Directing and writing credits:
"Welcome to the Dollhouse" is directed by Jackson Douglas (AKA Jackson Belleville), written by Keith Eisner. Douglas previously directed "To Live and Let Diorama," which is a personal favorite c/o drunk Paris. This is Eisner's first episode of "GG," but he's credited as a supervising producer for all of S6 and 7. His IMDB includes writing credits for "NYPD Blue," "Law & Order," "The Good Wife," and "Madam Secretary," which aren't exactly comedies. Maybe this explains why the episode falls flat and isn't very memorable.
Most batshit crazy outfit:
Let's get the hideous $40k Hermès Birkin bag discussion out of the way. I know this bag is iconic and blah, blah, blah, but the only person I've ever seen make it look cool is Jane fucking Birkin.
Let's say I'm willing to concede that the bag is fine but just not my taste. We still must contend with the fact that Logan purchased a bubblegum pink version in ostrich skin and thought, "Yep, this looks like Rory." Why not go with something versatile like camel or black in pebbled leather? Based on what I read, it seems like the bright colors are rarer and might hold value better, but still.
If someone I had been dating for six (?) months spent this much money on me, it would freak me out more than a spontaneous "I love you." I would ghost Logan immediately, list the purse on Farfetch, and use the proceeds to pay my rent for a few years. The fact that Rory accepts this present with ignorant excitement cements her place in Logan's world of rich kid bullshit. What's next? A Porsche Cayenne for Christmas wrapped up in a bow?
Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
Rory is young, so I'll forgive her for not tearing Logan a new asshole during this exchange involving the Birkin bag:
Rory: You know, I think my computer cords would fit in this perfectly.
Logan: Uh, this is not a computer cord kind of purse, Ace. You know what, why don't you just call my sister, she'll fill you in. It's like a thing, you know?
Rory: Huh. It's a thing. A beautiful leather grown-up thing.
When someone starts mansplaining the utility of a specific purse, it's time to inflict violence. THIS PURSE WILL HOLD MY COMPUTER CORDS IF I WANT IT TO HOLD MY COMPUTER CORDS.
For the record, my husband disagrees with this read and says it's important for Rory to realize that this isn't just some purse that Logan picked up at the mall on a whim. If she thinks it's nothing special, she might treat it poorly and then regret it in retrospect. To me, this makes it even worse because it indicates that Logan wants Rory to know how expensive it is. It's like he's saying, "Hey Rory, I don't love you yet, but you are worth $40k to me, so ..." Also, the purse comes in a giant ass box ("You brought me the head of Alfredo Garcia") with a dust bag and was gifted to Rory by the wealthiest person she knows IRL. I think she can deduce that it was expensive.
Lorelai's big mistake in this episode is trusting Taylor to make a major town change that somehow won't negatively impact her. What kind of idiot is excited about filing change of address paperwork?
Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their BFF like shit:
While I can't exactly blame her for this, Lorelai fucks up her one chance to revert the Dragonfly street name from Sores and Boils Alley back to Third Street. Taylor says that he'll allow it if she donates $100 to the Stars Hollow Historical Society, but then he pats her on the head like a dog and she calls off the whole deal. Poor Sookie is going to have a hell of a time cooking food that doesn't remind customers of infection.
Rory doesn't interact with either of her BFFs. Paris is presumably still reeling from her toe-dip into Marxism. Lane is stuck at the diner, pretending to care about Lorelai's fake newspaper, "The Good News Daily."
Best literary or pop culture references:
When random home decor items start showing up at the inn for Lorelai, Michel suggests that she has a Home Shopping Network addiction.
Lorelai: I do not have a home shopping channel addiction. This does look familiar. Like I've seen it before.
Michel: Mm-hmm. And was Joan Rivers or Suzanne Somers holding it up?
Remember when Lorelai bought all of Mrs. Thompson's garage junk, including three Thigh Masters? I totally believe that this acquisition could have kicked off a somnambulist shopping habit. Michel is technically wrong because we later learn that Emily is responsible, but his understanding of Lorelai as a human is spot-on.
Stars Hollow weirdness:
It's all so stupid that I don't even care to discuss it. In short, Kirk and Andrew show up to the town meeting in their war reenactment garb to make a case for Taylor's street name campaign. Kirk is supposed to be playing a cobbler named Phineas but has no idea what a cobbler actually does. Later, during the first street name negotiation with Lorelai, he offers up "Crusty Bulge" instead of "Sores and Boils Alley," along with a street that already exists (Constabulary Road), and a Nipmuck name that white settlers really shouldn't be using. This is the only good exchange to come out of the street name nonsense:
Taylor: The more charm a town has, the greater its tourism revenue.
Miss Patty: We've got charm.
Babette: Yeah! You wouldn't believe the bikini waxes Lisa's doing at the beauty parlor! Any shape you can imagine. So clever. And charming.
In my headcanon, Miss Patty and Babette went to Lisa's together and got matching pubic hair dollar signs.
