Review: Gilmore Girls – Season 2, Episode 12 “Richard in Stars Hollow”

We had the “Judgy WASP Mom experiences the small town!” episode, so I suppose it was inevitable that we now have the Spacey Grandpa in the small town episode. Will there be DRAMA and MISUNDERSTANDINGS and FATHER THINKS HE KNOWS BESTING?

Except there totally will.

At Friday Night Dinner, Judgy WASP Mom gives Lorelai the third degree on if she’ll ever get married. She even asks about Luke and calls him “the one who refuses to shave.”

Judgy WASP Mom is just ASKING QUESTIONS because she visited the “family mausoleum” which is a thing that exists in some weird fucked up place where people who never leave their hometowns get buried on top of piles of money and their long dead family members (that they probably hated). There just isn’t enough room in the mausoleum for a possible Lorelai Man so they’re going to move annoying family members into an annex. An annex =  A place for spillover dead people.

Spacey Grandpa and Judgy WASP mom aren’t doing well with Spacey Grandpa’s retirement. He’s driving Judgy WASP Mom absolutely crazy with his constant presence. It seems cold but this is actually something that happens a lot to recently retired couples.

At Chilton, Paris is freaking the fuck out over some contest for the school paper that will not matter outside this episode. She wants to win, they should be the best, blah, blah, blah.

Back in Stars Hollow, Rory and Lorelai wander around a video store looking for a movie to rent. You read that correctly. A VIDEO STORE. With VHS tapes on the shelves! If nothing else this show serves as a fascinating historical document – there are even little boys coveting the cover of the Showgirls VHS like it’s a Playboy they stole from their dad! Isn’t that what all TV will be in the end? A snapshot of an over-exaggerated idealized moment in time?

Remember when this poster was considered “racy”?

Rory mentions the horny kids to Kirk and suggests he move the movie to a higher shelf. While Rory is THINKING OF THE CHILDREN Judgy WASP Mom calls and begs Lorelai to take Spacey Grandpa off her hands because his constant presence is making her contemplate suicide. Or bankruptcy. Or whatever rich people think about when they feel like there is no way out.

When Spacey Grandpa arrives, Lorelai has no idea what to do with him and there is a lot of staring at each other awkwardly. They go to Luke’s and Spacey Grandpa makes Lorelai eat a grapefruit. Do people still eat grapefruit for breakfast? Is that a thing? Should I be eating grapefruit? My dad used eat them – he used to cut it in half and then cut each of the wedges away from the peel for easy spoon scooping. Seems like a lot of work.

At school, Paris has decided that she wants to write a story about the “seedy underbelly” of Stars Hollow. This invokes a mental picture of Paris trying to examine Kirk’s naked abdomen that makes me really resent my brain. Paris’s weird hard on for Stars Hollow means that Rory won’t be able to save Lorelai from Spacey Grandpa, who has whizzed through his town tour and is now sitting in the lobby of the Independence Inn like a well-dressed drifter aka Don in the last two episodes of Mad Men. His constant hovering (it’s all he’s doing this episode!) means he overhears Lorelai’s conversation with Manny the Towel Guy, the conversation in which she tells Manny she loves him and calls him a stud. This pisses Spacey Grandpa off because you can’t talk to people like that in BUSINESS.

Richard Gilmore is the embodiment of my favorite joke from the Rifftrax guys:

Spacey Grandpa would be horrified by Steve Jobs and his turtleneck, or Mark Zuckerberg’s ever-present hoodie. Don’t even mention START UP culture with its dudes in skinny jeans who code and vape and chug Red Bull while saying “fuck” during meetings. The world has changed, Spacey Grandpa!

Professionals, circa 2015

As Paris laments Stars Hollow’s squeaky clean image (no hookers living at Luke’s? SINCE WHEN????? I always thought he had the best ‘tang!) Taylor and Kirk track down Rory to tell her she’s responsible for their new censorship-laden filing system at the video store. They’ve installed a “Rory curtain,” which is just a fancy name for the curtain independent video stores used to have back when you had to actually rent porn instead of just googling “boobs.”

Finally, Lorelai takes Spacey Grandpa back to her house and passes him off to Rory. Spacey Grandpa is all “NO TO HARVARD! I WENT TO YALE! PEACE BETWEEN YALE AND HARVARD IS AS MUCH A PIPE DREAM AS PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST OR GETTING REPUBLICANS TO STOP TRYING TO REPEAL OBAMACARE!!!!” As things get more tense, Floppy and his terrible timing make him show up with the car he built for Rory. Spacey Grandpa says NO FUCKING WAY to the car because it’s not safe.

So…I kind of a agree with Spacey Grandpa? Maybe driving a car your 16-year-old boyfriend built out of junk is a bad idea?

Spacey Grandpa and Floppy go get the Mechanic Lady to look at the car and apparently it’s not a death trap. I don’t care what that lady says – that thing is murder on wheels.

When Spacey Grandpa gets back to Lorelai’s she yells at him for being kind of a dick this entire episode. She calls him out for treating her like crap the whole episode and he takes a moment to complain about retirement. I can’t help but agree with him. Retirement is bullshit. I have a whole rant about how unfair it is to make people who have had their entire lives structured by school and work suddenly lose that structure at an arbitrary age, and the inherent ageism of a system that says you’re too damn old to be of any use to anyone just because you lived long enough to pass a predetermined date on a calendar. BUT – people my age will never be able to retire, so it’s kind of a moot point at this stage of the game.

As Rory walks home with the 800 bags of Chinese food Lorelai ordered, she’s stopped by Broody. He teases her about her role in Taylor’s censorshipapalooza and he tells her he switched out some of the tapes in the “naughty” section for ones in the “wholesome” section. This is probably the only thing he’s ever done that I don’t find annoying.

At home, Spacey Grandpa sits in his office and looks sad. It’s hard not to feel bad for him.


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