Directing and writing credits:
"Just Like Gwen and Gavin" is directed by Stephen Clancy, written by Daniel Palladino. Most recently, Clancy worked on a judge show called "All Rise" which sounds like something a more boring Shonda Rhymes might create.

These are the episodes of "GG" that he previously directed:

"The Incredible Sinking Lorelais" - One of those rare episodes where Rory has an actual job.
"We Got Us a Pippi Virgin" - It's criminal that we don't get to see Richard Gilmore in his glitter vest.

I have no male Palladino news, but ASP recently attended Milo Ventimiglia's Walk of Fame star ceremony and said some very cute things about him, including this:

"I joke with Milo that if I could've had some sort of great achievement, I would have a kid that would turn out like Milo. Instead, I adopted him. I call him my imaginary child. And it's great because I didn't have to send him to college or feed him or buy him anything. I just have to say every now and then, 'Are you wearing a sweater?' He is wearing a sweater. I really appreciate it."

Most batshit crazy outfit:
Was there a BOGO sale at the Deb Shop or something? Season 6 Rory needs to go to shrug rehab. This pink number that she wears during her "Gwen and Gavin" speech is not doing her any favors. I would find it less offensive if the shirt under it wasn't see-through and the jeans had a higher rise.

Rory somehow manages to make something form-fitting look frumpy.

One good piece of news: if you act quickly, you can buy Lorelai's winter carnival jacket, made entirely of alley cat hides, right now on Poshmark.

JK, it's faux fur. But it's still hideously ugly.

I must award a single golf clap for April's kooky kid fashion. She looks like an overworked/underpaid editorial assistant who is sick of fetching coffees and teaching old people how to use technology.

Now, this is power clashing. Take notes, Sookie.

Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
Most of Rory's irritating behaviors are a product of age. After Lorelai tells her about April and asks why Luke doesn't trust her, Rory reassures her, "He trusts you, Mom. He's a guy. Sometimes guys are really dumb." Oh yes, we can't possibly expect the male brain to function at a level higher than "beagle," so let's chalk a deep emotional betrayal up to idiocy and simply move on. This is why getting relationship advice from 21-year-olds is never a great idea.

By this point, you all know how much I hate Logan, but I must defend him from Lorelai's revisionist history projection. When he comes by the inn to ask for her help, she gives him this big speech detailing the reasons why she dislikes him:

"Let's take inventory of all the delightful things that have happened since you waltzed into my daughter's life. She was arrested, convicted, she's on probation, she'll have a criminal record unless we can get it expunged, she dropped out of school, moved out of my house, she didn't speak to me for five months, three weeks, and sixteen days. No, wait a minute. Come to think of it, you are my favorite person."

Why am I shocked that Lorelai blames Logan for her estrangement from Rory? She has as much self awareness as a cat licking its butthole in the background of a Zoom call. I love that no matter what happens, she refuses to take responsibility for the pettiness that led to their stalemate.

I never noticed the painting above the fireplace of three husky dogs bathing before.

Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their BFF like shit:
When Rory stumbles upon the Yale Daily News staff at the bar, preparing to Howell-Raines Paris, she is quick establish separation between them. After Bill accuses her of being "in Paris' pocket," Rory says this:

OK, let me set the record straight. I'm devoted to the paper, OK? Personal feelings cannot get in the way of things. Paris and I are not best friends. We're friends, for the most part, and I'm not immune to being driven crazy by her, believe me.

If I overheard one of my presumed best friend describing me in these terms, I'd have to [insert classic ASP joke about suicide here]. In her defense, Rory does inform Paris about the staff's unhapinness and urges her to chill the fuck out on several occasions to no avail.

Who doesn't love having their bathroom breaks clocked?

Sookie makes a brief appearance in this episode for the sole purpose of dragging maple syrup enthusiasts. There is no time for Lorelai to take advantage of her kindness and love of cooking.

Best literary or pop culture references:
After mistakenly assuming that Lane's uncle is her new boyfriend at the winter carnival, Zack gives us his best rendition of this scene. I always enjoy a nice hat tip to Dave Rygalski AKA Seth Cohen.

Stars Hollow weirdness:
Taylor is snowed in at his sister's in Maine and doesn't think he'll make it back to Stars Hollow in time for the winter carnival. Instead of informing everyone via email like a normal person, he calls a 3AM meeting that all of the townie sheeple attend. I agree with Timmy: Taylor is a doo-doo head.

Instead of informing everyone when he gets back from his trip in time, Taylor uses his assumed absence to spy on Kirk, his pinch hitter and eventual town pageantry successor. It's a low stakes B story that fills time between major plot points, although I don't entirely hate it because of one amazing scene with Taylor at the funnel cake booth.

Dressed in his Marshall Mathers-inspired tracksuit ensemble, he thinks he's totally incognito but is immediately recognizable to everyone. At one point, he starts saying shit loudly in a French (?) accent in an attempt to throw off suspicion and Miss Patty nonchalantly tells her friend, "Taylor finally flipped his lid." I rewatched this scene like ten times because the line delivery is perfect and drugs made it hysterically funny.

