Saul (friend of the blog) mentioned that it would be interesting to follow up on a few of the actors who went on to have bigger careers post-"Gilmore Girls," so that's what I'm going to do in this section for "Spring."
Lauren Graham ("Parenthood"), Matt Czuchry ("The Good Wife"), Todd Lowe ("True Blood"), Liza Weil ("How to Get Away with Murder"), and Milo Ventimiglia ("Heroes," "This Is Us") all went on to star on other long-running TV shows. Bledel had a small but memorable arc on "Mad Men" and a primary role in the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" movies. After "AYitL," she played Emily in "The Handmaid's Tale," a role surprisingly well suited to her acting capabilities.
The only person who really crossed over into movie star territory is Melissa McCarthy. Along with CBS sitcom "Mike & Molly," which ran for six seasons, she was in popular movies like "Bridesmaids" (2007), "The Heat" (2013), and "Spy" (2015). There was mild controversy regarding "A Year in the Life" when McCarthy said she hadn't been asked to join the cast despite ASP's comments about her unavailability. Based on McCarthy's eventual involvement, it seemed like a misunderstanding and not an intentional snub.
I'd be remiss not to point out Sean Gunn's involvement with the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies and all of their related nonsense, but I refuse to further educate myself on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I hope he's having fun and collecting exorbitant paychecks.
Most batshit crazy outfit:
Michel, Lorelai's angry friend, must have gotten dressed in a blind rage because nothing else could possibly explain this floppy yellow pocket square.
Between another newsboy cap, a tiny Kate Spade purse, and a scarf that's knotted twice for no reason, Lorelai's accessories are just as heinous. As much as I hate them, they're undoubtedly true to her OG series style.
I always thought Rory's lucky red dress was supposed to look frumpy, further highlighting her feelings of confusion and discontent, until I read this interview with costumer designer Brenda Maben. She says,
"It was a shirt dress, it was very simple, but it just looked fantastic on her. That color, the shape of it, and I thought it showed off her face. It was a little bit more mature for her."
I don't dislike the silhouette, I just wish Maben had chosen a piece in a less wrinkly material and with a slightly longer hemline. Replacing the belt that came with the dress would have made the outfit look more expensive and less like something straight off the rack. Also, I hate to agree with Lorelai, but that shade of red washes her out.
Emily Gilmore has me rethinking my therapy uniform of the t-shirt I slept in and ratty sweatpants. Instead of looking like a hot mess with a cornucopia of mental illnesses, maybe I should let a sleek pantsuit class up the joint.
Paris's "AYitL" wardrobe feels like a more youthful take on Emily's aesthetic. With slightly different proportions, I could totally see Emily wearing this pink ruffle shoulder jacket and black cigarette pants to a DAR meeting.
Drunken, naked tirades through Harrods aside, no one makes a menty b look chicer than Naomi. The shape of the dress is great and the curly updo is the right amount of disheveled. I don't normally love when people wear chunky bracelets on both arms, but she's making it work.
Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
Part of me understands why Rory shows up unprepared for her Sandee Says interview. Sandee (Julia Goldani Telles) herself has been creepily pursuing Rory for months, suggesting the job is hers if she wants it. I would find it weird if someone who was up my ass like this suddenly expected me to debase myself by groveling for the job. However, I would still anticipate a conversation about how my voice and journalistic interests mesh with the publication. For a seasoned writer like Rory, answering Sandee's very basic questions about what content she'd produce for the site should require little contemplation.
Rory clearly thought she'd be given carte blanche to do whatever the fuck she wants sans oversight even though, as far as we know, she's never been a staff writer anywhere but the Yale Daily News. The hubris is astonishing! This is what happens when everyone in your hometown spends thirty-two years telling you about how special you are without ever calling you on your bullshit.
