Directing and writing credits:
"Norman Mailer, I'm Pregnant!" is directed by Matthew Diamond, written by James Berg and Stan Zimmerman. Diamond has a few earlier episodes to his credit:
"The Hobbit, The Sofa, and Digger Stiles" - Marty, aka "Naked Guy," makes his first appearance.
"An Affair to Remember" - Kirk goes a date with Lulu and miraculously doesn't blow it.
"Luke Can See Her Face" - "If you crave love, then you deserve love."
Berg and Zimmerman are writing partners and have worked together on shows like "Golden Girls," "Roseanne," and "Rita Rocks" (which they actually co-created). In 2018, they were developing a new series called "Silver Foxes" about "a group of senior citizen gay men who live together in Palm Springs." As far as I know, it never found a buyer, which is an utter travesty.
Most batshit crazy outfit:
Here's a style tip: if you are a tiny man and want to avoid looking even tinier, you might want to steer clear of wide ass ties. I've never understood college students like Doyle who think it's necessary to dress like they're showing up for a job interview in corporate finance. I used to have a political science class in college with a kid who would always wear a full suit and carry a briefcase, which I assume was full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (sans crust). I was embarrassed for him. It was like he heard someone say "dress for the job you want" and really embraced the finance bro vibe.
Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
It shouldn't surprise us to see Rory's career plateau in "A Year in the Life." She's always been a piss poor journalist with shitty ideas and even shittier instincts. After pitching Doyle a few legitimately decent ideas (I would read the piece on unionizing the janitorial staff), she decides to go with a story on illegal music downloading ... in 2004. What fresh take could she possibly have? She doesn't even tell Doyle her angle when she pitches the idea to him, and she seems bored as hell when she eventually interviews Chicago dude. For someone who's spent most of her life dreaming about becoming a journalist, her effort is lacking.
Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
Lane isn't in this episode, and Rory's interactions with Paris are minimal. Lorelai is a decent friend to Sookie, although I wish she had told her to shut the fuck up and take a pregnancy test. Acting wildly unhinged for days isn't a surefire indicator of being with child.
Best literary or pop culture references:
I went down a rabbit hole researching the sisterly feud between Pauline Phillips and Esther Lederer (best known for Dear Abby and Ask Ann Landers, their respective advice columns). Paris describes them as, "Sisters in blood, but bitter rivals. They don’t even speak anymore." They were the kind of identical twins who do everything together. They even had a joint wedding and wore matching gowns! When Lederer tried to carve out her own identity with a solo advice column, Philips almost immediately followed suit. In a classic "stop copying me" spat, the two stopped talking to each other for almost ten years. If that isn't some Joan Fontaine and Olivia De Havilland shit, I don't know what is.
Stars Hollow weirdness:
Taylor has decided to capitalize on the "24-hour trucker crowd" with hot dogs ($5.55 apiece adjusted for inflation, so not cheap), nachos, and Icees at Doose's Market. Dean can't come to Yale for a visit because of his nacho cheese duties. Why does Rory find this man attractive? If she saw him sadly replenishing the hot dog machine in a cowboy hat, would her lady boner vanish?
Since hot dogs are apparently a theme of this episode, Kirk dresses up as one to shill for lunch at the Dragonfly Inn. After Lorelai refers to his costume as a hot dog, he corrects her by mentioning, "Technically I’m a giant wiener. The costume tag says 'wiener.'" This clarification tells you everything you need to know about Kirk.
Sharpest insult or one-liner:
It's rare for Rory to pay close enough attention to call someone else out on their privilege, so this was a surprise:
Doyle: Man, I hate those kind of guys.
Rory: What kind of guys?
Doyle: Those privileged, white males.
Rory: Doyle, you’re a privileged white male.
I hope I'm not alone in hating Doyle until he starts dating Paris.
Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
This is a Norman Mailer episode, so of course it features several of his books. Lorelai notes that Rory read "The Naked in the Dead" as a child, which ... okay. A few other Norman Mailer books are visible on his table at the Dragonfly: "The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History" and "The Executioner's Song." Other authors, like Gore Vidal and Gabriel García Márquez, are name-dropped but we don't see any of their books.
Best song of the episode:
Lorelai softly sings "Manic Monday" as she puts Gigi to bed. I don't particularly like this song, but it feels like a nice throwback to S1's "Concert Interruptus."
First, let's discuss how fucking weird it is that Norman Mailer came on this show. He spent much of his career denigrating the feminist movement and being an all-around dick towards women, but he's suddenly chill with a show about mother-daughter relationships? In an interview with New York Magazine, he says that he wasn't really into the idea of a guest appearance until he heard that they also wanted his son, Stephen, to come on with him. He goes on to say some shockingly nice things about the show:
"I almost never watch sitcoms; I really have a prejudice against them. But for some reason I find "Gilmore Girls" kind of agreeable. The character Lorelai reminds me very much of my second-oldest daughter, Danielle—both of them are like beautiful hummingbirds, constantly talking and adjusting what they say, quick to the breeze. I told her to watch, and she said, “I watch it all the time: So does my daughter.” So now I’ll be famous with my granddaughter."
