is completely distraught by the fact that she had to learn about Rory’s first kiss from Mrs. Kim, and goes to spy on Dean, who bags groceries in the town’s only grocery store. She runs into Luke while doing so and fills him in on the situation:

Lorelai: “This Don Lothario has wormed his way into my daughter’s heart, and mouth, and for that he must die!”

Luke: “You’re not going to kill the bag boy.”

Lorelai: “Why not?”

Luke: “Cause it’s double coupon day, you’ll bring down the town.”

This is one of the strong points of the series, especially early on. As much focus as there might be on the romantic relationships, the most important aspect of those is how it affects Lorelai and Rory. So the point of this episode is less that Dean kissed Rory, and more that Rory didn’t tell Lorelai and what that means, and how they move forward from there.

Rory and Dean start what I would call dating the same episode, when Lorelai invites him over for junk food and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the original of course, this is the year 2000 after all), and after a freak out from Rory and a getting ready for a date montage that will be repeated between Rory and Paris this season, some sage advice and plenty of awkwardness, I have to say, their date is nice.

This may or may not be the last time I have something positive to say about Dean.

They “officially” start dating in episode 9, the one where they go on a dance and fall asleep and Rory isn’t home in the morning. I talked about this before, but this dance is significant for one thing – Tristan is being an ass and trying to pick a fight, and Dean tells him not to, because… Well…

General life advice here: When a guy threatens to kill someone, no matter how annoying that someone may have been, RUN. FAST. AND FAR FAR AWAY.

How… How is this not supposed to be creepy? It is creepy! Really creepy! First he watches Rory read, follows her around town, and now threatens to kill people who annoy her?

Oh my god, Dean is Edward Cullen. Before there was an Edward Cullen.

Thanks, Ron! Substitute sleep with read and you have a verbatim quote right there. Unfortunately without the reaction.

I feel dirty now, let’s just move on.

Rory and Dean fight for the first time over the Donna Reed show, of all things. Rory and Lorelai make fun of the show glorifying a 50ies housewife, Dean thinks it’s nice, because his mom used to cook dinner for his dad back when she didn’t have to work, and maybe Donna Reed liked cooking for her family all the time.

Dean: “She looks happy!”
Lorelai: “She’s medicated.”
Rory: “And acting from a script.”
Lorelai: “Written by a man.”
Rory: “Well said, sister suffragette.”

The point that Dean, and unfortunately a lot of viewers and youtube commenters seem to miss about this, is that Rory and Lorelai don’t take issue with women who like being housewives or cook a lot. Hell, one of Lorelai’s best friends is a chef for crying out loud. The issue is that the Donna Reed show stands in for millions of women who had no other option in life other than to look perfect and having dinner ready the minute the husband gets home – and taking offense to someone calling that “nice” does not mean they’re condemning all housewives in the history of humanity or trying to start a delusional feminist revolution after which women will never have to do housework again. This is seriously a verbatim quote from a comment section.

Dean… Doesn’t get it. Even after Rory explains later on. He accuses her of only thinking these things because her mother does and that maybe there’s more than one way of looking at things.

Rory takes offense to that. Honestly, I take offense to that. And I take offense to the resolution of this plotline.

Okay, to be fair, Rory found out that the real Donna Reed was actually an uncredited producer on the show and one of the first women working in television like that and so on, and Dean says that her making him dinner is nice, but he doesn’t expect this from her all the time, and that the entire thing got blown out of proportion. And I mean, fair enough. But bear in mind, consistently written show. Yes. We have another trend.

Rory says or does something innocuous. Dean misunderstands it and flies off the handle, quite frequently with troubling anger issues he has from the first season onwards. Rory apologizes. Dean graciously accepts. Rinse and repeat.

And this can be everything from petty misunderstandings, to other guys existing in Rory’s vicinity, to Rory having to do extra-curricular activities that cut into her time with Dean because getting into Ivy League Schools is hard unless you’re Elle Woods.

