Directing and writing credits:
"Super Cool Party People" is directed by Ken Whittingham, written by David S. Rosenthal. This is Whittingham's first and only episode of "GG," but he's one of those directors who has been around for decades and worked on many hit shows, like "30 Rock," "The Office," "Parenthood" (once again with Lauren Graham), and "Grace and Frankie." If you want to know more, check out this episode of the "Office Ladies" podcast where Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey discuss "Phyllis' Wedding" with him.

While Rosenthal has been working as an executive producer on the show since S3, this is only the second episode written by him. The first is "The UnGraduate," the one where Rory takes her white supremacy pledge gets inducted into the DAR. As a reminder of how the whole Palladino exodus went down, check out this interview with Michael Ausiello, which came out on April 24, 2006, the day before "Super Cool" aired. Four days prior to that, Amy and Dan's exit was announced in the press and Rosenthal was named the new showrunner. I have more to say about this, but we'll get deeper into it upon subsequent recaps.

Most batshit crazy outfit:
Is Honor a millionaire on her way back from a Mykonos honeymoon or a mid-level manager at Damien's, Emily's mall department store of choice? I don't know why this twenty-five-year-old is dressing like a middle-aged mom with a new lease on life thanks to an exciting opportunity with Mary Kay Cosmetics.

I now have another permanent forehead wrinkle c/o the crotch on these pants.

Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
I like Rory so much less after the call with Mitchum where she dragoons him into visiting Logan at the hospital. Where was all of that "fuck you, narcissist" energy when he told her she'd make a great assistant? Considering the way they left things during Valentine's Day weekend, Logan is probably actively avoiding his dad. And anyway, it's not like he's in a coma. If he wants Mitchum to come to the hospital, he can make the call himself. Logan doesn't need his girlfriend to intervene on his behalf, disrupting family dynamics more depraved than she could possibly imagine. (Behind closed doors, I imagine Mitchum is some combination of Cal Jacobs and Patrick Bateman.)

While Rory sticks her nose where it doesn't belong, Lorelai remains committed to ignoring Luke's stunted behavior. On their shopping trip to fake Hartford (?), Lorelai tries to prevent Luke from buying a weird cat toiletry kit for April's birthday. When she offers to help him pick out a better gift, he instantly rebuffs her, stating, "The minute you get involved in her life, it'll be all over for me." In the moment, Lorelai seems too stunned to properly address this blatant display of insecurity, but I'm flummoxed that she doesn't broach it later. Her interactions with Anna at the end of the episode are similarly WTF.

The only appropriate response to this gift suggestion is a psych evaluation.

Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their BFF like shit:
Lane is MIA, presumably engaging in sad honeymoon beach sex with Zack for the first time 🤮 I hope someone bought her a vibrator as a bachelorette party gift so that her life isn't orgasm-less forever.

When the hospital refuses to release information on Logan's medical condition to Rory, Paris browbeats them into multiple HIPAA violations. Rory is appreciative, but doesn't seem to recognize how useful it is to have a friend who is capable of (and derives pleasure from) high-level manipulation.

Paris answers the phone by grouchily saying, "What?" An inspiration to us all.

Lorelai earns points for bringing Sookie leftover Bonne Bell Lip Smackers from April's party, but the way they talk around her drunken meltdown is upsetting. If I pounded ten shots of tequila and made a self-deprecating public speech, my best friend wouldn't be like, "Lol remember when you tried to do the limbo with some old guy's cane?" There might be some light ribbing, but the crux of the conversation would be centered around what the fuck inspired that behavior. If Sookie is Lorelai's best friend, why can't they ever have an emotionally honest conversation?

This was funny, though. Melissa McCarthy is a gem.

Best literary or pop culture references:
If the Palladinos cared about their fans, they would have included Lorelai's audition for "America's Next Top Model" as a DVD extra. I want to see "the posing, the strutting, the inappropriate gyrating" and her screaming, "I'm not here to make friends. I want to win" at her (fictional) competition.

Side note: Of course "America's Next Top Model" was toxic as hell. So was (and still is) the entire fashion industry. If you don't believe me, read Anna: The Biography by Amy Odell.

Stars Hollow weirdness:
We learn that Rory's fourteenth birthday party scavenger hunt involved breaking into Taylor's house and stealing things out of his fridge. They must not have looked in his freezer, which is full of body parts from the local drifters he's "cleansed" from Stars Hollow.

