Directing and writing credits:
“'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous” is directed by Victor Nelli and written by Gayle Abrams. Both are new to the "GG" universe, presumably brought on for S7 by David Rosenthal. This is the only episode directed by Nelli, although he's worked on many other shows you've probably seen, like "Ugly Betty," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and "The Bold Type." He's been working steadily since the late eighties/early nineties and has a solid background in reality TV. His early credits include two of my personal favorites: Disney Channel's "Bug Juice" and MTV's "House of Style."
Looking through Abrams' credits on IMDb reminded me of "Kyle XY," another show on ABC Family that I never watched but vividly remember thanks to the incessant promos I saw while watching "GG" reruns. I still have no idea why that motherfucker is missing a belly button. Anyway, Abrams is another TV veteran who has worked on classics like "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and "Fraiser." In 2017, she wrote this essay for The Los Angeles Times about being a female comedy writer in a male-dominated industry. Many of her observations resonated with me, not as a female comedy writer, but as a woman who spent time working in a sector of the tech industry that most men deem stupid or nonessential. Fun shit!
Most batshit crazy outfit:
Rory's "cool" new art friends, Lucy (Krysten Ritter) and Olivia (Michelle Ongkingco), burst onto the scene in two truly unsettling outfits. Lucy wears a babydoll dress so short that I'm worried about a lip slip. Everyone should wear what makes them feel good, but I hope Lucy is prepared for a healthy dose of side-eye when she bends over and exposes her chocolate starfish to the world.
Olivia looks even worse in a frumpy layered knit top tossed over voluminous Oompa Loompa shorts. The knee-high leather boots feel very Lookbook.nu and would actually look cool on someone who hasn't paired them with an outfit full of awkward proportions. I'm no fan of Rory's peasant dress with the sloppy bust ties, but it hardly stands out when sandwiched between these two try-hards.
Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
Rory is mostly fine, but her decision to befriend Lucy and Olivia is perplexing. Immediately upon entering her apartment, Lucy starts rummaging through her cabinets for a snack and Olivia puts on loud music and starts dancing, unprompted. Does Rory really think these are her people? They have zero boundaries! And she's too passive to ask them to chill the fuck out. Actually, what am I thinking ... she probably finds them comforting because they remind her of Lorelai's crazy ass.
If you want to drive someone to the brink of insanity, play them a mash-up of Lucy's popcorn musings and Lorelai's endless questions about Christopher's surprise date. How can anyone tolerate Lorelai when she's hopping around like a deranged Pomeranian, asking "Is this the special thing?" on repeat? It's like being on a road trip with a small child. Someone needs to buy her a muzzle for when she's done too much cocaine and can no longer control what exits her mouth hole.
Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their BFF like shit:
After three episodes of brutality, we finally get a break from Lane's sad life. Paris pops up briefly to insult the Yale Daily News and Rory sadly foreshadows the eventual demise of her relationship with Doyle. Of his work friends at the Hartford Courant, Paris says she and Doyle are "the Ephron and Bernstein of the group." As Rory later notes, this couple isn't exactly aspirational since they eventually went through a "divorce so painful that it was memorialized in both literature and film" (i.e., "Heartburn"). This doesn't make her a bad friend, but it is depressing. I hate anything that reminds me of Paris and Doyle's "AYitL" reality.
Lorelai gives Sookie a wishy-washy response to a dinner invite in case Christopher calls with more exciting plans. I always hated when friends in relationships would do that shit to me. Give me an definitive answer so I can plan accordingly or kindly fuck off. When Sookie lovingly expresses apprehension over Lorelai's rebound choice, she's treated like an annoyance instead of someone who has nothing but good intentions. For the record, I agree with her: If you're going to rebound with someone after a serious relationship, make it a "twenty-eight-year-old surfer or a jazz saxophonist who drives a VW bus or a really cute guy that can't even spell his last name," not the man spreading his seed all over the state of Connecticut. If Lorelai thought Luke's secret child was bad, just wait until 23andMe arrives and an army of children break down Christopher's door, looking for their deadbeat daddy.
Stars Hollow weirdness:
As with most of his other five hundred jobs, I assume Kirk got bored with his diner and decided to close up shop because he's back at Luke's, lamenting over his creepy woman troubles. I wish we got to meet Kirk's mom just once because I'm dying to know what the woman who thinks poppy seeds are a gateway drug is like. Actually, NVM ... I can vividly picture her. She's a high ranking sales associate at Liz's essential oil MLM.