It's nice to see Mailer grow (?) and soften in his old age, but I'll never forget his bullshit biography of Marilyn Monroe (and neither will Gloria Steinem). As much as I dislike him, I think he was a smart casting decision for the role. I wouldn't want to see one of my favorite female authors come to the Dragonfly Inn and act like a pompous douchebag, so better him than like ... Ursula K. Le Guin, I guess.
Since we're on the topic of Mailer, I guess we should dig in to Sookie's batshit crazy behavior. During a meeting at the inn, their financial planner recommends temporarily cutting lunch to offset costs. Sookie does not take this news well, and screeches, "It’s not fair! It’s not fair that everybody else gets to keep their thing and I have to get rid of my lunch." Lorelai tries to talk her down, but gf isn't having it. Since Mailer has been one of the few people in the dining room each afternoon, Sookie chooses to direct all of her rage toward him. She's sick of him sitting there for hours and "ordering nothing at all, but tea!"
Throughout the episode, we see her act increasingly unhinged toward co-workers and Mailer alike. In one awkward scene, she desperately tries to convince Mailer to order something other than iced tea for lunch. After he turns her down (and she receives news about the death of lunch), Sookie hires Kirk to "drum up some lunch business." Since Kirk is Kirk, he decides to wear a giant hot dog costume and solicit potential customers right outside of Luke's Diner. After Luke calls her and Lorelai tells Kirk to stand down, she confronts Sookie and firmly tells her that lunch is officially on-hold. After storming into the dining room and screaming at Mailer, she runs back into the kitchen and tells Lorelai that she's pregnant. They proceed to jump up and down with excitement, and then she goes back into the dining room, tells Mailer the news, and gives him an unsolicited hug. What in the actual fuck?
Furthering the mistaken narrative that pregnancy makes women unhinged is not a good look, especially for a show with a woman at the helm. It gives men another reason to say dumb shit about how women are too emotionally unstable for leadership roles. It's the type of thought process that probably led to some of Mailer's most disgusting habits, like continuously referring to Susan Sontag as a "lady writer." I wish this show had done better because it's hard for me to overlook outdated stories like this one in 2020.
I'm likewise annoyed with Lorelai in this episode for supporting Christopher's pathetic ass as he seemingly deals with fatherhood for the first time. Maybe I'm just a bitter bitch, but I personally would let him crash and burn with Gigi. Does he not know how to do a Google search? Here's a friendly suggestion: if you're this clueless about babies and have zero desire to learn, maybe consider fucking with a condom. I have zero sympathy for rich white men who keep having babies and then either abandoning them or wallowing in their learned helplessness. Read a book and get it together, dude; stop calling the ex-girlfriend/baby mama that you ran out on for advice.
As work at the Yale Daily News ratchets up, Rory laments having wasted her entire summer on "my own personal … whatever," instead of securing a valuable internship. Now that Logan is on the scene with his brown corduroys and clear predilection for "His Girl Friday," it's obvious the writers have begun crafting Dean's exit. How can a divorced 20-year-old hot dog peddler compete with generational wealth and secret societies?
In the middle of her shitty interview with torrent guru Len (Alex Weed), Rory stumbles upon a hot scoop in the ladies' bathroom. A blonde woman in a red ball gown rushes in wearing a gorilla mask, pulls it off, and fixes her makeup. Rory follows her outside and hears her say "in omnia paratus" as she hops into a black SUV. After some digging in the archives, she realizes that this phrase is associated with a secret Yale society, the Life and Death Brigade. Since Logan's grandfather was a member, Rory surmises that he must also be. As soon as Doyle clears her new story, Rory starts flirtatiously harassing Logan for information. After a few sassy interactions, he eventually agrees to help her out in a cringeworthy AIM interaction where he coins her horrible nickname, Ace.
Rory might be preoccupied with dudes and newspaper drama, but she makes time at the end of the episode to tell Christopher to stay the fuck away from Lorelai. I'm torn between applauding the effort and scolding the invasion of privacy. The way this storyline eventually ends is deeply upsetting.
- "Mothman Prophecies" (2002) was filmed in Pittsburgh. I remember seeing it in theaters when it came out, but I don't think I liked it very much.
- I love that Emily totally ghosts the girls on Friday night. The nameless maid who helps them order pizza was probably fired immediately upon her return.
- Why is Paris so obsessed with the religion beat? Is it just because she takes great pleasure in harassing rabbis or ...?
- Can you imagine Rory interviewing Lars Ulrich? She can barely ask coherent questions to Len, a guy obsessed with downloading bootleg music that he doesn't even like.
- I loved seeing Rebecca Metz as Ann, the Dragonfly's accountant. She's fantastic as Sam's friend and former manager Tressa in "Better Things."
- I fully believe that Michel should be able to expense his suits.
- How much money did the Alien Glow Pop people give this show? One of the store dispenser heads is on display in Len's dorm room.
- Doose's Market looks hella cute when it's decorated for fall:
- I know I failed to mention it before, but Rory's brown corduroy tulip skirt is very ugly. Don't think I didn't notice it and immediately gag.
- Did you know that I have an "in omnia paratus" tattoo on my foot? My bff Ali and I got them in Brooklyn the year after college graduation. I don't regret it even though it's super faded now and looks unfortunate.