Sookie also reveals that Stevie, the pantsless Santa Claus, and JoJo the cow whisperer are two of Stars Hollow's most "colorful characters." I know we all like to think of SH as a haven for quirky misfits, but now I'm wondering how many sex offenders per capita live there.

It's more dysfunctional than weird, but Miss Patty has the whole town lying to Luke about Lorelai's wasted cry for help at Lane's reception. When Lorelai thanks her, Patty is like, "That Luke ... It may take a mule team, but you're getting him to the altar someday." Nothing says "healthy relationship" like literally dragging your partner toward commitment.

Oh, and Caesar put up these dumb fucking signs when Luke was on April's school trip.

Sharpest insult or one-liner:
With the help of Kirk, who sets up the projector, Lorelai screens "Pretty in Pink" at April's birthday party. When she introduces the movie to the girls, she flippantly adds, "And yes, that is the guy from 'Two and a Half Men.'" Nothing says "failed career" like being remembered primarily for a violently misogynistic cable TV shit fest!

Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Rory reads fuck all, but there are multiple literary mentions. April's school friends apparently call Luke Hagrid because he's "very hairy, very lovable," which feels like a stretch. S6 Luke is much more like Argus Filch, leaning into his pissy little moods instead of actually dealing with his problems/insecurities.

At the party, April mentions loving "Harold and the Purple Crayon" (1955) even though she's too old for it. Lorelai assures her, "That's OK. I'm too old for Us Weekly. It never stopped me." In another act of kindness, Lorelai replaces Luke's gross cat gift with David Macaulay's "The New Way Things Work" (1988). I haven't read this book, but was always a fan of "Motel of the Mysteries" (1979).

This book is about overconsumption and human idiocy, two forever relevant topics.

During their nostalgia trip, Sookie tells Lorelai about the time Trevor Fink ate her chocolate fudge-flavored lip gloss and then promptly puked all over a copy of "The Red Badge of Courage." Trevor sounds like the type of boy who covered his palms in Elmer's Glue, waited for it to dry, and then rolled out little glue boogers that he flung into people's hair.

Best song of the episode:
"Our Lips Are Sealed" by the Go-Go's is the perfect soundtrack for an all-expenses-paid shopping spree at Stars Hollow Beauty Supply.

Once again, we are forced to suffer through forty+ minutes of immature adults tiptoeing around their feelings instead of tackling core issues. With Lorelai, it's the same old nonsense. Imagine being thirty-eight years old and needing a boatload of tequila to admit that you're sad because even the most dependable man in your life has disappointed you. What's worse is that this embarrassing incident doesn't even serve as a wake up call. It's not like Lorelai goes to Luke and explains that she's reached a breaking point and needs him to address grievances for her to feel secure in the relationship. While nursing what must be the world's worst hangover, she stays mum on the truth and runs with Miss Patty's "Endless Love" lie (becausing lying to Luke has worked so well in the past).

I hate Lorelai's top with the high neck side-tie, but hungover people get a free pass when it comes to hideous fashion.

When Luke reveals that he's throwing a birthday party for April at the diner, Lorelai gently suggests she'd like to be involved but doesn't press the issue. This is the perfect time for her to explain frustrations and make Luke understand this if he wants to get married, he needs to learn how to incorporate her into this aspect of his life. Even Emily Gilmore, master of emotional repression, is capable of expressing her dissatisfaction with Richard on occasion. It bums me out that Lorelai, the alleged truth teller of the Gilmore clan, fails to advocate for herself.  

After knowing Luke for more than ten years, she must be aware that he isn't going to magically read her mind and change his attitude. The man is a creature of habit who can't even tolerate a small "cold bananas" menu change. He's not going to wake up one morning and suddenly realize that he needs to make some crucial changes for the health of his relationship. Lorelai claims she's giving Luke space when she's really subconsciously sabotaging her own happiness by refusing to articulate her needs. Think of Luke's egotistical response when Lorelai offers to help pick out a gift for April. By failing to point out this flawed logic, Lorelai leaves Luke with the impression that he's done nothing wrong and has no reason to discontinue this behavior.

"Go ahead and buy the toiletry kit, you dumb fuck. I hope April's response to it crushes you."

