Directing and writing credits:
"To Live and Let Diorama" is directed by Jackson Douglas, written by Daniel Palladino. As far as I can tell, this episode of "GG" is Douglas' first foray into TV directing. He'll work with the Palladinos again on the short-lived "Bunheads."

Does anyone else always forget that Douglas was married to Alex Borstein? They have 2 children together! Are they the real Jackson and Sookie? Did they divorce after he lied about his vasectomy (that she tried to force him to have)? Anyway ... looking at his IMDB reminded me of their relationship. In 2006, Douglas directed Borstein's comedy special, "Drop Dead Gorgeous (In a Down-to-Earth Bombshell Sort of Way)." It's not available online, but the DVD cover has me curious.

No, I do not know why she's preparing to fuck that birthday cake.

As for Daniel Palladino, I must admit that this is one of his best episodes. The townie plots usually annoy me, but the Stars Hollow Museum is delightful in a terrifying way. And drunk Paris makes a comeback! This time, she does her best impression of Gena Rowlands in "A Woman Under the Influence." If I had to choose a favorite Paris Geller scene, it would either be this one or her speech in S6 about Marxism and prescription medication (likewise written by D. Palladino). Ok, or ... the scene in S7 where she gets into every law school and med school she applies to, which seems like reparations for the Harvard rejection bullshit in S3. Tell me your favorite Paris scene in the comments.

I don't have any real Palladino news for you, but filming for "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" S4 — with guest star John Waters!!! — is underway.

His ascot made me smile.

Most batshit crazy outfit:
I love Paris deeply, but there's no defending this outfit. The shoes alone are a baffling choice for anyone with free will. The skirt is like something the 55-year-old manager of an Earthbound Trading Co. would wear. The short sleeve sweater is akin to an afghan or a bunch of tea cozies that someone hastily sewed together. I'll give her a free pass on the sloppy hoodie because East Coast spring is chilly, but this ensemble is bad. Paris should have hired a stylist along with a life coach.

Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
Lorelai's interview for American Travel is baffling. She definitely watches enough TV to understand how off-the-record/on-the-record works. If she didn't, why not ask her journalist daughter for some tips before casually comparing her mother to Mussolini in front of a reporter? Lorelai is one of those nervous talkers who would rather make herself look psychotic than sit in silence for a few seconds. Sandra (Audrey Wasilewski, aka Peggy's sister in "Mad Men") asks her some dumb fucking questions, but she backs herself into a corner with zero coaxing.

There's also the matter of Rory and Lorelai's mutual disappointment when Old Man Twickham dies. It isn't over the fact that he's dead, just that they no longer have his poor health to keep them occupied. This is their phone exchange:

Rory: So, I should go. Sorry about Old Man Twickham.
Lorelai: Got to move on. I hear Old Man Ketchum has a nasty cough. Could turn into something.
Rory: That's the spirit. Bye.

Lorelai and Rory are no better than Kirk, who is openly tacky.

I guess this is a tie-back to "The Clamor and the Clangor" when Stan dies and they immediately start talking about who is next.

Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
Both women are decent friends. I'm not sure why Sookie didn't participate in the interview with American Travel, but maybe she just wasn't interested. Lorelai tells Sandra that Sookie is a great partner, so at least she gives her credit.

I like how blasé Paris and Lane are when they see each other again. Their last interaction was when Lane asked Paris about Asher in S4 and she stormed off, upset that Rory had gossiped to her "small town friend" and ready to oust her from the dorm suite. This time, they exchange downtrodden hellos before promptly getting soused on Miss Patty's Founder's Day punch. Nothing screams "budding friendship" quite like angrily day drinking together.

"Then let it remove the tar from our souls."

Best literary or pop culture references:
I distinctly remember watching at least one season of "Summerland," Stephen Tolkin and Lori Loughlin's short-lived TV series, after my freshman year of high school. Looking back, I wonder if it's because of the mentions in this episode. "Summerland" was on the WB, so they of course had to work in some "subtle" advertising. Andrew does his best WB announcer impression when he says that Mr. Twickham was distracted during their visit because "he was TiVo-ing through a fresh Summerland." I guess it's a two-for-one reference because the TiVo reference gives me equal nostalgia.

