Directing and writing credits:
"We've Got Magic to Do" is directed by Michael Zinberg, written by Daniel Palladino. This is Zinberg's final "GG" episode, although he'll work with the Palladinos again on the short-lived "The Return of Jezebel James." (Has anyone watched this? I missed out when it was airing on Fox and now it doesn't seem to be available for streaming anywhere.) Here are his previous credits:
- "Afterboom" - I will never forgive the Palladinos for making Zack Lane's post-Dave Rygalski love interest.
- "But Not As Cute As Pushkin" - Luke's dark day reminds me yet again how much this man desperately needs therapy.
- "Pulp Friction" - Luke has apparently replaced Jethro Tull with "Reggae Fever." Jess would be horrified.
- "But I'm a Gilmore" - UGH, I NEED A TACO.
- "The UnGraduate" - If I saw TJ bleeding on the side of the road, I would pretend not to see him.
I have zero Palladino news, but I'm excited for a turtlenecked Milo Ventimiglia in S4 of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."
Most batshit crazy outfit:
I normally love Miss Patty's muumuus, but this print reminds me of a bowling alley carpet crossed with a jazz cup.
Shira Huntzberger's dress is hideous, especially for someone who supposedly has money. If I was married to a millionaire newspaper magnet, I would be wearing vintage Prada, not this bargain basement mother of the bride tragedy:
Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
Rory is incredibly patronizing to her assistant, Lacey (Jillian Bach). She calls her "honey" and "doll," annoying terms of endearment that are inappropriate for a workplace interaction, especially coming from someone in a position of power. Rory is likewise intolerable when Paris shows up at the pool house, panicking about her financial situation.
Paris: Yale's paid for, through the end of the year, thank God. But ... what'll I do about everything else I need? What'll I do?
Rory: You'll just have to do what everyone else who needs money has to do.
Paris: What's that?
Rory: What people do.
Paris: What am I, a mind reader?
Rory: Get a job.
Getting a job is easy when your rich grandparents arrange it for you and are there to act as a safety net if the situation goes south. Being a DAR event coordinator is far preferable to Paris' stated alternative of working in the Wal*Mart garden department. When Paris becomes more relatable than Rory, that's when you know the character has fully devolved into rich people nonsense.
In the opening scene of the episode, Luke and Lorelai have just returned to the diner after a shopping trip. As they sort through their purchases, Lorelai pulls out a large pair of pink satin underwear, and the following conversation ensues:
Lorelai: Wait a second. What is this?
Luke: Your underwear.
Lorelai: Uh! Thanks a lot!
Luke: I didn't see how big they were. What are they doing in there?
Lorelai: Well, I'm guessing probably hiding from their real owners, 'cause I would hate to be wrapped around the woman who fit those.
Luke: Maybe you just grabbed the wrong bag.
Lorelai: (pulls out a pair of bunny slippers) Oh, poor thing, she's single.
This is peak early 2000s fat-shaming mixed with a healthy dose of misogyny.
Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their BFF like shit:
Both women are decent friends. Lorelai is concerned but not accusatory when the inn's stove catches fire. She also sits through an irritating dinner at Sookie and Jackson's house that involves a nonstop stream of "turn the TV down, Davey!" What parenting manual did this idiocy come from?
Despite her condescending attitude, Rory gives Paris a job and talks her down from the ledge after her "I'm fucking broke" realization. Paris, in turn, offers Rory a purse full of mood stabilizers when she thinks she's having a panic attack at the DAR event. This is friendship at its finest.
Best literary or pop culture references:
To prepare for her DAR server job, Paris rents "Working Girl" and the first season of "Just Shoot Me." She tells Rory, "Got a couple of Wendie Malick bon mots that have already come in handy." In "Just Shoot Me," Wendie Malick plays Nina Van Horn, a horny, alcoholic Miranda Priestly but with '90s sitcom dialogue and plentiful eating disorder jokes. Or maybe she's more like a prototypical Jenna Maroney? I used to watch reruns of the show during sophomore year of college when I lived alone in the dorms. Nina inspired many (often questionable) animal print clothing purchases.
Stars Hollow weirdness:
Miss Patty's annual recital features "pubic speaking" (hopefully a typo), children throwing glitter, and Kirk's disturbing monolith-inspired act that elicits a string of ews from Lorelai and Sookie.
Sharpest insult or one-liner:
Emily Gilmore's delightfully bitchy speech to Shira Huntzberger is one of my favorites of the series. When someone really pisses me off, I have elaborate fantasies about eviscerating them in a similarly brutal fashion. I would never actually do it because I hate confrontation, but it feels good to dream.