To make matters worse, Luke's behavior does change rapidly; however, it's totally fueled by his own vanity, not a sudden understanding of Lorelai's feelings. As soon as he realizes that April's birthday party is a dud, he calls Lorelai in a panic and begs for her involvement. She rushes in and saves the day, naively believing that everything is now fixed c/o hot pink highlights and "Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board." April likes her, Luke is happy, and Lorelai feels as if the months spent biting her tongue were worth it because everything worked out well in the end.

Chaperoning a party for a bunch of middle school girls is my idea of hell, so kudos to Lorelai.

Enter: Anna Nardini, whose only purpose on this show is to act like an irrational bitch. She shows up at the diner the morning after the party and gives Luke this whole speech about how he is a bad person for letting Lorelai, a woman she has never met before, plan a party for April. Instead of defending his actions, which are absolutely not out of line, Luke takes Anna at her word and shame spirals over his perceived mistakes.

A healthy co-parenting arrangement is one where both adults have equal say in how a kid is raised. I guess I can understand Anna feeling betrayed that Luke introduced April to a romantic partner without telling her about it first, but that doesn't give her the right to waltz in and make ultimatums. If anything, it warrants a conversation about boundaries and desired communication. A person with more confidence and better social skills would have steered the conversation with Anna to actionable territory instead of moping around like a wounded puppy.

I sort of like this '70s carpet-patterned dress for Anna. It fits her vibe.

During an uncomfortable dinner later that night, Luke explains Anna's anger in a way that suggests Lorelai's involvement is the problem, not his handling of the situation. To avoid yet another regression, Lorelai takes it upon herself to visit Anna's store the following day. Unfortunately, she's met with primo single mom bullshit and other rationales that play directly into Lorelai's insecurities (i.e., "engaged isn't married," as if people don't get divorced all the time). The downhill spiral is now in full force and by the time the season ends, the character assassination of Luke and Lorelai will be complete.

Ah, yes ... two women who cloak their maternal dysfunction under the guise of "protection."

I don't want to spend much time on Rory's storyline because it's obnoxious and boring. All of her previous anger melts away when Logan lands himself in the hospital after drunkenly BASE jumping off a cliff in Costa Rica. After receiving the news at the end of "Sidekick," Rory immediately springs to action, memorizing the hospital layout and making calls to Logan's family. She's riddled with guilt over treating him like shit and then almost losing him. To his credit, Logan apologizes and explains that none of it is her fault.

According to Paris, Logan's injuries consist of a partially collapsed lung, six broken ribs, a broken ankle, torn cartilage in both knees, and a concussion. He seems like someone who wouldn't take his physical therapy seriously, resulting in a permanent limp and the use of an ivory-handled cane (from one of the elephants he shot on a father/son hunting trip to Zimbabwe).

The next episode features Emily Gilmore at her most Mariah Carey, so at least we have that to look forward to!

Random observations:

  • The movie theater in fake Hartford is showing an Orsen Welles retrospective. The marquee advertises "Touch of Evil" (1958), "Citizen Kane" (1941), and "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942). I'll never forgive Welles for what he did to Maila Nurmi, but you're going to have to tune in for next week's podcast episode to hear that story (or read this book).
  • Some of the child fashions at April's birthday party reminded me of Emily Kirkpatrick's take on the denim maxi skirt in a recent installment of I <3 Mess. If you like sassy fashion takedowns, I recommend subscribing. Her bitchiness is often the highlight of my week.
  • Grant Lee Phillips is coming to Ann Arbor, but I'll be out of town 😞
  • This bold extra got the most out of her five seconds of screen time. I wonder if she was instructed to look horny for the troubadour.
While wearing camouflage cargo pants, no less!
  • By my estimation, the cost of April's birthday party was equivalent to the GDP of Liberia. I imagine Luke standing off in the corner like, "What could a lipstick cost? $2?" Maybe Lorelai called ahead of time and had Allison (Jerrika Hinton AKA Dr. Stephanie Edwards from "Grey's Anatomy") and Leslie (Moniqua Plante) remove all prestige brands from the shelves.
  • The line about Christopher seeming "very knight in shining armor" is lazy exposition for the disastrous season finale.
  • "I just found out my microbiology final is an open-book exam. Can you believe that? I mean why not just have our professors take it for us? Or better yet, they can just hand us our diplomas the moment we step on campus freshman year, along with some government cheese, a bong, and a t-shirt that says 'hard work is for suckers.'" Paris is evidently team Kim "nobody wants to work these days" Kardashian. I wonder if she'll have a reckoning in her thirties where she realizes that hard work is for suckers.