In fact, we see this very formula play out the episode after Rory gets her hopes up about her parents getting back together. Dean and Rory have their three month anniversary. Kinda makes you wish Christopher had gotten her that dictionary, doesn’t it?

Anyway, Dean planned a very elaborate date for them, including a fancy dinner and a trip to a junkyard. In said junkyard, he is restoring and old car to give to Rory, so she doesn’t have to commute to school anymore. Yes. He is building her a car. After they’ve been dating for three months.

I hate this meme with a passion, but if the shoe fits, wear it.

And then he tells her he loves her.

Rory, as she does, freezes up and gives us her most critical deer in the headlights look yet. Dean gets annoyed, and when Rory tries to explain how she needs to think about this and says something like “and my mom said she loved my dad,” Dean cuts her off with “You don’t get pregnant from saying ‘I love you.’”

What. A. Dick.

Also, not a good sign that Rory didn’t talk about her parents’ issues with her boyfriend, is it? In any case, the two of them break up over her inability to say “I love you” after three months of dating and major turmoil in her family life. I missed this during my first watch, but the break up episode comes hot on the heels of the Christopher episode, so I feel very, very comfortable blaming him, and also Lorelai, for this. Sort of. I’m also comfortable saying anyone pressuring a girl into saying “I love you” back after building her a car for the three month anniversary and then getting pissed that she might not be all that ready is a dick, but the show seems to disagree with me there.

The show disagrees with me a lot when it comes to Dean.

Max the Mediocre

Seeing how Rory deals, or refuses to deal, with the break up prompts Lorelai to reconnect with her boyfriend of the season. They had previously broken up a few episodes back due to professional reasons. The professional reasons being that the lucky guy is one of Rory’s teachers and they were spotted making out in the school by Paris. The administration was not amused.

Oh, Max.

I feel a little bad for him and also about him. He’s… A slightly creepy but otherwise perfectly nice guy, but he’s such a filler boyfriend, it is hard to take him seriously. They meet cute when Lorelai is late to a parent’s meeting. Can’t you just feel the boiling chemistry?

They meet for coffee the first time after he relentlessly hits on her during a bake sale at Rory’s school, and in a weird pattern most guys we met so far seem to follow, is really bad at taking no for an answer. Over said coffee, he tells Lorelai what she wants to hear, makes up a story about his uncle, and insists they should date because of their obvious attraction to each other.

Dude, if you have to say it out loud to convince someone, maybe that attraction isn’t all there?

Lorelai sees through all the lies, but for some reason I do not understand apparently agrees with the attraction, so they start dating for a while. Lorelai at first neglects to tell Rory, which upsets her because her teacher is standing at the front door, but they also work it out. A little too well, probably, because Rory gets really into her mom dating her teacher, so much so Lorelai freaks and breaks up with him. Sort of. They end up making out at the school instead, causing the professional troubles mentioned above. This has Lorelai be available for the middle part of the season when Christopher shows up.

But because the sizzling tension between her and Max is just so strong, Lorelai can’t stay away from him anymore after thinking about her feelings, and they hook up again. Sometimes they use sexy role play and Lorelai pretends to be a dirty school girl. Side note: If your teenage daughter’s teacher is into dirty school girl role play, I’d personally consider this a red flag. Anyone with me on that?

However, seeing how Rory is pretty miserable about her breakup, Lorelai, again, neglects to tell her daughter about dating her teacher. Max lets it slip to Rory in school though, and the ensuing fight finally enables me to talk about Emily again.

The finale of a villain arc

Since the Christopher episode, Emily has been on the DL. There was one episode featuring the third Lorelai, Richard’s mother. He calls her “Trix” and I will, too, because everything else would be confusing. Anyway, Trix hates Emily with a passion and never passes up an opportunity to throw shade at her.

Where’s my “Trix disapproves” gif?

After hearing Lorelai is borrowing money to put Rory through school, she considers opening up a trust fund for Rory to take care of that because money lending is evil. Emily freaks out about this, because if Rory and by proxy Lorelai have all the money they’re ever going to need, they’ll have no reason to come visit her ever again.

