Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Inexplicable TV Review: Gilmore Girls, episodes 1 to 9

Warning: Spoilers follow for some episodes of the hit new original show Gilmore Girls.

Karen and I are making our way through Gilmore Girls right now, since the show is being revived in November for Netflix. While I thought I had seen a decent amount of it back in the day, between watching it with various female friends and girlfriends, I clearly didn’t watch them sequentially, judging from my experience with it now. Some random thoughts through about nine episodes:

- The show’s title works on THREE levels, you know, since it’s not just about Lorelai and Rory. Emily, Lorelai’s mother, is the closest thing to a third lead. I had considered her and Lorelai’s dad to be more comic relief and evidence of culture shock from previous viewings, but man, things get VERY emotionally raw right from the start of the series.

This is when the show is at its best to me. Lorelai and Rory have tons of humor in their interactions, but especially for the former, that humor is used as a sword to protect herself from the venomous barbs of Emily. I just finished the episode where Rory falls asleep at the studio with her boyfriend by accident, after the dance, and Shit Gets Real between Emily and Lorelai, and Lorelai and Rory, in a hurry.

- It’s weird to watch the show and to see Melissa McCarthy pop-up, and then think to myself, “Yup, of everyone in this show, she’s going to be the one that makes $1.1 billion at the box office!”  However, she and Lauren Graham are definitely the most vivacious performers in the cast, and it’s not surprising to me that they’ve had the best post-Gilmore Girls career by miles.

Grandma and Grandpa Gilmore are probably the next best in my rankings. They’re both very good in their roles. Unfortunately, the “kids” in the cast mostly pale in comparison. It’s to be expected, but Alexis Bledel in particular seems a bit wooden in some scenes. Half the time, she can hang with Graham, and half the time, she seems to be struggling as much as the audience to keep up.

- The early episodes of Gilmore Girls suffer from a bit of a tone and quality split. There is the awesome relationship-focused show, which focuses on the dynamics of three generations of the Gilmore girls. Then, there is the shitty farcical stuff going on in Stars Hollow, which is all so ridiculous that it detracts from my enjoyment of the show.

Stuff like the nutty neighbor having a cat funeral while her boytoy plays the piano for her at night, and the super nosy dance teacher, and the incompetent produce salesman, and the historical reenactors, and the ultra-quaint Pepperidge Farm style life in the town… Just ugh. It all feels like Executive Meddling crap that was focus grouped in. I’m hoping there is less emphasis on that going forward.

- Holy smokes, Paris. She has two prominent friends in these episodes, and I’m not talking about Madeline and Louise. It made me feel awkward at first, because she’s supposed to be playing a high school Alpha Bitch. However, Wikipedia tells me that she’s 39 now, which makes her 23 during the show. And, uh, it definitely shows. She’s the Lacey Chabert of this production. (p.s. Lauren Graham is a stone cold fox in season one as well.)

- Pretty much all of the male suitors of Rory and Lorelai don’t do much for me. Dean seems like the “generic tough guy but secretly nice” sort. After all, he’s dating Rory Gilmore. And Lorelai is currently dating Rory’s teacher, who’s kind of weasely and disgusting to me. He asked her out based on two awkward exchanges during parent’s night, and Lorelai getting in his face about Rory missing a test! I just don’t find the sudden escalation of their feelings all that believable.

From future episodes, I know that Luke has a thing for Lorelai, and they do plant the seed for that even in the first string of first season episodes. However, his character is so comically gruff that I don’t really care about him either yet. I imagine that’ll change, but as I mentioned earlier, there are so many other balls in the air when it comes to (horrible) side characters in Stars Hollow.  It’ll take some time for them to thin the herd and focus attention on Luke.

Anyway! I’ve enjoyed my re-watching of Gilmore Girls more than I expected, but gosh, there’s still so much more to go. Wikipedia says 153 episodes! I will keep y’all updated with these very timely reviews as we go along.

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