I'm too bored with Lorelai to feel annoyed, although I hate that she lies to Luke about therapy. When Emily stops showing up to their sessions, Lorelai continues seeing Claudia (Kerry Butler) solo. Luke asks her how things are going and she doesn't just neglect to tell him about the change, she uses Emily, who wasn't there, as a deflection. Is Lorelai embarrassed to admit she needs help? Is she afraid Luke will assume she's talking about him in therapy? Her rationale for lying about this is a mystery to me. She could have easily told him the truth without going into detail. Maybe Lorelai blames her last breakup with Luke on Lynnie and fears that speaking with Claudia will push her in a similar direction?
Updated character attribute that feels most realistic:
Paris is pissed that her $100k Chilton donation hasn't been used to replace the twenty-year-old drinking fountain teeming with rotavirus. She accuses Headmaster Charleston of spending the funds on personal improvements (an espresso machine, a lava stone bathroom counter) and threatens to report his ass to the IRS. When she says hello to her old AP Physics teacher, he runs into his classroom, presumably to cry. I love that adult Paris has become even more terrifying now that she has people-crushing money.
Clunkiest pop culture reference:
It's always strange to me when a show as firmly cemented in pop culture reality as "Gilmore Girls" tries to incorporate fictional elements in a tongue-in-cheek way. For example, the whole Crodocake/Cronut schtick is so cringe and something a millennial in the writers' room would have never let happen. It comes off as an old, bitter person poking fun at the idiocy of trends and the people who follow them. Not to mention, Crodocake is both lazily conceived and difficult to say. It's a non-joke that suffers more each time the viewer is forced to consider it.
"Get... Shorty!" is another equally WTF line that, as far as I can tell, comes out of nowhere and isn't a callback to an earlier moment in the episode. It's already painful enough to watch thirty-two-year-old Rory have a middle school fight with an industry peer, but for her parting words to come from a mid-90s John Travolta gangster movie apropos of nothing? It's exponentially more difficult to root for Rory now that she's delved this deeply into utter assholery.
Cutest callback to the original series:
I love seeing the real Paul Anka make another dream sequence appearance, I only wish we got to hear him serenade Lorelai back to sleep with "a medley of lullabies." Watching him sing for ten minutes would have been a better use of time than the upcoming Stars Hollow Musical (kill me now). When asked about his time on the show, Anka had this to say:
Any recognition, to a point, is flattering. I know them. They’re really talented people, and I knew what was going to happen with it. It helped me reach a totally different demographic because the show was so popular. It was a good thing, and fun. And I’m honored, in a way, that, in that show, man’s best friend was named after me.
I also love that Richard has actuarial life tables for all family members that predict their deaths down to the hour. I wonder if he purchased them from Chase Bradford, the horrible S1 blind date Lorelai refers to as "Connecticut Ken."
I need to know the rationale behind the scene with Mrs. Kim and her "fresh off the boat" choir. If they only had Emily Kuroda for a limited time, why not use it to rectify the more problematic aspects of the character (who, let's be honest, was always more of a caricature)? Listening to Mrs. Kim bitch about the choir reminds us of her worst qualities, like her refusal to let Kyon eat french fries. It would have been more fun to see her pop up as Hep Alien's manager or Zack's songwriting partner. I'd rather listen to "What's the big commotion" on repeat than suffer through a few seconds of terrified Koreans timidly singing about Jesus (I assume).
Dumbest plot contrivance:
The only reason for Rory to have a one-night stand is to add an air of baby daddy drama to the "Fall" cliffhanger pregnancy reveal. If the Palladinos were set on this dumb trajectory, they should have at least made the circumstances realistic. I buy Rory getting drunk and sleeping with a rando in her sad/confused state, just not a guy dressed in a Wookiee costume while she's on a trip with her mom. Dan should have thrown the viewers a bone and written a scene where Rory and newly divorced Paris get drunk on vodka martinis at the King Cole Bar, just like Elise in "The First Wives Club" (1996). Eventually, they end up at Sing Sing in the East Village where they perform a rendition of The Bangles's "Eternal Flame" before accidentally going home with a couple of NYU students.
We deserve a scene out of SATC's "Valley of the Twenty-Something Guys" where Paris wakes up to find her dude using the last of the toilet paper as a makeshift coffee filter.