Miss Patty reveals that one of her ballerinas once Tonya Harding-ed someone for the role of Clara in "The Nutcracker." I know she didn't write it, but this line feels very ASP in "Bunheads":
"Everyone thinks, 'ballerinas — so sweet, so fragile.' Trust me, they're dancing on stress fractures and ingrown toenails, and they haven't eaten in weeks."
Sharpest insult or one-liner:
It's impossible not to laugh when Emily tells the cop who tries to Breathalyze her, "Young man, I don't know where that's been, but I can say with ab-solute certainty it won't be going anywhere near my mouth." Kelly Bishop's line reading is flawless. I wish I had responded like this when a random high school acquaintance tried to get me to suck his dick circa 2009 by whipping it out unprompted while we were smoking weed and listening to public radio jazz in his car.
Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Rory says she'll have to consult Emily Post to figure out the proper protocol "when your mom is dating your dad." The updated version of "Emily Post's Etiquette" apparently contains information on "Internet behavior," so maybe there's a chapter on how to navigate family dynamics fit for Maury Povich. April also reads a biology textbook for fun because of course she does.
Best song of the episode:
It would be sacrilege to choose anything other than "'S Wonderful," performed by Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire with a composition by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin. I somehow never realized that "Funny Face" the Broadway musical, which predated the film by thirty years, starred Fred Astaire and his sister, Adele Astaire. Plot-wise, the film is completely different from the musical, but it does include a handful of the same songs (including this one).
Nothing will ever convince me that Christopher is anything more than a supreme piece of shit with inherited wealth and "The Boondock Saints" fan energy, but the man knows how to construct a solid date night. After several disappointing movies together, including "Snakes on a Plane" (2006), Lorelai and Christopher worry that they are responsible for the shittiness, which duh ... anyone who chooses to see a movie called "Snakes on a Plane" should understand that enjoyment is elusive without a brick of weed. Maybe do a better job of picking movies, you yokels. This is the year that gave us Kelly Reichardt's "Old Joy" and Neil Marshall's "The Descent," FFS. I'm disappointed that they don't call out the other four shitty movies they allegedly watched. I wonder if they saw "Material Girls" with the Duff sisters and Anjelica Huston.
Once Chris realizes that these bad movies might be responsible for his bone dry penis, he rubs his last two brain cells together and concocts an Audrey Hepburn date night that gives him an 80% chance of sexual gratification. Compared to the ideas Lorelai tosses out while trying to guess his big surprise, it starts to seem lame and low-effort in comparison, but I'm still charmed. There's something magical about watching a favorite movie in the middle of nowhere in an (admittedly kind of lame) convertible with a plethora of favorite snacks. Is it as good as dinner at Pastis and drinks at the Algonquin? 🤷🏼♀️ I think it just depends on what you're in the mood for at the moment. Sadly, this simple act took more effort than Luke ever exerted over the entirety of their relationship, so it's no wonder Lorelai is verklempt over the gesture and the fact that Chris actually knows what she likes. When you spend years with Mr. Cat Toiletry Set, any little crumb of recognition probably sets the nether regions aflame.
As the end credits roll, Chris immediately starts angling for a trip to bonetown by not-so-subtly noting that G.G.'s spending the night with his mom. Lorelai seems immediately uncomfortable and blurts out that she's not sure she trusts him yet and isn't ready to level-up the relationship. I understand the sentiment, but as Sookie pointed out earlier, there's no way to keep things casual with the father of your only child/the man you've fucked a million times over multiple decades. Lorelai should explore that hesitancy deeper and eventually come to recognize it as a sign to fully pump the brakes and take some time to process what happened with Luke. This is what a healthy person would do!
Before they can get deeper into the conversation, Lorelai gets a call informing her that she needs to pick her mother up from jail. As grandpa Fred Astaire was wooing Audrey Hepburn, Emily was getting pulled over by a cop for driving while talking on a cellphone. If she were Black, she would have been shot point blank for the sass leveled at Generic White Police Officer. When Rory is inevitably tasked with explaining Black Lives Matter to Emily in 2013, I hope she uses this incident as a teaching lesson.
