Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Inexplicable Gilmore Girls Review: Stars Hollow and Yale, the worst places on Earth

Warning: Spoilers follow for episodes 1 through 15 for season five of Gilmore Girls, although I’m taking a more circuitous route today than in previous entries. Also, this picture of Paris doesn’t really have anything to do with this entry, but it’s probably her greatest line ever.

Today, I’m going to focus on the worst aspects of Gilmore Girls, which would be the despotic and farcical happenings in the main settings of the show’s fifth season – Stars Hollow and Yale. Anytime that the government or social structure or institutions of either are at the forefront, I’m cringing or rolling my eyes at each unbelievably stupid thing happening.

First, Stars Hollow. I’ve mentioned my dislike of Taylor in several past entries, but the ante is upped in the first part of season five and the last part of season four. He arbitrarily denies permits that the Firefly Inn needs in order to benefit his own business, he screws around with Jackson’s greenhouse because it’s six inches over the property line, he runs meetings like an idiot, and basically just acts like a dictator.

We’re supposed to believe that Stars Hollow is this quaint, folksy place to live, yet Taylor is the show’s embodiment of government and pretty much the fucking worst. It’s just a pet peeve of mine as someone who was forced to sit through dozens of planning and zoning board meetings. That process is boring, but typically fair. TV shows often sidestep and simplify the boring, even if it creates a distorted, stupid version of the truth. [Insert politically time sensitive comment here.]

The breaking point for me was when Lorelai and Luke’s relationship became fodder at a Town Council meeting, or whatever they call them. It was just the most insane, unbelievable shit ever. And yeah, it’s meant to be funny, but I just kept cringing. Gilmore Girls is at its absolute worst during these moments because there is so much more fertile ground they could be tilling! More with Lane and her replacement, more with Paris trying to date, and hey, what’s Marty up to?

So, let me segue to Yale, and all of the annoying fucks there. Logan is seemingly the romantic option for Rory this season, and surprise! He’s awful. He’s just the worst. He has marginally gotten better as the season goes along, as he lets Rory tag along for a story on the Life and Death Brigade, and sort of improves in behavior.

However, his initial debut in the season works as a Moral Event Horizon for me. In his first scene, he belittles Marty and treats him like crap, and in his second scene, he has an aggressive conversation with Rory trying to justify his behavior. He is portrayed as a playboy, but mostly acts like a goon. Like pretty much all of the loser guys Rory dates, he has a weird sort of aggression about him, but hey, I guess the show has established that Rory is only into emotionally unavailable dudes.

Not that this is unusual – people are horrible to one another in their 20s – but I’ve never found any of her boyfriends appealing. Karen forced me to pick one last night, and I begrudgingly went with Jess as of the wedding episode of season five, mostly by default. I don’t know if his self-help stuff stuck at all, but it might have, so that would make him better than Dean (anger and motivation issues) and Logan (just the worst all-around).

The other “ick” Yale aspect is the newspaper, and its editor. Gilmore Girls has two types of characters – nuanced, interesting ones that experience ups and downs (the leads, Lane, Emily, Richard) and completely ridiculous and unbelievable caricatures (Miss Patty, Babette, Taylor). Doyle McMaster is firmly in the second camp. It’s like he studied All The President’s Men, but also, 1950s Superman and Spiderman comics, and that’s how he thinks newspapers are run. Fun times!

Anyway, this entry is mostly focused on the bad. Later this week, I’ll mix in what I like about season five, although it’s much more up-and-down to me than the past ones.

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