Review: Gilmore Girls – Season 5, Episode 10 “But Not As Cute As Pushkin”

I just watched the premier of The X-Files. I’m a HUGE X-Files fan. I watched the original premier in 1993 and I used to tape (yes, TAPE) every episode on VHS so I could go back and watch them again. Back then, unless you had a TV Guide, you didn’t know the titles of the episodes. I had a lot of VHS tapes labeled things like “The X-Files #6 (The green bug one is on here!)” or “The X-Files #2 (DUANE BARRY!!!)” I had the trading cards. The magazines. The novels based on the show. I wrote “THE X-FILES” on the bottom of my Jansport backpack and wore it all throughout high school. To say I was excited for this revival is an understatement.

So I watched it. Honestly, I have no idea how I feel about the episode. There was a lot of “what are you talking about?”/”I know the truth, Scully.”/”We’ve been lied to.” conversations and then a Gilmore-speed info-dump that sounds like Chris Carter scraped the bowels of Reddit to write the craziest fucking conspiracy theory possible. I didn’t understand half of it and will probably have to watch the episode again to try and catch it all.

One takeaway – Scully. Oh, SCULLY! She sounds so tired, and who can blame her, dealing with the most infuriating man on the planet for the last 20+ years. My shipper heart hurts to say this (because Mulder & Scully 5EVA) but damn if she doesn’t deserve SO MUCH BETTER. However, Gillian Anderson is a fucking goddess and she is utter perfection.

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Lorelai runs into Miss Patty who invites her to an anniversary party for her showbiz career. This party will be nothing but Miss Patty singing songs and talking about all the men she slept with. COUNT ME IN. She then mentions Luke’s “Dark Day,” which is a day where Luke disappears. Lorelai didn’t know about this. Lorelai had no idea that the man she’s known since Rory was little vanishes on the same day every year, even though she goes to his place for coffee every single day. Ok. I believe that. (I want to believe, etc.) Oh, wait. No, I don’t.

At Yale, Rory comes home to find Paris “in session” with her life coach the show just remembered is a character. Instead of letting Paris talk to the man, Rory interrupts like 5 times (“Where’s my notebook?” “Just getting a water!”) because she is selfish as fuck. She also finds a message from the headmaster of Chilton and is a total bitch to Paris because Paris didn’t tell her he called the minute she walked in the door. Should she have stopped talking to the man she pays by the hour to give Rory a message instead of making Rory wait 16 minutes until they’re done? In Rory’s world – yes, yes she should have.

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Rory has to host some dumb Chilton kid, who Rory thinks will want to see the libraries and the other shit that is boring. Gee, that sounds “fun.”

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At Friday Night Dinner, Spacey Grandpa mentions Smarmy. Apparently, the Gilmores and the Smarmies have been buddies for a very long time. The Gilmore Guys brought up a very good point – if Emily & Richard know all these families with Rory-aged people, who also attend Yale, why haven’t they met before? Especially Smarmy’s family. Spacey Grandpa knows Rory wants to be a journalist. Smarmy’s dad is the Rupert Murdoch of the Gilmoreverse. Spacey Grandpa never thought to have Rory meet with him? Not even an informational interview? They didn’t ask him over to Friday Night Dinner to talk about the newspaper business with Rory? Really?

Lorelai spends the night with Luke and his sweatpants. He’s pretty damn sexy in a t-shirt and sweatpants. This works for him. Instead of just asking Luke about his “dark day,” Lorelai invites him to Miss Patty’s party and pretends like she doesn’t know he’ll say no. For fuck’s sake, JUST ASK! WHY? WHY HAVE WE GOTTEN TO THIS PLACE IN OUR CULTURE WHERE WE CAN’T BE DIRECT ABOUT SHIT? (Answer – because TV needs drama, but this then bleeds into real life and no one can just ask about shit. I hate humans.)

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Before Rory’s little mini me arrives, Paris is in a mood. This is not a surprise. She’s worried about all the younger girls that she’ll have to compete against for the rest of her life. I find this sad. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says it better than I ever could (emphasis mine):

“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”

Other women are not the enemy, Paris. If you want to compete against another woman for a job because you’re both equally qualified, awesome. But don’t cast other women as competition simply because they’re younger or have “perky breasts” or whatever. Competing with other women for the attention of men, tearing other women down because of their looks or for who they choose to sleep with is a losing gaming that keeps all of us down. Fight the patriarchy by supporting other women.

And please note that I’m not saying “blindly support other women.” I don’t support Sarah Palin because I find her views abhorrent. But disagreeing with her doesn’t mean calling her ugly or insulting her age or any of the other superficial attacks* usually used to discredit women of all political stripes. Calling her dangerously misinformed or saying that she’s pandering to the lowest common denominator with her dog whistle attacks? That shit is fair game. Basically, if you wouldn’t say it about a man, don’t say it about a woman. For example – would you ever say “OMG, [Male Politician] is such a fat slut, I heard he fucked [Other Important Politician] to get his job!” No. No one would ever say that about a man.
* Note – I still consider fashion choices to be fair game as long as they do not involve talking about how someone’s body looks in said clothes or making a judgment about who they are based on clothing (slutty, prude, etc.). Fashion is a choice that can be ridiculed. 

