Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Inexplicable Gilmore Girls Review: Tag Team Season Three Review

Warning: Spoilers follow for episodes 14 through 18 of season three of Gilmore Girls. Today, Steve is joined by his old vidya game reviewing buddy Matt, as they revive the Tag Team format formerly featured on the blog.

Steve says: Matthew, thanks for agreeing to exchange some emails with me about Gilmore Girls! I mean, this show has so much to unpack, and I frequently forget to cover everything when writing an entry. For the next blog though, we’re essentially focused on the third quarter of episodes in season three, roughly.

As I’ve come to expect from the show, there is some light stuff in the episodes, like Kirk now apparently working every job and the Poes taking over the Independence Inn. And oh, the inn almost burning down. Whoops. I’m always at my most uneasy when everything seems to be going great for the main characters, because then is when you know a curveball is coming.

Example – Max friggin’ Medina is back! I thought we were done with that wet blanket. But no, he’s back, and he’s making sweet kisses on the lovely Lauren Graham. Ugh.

I much prefer Lorelai’s current BF, Alex (Fake Peter Gallagher), except maybe they’ve broken up already. Many of the men on Gilmore Girls are understandably disposable, and the show is unique in that they will address things episodes after I think they would. The episode summaries on Wikipedia only list Alex twice, and not after episode 14, so maybe there was some “he’s not right for me” acknowledgement that I missed.

The psychological torment between Luke and Lorelai continues, as he apparently gifted five hours of housework to her for her birthday. But, things are obviously going to crest soon there. He’s getting closer and closer to his Lawyer Girlfriend, and she’s changing him, and she’d have to be completely dumb to not notice him fancin’ Lorelai.

One other random observation for now – The Paris freak-out scene was awesome. She continues to delight me on the show. And thankfully, that incident has seemingly put the more boring Chilton stuff, like school council politics, on the backburner. I’m in favor of any development that gets more screen time for Paris, Louise and Madeline.

So! What say you, Matthew? Are you with me on pretty much disposing all of the Gilmore girls’ boyfriend choices?


Look at them eyebrows!
Matt says: I certainly am -- though now I'm intrigued by the thought of Lorelai dating Sandy Cohen.  He could help sort out that Jess in ways that Luke never will be able to.  Speaking of Jess, his involvement with Rory is the only thing that has made the needless extension of the will they or won't they between Lorelai and Luke remotely acceptable -- not because it has made the extension of the dynamic less tiresome (it hasn't), but just because it might be a bit creepy to have them all get together at one point.

Jess at this point hasn't undergone a whole lot more characterization.  I thought he would perhaps get fleshed out a bit more once he started actually dating Rory, but all we've figured out it is that he isn't actually as lazy has he had always seemed, since he seems to be more of a legitimate worker at Wal-Mart.  That may have been a bit naive for me to hope for, though, given that Dean remained underwritten for the entirety of their relationship.

Paris' meltdown was indeed fantastic -- and the earlier scene of her confessing that Rory was her best friend, when Rory clearly doesn't even really think about them as particularly being friends at all, was heartbreaking. They've done a remarkable job developing her as a character from that first appearance, where she seemed like she would be a cartoonishly-smart Regina George.  And yes, I agree on student council. If I never have to think about Francie again, it's too soon.  Brad, however, is welcome any time.

I actually think that meltdowns are one thing the show does particularly well.  The Palladino dialogue is naturally fast, and so it lends itself to a hyperventilating-style freakout.  Speaking of those, you know who is due for another one soon?  Lane.  How do you expect her dreams of musical stardom to coincide with the inevitable discovery of said dreams and stardom by noted detective Mrs. Kim?

Steve says: Ha, I too have thought about that weird family dynamic between Luke, Lorelai, Jess and Rory if they all ended up together! I keep wondering if they’re all going to end up dating one another at the same time. I don’t remember if they do from the previous watching I did of the show. It was obviously a plot element on Arrested Development, both in a meta (Justine Bateman) and non-meta (Maebe Funke) way.

Jess has been a bit more developed than Dean, which is damning with faint praise. It’s still not explained that much why he’s seemingly a closet intellectual. He’s gone from reading Faulkner and what not on the side when he’s skipping classes, to working at Wal-mart and skipping classes. That seems incredibly unlikely to me. I thought his “secret job” all along was going to turn out to be weed salesman, not Employee of the Month at Wal-mart.

Brad is comic relief, which is nice enough. Paris is still baller to me, even after her meltdown. I agree with you on the Regina George comparison – I absolutely thought she was going to be a popular Queen Bee type from the first few episodes. But after that, she’s been portrayed as being as “popular” as Rory, which is seemingly not that much.

