'Gilmore Girls' Season 5, Episode 16: So... Good Talk

'Gilmore Girls' Season 5, Episode 16: So... Good Talk

Directing and writing credits:
"So... Good Talk" is directed by the wonderful Jamie Babbit, written by Lisa Randolph. Here are Babbit's previous credits:

Most recently, Babbit directed the pilot of the TV adaptation of "A League of Their Own."

This is the first and only episode of "GG" written by Randolph. She seems to work exclusively in TV, with several credits from "Star Trek: Discovery" and "Jessica Jones."

Most batshit crazy outfit:
Rory borrows an outfit from Lorelai for Friday night dinner and it is ... not great. I've seen far worse, but the print of the dress gives me a headache. It's like staring at a Rorschach inkblot for so long that it begins multiplying. The glittery, 3/4 length sleeve bolero is likewise unappealing.

She should have worn the "Give Bush a wedgie" t-shirt.

Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
I don't agree with the unspoken agreement to treat Emily like shit while blatantly sucking up to Richard. It definitely serves the passive aggressive purpose of driving Emily crazy, but feels unfounded. Why are the girls so sure that Richard had nothing to do with the vow renewal fiasco? Richard has done many heinous things in the past and doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt. I suppose it's wise to stay on his good side in case urgent insurance advice is needed.

There's also a weird moment where Sookie and Lorelai joke about Chantelle, an employee who "got her face caught in the mixer" and apparently needed surgery for a new nostril. They casually discuss it like, "[Laughs] Remember when that dumb bitch who works for us got into a disfiguring accident that required surgery?" If there were any justice in this world, Chantelle would sue the shit out of Lorelai and Sookie.

Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
Both are decent friends. When it becomes obvious that pregnant Sookie isn't going to have fun dancing, chatting at a bar, or going to a movie, Lorelai suggests that they stay in and order a pizza (which is what she wanted in the first place). When they show up at Weston's later, Lorelai even does Sookie a solid and pretends that it's a novelty and not her daily haunt.

When Lane confesses her sad sex realization, Rory assures her that lots of people wait until marriage. For once, Rory is sympathetic and non-judgemental. I firmly believe in waiting to have sex until it feels right, but it's concerning to me that Lane wants to bone Zack but can't get past Mrs. Kim's conditioning. If a friend came to me with this problem, I would definitely suggest a therapist, but we all know how the "GG" universe feels about therapy. Why pay a professional to help you sort out your feelings when you can just keep making a string of bad decisions c/o unresolved childhood trauma?

"Why couldn’t the gluten-free thing stick? I could’ve lived with that."

Best literary or pop culture references:
When I think of famous people who didn't have sex until marriage, Jessica Simpson is always top of the list.

Rory: A lot of people wait until they’re married to have sex.
Lane: Yes. Jessica Simpson and Donna from 90210.
Rory: And a couple of others.

I can't imagine agreeing to marry someone without figuring out if we are sexually compatible. I've dated plenty of people who I had great rapport with but lousy, awkward sex. I don't like the idea of marriage as some overarching goal, either. It is a patriarchal construct (much like religion) used to oppress women. You can be in a committed relationship without getting married! The only reasons to do it (and this comes from someone who is married) are financial and legal.

Stars Hollow weirdness:
Only Kirk would enjoy grouchy Luke's barely edible food, like burnt toast and "fishy tasting bacon." At one point, he exclaims, "Oh, my god, I love this stuff I think is meatloaf." There's no explanation for this unrelenting positivity unless Kirk just came off one of his juice cleanses.

Fun fact: coffee makes his lungs hurt.

Oh, and Skip is back in "Reno 911" shorts. We catch a brief glimpse as Lorelai catcalls, "Missed those stems of yours, baby!" I'm pretty sure my mail carrier would file a harassment lawsuit if I did this.

Sharpest insult or one-liner:
I've stolen this Lorelai retort on many occasions:

Rory: Okay. You’re sure you’re not mad?
Lorelai: Oh, well, you’ll never truly know until you read my memoir.

This Sookie line is another favorite:

Sookie: I am coming to your house tonight, at seven o’clock sharp, and I am taking you out, and you better look hot! You hear me?
Lorelai: Yes I do.
Sookie Good.
Lorelai: But remember, I don’t put out unless I get dinner.
Sookie I know. I saw your bumper sticker.

It feels right to include this in an episode where Zack clearly believes that dinner is a prerequisite for sex.