Last year, I had one too many glasses of wine and sent a childhood friend my best rendition of the monologue. I would share it, but it's too embarrassing.
Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
This 👏🏻 bitch 👏🏻 doesn't 👏🏻 read. Richard mentions "Euclid's Geometry," which he describes as "a fun read," and is later seen with Samuel Beckett's "Molloy." When Emily interrupts him to discuss DAR nonsense, Richard tells her, "It takes a second to emerge from Samuel Beckett. He's a strange man." As someone who read "Watt" in college, I can attest to the accuracy of this statement.
Best song of the episode:
I'm not a big fan of "Pippin," so I'll go with "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree," an Andrews Sisters song that The Swing Dolls cover at the DAR event. I'm surprised the trio hasn't made an appearance on "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" yet.
We finally made it to the episode where Paris becomes a Marxist and Emily rips a fellow rich white lady a new asshole! "We've Got Magic to Do" is one of my favorites, mainly for the performances from Kelly Bishop and Liza Weil. Their characters have many toxic qualities but are impossible to hate because of the actors behind the madness. I would watch these women in anything, which is why I suffered through multiple seasons of "How to Get Away with Murder." I only regret that ASP never put Bishop and Weil in a substantive scene together.
In my alternate version of "AYitL," Paris and Emily meet in the foyer of their mutual therapist's office (like Marissa and Oliver in "The O.C."). Paris is finally seeking help after her third nervous breakdown; Emily is grieving Richard's death. They recognize each other immediately and start talking. Very quickly they realize that they have a lot in common: perfectionistic tendencies, disdain for idiots, and unconditional love for Rory. They strike up a fast friendship and become an intergenerational Grace and Frankie. Paris teaches Emily how to give less fucks about what other people think; Emily teaches Paris the pleasure of a knit skirt suit. Maybe the relationship turns romantic, a la Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor? Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that ASP missed a great opportunity for these two gems to finally go head-to-head and collect some well-deserved Emmy nominations.
At the beginning of the episode, Emily and the DAR bitches are outside of the Gilmore residence, discussing how to save face on an event that pill-popping Constance Betterton (who we sadly never get to see) has failed to adequately publicize. As the women tut-tut about this embarrassment, Rory impresses the hell out of them by suggesting — drumroll please — that they consider sending out some emails (presumably from HartfordDAR@earthlink.net). This brilliant suggestion, along with the idea that "a budget is just an estimation," leads to Rory taking over the event. As the women inundate her with compliments, Rory's face communicates a single emotion: horniness for responsibility.
Emily worries that Rory won't be able to handle it, but Richard insists that she is smart and special, blah blah blah. I don't know how reading "every book by every author with a Russian surname" translates to being a good event planner, but okay. When we see Rory in action, she's deep in discussion about the historical accuracy of plates, so she's obviously taking this shit seriously. I appreciate that Paris is immediately contentious towards Rory's employees when she shows up at the pool house. She immediately mocks Lacey and has this salty exchange upon securing her server position:
Rory: I know you'll be a hard worker. That's a given.
Paris: I definitely would be. And, you know I speak Chinese and Farsi, if that'll help.
Rory: Well, I need servers for the food. You could do that, right?
Paris: I think so.
Rory: See? You're on the road to recovery.
Paris: Oh, thanks. And I'll work my butt off, too, Glenda. Oh, and I know a smattering of ancient Aramaic, if that helps.
Glenda: It could.
Lance: If Christ shows up.
Paris: And who are you?
During dinner with the elder Gilmores, there's foreshadowing when Rory neglects to answer Richard's question about what she has been reading lately. At this point, it seems like Richard is vaguely beginning to realize how bad this break could be for Rory. A high-achieving Yale student isn't supposed to find satisfaction in occupancy limits and canapés. According to Richard's logic, those tasks are appropriate for Emily Gilmore, but not Rory. If she doesn't go back to school, this could be her life for the foreseeable future. Lorelai's upbringing has already resulted in "failure" and now Richard's best chance at upholding the family legacy is embracing frivolous shit like a cocktail party fundraiser for rich old fucks.
Of course, the event is a massive success that has all of the DAR ladies singing Rory's praises. When Shira Huntzberger shows up (after neglecting to RSVP), Rory shrugs off her annoyance and puts on a professional veneer of fake cordiality after an extended kitchen bitch session with Paris. Thankfully, she and her team were smart enough to set aside a spare table in case some entitled cunt like Shira waltzed in unannounced. Unbeknownst to Rory, sitting a bigwig like Shira at this extra table is a major faux pas. Once Emily gets wind of the situation, she starts scrambling around to rectify it and ends up bumping Constance Betterton ("It's a win-win").