Favorite song of the episode:
Petal's death scene in "A Second Film by Kirk" uses the main theme from "Terms of Endearment" to great effect. Weirdly enough, "Teach Me Tonight," the episode where we see Kirk's first film, actually makes reference to the James L. Brooks classic. While trying to locate Rory at the hospital after she's broken her arm, Lorelai tells the nurse,
Hey, do you remember in "Terms of Endearment," that scene where Shirley MacLaine is in the hospital and freaks out because they won't give her daughter a shot? She got that from me and she toned it down a little.
Luke Danes wig watch:
There are only a handful of hatless scenes and since most of them are shot straight-on, the poor blend between fake and real hair isn't as noticeable. Lorelai's hair generally looks worse than Luke's in "Spring," especially in this final scene at the inn. It reminds me of my Aunt Pat, a woman with a scraggly perm who spent a majority of her life smoking cigarettes indoors.
I tried to approach "Spring" with an open mind but struggled as soon as the formerly static camera panned to the therapy office window to reveal a heinous iMovie title card, complete with poorly animated butterflies. If I saw this image without credits, I never would have guessed it came from "Gilmore Girls." The original series had such a cozy, warm aesthetic that made every season feel like fall. The reboot has all of these desaturated colors and bizarre transitions that make it look like an off-brand Christian Sunday morning cartoon called "Batsman and the Twelve Apostles." It shares key elements with the show we all know and love, only something immediately feels off.
"A Year in the Life" is zombie McDonalds, which Rory warns Lorelai to stay away from when they're in NYC together. It masquerades as "Gilmore Girls" until you look closer and realize the person you thought was Taylor is actually a random old man masturbating into a six-piece Chicken McNuggets.
Lorelai's primary storyline involves begrudgingly attending therapy with Emily, even though neither one of them seem to get anything positive out of it. In the first session, they refuse to talk, prompting Claudia to comment, "There's a lot being said in the silences." I wonder if these psychopaths, who are both obsessed with "winning" therapy, know that they can request to see Claudia's notes. They probably detail her journey back to cigarettes c/o the Gilmores' dysfunction. Or maybe they're akin to Rory's Naomi notes full of hangman doodles.
In the second session, Emily brings up two grievances: the family's estrangement when Rory was a baby and a heinous birthday letter Lorelai allegedly once sent but vehemently denies. Claudia, who Emily is probably paying a premium for, sits there blankly, letting them ramble on about perceived slights. She doesn't even chime in with a cliche TV therapist, "How does that make you feel?" By the third session, Emily accuses Luke and Lorelai of being "booty buddies" because of their marital status. Thus far, Lorelai's "AYitL" drama consists primarily of repressed relationship problems dredged up by Emily's incendiary remarks. It feels like we've backslid to S6 where Lorelai has issues with Luke that haven't been properly addressed and all it takes is one observation from Emily to release her dam of insecurities.
When April came into Luke's life, Lorelai tried to prioritize his emotional needs without taking care of her own. As a result, the engagement was canceled. Ultimatums were given, rash decisions were made, and the perfect dress was hopefully donated to Goodwill along with the camo mini skirt. When they got back together in the S7 finale, there was no reason to think they wouldn't resume their original plans to get married and have kids. It's not like years had passed, irreparably complicating the timeline. By letting the relationship stagnate, the Palladinos make it difficult to "ship" them in "AYitL." If they haven't learned how to identify and communicate needs over a fucking decade, it's time to part ways. Emily's judgmental bitchiness would not have triggered a relationship reappraisal unless Luke and Lorelai were already on shaky ground.
When Emily bails, making their fourth therapy session a solo one, Claudia asks Lorelai for her feelings on marriage, prompting a not-so-convincing declaration of happiness with the status quo. Combined with their lack of chemistry and mutual dishonesty — Lorelai lies about solo therapy, Luke lies about looking at franchise locations with Emily and the hilariously unhinged realtor, Ida (Kelly Wolf) — it's only a matter of time before a messy confrontation transpires.