Stars Hollow weirdness:
Kirk, who is still homeless, sells souvenirs to the line of people outside, waiting to visit Mr. Twickham. He has bats, balls, and foam fingers. After an awkward town meeting where Taylor tries to find someone to house him, he ends up staying at the Gilmore house. Lorelai treats him like a child, ordering him to turn off the TV and eat his breakfast. When Paris asks how old he is, Rory says, "You’d have to cut him open and count the rings."

The Stars Hollow Museum is basically just a collection of random garbage that power-tripping Taylor and his volunteers try to legitimize. Lorelai jokes that Miss Patty's punch is so strong that she needs to "eat a loaf of bread, a pound of crackers and chase it with a quart of olive oil" before ingesting it. Babette is mysteriously absent, but Kyle and his hook hand make an appearance. Even Dean pops up and has a weird conversation with Luke about how he'll never be good enough for Lorelai. Not all of the Stars Hollow nonsense is charming, but I must let it slide because of the acid-trip diorama with the "I love Jesus" mannequin. It's like the writers got bored with the show a la "Felicity" S4 and said, "Fuck it, let's make something truly weird."


Sharpest insult or one-liner:
When Paris realizes that she can't just sit around and wallow about Doyle, she tells Rory, "I don’t want to be like this. I want to live my life so that I’ll be able to read an in-depth biography about myself in later years, and not puke." This is what I tell myself for motivation anytime I'm feeling especially pathetic.

Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Rory doesn't read anything in this episode. Remember the days when she carried a book with her 24/7? RIP to that behavior. I can make out one title on her childhood bedroom shelf: Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises." Lorelai references "War in Peace" when discussing her American Travel story with Luke, but I doubt she's ever read it. Who has that kind of time as an adult (says the person wasting a solid hour recapping a show that's been off the air for 14 years).

Best song of the episode:

This is the face I make when someone me an annoying work email.

"Pleasant Valley Sunday" by the Monkees is the exact song I would expect Sophie to play at the music store. It's a nice contrast to her grouchy disposition.

In this episode, Lane, Rory, and Paris are all dealing with dude trouble. Logan has ghosted Rory, presumably because he's busy doing gross shit like ordering bottle service, snorting lines of cocaine, and ending the night committing acts that will surface during his congressional race. Doyle is likewise MIA, which Paris responds to by blasting Mahler (Emily Gilmore is a fan) at full-volume with the type of body-posture that creates a hunchback. All she needs to complete the wallowing vibe is her family-sized bag of salt and vinegar potato chips. Lane's situation is even stupider. Instead of being upfront about his banjo/bluegrass love, Zack makes up lame excuses for why he's unavailable. These three should band together, start a coven, and swear off men forever. It could be like "Charmed," minus all of the dumb boyfriends.

Of course, this is a WB show in the early aughts, so all three women end up getting drunk, ranting, and making bad decisions c/o the insecurity that comes with being potentially rejected by men. I wish I had grown up with more shows that didn't place so much emphasis on relationships. There is plenty to enjoy about life sans a partner, especially in your teens and twenties. My advice is to go out and fuck whoever you want without the pressure of turning it into something serious. I was some combination of Rory, Lane, and Paris when I was younger, but I would do it much differently if I could go back in time. Life is too short to waste it crying on the bathroom floor about some guy who won't return calls.

The shoeless Paris scene is clearly iconic, but Lane drunkenly yelling at Sophie, who she is convinced is having an affair with Zack, is equally funny. Keiko Agena rules, but I'm over this tired trope of women getting mad at other women instead of their dumbass male partners. Lane should call Zack out on his sus behavior and demand to know what the deal is instead of screeching at Sophie. Can you imagine getting this jealous over Zack, someone whose personality can best be described as "guy from Dorito commercial"? I mean ... I can because I have, but yikes.

"I know what you can offer him. You’re bohemian, and experienced, familiar with the world of sensual pleasure, champagne, Times Square. I bet you’ve even smoked a cigarette or two! You’ve not only been to New York, but you’ve lived there. You know where the best bagels are and you’ve been with men. But you don’t know him like I know him. It’s cheap thrills for you, sister! But I know what cleaning products he likes. Do you?"