"What a great country. J'adore!"

As with most of his ten million jobs, Kirk takes the carnival gig very seriously. He gives Lorelai a hard time about her doggy swami booth, expressing grave doubts that Paul Anka has the ability to predict the future. To be safe, he books a tarot card reader directly across from her "so that no one walks away bamboozled."

Morey is not at the carnival because Babette made him drink thirty bottles of Coke (which she didn't end up using) for her bottle toss booth. Her prizes are stuffed smurfs and dirty pasta. I'd much rather have a box of penis macaroni than a pamphlet that says, "Hell is waiting for you sinner" (Mrs. Kim's booth, natch).

This unnamed townie deserves a salute for her flannel gnome pajamas.

Babette, noted gnome enthusiast, was probably influenced to purchase a pair for herself.

Sharpest insult or one-liner:
Logan's "I'm sorry" gifting spree sends Paris into an anxiety spiral that will surely inspire many late night crafting sessions. When Rory tries to put a vase of flowers next to the window, Paris demurs, "Yeah, by the window is good, next to the neon sign that says 'come pistol-whip us.'" Window flowers would undo all of Paris' hard work to avoid being robbed in her new rough and tumble neighborhood.

2022 Paris is definitely one of those people who listens to so much true crime that she has completely lost the ability to ever trust another human. Her entire house is decked out with SimpliSafe products and she's one phone call away from getting charged with false reporting.

"I'm only home a few hours a day, and I'd rather not spend them in mortal fear."

Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Paris references "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes when Rory walks into the apartment with her roses. I have fond memories of popcorn reading this short story in middle school English class but don't think I've ever read the novel.

In the picture above, I can make out Joe McGinniss' "Blind Faith," a 1989 true crime book. I feel like this 100% supports my theory about Paris' modern day preoccupations.

Best song of the episode:
Nothing but crickets (la-las). Was the music budget slashed this season? This is the second episode in a row with no music.

As things heat up between Rory and Logan, Luke's secret love child threatens to destroy his relationship with Lorelai. See? I could totally be one of those people who write lazy copy for Netflix. (Which checks out, considering I once wrote lazy copy for romance novels post-grad school.)

With winter carnival preparations in full swing, Lorelai is busy trying to solidify plans for her doggy swami booth. After the ridiculous 3AM town meeting, she has a surge of productivity that only habitual cocaine users experience. Luke is dragging ass, pouring coffee into some pour man's teacup, whereas Lorelai is chattering incessantly about the "Today" show and all of her morning accomplishments. No matter how much sleep I get, my morning mental state is more akin to Luke's.

This cerulean turtleneck feels like a premonition of what's TK.

When Lorelai asks Luke about his plans for the day, he says, "It's a bunch of the same old, same old errands. The usual." This motherfucker is so bad at lying that I'm surprised by Lorelai's cluelessness. I guess that's what happens when you completely trust someone ... you often stop seeing the red flags that are right in front of you. Luke's behavior has been suspicious since he found out about April, but maybe Lorelai chalks it up to general adult life stress.

Later that day, Luke meets April at a park ("same old errands," my ass) and the two sit around and awkwardly discuss hot topics like Aaron Brown and the avian flu. For their next meet up, April suggests something more enjoyable than sitting outside on a bench in 41-degree weather. She wants to come hang at the diner, which is obviously a horrible idea that Luke should have shut down immediately if he really wanted to prevent worlds from colliding. Instead, he takes this approach:

After agreeing to April's diner idea, Luke calls Anna and tries to back out, but she's all, "There's no great time to be a parent, Luke, you just are one." It's unfortunate that Anna is such a rigid, unlikable character. She's correct about Luke's flakiness being unacceptable, but the way she communicates is obnoxious.  I also feel like she doesn't have a leg to stand on after hiding April for twelve years and letting Luke learn about his dad status at a middle school science fair. If she expressed any remorse over her actions, I might feel kinder towards her, but she barely even apologizes.

When Luke realizes that the diner visit is definitely happening, he calls Lorelai with the intention of making plans to come clean about April in person. As soon as she gives him the tiniest bit of pushback ("Could it wait 'til tonight?"), he chickens out immediately and instead, double-checks that she won't be coming by the diner. Luke acts like they live in a major city instead of a small town with a contingent of old lady gossips. Even if Lorelai doesn't see April herself, what are the chances that she'll make it to that night without hearing about a random child spending time with Luke?

Someone could have seen + easily told Lorelai about this, too.