Aside from Luke/therapy, Lorelai's main preoccupation is figuring out what to do about the inn. Michel is mad that the Dragonfly only attracts B-list celebrities like Xander Sackovich and the guy with the skateboard he wishes was dead. Did the place deteriorate in quality after Sookie left because while she was there, they hosted Norman Mailer, Jane Pauley, Harry Belafonte, Marisa Tomei, and Christiane Amanpour. Surely someone is capable of using the inn's espresso machine to make Daniel Radcliffe his morning ristretto! And I'm sorry, but when Cate Blanchett comes to New England, there's no way she's making scones with LaDawn at The Cheshire Cat.
Another plot contrivance I hate is the rotating celebrity chefs who Lorelai fires because they can't hold a candle to Sookie. Those scenes feel like awkward product placement inserts that are as unnatural to the show as the tacky title cards. I kept expecting Rachael Ray to say something like, "Try one of the sammies from my latest cookbook, "Everyone is Italian on Sunday," available for $45 wherever books are sold." In lieu of this dumb idea, they should have cast someone fun, like Natasha Rothwell or Margaret Cho, as Sookie's replacement.
While Lorelai deals with the same depressing problems from her thirties, Rory exhibits the behavior of a recent college grad who has no idea how to spin her academic interests into a real world job. It's like these characters have been stuck in amber for the past ten years, unable to grow or change in any meaningful ways. Realistically, adult Rory would probably not spend much time in Stars Hollow. She'd live in a city, likely New York or D.C., and work for a well-known publication. She'd probably be one of those people who pours every ounce of energy into her career, puts zero effort into her social/romantic life, and then has an existential crisis when Paris, her only friend, gets married and has kids. Maybe she'd go to therapy and discover that her unrelenting perfectionism stems from an unconscious desire to make her mom's teen pregnancy sacrifice feel worthwhile. My point being, she'd evolve with the times and, like any intelligent person, would have different life preoccupations than she did at twenty-two.
If the Palladinos had chosen to take this evolved route, the problem then becomes: Will it still feel like the show people know and love if the characters are in radically different places? It might be disorienting to jump back into a world where many unseen changes have taken place. This is probably why they kept Luke and Lorelai unmarried and without a child. There's risk associated with big shake-ups, whether they happen on-screen or off (consider: April). I'm not defending shitty writing, only sympathizing with the challenges of reviving a beloved show and completely missing the mark. It's an impossible endeavor that almost every creator fucks up significantly. (Remember how I felt about "Veronica Mars"?)
In Rory's case, they probably thought it would be relatable to watch the struggle and eventual redemption of a former gifted kid without fully considering how sad it makes the missing years of her life seem. Has she been writing sporadically without much success and growing increasingly bitter with each subsequent year? When did she hook back up with Logan? The show doesn't give us any details, so we're left to fill them in based on her current (depressing) situation. If they wanted to save substantial character growth for the revival, they could have at least given us an inkling of what happened in the interim.
The Logan arrangement remains perplexing, especially once we find out that he's engaged to a Parisian heiress whose name, Odette, stems from German and French etymology meaning "wealthy." (As Rory would say, "Someone's been on the Google box.") I miss the days when Logan, albeit always a smarmy douche in my eyes, felt like a more rounded character with motivations that made sense even when they were despicable. The Logan of "AYitL" is just like... Rory's emotional support fuckboy who pops up when she needs somewhere to stay that isn't Stars Hollow. My favorite London scene is the one where they go out to lunch together and run into Mitchum, who grows visibly bored the moment Rory mentions the book she's co-writing with Naomi Shropshire. If cocaine hadn't erased all memory of Rory's internship, he'd probably feel vindicated by her career slump.
Rory's return to Chilton is a painful reminder of her younger, loftier ambitions that have fallen by the wayside. I don't think Headmaster Charleston necessarily looks at her and sees a failure, but he's been around long enough to identify someone who doesn't have their shit together. He probably sees the spark in her eyes as she forces a classroom of students to sit through her monologue on the joys of learning and feels compelled to throw her a lifeline. This offer, along with the dissolution of the Naomi partnership, compels her to make the meeting with Condé Nast stick, no matter how many metaphorical dicks she has to suck. She offers to write the GQ lines piece on spec, even though she has no angle and is so bored by it that she falls asleep while interviewing someone.