The girl shows up and Rory bores the shit out of her with “facts” and “learning.” Rory – THE GIRL JUST WANTS TO GO MEET BOYS AND DRINK. Not that she should drink, as she is like 14. But. Yeah.

Smarmy shows up because I think he’s stalking Rory. He tells Mini Me to make Rory take her to the pub. Rory is all, “NO, BOOKS ARE OUR SUSTENANCE!! WE’RE LIKE FUCKING SILVERFISH UP IN THIS BITCH! NOM NOM NOM!” Smarmy is all:

Back in Stars Hollow, Luke is screaming at an old woman in the middle of the street. Ugh. Luke, you are lucky as fuck that you are fictional, because if you were real people would throw your crazy screaming ass in jail FOR GOOD REASON. You are not a safe person to be around when you act like this. You beat up a car once! That’s ok on TV, but in real life that’ll get you thrown in jail and/or in court-ordered counseling for anger issues.

He’s mad because the little old lady is moving and he can’t keep his dad’s boat in her garage. Oh. Well. What a GOOD REASON to scream at an old woman. You are the picture of stability and mental health!!

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Luke tells Lorelai that his “dark day” is the anniversary of his dad’s death. I’m very sorry about Luke’s dad, but it’s not a good enough reason to scream at an old woman. Just because you went through some stuff doesn’t mean you get to lash out and treat other people like shit. It’s not ok. Ever. Other people do not exist as your personal anger outlet. I learned this while I was a caretaker for my husband. He was going through chemo. I was trying to take care of him (with no outside support) while pretending my world wasn’t imploding. We were only 33. Instead of trying for a baby like we planned, we had to go for tests and sit through chemo appointments and learn to speak doctor. But I knew it wasn’t acceptable for me to walk into work and start lashing out at my coworkers, most of whom had no idea what I was going through at home. So, yeah, maybe I had my share of days where I kept to myself and didn’t talk a lot. But I kept my head down and did my work and made sure I didn’t rip anyone’s head off for no reason.

Marty meets Rory and her Mini Me at the pub and Rory scares off the guys hitting on the 16-year-old girl. Rory utters the phrase “just a friend” when referring to Marty and you can see him die a little inside. The Gilmore Guys talked about why they don’t like Marty on the podcast for episode 509. Their guest didn’t like him because he didn’t make a move on Rory. I disagree. I can’t think of anything more “first few years of college” than having two people who are friends but one wants more. God knows that was my M.O. when I was in school. I didn’t have the confidence in myself (or my body) to try to signal my interest in my male friends or, God forbid, make a move on one of them. I had defaulted into the thinking of “dudes make moves and dudes only make moves on models” so I never did anything, assuming rejection was a given. I even used the term “Friend Zone” without irony because I was a female Nice Guy (but my anger toward my dating failures was directed inward instead of at all men, unlike the current MRA Nice Guy strain of dudes wandering the internet.)  Believe me, this is not something I am proud of.

During class the next day, Smarmy stages a “play” involving one of his friends and succeeds in embarrassing Rory in front of everyone. I hate Smarmy. I hate him. I hate him more than I hate spiders (and I really fucking hate spiders.) Good thing Superboy appeared and threw him into the sun:

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RIP, Smarmy. You will not be missed.

Seriously – Rory dates Smarmy after he pulled a stunt like that? I’d never speak to him again.

Paris goes to a speed dating event, runs into Doyle, and they fuck. Good for you guys. Fucking the like-minded is important.

When Smarmy shows up at dinner (STALKER), he pulls the “I’m sorry you’re upset” non-apology apology. Fuck yourself, Smarmy. And fuck Rory if she doesn’t dump her coffee in your lap and take out a restraining order on you. His “joke” wasn’t romantic or cute. When Rory tries to complain to Marty about Smarmy, Marty basically tells her to shut the fuck up because Smarmy obviously likes her. But he didn’t tell her to run far away from the crazy rich stalker she attracted by doing nothing but being thin and pretty. Minus points, Marty! MINUS. POINTS.

Luke finds out that Lorelai bought his dad’s boat and they fight about it. Luke says that Lorelai never takes anyone else’s feelings into consideration. DING DING DING. we have a winner! 1 million points to Luke for telling Lorelai the truth. God knows no one else in that damn town has ever done it. They make up outside Miss Patty’s party while Lorelai wears a nice dress and dark hose. Sigh. I want to go to a party where I get to wear a nice dress and dark hose. Well, maybe not the hose.

Spacey Grandpa confronts Smarmy to nail down the details of the “engagement.” Since he embarrassed Rory, Rory gets the most underhanded man she knows to embarrass Smarmy. I find both the classroom thing and this event very ridiculous, but I support all efforts to make Smarmy feel like shit.

 

 

 

 

 

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