Sharpest insult or one-liner:
Emily Gilmore is a perennial elitist bitch, but this exchange about Lorelai's childhood dollhouse made me laugh:
Lorelai: You can hold onto it a little while longer!
Emily: Out of the question. It's taking up space and I can't have it here.
Lorelai: Why does Goodwill have to come at noon?
Emily: Because that's the appointment I got! It's Goodwill, Lorelai, not Sotheby’s!
Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
When Rory tells Logan that she loves him, a copy of Colleen McCullough's "Fortune's Favorites" is on a table in the background. I haven't read anything by McCullough, but Goodreads says that this book is part of her "Masters of Rome" series, which focuses on "the last years of the Roman republic, struggles between politicians and generals, and the men and women in the centre of all."
For some inexplicable reason, Rory has a "Barron's GED" book on her shelf by the TV. The spine is visible as Richard rifles through her things in search of whatever is "under the Tootsie Rolls." This must be a Lorelai relic because I can think of no reason why any of the other Gilmores would own this book.
Richard mentions espionage novelist John le Carré as he snoops around the pool house. Carré's books are probably his guilty pleasure reads when he's too drunk for the hardcore stuff, like Euclid.
Best song of the episode:
This is one of those weird episodes sans tunes. I've been slowly rewatching "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and really love how music is incorporated. It's one of the few shows where I actually watch the credits because the songs that play over them are always fun. A few of them, like "Cities in Dust" and "Our Lips Are Sealed," are throwbacks from "Gilmore Girls." I probably don't give her enough credit for it, but Amy Sherman-Palladino has excellent taste in music. She is responsible for introducing me to bands like Sparks and XTC.
When the town reenactors make an appearance, you know it's going to be a dull episode. In an attempt to increase Stars Hollow's tourism revenue, Taylor proposes historical street name changes with the help of Phineas (Kirk) and Zebediah (Andrew), two fake citizens from 1779. After a bit of dialogue that I can't believe Daniel Palladino didn't write, Lorelai is the first person to lend vocal support to this idiotic idea. After Stars Hollow's queen chimes in, the rest of the sheep follow as a paperwork nightmare hangs on the periphery.
When Lorelai breaks the street name news to Luke the next morning in the diner, he responds like a person who has just wake and baked. Is Luke secretly back on the self-help tapes? Because I don't understand where this shit is coming from:
Luke: It's taken me a ridiculous amount of years, but when it comes to all things Taylor I've adopted a Zen attitude.
Luke: Go with the flow, let the River Taylor take you where it may. Don't fight it, just let it happen.
The situation goes rapidly downhill once the Sores and Boils Alley news hits. As Lorelai attempts to negotiate with a candy peddling terrorist (Taylor), Michel and Sookie have simultaneous panic attacks. Where are Paris and her grab bag of mood stabilizers when you need her?
After battling with Kirk over Taylor's updated street name suggestions, Lorelai declares that none of them are suitable and that the Dragonfly is keeping Third Street. Taylor, who is actively campaigning for a public stoning, decides to punish her for this decision by removing the Dragonfly from the map of historic Stars Hollow. If for some unknown reason, a tourist decides that they need a map of a town where everything exists within a 1-mile radius, they won't be able to find Lorelai's place of business. Do you see how low the stakes are with this idiotic street name plot? I hate to badmouth Keith Eisner, but dude was really phoning it in when he wrote this script.
The map saga ends with Lorelai showing up to the town meeting and demanding (with references to "Norma Rae" and "Sixteen Candles") that Taylor acquiesce to her Third Street request. Just when it seems like everything is about to work out, he demoralizes her in public and gleefully gets what he wanted all along: an elaborate, torturous mind game where he tricked Lorelai into supporting his bad idea, immediately fucked her over, and then negged her into destroying a chance at redemption. As Lorelai recounts this story to Sookie and Michel, they are upset, but not actively plotting Taylor's demise like I would have been.
Step 1: Take him up on the offer to borrow his "valuable collection of antique lances."
Step 2: Use those lances to denail him until he agrees to change the street name AND apologize for being the pettiest bitch in Stars Hollow.
Step 3: Consult later S6 Rory Gilmore about other interesting forms of torture.
Step 4: File those torture methods away and use them as needed for punishment against future infractions.
As this bullshit transpires, Lorelai tries to solve the mystery of who is sending her boxes full of "Antique Roadshow" castoffs. I'm surprised that Emily "tenth-degree black belt in passive aggression" Gilmore doesn't immediately come to mind. After learning that Richard saw Lorelai (for insurance reasons) at the inn last week, she damn near loses her mind.
I've always found it amusing that Emily is so desperate to be the favorite parent but has no interest in doing anything to improve her standings. Instead of trying to initiate a real conversation with Lorelai, she inundates her with old cuckoo clocks and waits for the inevitable angry phone call. This way, Emily gets to be the martyr who claims to have done nothing wrong while Lorelai is forced to accept responsibility for losing her temper. It's a fucked up way to behave, especially for someone in her 60s. Threatening to donate Lorelai's childhood dollhouse is the cherry on top of the manipulation sundae. It's times like these when I feel the most empathy for Lorelai.