One abandoned plot line – Rory fights for her right to eat lunch alone, so she can read and listen to music, in the Puffs episode. She’s joined by a blonde girl at the end of the episode… who we never see again. Where’d she go? At least I’ve seen the random teacher from Chilton again. She introduces the two gals before the horrible debate.

I anticipate that Lane and Mrs. Kim are going to have a big blowout shortly. It might culminate with her living at Lorelai’s for a bit, who could be sympathetic to her plight, given her past. Or, because of her own past and relationship with Emily, Lorelai could really encourage Lane to go back her mom’s place. (Also, Karen brought up a good point once – Where the hell is Lane’s dad? She said it isn’t really addressed by the show.)

One other thing to bring up – Is Dean a psychopath? I can’t tell. They have now given him a new girlfriend who doesn’t like Rory, which seems to “normalize” him a bit more. Meanwhile, Jess doesn’t even understand why Rory is pissed when he doesn’t call her back, as if Gilmore Girls is set in 1965. This show loves its triangles and inner conflicts about relationships.



Matthew says: You're a lot more down on Dean than I am.  I find him lame as a character, but not as nefarious as you do.  He's very boring in a sanitized, early 2000s boy band sort of way, which makes sense.  He just would be in one of the knockoff boy bands.  He's in O-Town. Even his temper, which I guess is supposed to be his quasi-human trait, manifests in boring ways.

I would entirely welcome Lane staying with the Gilmores -- I want as much Lane in the show as possible, and I am concerned about losing some of the teen characters going into Rory: The College Years.  I think there would be a way to conjure Paris going to college with Rory, which would be welcome, but I don't think they could bring anyone else along with any credibility.  All the other characters' performance in school has been suggested to be mediocre (or worse) throughout the run of the series.

It's certainly possible for shows to introduce young characters midway through a run and have us care about them (Friday Night Lights); however, shows like Veronica Mars really struggled to make the new additions compelling. The O.C. just gave up on it and brought everyone home. Given Rory's academic track, the giving up on college angle seems not to be an option.

The question of Mr. Kim is a good one, though. It's not as if the CW has a restrictive budget for recurring townies. I seem to recall Lane referring to 'parents' in the past, which indicates that there should theoretically be a Mr. Kim in the picture, but the fact that he doesn't appear during major celebrations seems to argue otherwise.  Maybe his non-appearance is supposed to be a sort of Maris-on-Frasier type joke, but it just isn't made nearly as obvious.

I like the idea of Mr. Kim actually appearing in the series, but us not *knowing* that he is Lane's father.  Maybe Lane's father is secretly a character we've known all along, and the destruction of her father's relationship with Lane's mother is the origin of Mrs. Kim's overly protective behavior.


Available as a t-shirt! So fantastic.
Steve says: You are right about Dean’s temper manifesting in boring ways. Maybe I just find him to be a psychopath because he seemingly gets pissed about mundane things, but doesn’t actively show that Jess-Rory bothers him for a while.

Good point on the other teen characters. I think Lane is a decent student, given how domineering her mother is, but not on the Ivy-league track that Rory is. Also, at one point it’s a plot thing that Mrs. Kim only lets her apply to Bible colleges. It’s conceivable that she could go to some Connecticut college, like Dean is, but not Yale. Paris going to Yale now seems like an obvious way to keep her on the show, and Jess is TBD. He could just work and see Rory, or, he could be out of the picture for 20 different reasons.

I haven’t seen Veronica Mars or The O.C., and even more scandalously, Friday Night Lights. But Glee pretty much immediately went in the tank once the first kids from the show graduated. Part of the problem is that they were trying to still do episodes on Lea Michele, while also juggling Mr. Shue and new students. Since the main leads of Gilmore Girls are Rory and Lorelai, and to a lesser extent Emily, I think the transition to college will be less of an issue.

I’ll let you get in the last word here, Matt, before we post this up the week of Nov. 21. Who’s your favorite character from all of the awful people in Stars Hollow? I’d probably pick Kirk by default, because at least he’s funny in all of his appearances. Pathetic, but funny. They’re all unrealistic though, in their own way.


Matt says: Kirk has grown on me as the series has gone on – initially, I feared he would annoy me over time.  For example, I never liked Kenneth on 30 Rock.  But they've actually made him one of the more three dimensional male characters on the show in a sort of weird way despite his really appearing to be a one-note joke with the rotating jobs.

I think my favorite ancillary characters are Babette and Miss Patty.  I find their brashness perpetually amusing, though I might lean towards Miss Patty just a little bit.  Her inappropriateness is less filtered, especially when she's doing things like talking about cage dancing while teaching children.

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