As expected, Lorelai stops by the diner and has an entire conversation with April about clumpy salt and her father who "owns the place" before Luke intervenes. He and Lorelai step outside and have a conversation that frankly, should have ended their relationship. I understand Luke being flummoxed by the whole surprise kid situation, but not telling Lorelai as soon as he found out is unforgivable. I wouldn't be able to trust him ever again unless I felt like he was taking tangible steps toward emotional growth. I would rather be alone forever than be in a relationship with someone who talks like this:

Lorelai, I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I'm sorry. It's all just a blur of stuff happening. I mean, she just came into the diner two months ago, no warning, talking about a science fair and how I may be her father, and she pulled my hair out and DNA-tested it, and then I wanted to forget the whole thing, but I went to the fair and found out the truth. And we were at the park, and she wanted to come here. And I called you today, wanting a moment to talk about it, but you were busy, and ... so I put it off again. And here we are.

BUT YOU WERE BUSY. Bitch, you had two fucking months to find time when she wasn't busy. Alternatively, you could have said something like "I understand that you're busy, but this is very important." It's not rocket science. You put off sharing major, life-altering news with your partner because you are too emotionally repressed to deal with it like a mature adult. At the very least, be honest about that reality. After Lorelai leaves to process this bombshell, Luke looks incredibly disappointed with himself. He seems to understand that he's a fucked up person who is lacking in many arenas, he just never does anything (aside the brief therapy tape stint) to improve his deficiencies.

Once again, I am puzzled by the high school's logo. Who chooses a minuteman as the mascot?

That night at the carnival, Luke stops by Lorelai and Rory's booth, rejects doggy swami's fortune offer, and initiates a walk. Despite the weirdness of the circumstances, Lorelai is fully supportive and assures Luke that she is available to help him. Up until this point, I always assumed that he neglected to tell Lorelai about April because he was afraid that the revelation would fuck up their relationship. During the Thanksgiving episode, this is basically what he says to Liz. If this were the case, he should feel relief at Lorelai's willingness to stand by his side and help him navigate fatherhood.

Instead, he keeps talking about how "dizzy" he's felt, especially around the prospect of June 3rd. As soon as Lorelai mentions that they can always postpone the wedding, he jumps at the chance and ignores all visible signs that she did not expect him to take her up on this offer. If I'm this bad at communication in my late 30s, someone please lace my coffee with cyanide.

Is doggy swami wearing Richard Gilmore's glitter vest?

While Lorelai's life crumbles, Logan worms his way back into Rory's good graces. First, he bombards her with flowers and fancy fruit. Next, he pays the coffee cart to follow her for an entire day. Finally, he shows up at her apartment with Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts and a letter from Lorelai. The sound of Rory's fake laugh as she reads this letter is something that will haunt my nightmares for at least the next week.

I don't have any major qualms with Rory taking Logan back. The separation vs. breakup confusion was entirely due to a lack of communication from both parties. I find his entire bribery schtick overplayed to death and poorly done, though. I would rather have some ugly trinket that I can flip for a profit instead of flowers that will die quickly.

These flowers look like they came straight from a hospital gift shop.

At the Yale Daily News, everything is quickly going to hell under Paris' regime. She chastises Bill (Devon Michaels) for splitting his infinitives like The Washington Post and then does this to another reporter. Along with her insane magnet board for tracking daily whereabouts, she also makes everyone wear hats with numbers on them so she doesn't have to learn names. Everything about it is incredible. I would have been obsessed with Paris in college.

After Rory reveals the senior staffers' plan to oust her, Paris doubles down even harder and gives an amazing "buck up, you fucking snowflakes" speech. This "Augusto Pinochet in a pantsuit" era really suits her, but I wish she wasn't giving Sheila (Amy Sloan) crow's-feet.

"Also, any chance that you'd attempt the same sort of flaccid coup if I were a man? I think not."

Random observations:

  • At the 3AM town meeting, Miss Patty says she can still smell Taylor's cologne even though he's not there. Taylor strikes me as someone who wears either Old Spice or maybe Drakkar Noir. He probably smells like one of these mixed with Ricola cough drops.
  • Was the winter carnival better this year or in 2003?
  • Paul Anka sleeps at the foot of the bed on a little cushion. I suppose Luke probably has a "no dogs in bed" policy.
  • I wonder what Lorelai would think about Katie Couric and Matt Lauer now.
  • April tells Luke, "Diners fascinate me. The hustle, the bustle, the Monte Cristos." Who's going to tell her that Luke removed the Monte Cristo sandwich from his menu three years ago?
  • Luke and Lorelai's situation is much different than Gwen and Gavin's. For starters, Gavin didn't lie to Gwen for two months after he found out that he had a daughter.
  • I love when Lorelai casually devastates Zack, the world's least impressive man, when she accidentally implies that Lane has moved on with someone new. As he walks away nearly in tears, she's just like "Hope I cheered you up some!"
  • Zack refers to Lane's uncle as "Asian George Clooney" and has the pettiest, most disgusting interaction with him that ends when he storms off and says, "I'm outie." Lane, why would you ever let this man put his penis inside of you?
  • I would love it if I got a fortune that said "You will sing songs of gemstones."
  • BTW, the penny scale is back.