'Gilmore Girls' Season 7, Episode 15: I'm a Kayak, Hear Me Roar

'Gilmore Girls' Season 7, Episode 15: I'm a Kayak, Hear Me Roar

Directing and writing credits:
“I'm a Kayak, Hear Me Roar” is directed by Lee Shallat Chemel and written by Rebecca Kirshner. This exact pairing last worked together on "I'd Rather Be in Philadelphia," the one where Emily is so distraught over Richard's health that she willingly eats Milk Duds.

I've always wondered why this episode isn't titled "I Am Kayak, Hear Me Roar." The slight misquote of the song they're referencing — Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" — had to be intentional, but I'm at a loss for rationale. It's not even what Lorelai says to Emily when she utters the phrase during their drunk tax conversation. In retrospect, the fucked up title is the perfect metaphor for S7 as a whole: it's almost a decent approximation of the Palladino style, but suffers from missing details. Word-perfect Amy and Dan would not condone this carelessness.

Most batshit crazy outfit:
Per usual, Rory and Lorelai make questionable Friday Night dinner choices. Rory's dress might be fine on its own, but the cardigan gives the whole ensemble a frumpy vibe. I wish it were cropped to the waist with either longer or shorter sleeves and made in a more textured material. Lorelai's ill-fitting silk Geren Ford kimono dress does her figure no favors. It's too big in the bust, which creates an excessive amount of puckering every time the material shifts. The color/trim/pattern and side ponytail (!) have a tacky combined effect, although I do like her makeup look.

I can't believe Rory is growing out her Marianne Faithfull bangs.

Rory "Uggs are so 2002" Gilmore wears her La Jollas again during the opening sequence when Lorelai breaks the Christopher news. I'm not going to lie: I went to Nordstrom with my mom over the weekend and was tempted to buy the classic mini boot. I'll never pull the trigger, but the fact that I even considered it means the Ugg marketing department is crushing it these days.

This earth tone outfit has me nostalgic for S1 Rory.

Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
The Huntzbergers never celebrated birthdays when Logan was growing up, so Rory shows him everything he's been missing out on for his twenty-fifth: a piñata, pin the tail on the donkey moose, Twister, sugary grocery store sheet cake, and a Russian Ushanka (for ice skating in Central Park). It's a nice gesture, but one that results in the purchase of pointless crap that will likely either get thrown away or shoved into a closet and never thought about again. It's akin to Lorelai's "fake China" from earlier in the season.

Aside from running out of gas, which is an unimaginable occurrence for someone with anxiety, Lorelai is strangely tolerable. Any mild annoyance I had with her melted away by the devastating final scene. It sucks to see Emily revert back to her cold, WASP-ish ways after sharing a rare sliver of appreciation for her daughter.

These two deserve to have one nice interaction unsullied by past resentments.

Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their BFF like shit:
If I woke up to Paris and Doyle chanting in my living room at 6 a.m., heads would roll. Rory is either a pushover or a saint for calmly dealing with their nonsense. While Lane was in attendance at Chin-Chin's funeral, she hasn't really had anything to do since her depressing "I barely got to be a person" speech in "Santa's Secret Stuff." The next episode revolves around her baby shower, so there will be plenty of opportunities for Rory to treat her like trash.

Once again, Sookie drops everything to cook for Lorelai, who is only marginally grateful. After Stefan (Kristof Konrad), the elder Gilmores' chef, quits in a huff, she whips up a bunch of delicious, healthy meals that don't elicit outrage from Richard. I don't understand how Sookie has the energy to do this, cook at the inn, and grow a human. I can barely answer text messages from friends let alone spend hours doing favors for them with little notice.

Best literary or pop culture references:
Lorelai says she told the Quickie Mart guy about her divorce because "I was upset. I was standing by the magazines. I didn't want him to think I was verklempt over Nicole Richie." For those who didn't follow it at the time, this article gives a good overview of the shitty way the media treated Richie in the 2000s. If you want to remember how wild celebrity journalism was even in the more reputable magazines, read Leslie Bennetts' Vanity Fair profile from 2006.

Because this is a great way to "help" someone with a purported eating disorder!

Stars Hollow weirdness:
Babette and Patty give Lorelai, Chris, and Luke code names — hen, beagle, and rooster — so they can discuss their relationship drama in public. Kirk overhears the conversation and freaks out over the "morally reprehensible" nature of an interspecies coupling. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there's been a single solid SH subplot this entire season.