Propelled by indiscernible desires, Rory fucks a cosplayer from a collectibles line and then melts down in front of Lorelai, who admits she's had some three-night stands, but never a one-night stand. She drops the "a lot of irons in the fire" facade and comes clean about everything: Logan, the shitty state of her career, and how out of control she feels at every second. Shockingly, Lorelai shines as a parent, reminding Rory that she has plenty of time to figure things out and hasn't yet exhausted her opportunities. She encourages her to accept the job at Sandee Says and enjoy the self-esteem boost of being wanted by someone. It's the best advice she's probably ever given as a mom.
Of course, Sandee Says falls apart before it even begins because of Rory's elevated sense of importance and the episode ends with her interrupting Lorelai's movie night to announce, "Moving home!" It's every thirty-something's nightmare and I'm not sure I can watch the next two episodes without a mountain of Xanax.
- Watching Rory casually stroll through Stars Hollow when she has a plane to catch in thirty minutes nearly gave me an anxiety attack.
- Fuck Daniel Palladino for that Mr. Kim joke.
- My husband had two observations. First, that the least believable aspect of the series is Babette's missing trach for her laryngeal cancer. He said, "She’d be smoking out of the hole." Second, that Rory and Lorelai are "the kind of trash who have a neglected pool in their backyard that they justify not cleaning because a family of frogs lives in it. They think it's delightfully eccentric and not a sign of mental illness."
- Wouldn't Michel's ultimate goal be for Celine Dion to stay at the inn? I can't believe Lena Dunham is mentioned twice by name and the Priestess of Pop is somehow forgotten.
- Lorelai should have instantly known that Didi was fake. The idea of Rory making a new friend is almost as unbelievable as Paris's Tristan meltdown.
- This show is still obsessed with shitty stock footage of other countries. First they insulted France, now England. There's one scene where Rory is talking to Lorelai and a Union Jack picture frame is visible in the background as a shitty reminder of her locale.
- I laughed several times during the town meeting scene where Taylor tries to scrounge up more gays for Stars Hollow's parade. It felt like an appropriate nod to the heteronormativity of the original series without veering into spiteful territory. I could have done without the weird Gypsy line, though. I was never sure if she was trying to out Taylor or referencing Rose Abdoo's theory that Gypsy is gay and has a crush on Lorelai.
- It's adorable that Rory and Paris have old haunts in Hartford from their Chilton days. I'm mad that we didn't get a scene of them at the Italian place, happily reeking of garlic.
- Add "slutty biznotch" to the list of things I never want to hear Paris say, along with "breeder" and "blow my colon."
- More scenes of Jason Mantzoukis as Naomi's lawyer, please!
- Kirk, moonlighting as Henry Spencer, screens "Eraserhead" (1977) at the Black-White-Read Bookstore. Lorelai watches "A History of Violence" (2005) with Vito Morgenstern when Luke returns from his real estate outing with Emily. "The Women" (1939) plays via wall projector during Rory's Sandee Says interview. At the end of the episode, Lorelai is ~thirty minutes into "Swing Time" (1939) with Frederick Austerlitz and Virginia McMath.
- Lorelai tells Claudia, "I've been married. You didn't know that. To Rory's father. It was brief. We have... had a long, complicated relationship. And it didn't end badly. It just ended because it shouldn't have happened." Is this Dan throwing S7 shade?
- I would have made it my life's mission to destroy Sandee if she rejected me via phone call while I stood in the elevator bank outside of her office.
- There's pregnancy foreshadowing when Rory, who is babysitting Paris's kids, is on the phone with Logan and says, "Oops, hold on. I just thought the baby was gonna throw up." He asks, "Your life change a lot since I last saw you?" Just wait, Logan...