At the police station, Lorelai can hardly contain her excitement, snapping photos of all the officers as a shoeless Emily threatens to sue everyone within spitting distance. During the drive back to Hartford, Lorelai recycles her stale jokes from that time Rory was in the clink. Emily is mildly irritated until she realizes that Lorelai and Christopher were obviously on a date before her brush with the law derailed them. When Richard gets home from his dinner with the dean (he's a visiting lecturer at Yale now), I wonder if she'll lead with the news of her time behind bars or Christopher's successfully-timed swoop after many sad failures.
The part of the night that makes me roll my eyes is when Christopher whines that Emily's arrest overshadowed his barn movie portion of the night. I mean, it totally did! How could it not? But stop fishing for compliments like an insecure little bitch. It's almost like he wants to make Lorelai feel bad for him so she'll throw out a pity fuck ... which is exactly what happens. Instead of listening to herself and trusting the feelings that she literally just expressed at the end of the movie, she gives in to base emotions and makes a decision that will quickly snowball into other bad decisions. Maybe this is why Berger did the lame-ass Post-It note breakup. If your defenses are down and your will is weak, sometimes you have to do whatever you can to avoid getting sucked back into the abyss.
Rory's big news is that she finally has friends at Yale who aren't Paris. It only took her three full years and the people she's settled on are remoras, but we've all been there. While on assignment at the art show, she's approached by Lucy and Olivia, who initially try to convince her that the water cooler she's drinking from is part of the show. Not to keep referencing "SATC," but this reminds me of when Wylie Ford, a hot, dumb movie star, comes into Charlotte's gallery and tries to buy the fire extinguisher.
Because they're not total assholes, they admit to fucking with her and Rory tells them she's at the show for the paper. In one of my favorite S7 moments, Lucy and Olivia admit to being obsessed with Paris Geller and lightly fangirl over Rory's connection to her. I hope Rory tells Paris about this interaction later because I suspect she would enjoy being described as "the most intense person we'd ever met." I feel like everyone had some Paris-equivalent in college. For me, it was this girl named Didem Uca in my English 101 class. I think she transferred to a different college after freshman year because no one was cutthroat and/or interesting enough for her (which I respect).
When Rory invites Lucy and Olivia back to her apartment after the show, it's about as awkward as you would expect. When Logan calls (and is shocked that she's socializing), they have this cringe exchange:
Logan: Just girls, huh? Your new boyfriend's not over.
Rory: Nope. Just us girls hanging out in our underwear, throwing pillows at each other – you know girl stuff.
This is a joke someone would make in an awful sitcom, like "The Big Bang Theory." Alexis Bledel's inflection is so cutesy that it sounds more like something she's saying to turn Logan on and less like a lame joke about gender stereotypes. Is Rory so comfortable with sexting that she's now transitioned to phone sex in front of other people? Paris would be so proud.
The only other noteworthy events are April's verbal takedown of Luke's apartment and their subsequent, sponsored shopping trip to Target. Luke can't maintain a healthy relationship to save his life, but at least he now knows where to get cheap socks. Winning! April is convinced that if he revamps his apartment with ugly accessories from the dollar spot, he'll snag a new lady to fill the Lorelai-sized hole in his life. Oh, sweet naive youth. When April gets older, she's going to recognize how truly fucked up and stunted this man is. His problems can't be solved by decades of therapy let alone a cerulean tablecloth.
- Nothing says "GG" regime change like watching Chris and Lorelai fight over Twizzlers. Did Hershey shell out some ad dollars? The Gilmores were always ride or die about their Red Vines.
- I feel like Lorelai doesn’t understand her boobs. Nothing she’s ever worn has flattered them. I think she thinks they’re both bigger, smaller, and a different shape than they are at any given time.
- When Lorelai asks Chris if he's taking her "on a car chase through the streets of San Francisco," she could be talking about many different movies, but I chose to believe that "What's Up, Doc?" is her reference point.
- Not to be a dick, but this is one reason why I find April intolerable:
- The rear projection in the car scene actually feels appropriately shitty since films like "Funny Face" use that technique to death.
- Olivia appropriately takes one look at Logan's suit of armor, raises an eyebrow, and asks, "I mean, what's this about?"
- There were a few rehashed film references, including "Casablanca," (1943), "Dances With Wolves" (1990), and "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989).
- Did anyone else see this and wonder whether Chris still drinks chai lattes or do you people have lives?