At the end of the episode, Richard shows up at Lorelai's with the dollhouse and an ominous message: "We need to talk about Rory." For whatever reason, he is finally coming around to the idea that Rory's current trajectory might not be a good one. As Emily fawns over Rory's photo in the paper from the DAR event, Richard seems less enthused. She worries that her conversation with Shira may have scared Logan off, but Richard assures her that "Just because you haven't seen the boy doesn't mean anything. Our hours are different from theirs."
Sure enough, Richard is right. In fact, Logan is so committed to Rory that he cements the relationship with a purse expensive enough to warrant an insurance policy. When Richard catches Logan outside on the way to his car, he invites him in for a nightcap and asks a bunch of questions about the future of his relationship with Rory. Richard, who is now worried that Rory will end up like Emily (the horror), wants to make sure that Logan isn't planning on proposing any time soon. The conversation understandably freaks out Logan, who recounts the details to Rory in a mild panic.
When Emily comes over the next day with Edgar Pullings (Sam Menning), a man she clearly jailbroke from the nursing home so that he could fix her intercom, Rory tells her how uncomfortable the previous night's "Scotch talk" made Logan . Emily is shocked by Richard's behavior and says that she'll talk to him. She then skillfully initiates some girl talk and nearly orgasms on the spot when Rory tells her about the Birkin bag. Apparently, she has heavily hinted to Richard that she wants one, but he hasn't yet taken the bait.
When Emily discusses the situation with Richard, he assures her that he wasn't trying to pressure Logan into anything. Once again, he insults Emily by insinuating that it was okay for her to get married young because she didn't have anything major to accomplish. This is the exchange:
Richard: Those two are way too young to be thinking about marriage. They just met each other.
Emily: It’s been over a year.
Richard: It hasn’t been a year! They’re babies!
Emily: Babies! Richard, your granddaughter is about to turn twenty-one! If they did get engaged, the ceremony would be next year at the earliest, or the year after. That makes her twenty-three.
Richard: And too young!
Emily: It’s the same age I was when we got married. I wasn’t too young.
Richard: Well, we were different.
Richard: Because we’re us, and Rory’s Rory. She has things to do.
Emily should buy herself the most expensive Birkin bag and promptly divorce Richard. Since they got married so young, maybe there wasn't a prenup. Emily should clean him out and book herself an "Eat, Pray, Love" vacation. I like the idea of her burning all of her skirt suits and doing yoga on the beach with some sexpot half her age.
Instead of telling him to go fuck himself, Emily drags Richard into the pool house so that they can snoop around and find out what's really going on in Rory's life. This reminds me of the time my dad went through my bedroom trashcan and somehow found a condom that I carefully hid in an empty Gatorade bottle. If you want to play detective, you better prepare to handle the findings. Luckily, Rory is boring and the grandparents don't find anything of interest. I don't know where she hides her used condoms ... or even if she uses condoms. I mean, Christopher, the king of unplanned pregnancies, is her dad. As the grandparents start interfering more heavily in her life, it's only a matter of time before a breaking point is reached.
I don't have much to say about the "I love you" conversation towards the end of the episode. Logan does come off as a dick but I genuinely believe that his intentions are good. It really is like the first time Dean tells Rory that he loves her, which she mentions. In that instance, it seemed like Rory felt the same way but wanted to think about it before reciprocating. Unlike Dean, Rory handles the rejection maturely instead of pitching a hissy fit and breaking up with Logan on the spot.
- Emily is annoyed that the new maid, Consuela, keeps putting sugar on everything. Did she read one of those fearmongering articles about how sugar is more addictive than cocaine?
- "I'm not at my best if I don't get my model's twelve" has become my go-to excuse for crankiness and/or a disheveled appearance.
- My husband on Taylor: "I’m shocked that his mom’s uterus didn’t absorb him when he first started forming."
- I don't understand why Lorelai orders a scooped bagel with all of the scoopings on a separate plate. This feels like some disordered eating shit, which isn't in line with the character.
- According to Emily, I suffer from "some kind of young woman's melancholia" because I don't wake up until 8:30 AM. She's not wrong, but I don't think there's a correlation.
- I haven't seen "Welcome to the Dollhouse" in years, but it was very influential on me as a teen. It's sort of like the '90s version of "Eighth Grade" but with more secondhand embarrassment.
- I die at Sookie realizing that her Spanish name, Sookia, is just her normal name with an A on the end 😂
- One B story that I enjoy is Emily sending a giant urn to the diner ("Actually, it's more of a vase"). Taylor promptly fines Luke because he doesn't have a jungle gym license and kids keep playing on it. Eventually, this sends Luke back into a "fuck Taylor" mentality and he starts actively encouraging kids to play on the urn.
- This is the only memorable part of the episode for me: