Directing and writing credits:
“Go, Bulldogs!” is directed by Wil Shriner and written by Rebecca Kirshner and David S. Rosenthal. This is Shriner's first and only episode of "GG." Fellow '90s kids might remember him as the host of classic stoner game show, "That's My Dog." On one episode, two pooches named Tenneyson and Dracula compete against each other for prizes, like one-year's supply of Kibble and an outdoor patio set. You'll feel your brain melt in real time if you try to watch this:
Shriner started out as an actor/comedian with guest spots on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" and "Late Night with David Letterman." He began directing for sitcoms in the early 2000s and eventually wrote/directed a feature film called "Hoot" in 2006. The cast randomly includes Brie Larson, Logan Lerman, Luke Wilson, and Jimmy Buffet. This Letterboxd user describes it as such:
I am now down an accidental Shriner hole. I'm on his old man website where everything is formatted stupidly and the url is inexplicably wil2020.shrinermedia.com. Who set this up for him? My favorite page is this one.
Kirshner and Rosenthal have each written previous episodes, but never together. A.S. Berman of "The Gilmore Girls Companion" calls this "the first truly awful episode in a long, long time," (lol bro, where have you been?) and speculates that the double byline writing credit is indicative of a script that was completed during the shoot. Considering the half-baked nature of this entire season, that sounds about right.
Most batshit crazy outfit:
Luke's pleather jacket has weird proportions and looks stiff as fuck. He's been wearing it for date nights since at least S4 where he styled it slightly better with a knit turtleneck. I love an environmental king as much as the next person, but it's time for a Goodwill donation.
Lulu wears this skirt ripped straight from our collective grandmother's couch in the diner scene where she calls Kirk "baby." It fits with the rest of her wacky elementary school teacher wardrobe, but the frumpy bomber does the ensemble no favors.
Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
Apparently, one of Lorelai's kinks is inventing sad fake identities for herself and recounting them in a horrible French accent. In S4, she role played as Sochelle, the most successful jamstress in Paris despite her orphan origins/convent upbringing. In this new rendition, Lorelai once again claims orphan status, explaining to Christopher that her French is so terrible because she wasn't allowed to speak it after being sent to America and adopted by the evil Gilmores. The boredom I experienced while typing the previous sentence nearly killed me. I can only imagine the deep resentment Lauren Graham felt while embodying this even more obnoxious version of Lorelai Gilmore.
Also, why is this bitch only opening her mail once per month? Is she not scarred from Rory's Yale orientation fiasco?
Surprisingly, I'm on Lorelai's side: Rory should have told her that Emily and Richard attend parents' weekend every year. Or, at the very least, mentioned the dinner plans with them at Chez Zinjustin (not a real place). I understand avoiding the topic for dread of Lorelai's immature reaction, but it's best to rip the band-aid off and deal with her whining over the phone instead of in person.
Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their BFF like shit:
Rory doesn't interact with Lane, who pops up briefly to babysit April, a thirteen-year-old, for some reason. Paris' insane ego aside, Rory initially puts her early-admission/early-actions piece on the front page of the Yale Daily News. I aspire to have the confidence to cockily tell everyone about the minimal work I exert for my successes someday.
Paris: I'm hardly ever here anymore, I'm putting in minimal effort when I am here, and yet my article is still the front-page lead. It's almost too easy.
Rory: It's not locked yet, Paris.
Say what you will about Rory, it takes legitimate self-control not to move this piece below the fold out of spite.
Lorelai defends Sookie's authority to Michel, who falsely assumes he'll be in charge of the inn during her upcoming vacation. It's unbelievable that any of these people are employed, let alone run a business together, but I'll suspend my disbelief.
Best literary or pop culture references:
I like April slightly more after seeing her watch S7 of "America's Next Top Model." No one was immune to the strange appeal of that show, not even the girl who reads her biology textbook for funsies.
Stars Hollow weirdness:
Kirk wants to dump Lulu so he and Luke can troll the town for women a la Goose and Maverick. Imagine what would happen if TJ and Kirk became friends. I predict six hours before Stars Hollow is nothing but a smoking crater.
Sharpest insult or one-liner:
While this episode mostly sucks, the opener is one of my all-time favorites. Lorelai calls Emily on the phone to decline a curtain-viewing invite. When Emily answers, Lorelai acts like she's leaving a message on the answering machine instead of engaging with an actual human. As Emily frantically shakes the phone, wondering WTF is happening, Lorelai wraps up the call with a smug, "Have a good night, curtain queen." It's an unusual joke setup for this show and both actors play it exceptionally well.
Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
"Go Bulldogs!" is devoid of literature. Lorelai suggests that she and Christopher write F. Scott and Zelda on their name tags at parents' day weekend and keep an eye out for actor kids under trees reading Tolstoy, but that's as close as we get.
Best song of the episode:
The pickings are slim, so I'll go with the Whiffenpoofs' rendition of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer." This is the second time the a cappella group has been featured on the show but sadly, Edward Herrmann is MIA on round two.
In the first few episodes of S7, it feels like the cast/crew is still hanging around for the paycheck. The writing isn't quite right post-Palladino exit, but it's not so awkward that the main characters are mere shadows of their former selves. Although tonally a little off, the show is still recognizable as "Gilmore Girls." By "The Great Stink" and "Go Bulldogs!" it's like everyone is being held at gunpoint. It's most evident in the phone calls between Rory and Lorelai, where both actors are giving off strong "I can't believe I have to say this shit" vibes. The dialogue is rapid fire per usual, but with a choppy cadence that doesn't sound natural for the characters. Since when do their conversations sound this stilted?
Lorelai: Bonjour, Rory.
Rory: Well, if it isn't the orphan from Marseille.
Lorelai: C'est moi. What are you doing?
Rory: Heading to class.
Rory: Yes, class, where they teach you all the college learnin'.
Lorelai: You're a senior. I thought no seniors went to class before noon. Nerd alert! Nerd alert!
Rory: Says the woman saying "nerd alert!"
The plot is standard filler episode where nothing consequential happens from a character development or season arc standpoint. When Christopher sees the invitation for Yale parents' weekend and insists they attend, Lorelai rolls with it even though that shit is for lame ah-dults whose kids hate them. While there, Christopher suddenly develops an inferiority complex regarding his lack of involvement in most of Rory's life. As the other Yale dads huddle together, circle-jerking over how many science projects they helped with, Chris stands by stupidly, probably thinking of the time his credit card was declined during an attempted dictionary purchase.
The rest of their time at Yale consists of Christopher trying to make up for decades of neglect as Lorelai fucks over Emily and Richard with a Chez Zinjustin lunch reservation. There's one perplexing scene where they attend an astronomy lecture and Chris is enraptured, even raising his hand to ask a question about dark energy. My husband was like, "Wait ... He played this whole season as someone with a TBI and now he’s asking about cosmological constants? Does he now have a tumor that causes him to become a savant before it kills him?" There's no other explanation for this fuckwad having something intelligible to say.
When they arrive at the Yale Daily News to grab Rory for lunch, Christopher's sad dad guilt implores him to invite the entire staff to join them. As an introvert, I can think of nothing worse than a quiet lunch with parents ballooning into an impromptu social situation with a bunch of randos from my job. There's also something pathetic about people who flex their wealth in this way. On the surface, Christopher's actions are generous and surely appreciated by these "poor" college students, but anyone paying close attention can see that he's using money to build unearned rapport with people he mistakenly thinks are close with his daughter. Someone needs to tell this dude that dropping $1,500 on lunch won't make up for the years he spent raw dogging in California instead of parenting his daughter.
As Christopher blathers on like an imbecile about "jumping moguls down a black diamond" with Raj (Danny Pudi), Rory quietly comments to Lorelai about how try-hard it seems. I would love to know what Rory wrote in her journal about this lunch. Just as crème brûlée and cognacs are about to come out, the staff gets an APB (sent by ?) about an escalating student protest that requires immediate coverage. Unfortunately, everyone is sleepy and tipsy after their decadent lunch and Rory has a difficult time rallying the troops. She's far less resentful toward Christopher than I would be in her position, but I suspect suppressed rage is simmering below the surface.
By the end of the episode, Rory is at least able to tell her parents that the group lunch was stressful and not her preference, so I must award points for some level of basic communication. As payback, she arranges for them to take her place for round two at Chez Zinjustin with Richard and Emily. When Lorelai made her petty lunch reservation, did she not think about how lame it would be for Rory to eat at the same fancy restaurant twice in one day? Even the most gourmand bitch can only handle so much butter.
With a primary story this lame, you can imagine the tragic quality of the "Go, Bulldogs!" B plots. One involves Sookie's extramarital vegetable affair with Harvey Tunnell (Scott Michael Campbell), a new supplier in town. She experiences a wave of guilt when the ratatouille she makes with his crop is deemed her best ever by the entire kitchen staff. Of course, she lies to Jackson about a "bad batch" when he stops by the inn and tries to snag a bite. I guess he's both pedantic enough to realize the vegetables didn't come from his farm and so fragile that this act of "betrayal" would spurn a bitchfit that Sookie probably wishes to avoid. On the other hand, Jackson is the kind of man who might be into getting zucchini-cucked, so ...
Perhaps motivated by Kirk and Lulu, Luke decides it's time for him to start dating. Susan Bennett (Mia Cottet), April's swim coach, instantly gloms onto him at practice pickup with the clinger energy of a rabid Harry Styles fan. She convinces him to take an eight-week adult swim course which feels far too long for anyone sentient. I'm no expert, but it seems like they probably could have skipped "blowing bubbles in the shallow end" week. Despite the unsettling look in her eye, Luke accepts her dinner proposal like a fool who lives for mess.
At Eagen Vegan, Susan sits on the same side of the booth as Luke just like Urine Mints Guy from S4. She talks about how "scrumptious" soy steak is and all the other dads she's dated. It's a parade of red flags, but he suffers through the chaotic ordeal in lieu of fake his death and moving to Malaysia. If I were Luke, I would be worried about April's safety going forward. Susan seems like the type of woman who would drown a child in the hopes of consoling some single dad dick.
- Regardless of having met him multiple times, Paris snubs Luke throughout the series by continuously greeting him like a stranger. IIRC, she met Christopher once before this episode and remembers him immediately.
- It's wild to see Danny Pudi ("Community," "Mythic Quest"), Scott Michael Campbell ("Shameless," "Under the Banner of Heaven"), and Mia Cottet ("Romy and Michele's High School Reunion") together in an episode. S7 is a piece of shit, but the co-stars are great.
- Can you imagine asking a member of your own species, "Where is the nearest subway station?" in a horrible fake French accent? Lorelai should be strappadoed for breaking the social contract like this.
- I don't believe that Luke spent years dating Lorelai without learning who Marlene Dietrich is and/or watching "Touch of Evil" (1958).
- I hope Scott Patterson got more money this season because the pool scene did him so dirty.
- I'm making Sookie's fake whip noise my new text message alert.