Keiko Agena never gets the credit that she deserves.

I just want one couple on this show to have an open and honest relationship. Instead of first asking Lorelai if she's interested in the Twickham house, Luke ingratiates himself with Taylor in hopes of claiming dibs. He attends a town meeting, volunteers to help with the Stars Hollow Museum, and puts up with countless bullshit, all to have a better chance of buying a house that Lorelai might not even like. This is the same issue I have with surprise engagements. Who the fuck doesn't discuss this stuff first? Part of being a couple is making big decisions together, not bowing to the patriarchal idea that men are the decision makers while women follow along blindly. It's nice that Luke is ready to take the next step with Lorelai, but his inability to actually discuss it with her makes him a bad partner. He could have avoided all of the dumb "freckle-faced kid" visualizations had he directly asked about her interest in the house.

One Luke quality that I do find endearing is his excitement over Lorelai's magazine cover. He even researches the journalists that might interview her! I wonder what he would have to say about Sandra, who makes awkwardly leading comments like, "That’s what you feel here. Support, family, homeyness, warmth. It must reflect your upbringing." Maybe this bitch did her research and already knew about Lorelai's contentious relationship with Emily. I can't imagine most people are buying American Travel to read interviews about the owner of an inn who can't stop insulting her mother, but I guess Sandra finds these random asides interesting enough to print.

Lorelai's necklace looks like it's choking her. Not a fan.

Once Lorelai realizes that something isn't off the record just because it doesn't directly pertain to the interview subject, she panics and asks Sandra to cut everything that she said about her mother. In a scene that makes me like Sandra a lot more, she tells Lorelai, "I would really rather not. It was a lot of work." She also swiftly crushes Lorelai's attempt at chumminess.

Lorelai: Okay, couldn’t you just do a quick re-write, for a friend?
Sandra: We’re not friends.
Lorelai: Oh, right.

I love it when Lorelai is reminded that her frenetic charm doesn't work on everyone. After waffling over what to do, she eventually calls Sandra and tells her to pull the entire article instead of letting it go to print with all of the wildly inappropriate comments about Emily. At least she tries to rectify her mistake.

This still looks like it's from a completely different show.

Random observations:

  • Was Buster's hook hand in "Arrested Development" inspired by "Gilmore Girls"? S4 of "GG" came out before Buster's seal accident in S2.
  • I love when Kirk walks into Rory's room and immediately covers his eyes in case they're naked. Lorelai asks, "You thought I’d walk into my daughter’s room and get naked?" He replies, "I don’t know your domestic routine."
  • There are so many good one-liners in this episode, but my favorite might be Taylor, encouraging Luke to let Dean help carry the cannonball. He says, "Once, I sprained my pecs lifting a bird bath and they were no good to me ever again." Michael Winters' line delivery is perfection.
  • How good is Lane's rainy day cleaning supply run outfit?
It's the rain hat for me!
  • When asked if she wants to check out the museum, Paris says, "It’s always amusing when provincials grasp for legitimacy. I’m in." I've stolen this line on multiple occasions.
  • Rose Abdoo voices the mother in the modern day Stars Hollow diorama section. "Billy, put your Etch A Sketch away and come sit down." Alex Borstein is also credited for some voices, but I'm not sure which ones.
  • Does the Buff Rite jingle get stuck in anyone else's head? I find myself singing it to my cats far too often.
  • Another diorama highlight: when the spotlight shines on Joseph, "born without speech," after his creepy sister asks him a question. The direction of the diorama scenes couldn't be better.
  • This is the last time we'll see Dean until the final episode of "AYitL." Good riddance to this corduroy-loving townie and his floppy-haired middle part.
This might be Dean's worst haircut.
  • Paris watches "Catalina Caper" (1967), a movie she says makes her sad because "Every one of these people is dead." When Rory corrects her and says that they're not all dead, she fires back, "Well, they’re old. Osteoporosistic. These days if they shake it, they break it. That makes me sad."
  • I always forget to mention the episode title references, but this one is to the James Bond movie, "Live and Let Die" (1973).