All of this bullshit drama reminds me of the year I spend working at St. Martin's Press. I once showed up to a meeting and made the horrible mistake of sitting at the conference table instead of at one of the seats on the room's perimeter. Apparently, all of the conference table seats were reserved for people the company deemed important (i.e., not me). At that moment, I decided I was going to start looking for a new job because I couldn't stand working for an organization that adhered to disgustingly outdated hierarchies. If someone making 5x as much as me wants to cry about showing up late to a meeting and being without an amazing seat, they can go fuck themselves.
Unfortunately, certain organizations are weirdly married to these outdated social pecking orders. As Emily assists Rory with the seating chart, she casually mentions that Mitchum is with Shira, prompting this memorable scene starting at 1:23 (but you should really watch the whole thing for Paris' full love letter to Marxism):
After an uncomfortable bathroom conversation with Mitchum, Richard realizes that Lorelai wasn't lying when she called the Huntzbergers evil, shit-stirring motherfuckers (I'm paraphrasing). Mitchum tells Richard, "I did what I do with everyone. I called it like I saw it. I was honest with her. I don't pussyfoot. You know that." Everything about this conversation annoys me. As previously discussed, I don't like the way that Mitchum handles the performance discussion with Rory. It's mean-spirited and offers zero suggestions for improvement. He issues it like a death sentence. However, Richard shouldn't be shocked that a person in the world with no family connection isn't interested in blowing smoke up Rory's ass.
When he growls, "You crushed that girl!" to Mitchum, it's a disgusting moment of privileged outrage. He can't believe that someone would deign to offend his granddaughter (who must be smart because she shares his genes). Had he listened to Lorelai when she explained how it all went down, he could have avoided this awkwardness and simply gossiped about the Huntzbergers behind their backs in true WASP fashion. Instead, he works himself up into a seething rage that he immediately transfers to Emily, who goes full Regina George on Shira. As Rory gives her thank you speech up on the stage, Emily claps wildly while Richard and his sad eyes stare on in "wtf have I done" disbelief.
Lorelai's storyline doesn't have nearly as much pizzazz, but it does involve an alternate dimension dance recital that would be a lot of fun to attend while stoned. She and Luke have a mild altercation when she strong-arms him into going camping even though he seems interested in the recital. After a disastrous dinner at Sookie and Jackson's, Lorelai is feeling guilty about dragging Luke to too many of her events. She tells him, "You go with me to my movies, you tag along when I go shopping. And that dinner at Sookie and Jackson's ... how you kept from killing us all, I'll never know." Lorelai wants Luke to do something nice for himself, but he reads it as her trying to get rid of him.
As Lorelai and Sookie enjoy primo attractions like baton twirling, Luke sits out in the woods, alone with his thoughts. During Kirk's disturbing mime act, Lorelai notices Luke's early arrival back at the diner and goes to talk to him. They have a legitimately mature conversation about the entire ordeal where Lorelai actually validates his feelings. For a second, I'm impressed by how healthy this is for them, but then I remember what's to come in four episodes ...
- When Lorelai says "fire starter," I am immediately reminded of the Prodigy song I illegally downloaded on Limewire in the early 2000s after watching "Hackers" (1995) for the first time.
- Me during any kind of work hardship: "I'm sorry, but I'm really upset about this, and I'm far too sober to put it in any sort of perspective."
- The scene of Luke sitting at the table, quietly eating dinner amongst the madness at Sookie's reminds me of FaceTiming my friends with kids. They are somehow able to focus as one baby screams while the other throws blocks at the cat. Meanwhile, my brain is like 🤯
- Emily would never willingly put a pin hole in her expensive ass blazer. I call shenanigans.
- The douchiest version of Logan is the one that's marching through the halls of Yale, loudly talking about how his PA system guy is "the best in the business." He does this during dinner at Richard and Emily's house, only it's with a ceramic tennis racquet manufacturer. Later in the season, when Christopher comes to Yale, Logan waxes rhapsodic about his "home theater guy."
- The US government spent $533B on the military in 2005 ... how much more money is needed? Can't the DAR raise money for an admirable cause, like fully legalizing marijuana?
- What do my cat Eloise and Paris Geller have in common? They both have a Fluoxetine prescription.