Liz, TJ, and Doula, who I guess are technically townies, show up at Luke's unannounced with multiple suitcases in tow. They need a place to stay because their house has been infested by moths, or as TJ likes to call them, "loser butterflies that couldn't get laid if they tied a $100 bill to their [penises?]" I would have taken a note out of Jackson's book and faked a heart attack to prevent this chancre sore from invading my home.

Luke lives in a one-bedroom apartment! I'd rather set up a tent in my yard and shit in a bucket than impose on someone like this.

Sharpest insult or one-liner:
This episode is light on snappy barbs, but I appreciate Lorelai's physical reaction during this exchange:

Emily: The doctor said there's no reason he can't go back to his normal routine, as long as he doesn't do anything too strenuous. It's not as though sitting at a table having dinner with one's family requires a great deal of effort.
Lorelai: Oh, well ... you're right.

And of course, I must shout-out Francette (Treisa Gary), the nurse who is very much not a maid and don't you fucking forget it, Emily Gilmore. She strikes me as the type of person who would rally the support staff together to form a union and/or class action lawsuit. Her tolerance for bullshit is appropriately low.

Gary recently had small roles in "A League of Their Own" and "Unbelievable."

Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
At Logan's birthday dinner, Mitchum mentions Philip Meyer's "The Vanishing Newspaper" (2004), which Rory also read and loved. I guess she still reads, we just don't get to witness it 🙄

Best song of the episode:
Concrete Blonde's "Happy Birthday" plays during Logan's bad news phone call with Philip. They're one of those underrated '90s bands that people seem to have forgotten about for some reason. Even if you're not familiar, you've probably heard "God is a Bullet" or one of the songs featured on "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" soundtrack. Their lead singer/songwriter/bassist, Johnette Napolitano, does a cover of Patti Smith's "Dancing Barefoot" that I much prefer to the original. No shade to Patti, but this cover brings a sinister nature to the original that speaks to my soul.

Thoughts:
Watching "GG" as an adult is an interesting experience because instead of siding fully with any particular character, I've realized that they're all fucked up in different, albeit sensical, ways. Emily wants to connect with Lorelai and knows how to do it but is so uncomfortable expressing emotions that when she does, her impulse is to pretend it never happened. She can only let her guard down for short periods of time before the vulnerability freaks her out and the ice queen barriers are erected. Like all kids, Lorelai wants her mom to respect and support her, but she's been around long enough to know that nothing gold can stay. It's hard to enjoy nice moments because they're often followed with passive (or straight-up) aggression.

Compared to how devastated she was post-Luke breakups, Lorelai recovers from the Christopher split with ease. On a drive to nowhere, reminiscent of "The Road Trip to Harvard," Lorelai tells Rory that her marriage is over because "It just wasn't right." Rory's response is diplomatic: She feels sorry for Lorelai but isn't surprised by the news. By S7, it's tiresome to watch the same shit play out ad nauseam: Lorelai makes a bad romantic decision, her relationship crumbles, the elder Gilmores are judgmental, shame is internalized, rinse and repeat. Rory witnesses all of it and as a result, spends her twenties and early thirties trapped in the same, unrewarding pattern of behavior. If we ever get another season of "AYitL," I hope Rory breaks the cycle of ill-suited men by either finding happiness alone or with someone who complements and challenges her.

Even on the worst, most stressful day of my life, running out of gas is unfathomable.

At Friday night dinner, Emily and Richard are engaged in tense combat over mocktails and fish menus, so Lorelai is able to sweep Christopher's absence under the rug with a lame "He's out of town" excuse. It's nice that Emily wants Richard to live a long life, but she needs to get off his dick during the recovery process. If he doesn't want to eat sea bass and drink Shirley Temples, that's his prerogative. It's frustrating to watch someone take poor care of themselves, but a spouse can only exert so much influence before it becomes suffocating. In some ways, their stressful situation feels just considering how poorly they treat the help. It's about time someone like Francette called attention to Emily's blatant abuse of power. She needs to quit that job before she blows out her superior rectus muscle from all the eye-rolling.

Even though her parents' shitty attitudes don't warrant it, Lorelai ends up helping them by picking up prescriptions, stockpiling meals (c/o Sookie), and organizing tax documents for their accountant. During an impromptu, late-night Quicken lesson, Lorelai admits to Emily that her marriage is over. Emily glosses over it at first, but after she gets drunk off her secret stash, she admits that she's impressed with Lorelai. Richard's heart attack made her realize how dependent she is on him and how fucked she'll be when he's not around to take care of business matters. She tells Lorelai,

"The way I was raised, if a married couple split up, it was a disaster, because it meant the system had fallen apart, and it was particularly bad for the woman because she had to go out and find herself another rich husband, only she was older now. But with you, it's not such a disaster, is it?"