For as much as I hate on Sookie's wardrobe, I generally like her chef's jackets.

Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
For the second episode in a row, we actually see Rory reading and getting excited about books (thanks, Lisa Randolph). During her spring break, she does inventory for Andrew at Stars Hollow Books and has a massive to-buy pile that includes "Demons" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and "Pushkin: A Biography" by T.J. Binyon. I can't make out most of the titles, but there's something by Graham Greene in her stack. There are also several throwbacks to important books that have been featured in the series, like "The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath," "Ulysses" by James Joyce, and "The Naked and the Dead" by Norman Mailer.

To settle her debate with Logan about Ernest and Hadley, Rory consults "A Moveable Feast," Hemingway's memoir. I was right in the middle of this book when I accidentally left it on an Amtrak train circa 2015.

Please note the snowboarding bunny sweater that I assume is borrowed from Lorelai.

When Emily and Richard return from their trip, they present Rory with a 100-year-old Greek copy of Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass." When Luke is in the middle of his rage spiral, Zack compares his eyes to "the fires of Mordor," referencing "The Lord of the Rings." Lorelai's copy of William F. Buckley's "Saving the Queen" is still next to her TV. I guess it's a permanent fixture in her house.

Best song of the episode:
When Zack asks Lane if the music is good, they're listening to "Hong Kong Garden" by Siouxsie and the Banshees. When asked about it, Siouxsie Sioux said,

"I'll never forget, there was a Chinese restaurant in Chislehurst called the Hong Kong Garden. Me and my friend were really upset that we used to go there and like, occasionally when the skinheads would turn up it would really turn really ugly. These gits would just go in en masse and just terrorise these Chinese people who were working there. We'd try and say 'Leave them alone', you know. It was a kind of tribute."

Standing up against racism is hot, so ... I guess this song is a good pre-sex jam?

Thoughts:
As Melody pointed out in the comments, Rory is broke as fuck after loaning Marty $75 to cover dinner in "Jews and Chinese Food." She complains to Lorelai about her cell phone bill, can't scrounge up enough coin for a fancy coffee, and comes home for spring break with giant bags of saved up laundry. Wasn't Marty supposed to pay her back on Sunday? It's hard for me to ever take the Gilmores seriously when they complain about money troubles. After working at Stars Hollow Books over spring break, Rory is ready to blow her entire earnings on books before Lorelai steps in and pays for them. It's like Rory wants to get her hand chopped off after dipping into Paris' green tea stash again.

Lorelai is an enabler, but I would probably be the same way as a mom.

At a Lorelai-less Friday night dinner, Rory ices out Emily like a complete professional. My favorite moment is when she explicitly thanks Richard for "Leaves of Grass" and acts like Emily had nothing to do with it. It's deliciously passive aggressive and I have to imagine Emily is proud on a technique level. After many dirty looks and monosyllabic responses, Emily finally cracks and confronts Rory, who responds in a fairly straightforward way:

"I mean, what did you expect? Ten Acropolis postcards and I would forget the fact that you broke up Mom and Luke? Now, I respect our contract, and I will continue to come every Friday night and eat dinner with you, but I won’t guarantee an attitude that will please you."

It's always nice to see Rory stand up to Emily Gilmore and her bullshit. Although probably not her intention, Rory's cunty behavior is the catalyst for Emily's later attempt to fix Lorelai and Luke's relationship. It's baffling to me that Emily hasn't yet realized that the younger Gilmores have no issue retaliating against her when she deigns to cross them. Lorelai kept Rory away from the grandparents for nearly sixteen years, and there have been several rifts over the course of the show; Emily should know by now that deliberately meddling in their affairs is never wise.

"I told her to make it! You’re enjoying duck because I requested duck!"

Although Luke is the one who ultimately called it quits, he isn't coping well. I'm sad to report that his single self-help tape did not magically fix all of his problems. In toddler temper tantrum fashion, he screams at everyone (including paying customers), kicks the door off the oven, and fails to cook anything edible to anyone but Kirk. Poor Lane has probably taken at least a 75% decrease in tips thanks to his shitty, immature behavior. Luke needs a healthy outlet for his frustrations. What happened to the softball league that he belonged to with Dean? Does Miss Patty's dance school offer meditation classes? Dude needs to learn how to manage his anger or he's going to die of a rage stroke.

That off-brand ketchup tells me everything I need to know about Luke's standards.

While Luke grumps around, Lorelai watches all three versions of "A Star is Born" and pretends to have neutral feelings when Rory tells her that she's boning Logan. They have this exchange at Weston's Bakery while Sookie snoozes one table over:

Rory: I know, but he's so great. I mean, you've seen him. He's beautiful, and really smart. Smarter than me, I swear. And he's – great.
Lorelai: Yes, he seems great.
Rory: And we have a lot in common, which is good.
Lorelai: Very good.
Rory: The paper, and Yale of course, and he's extremely well-read. And I know Logan's rich, and I know you don't really -
Lorelai: No, no. Rory, I don't care if he's rich. If you like him -
Rory: I do. I really like him.
Lorelai: And he's treating you well.
Rory: He is. I'm having fun. A lot of fun.
Lorelai: Okay, well. If he's that important to you, I should probably, you know, meet him again, under different circumstances.

Lorelai feigns tepid enthusiasm, but it's clear she's not #TeamLogan. She knows firsthand what it's like to be raised in the world of rich people nonsense ... how it can warp your sense of self and priorities. I don't blame her for being wary. As far as parenting approaches go, I think she's making the right call by at least pretending to keep an open mind and letting Rory make her own decisions sans pressure.

I like that Weston's really goes all in on the grandma aesthetic.

And for the record, Logan is a good match for Rory (I guess). He seems to enjoy spirited debate about literary history and finds her coin debacle endearing. He even cuts his spring break short in hopes of hanging out with her. Aside from trying to make Ace work as a nickname, Logan hasn't done anything horrible ... yet. There's nothing wrong with Rory having some "stringless fun" with a fellow, well-connected blue blood. I wish Lane could enjoy this same freedom instead of being imprisoned by Mrs. Kim's restrictive views on sex. Not everyone aspires to procreate once and then remain celibate until death. Lane deserves to see what kind of dick she's getting before making any decisions that involve paperwork.

I hate the way that the situation transpires, too. When Lane mentioned that Zack was cooking dinner for her, my husband guessed that it was going to consist of "a sad, bun-less hot dog with a side of dry Lucky Charms." The actual meal — flat Pepsi (!!!) and pasta with jarred sauce — isn't far off. Even as a sixteen-year-old, the word "Ragu" would have given me acute vaginismus. To his credit, Zack respects Lane and feels bad for pressuring her, so at least there's that. He even tries to do the dishes, but Lane counters with some dank, internalized misogyny: "You’re not getting any tonight, the least I can do is clean up." She's basically saying, "You had an expectation and I didn’t readily meet it with my body, so … favors!" Lane doesn't owe this sentient mop shit.

These two have negative sexual chemistry.

Another plot point I'm not a fan of is Luke and Lorelai's reunion at the end of the episode. There is definitely something romantic about sad Lorelai listening to the magnificent Judy Garland warble as Luke shows up at her house and swoops her into a kiss; however, it's gross that the entire event was basically marionetted by Emily Gilmore. Why is Luke, a forty-five-year-old (?) man, so easily manipulated by his girlfriend's mother? I always wanted Luke and Lorelei to get back together, but it would have been nice to see them figure things out on their own. Emily's continued involvement cheapens the vulnerability of the grand gesture.

I would like to see Emily order mud pie with gummy worms.

Random observations:

  • Since when do the Gilmores have laundry outside on the porch? They live in Connecticut, not Florida. How do they do laundry in the winter?
  • George Cukor's version of "A Star is Born" (1954) is my personal favorite. Judy Garland should have absolutely won the Oscar over Grace Kelly. I have no idea why the movie has been remade three fucking times, though. I wonder what Lorelai and Sookie would have to say about Bradley Cooper's version.
  • Rory's purple v-neck sweater strikes again.
I'm not surprised that this sweater is a favorite because it's a good look for her.
  • Eliza, who found "the first decent strawberries of the year," is the maid du jour.
  • My husband on Sookie's piña colada dreams: "Go ahead and have six. Jackson's chromosomes have already done the damage."
  • I love everything about Lorelai's fake rendition of Emily's postcard from the Temple of Apollo. "Complained about the foie gras to a waiter whose yearly pay is less than I spend monthly on silver polish, then kicked another dog."
  • Richard's desk decorations include a little statute of three gold horses holding up a crystal globe. Rich people 🙄
How does he get anything done with all of those tchotchkes cluttering the desk?
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