So she tries twisting that around and telling Lorelai that once Rory learns she’s going to have all the money she’s ever going to need, she will live the rest of her life independently from Lorelai, and despite realizing what Emily is doing, and being aware of the fact that her relationship to Rory is not like that, Lorelai hesitates. And fights about it with Emily, raising her voice during high tea! The nerve. Trix can’t possibly give someone who’d do such a thing any amount of money, rescinds her trust fund offer, and goes back to London.

A bit of a filler episode, but it serves as a nice reminder that Emily’s prime motivation is wanting to be part of her daughter’s and granddaughter’s lives, and she will go to desperate lengths to ensure that. It is also the only time I actually agree that her actions are as villainous as they were framed – cheating someone out of a quarter million dollars is not a particularly nice thing to do.

Now her finale comes in the penultimate episode, but we actually get a set-up for it in episode 19. Emily visits Stars Hollow and Rory shows her around, including the inn and the tool shed in which Lorelai and her lived after Lorelai ran away from home. Emily is horrified that Lorelai would choose a life like that over her family, and her and Lorelai have a nasty fight over it. She also furnishes a room for Rory after asking her about her tastes.

The next episode has Rory both finding out about her mother and teacher being back together again, and that Lane and Dean are lab partners and Lane didn’t tell her. Fed up with everyone trying to coddle her, she takes a cab and leaves town to stay with her grandparents.

First of all, Rory dear, if you don’t want people to coddle you, maybe don’t force them to go along with you charting out Dean’s whereabouts so you can avoid him 24/7. It’s been 4 episodes!

Second of all, there is something both very touching and very sinister about Emily’s delight that Rory came to them when things got rough with Lorelai. It doesn’t last (yet…), and she’s actually a pretty good sport about it though.

Still, her call to tell Lorelai that Rory is safe and with them is most definitely framed as though she’d won something, somehow. A place in her granddaughter’s life. What a nefarious purpose.

Upset by this turn of events, Lorelai goes off to confront Dean about how shitty he acted towards Rory. Something I’d totally be on board with, but Lorelai jumps ship in the middle of things when she learns the exact circumstances under which they broke up. Then she starts blaming herself for raising a kid that may or may not have adapted her commitment issues. Which… Is fair, okay, yes. Good on you.

Speaking of commitment issues, I feel like there’s someone I’ve forgotten in this so far… Oh yeah, right.

Luke the Loophole

Luke is the tritagonist. That’s a real thing that tertiary protagonists are called, apparently. And that’s just what he is.×1024/filters:format_auto-!!-:strip_icc-!!-/2015/10/20/776/n/1922283/8f2c1f2e60e15182_Gilmore-Girls-gilmore-girls-23599851-500-326/i/When-Someone-Wants-Do-Late-Dinner-You-Pretend-Dead.gif

Technically, we meet him before we meet Rory!

So what do I mean by loophole? Well, we’re very much in the boyfriend department of the series right now. Dean and Max are that officially, and Lorelai at least sleeps with Christopher, but Luke… Luke is around a lot, let’s say. He’s around more than any of the boyfriends, or other friends, and probably even the Gilmore grandparents, because I can think of episodes without the grandparents, but I can’t think of any episode without Luke at least disgruntedly pouring coffee at some point. There might be, sure, but I can’t think of one at the moment, and that’s really the entire point.

Anyways, starting out, I figured Luke might get a line or two for the thing about the townspeople. Maybe his own section like Lane and Sookie. But no. Oh, no. He somehow played a way, way bigger part than I remembered, including his very own subplot. And he has one in basically every season, too. No wonder Scott Patterson gets third billing after Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel.