The exhaustion in her eyes is relatable.

Coming from Emily, this is a compliment of the highest order. Not only has she deemed Lorelai's independence an asset, she's admitted there are downsides to her traditional way of life. It's uncharacteristically self-aware and Lorelai seems touched by the honesty. The next morning, Emily is back to her Miranda Priestly ways, reminding Lorelai of the huge engagement party she'll have to cancel thanks to her "failure." Lauren Graham perfectly conveys the feeling of trusting someone undeserving and being immediately reminded of why it's a mistake.

And fuck Richard, too. He's an entitled man-child and his behavior in this episode makes me wish the heart attack had killed him. 

Rory's main preoccupation is distracting herself from her parents' divorce by throwing Logan a two-person birthday party that even a child would find tedious. When Mitchum calls and invites them out to dinner, it feels like a welcome respite from the teddy bear tea party Rory surely has planned. At the dinner, Mitchum lays the charm on thick, talking about how proud he is of Logan and gushing over Rory's journalism talents. People like this are the absolute fucking worst because if you don't consistently remind yourself of how awful they are, you will quickly succumb to their charisma.

When Logan leaves the table to take a call, Mitchum gives Rory a speech not dissimilar to their elevator conversation before Logan left for London. He tells Rory how thankful he is for her positive influence and wants her to brainstorm next steps for Logan's career. For her efforts, he offers her a job at any of the family newspapers. Later, when she recounts this sidebar to Logan, he laughs it off like "What else is new?" and tells her she shouldn't feel bad about getting Huntzbergered. It's just like getting Gilmored, but with less gaslighting. Mitchum freely admits that he's up to some shit when Rory presses him, whereas Emily and Richard love to play innocent, denying they would ever try to meddle.

Especially in this lighting, Mitchum's hair is giving Tr**p vibes.

It sucks that just as Logan finally wins his father's tenuous approval, everything falls apart in the span of a thirty-second phone call. It makes zero sense to me that Logan, a trust fund bro with the best lawyers, would buy a company without a clause in his contract that protects him against patent infringement, but OK. (This Reddit thread gives a good overview.) The show doesn't care about the specifics and just wants us to believe that Logan got cocky, flew too close to the sun, and is now paying the embarrassing price. While the specifics are shaky, it's one of the storylines I find more interesting this season, so I'll suspend my disbelief.

A rich person would never have those glass block windows in their apartment.

I don't feel like getting into the Liz/TJ visit because honestly, who gives a fuck. All you need to know is that Liz still believes in wormholes, TJ is anti-Lorelai, and both of them think Luke is lonely. Also, April might be in New Mexico, but her fugly-ass tablecloth and comforter are still kickin' it in Stars Hollow.

I can think of nothing worse than listening to Liz and TJ discuss my past relationship while ensconced in this highly flammable fabric. You're in hell, Luke. This is hell!

Random observations:

  • This is the first time Rory mentions the Reston Fellowship, which will become more significant in a few episodes.
  • I remember going to the Pittsburgh Science Center in seventh grade and begging for freeze-dried ice cream (which Rory cites as a child birthday party staple) from the gift shop. If you're curious how this "astronaut food" trend got started, this article about its history is worth a read.
  • Nothing screams "early 2000s" louder than Logan's CD rack.
I had one of these in my childhood bedroom. It was perpetually coated in dust.
  • TJ wants Doula to become a wrestler so that he can get free tickets. When she starts crying, he delays comforting her because he doesn't want her "getting too soft." Someone call CPS.
  • Lorelai tells Emily, "I can make toast, if the conditions are ideal." I want to make fun of this, but I mostly just respect the honesty.
  • The "goddess with all the arms" that Sookie mentions is probably Kali, the Hindu goddess of death and destruction. Heidi Klum dressed as her for Halloween in 2008 (and offended the Hindu community).
  • I can suspend my disbelief when it comes to outrageous takeout budgets and constant caffeine consumption, but the idea that Liz makes a living selling this "jewelry" is a bridge too far:
  • One TV trope I hate is men being impressed by thin women who eat "a lot." Maybe just shut the fuck up and stop focusing on what other people are doing, Mitchum. Let Rory eat her 24 oz. steak sans scrutiny.
  • Why couldn't Richard access the Quicken forms himself? He had heart surgery, not brain surgery. If the dude has energy to watch golf, he can take ten minutes to explain a task to his wife.
  • Babette and Patty are both dressed for a Stevie Nicks concert and I am here for it. The costume department should always drape them in velvet.
Patty's hair and lipstick game is another serve.
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