So, what’s it he does, beside being the perpetually disgruntled supplier of coffee and unhealthy food? Well, he acts as the closest thing to a father figure in Rory has in her life, for one thing. Taking care of her when she’s studying, making a special coffee birthday cake for her, and beating up her ex for breaking up with her. Sort of. It’s more of a wrestling match when Dean tries to get coffee the day after the breakup, and while the over-protective dad with a shotgun trope needs to die in a fire already, it was a somewhat cute moment, and lacking any kind of firearm. Actually, I think there’s not a single gun on the show, period, and certainly no one ever gets shot. Safe show, and all that.

Anyway, it is probably no secret that Luke is basically the eternal love interest for Lorelai. It takes them a long, long time to get together, but from the first season onward, the show never tried to hide the fact that these two were meant to get together eventually.

Hell, the characters joke about this from basically day one. Uh. Episode 2, actually. Most notably:

If only Emily kept up the good attitude…

Lorelai goes so far as to admit to Emily several episodes later that she might have feelings for Luke, kinda sorta maybe. Of course, that is before Christopher shows up. He always ruins everything.

Luke and Lorelai also have amazing chemistry. Actually, to hear the showrunner and actor tell it, it’s the only reason Scott Patterson got a regular role in the first place. Honestly. I guess their dynamic is part of the reason I never thought much of Max; as much as they tried selling the amazing chemistry that made it hard for him and Lorelai to keep their clothes on, it just felt laughable next to the chemistry between Luke and Lorelai. And, in the interest of fairness, Max also couldn’t compete with Christopher in that regard.

Their banter is witty and comes to them easily, and they can do both funny and moving scenes, sometimes both at the same time, and do it believably. It probably helps that while Lorelai tries to keep most of her boyfriends mostly away from Rory, Luke is always a part of both of their lives. He might be perpetually annoyed by everything, but is the single most reliable person in town, probably, and always there when Lorelai needs him.

One could argue about whether he’s a nice guy or a Nice Guy™. And while yes, sometimes his reaction towards Lorelai’s boyfriend of the week or season are a bit over the top, and his helpfulness at times seems just too ubiquitous to be humanly possible, I’d argue he’s just a good person, and that the show never really frames him as a tragically friendzoned guy. People usually just make fun of him for pining and not making a move. Ah well, this probably warrants a more in-depth analysis on a later date.

And it’s not like he spends all his time pining for Lorelai. He actually has girlfriends throughout the series. And in this season, his “very serious” old flame Rachel returns to town after having been gone for enough years for Lorelai to never have met her. And somehow she immediately gets back together with Luke and moves in with him.

It’s… weird, but I understand that the show needed a good reason for Luke and Lorelai not to get together on the spot after things had been heating up a bit during her separation from Max.

Painting can apparently be really sexy.

As mentioned in the last piece, all Rachel really contributes to the plot is discovering the Dragonfly Inn and showing it to Lorelai. They also bond a bit, and Lorelai tries to convince Luke to give Rachel a chance to settle down, even though she has always said she would and always left regardless. Actually, Lorelai is very enthusiastic about Luke’s and Rachel’s relationship, in a bit of a doth protest too much way.

In the end, Luke is the one who isn’t ready to settle down with Rachel, and after he spends most of his free time fixing things around Lorelai’s house, she leaves again, for good this time.

Daisies and Troubadours

Alright, season finale!

You know how usually, series or movies have romantic subplots? Well, this one quite frequently decides that romance should be the main plot. And as such, the entire season finales is about wrapping up the romantic loose ends.

So on one hand, after a heart to heart with her mom about commitment issues, Rory decides to get back together with Dean. She traumatizes his sister along the way by trying to get her to spy on him. Rory also embarrasses herself during one of the very first Town Meetings, where she holds a speech about how you sometimes need song to communicate things you can’t say when they’re debating on whether the town is big enough for more than one Troubadour. No, really, this is a debate they have.

Dean somehow gets the hint and shows up at Rory’s school, but is about to drive away again when he sees Tristan carrying her books. Because five episodes of separation are totally going to change her opinion about Tristan. Uhm. That one time she kissed him notwithstanding.

Anyway, Dean almost drives off in a huff, but she stops him by telling him she loves him.

She also calls him an idiot, so there’s that. Whether she does this because she means it or because it’s the only way to get back together is probably an interesting question to discuss, but ultimately irrelevant for this part of the series. Epic makeout session, in front of the school, ensues. Yay!

On the other hand, Max runs into Luke at Lorelai’s house. He’d been fixing things. They have a bit of a pissing contest over who’s more important in Lorelai’s life, and then Max makes a comment about whether or not Luke knows that Lorelai has moved on. Lorelai denies anything ever happened between her and Luke, and they start fighting about the people they may or may not have seen during their separation. It’s a pretty nasty fight, and Max ends it by proposing to Lorelai.

…What is it with people in this series and grand romantic gestures after dating for only a very short time?

Lorelai thankfully points out how proposing to stop a fight is insane, and then goes on a tirade on what a proposal should be like. She mentions a horse and a thousand yellow daisies. So after breaking off the date for the night, she comes to work the next day to find…

Cleaning those up is going to be a pain. Honestly, I’m Michel in this scene. Don’t have these things delivered to her workplace, there are people working there, dammit.

Max formally proposes again, albeit over the phone, but tells Lorelai to think about it. And the season ends with Lorelai and Rory running towards each other across the town square, quite possibly stopping traffic, and giddily jumping up and down, yelling about how they have something amazing to tell.

So at least, in the end, all of these romantic developments still kinda lead them back to each other. At least they got the priorities straight there.


I love this series, in case my commitment to writing super-sized summaries didn’t make that clear. Is this my favorite Gilmore Girls season though? Oh no, not by a long shot. It’s 3rd or 4th out of 7, probably.

There were parts that I loved, like just about every Emily scene or the general overarching drama, but there is simply too much focus on love interests that I don’t care for. Truly, the strongest episodes were in the middle stretch, during which Lorelai and Luke had their first phase of “are they together yet?”. It’s not even a “will they or won’t they” scenario. The answer is clear from the start – they will. Eventually. It just takes a ridiculous amount of time to get there.

Still, the pieces are on the board, and the show uses what it has at this point to the best of its possibilities, and never fails to be entertaining somehow. Also, it’s so consistently written that I was personally amazed at just how many “trends” I found that started in this very first season. I had a great time rewatching all of it, bland love interests, atrocious fashion choices and all.

What is it with their weird devotion to turtlenecks?
What is it with their weird commitment to turtlenecks?

Random Remarks

  • Best episode, hands down, is episode 10. It has all of the family drama, guilt, emotions, and also Luke and Lorelai interacting
  • Worst episode, to me at least, is episode 12. It’s only worth watching for a shot of Sookie and Jackson getting along, and Lorelai ditching her date to hang out with Luke
  • I realize I go on more about the Donna Reed episode than I should, because it’s silly, but so much stuff happens and the parts actually related to Donna Reed just infuriate me
  • How is the first town meeting in the last episode of this season? The town meetings are awesome.
  • During episode 7, Dean gets abducted by Babette. She asks him, and I quote, “So, Dean… You like jazz?” Bear with me here, this is going to be hilarious next season
  • I’d like to offer the thesis that everyone in this series has horrible taste in men
  • Except for Emily. Well. And I guess Sookie and Jackson are usually right for each other. Usually.
  • There is an awesome moment between Lorelai and Richard in episode 16 where he lets her climb out the window to escape a horrible blind date. This may or may not be their only positive interaction all season
  • The Gilmore house in this season was a bit weird. All future Friday Night Dinners™ will take place on a different set. Lorelai’s room seems to stay the same, though
  • Lorelai takes one for the team and insults Bush to keep her not!In-laws (…) from attacking Rory. “His face is too small for his head.” The offended looks on everyone’s faces are amazing.
  • According to Sookie, there is a weird ritual among adult women to pretend there’s an animal loose in their house to have a reason to call over a guy they want to sleep with. Can’t wait to reach that part of adulthood.

Images courtesy of the WB

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