Review: Gilmore Girls – Season 5, Episode 18 “To Die and Let Diorama”

I was in a good mood before I sat down to write this. It’s only noon on Sunday and I’ve already accomplished the following:

  • Laundry
  • Cleaning the apartment (including dusting!)
  • Planted an herb garden for my kitchen window
  • Consumed 1 latte
  • Read three comic books from my giant “to read” comic book pile

Look how much I’ve gotten done! Look how accomplished! How adult! Time to sit down and write a review! I’ll finish early and have time to try and work on OTHER writing! How exciting!

So I was in a good mood. Until I saw this:

Screen shot 2016-02-21 at 12.19.43 PM

God damn it.

He ruins everything.

This episode was written by Daniel Palladino, which explains the “waiting in line for an hour to say goodbye to a man who has been dying for 20+ years” twee cutesy thing happening in the cold open. Palladino missed his calling by writing TV and not movies in the vein of 500 Days of Summer or Garden State.


Speaking of cute & quirky – Lane. She has an old record of songs written by the lady who runs the music store (remember the music store? Remember how it appeared just in time for Lane to work there and practice her drums? Yeah, I didn’t.) Lane is excited but Music Lady doesn’t give any shits about the kids songs she wrote 20 years ago. One day when I am working at the counter of my comic book store/coffee shop I’ve wanted to open for years, beaten down and saddled with all the debt incurred from opening what amounts to an unprofitable library with a Mr. Coffee maker on the counter, I hope some young kid will come to ask me about all those TV reviews I posted before they were born. I will be able to act just as assy as Music Lady in response to someone else’s enthusiasm!


Over at Luke’s, he’s practically turning cartwheels in the diner because Lorelai is going to be interviewed by a travel magazine. Is this a different magazine than the one that listed the Dragonfly as one of the “10 Best Inns in Connecticut”? Regardless, Luke is more excited about Lorelai being in a magazine than he was about finally getting to fuck her. Gee, a man who supports your dreams and is genuinely happy when good things happen to you? I can totally see why Judgy WASP Mom hates him. #sarcasm

He’s acting weird, though. Not the trying to kill Taylor part (I’m surprised Taylor isn’t almost murdered on a daily basis) but the participating part. As someone who abhors participation and group activities and people in general, it’s really fucking obvious when you’re acting in your own self-interest by trying to participate. People notice because you’ve never bothered to help before, why are you helping now? (Takeaway: NEVER HELP.) Luke is volunteering to help out with the old dead guy’s house. Even Taylor can see his gesture for the bullshit it is. When Taylor calls him out, Luke blames Lorelai. Sure. Blame your girlfriend, you ass.

During the interview with the magazine, Lorelai rocks a paisley print like she’s auditioning to be part of Prince’s entourage (or a couch in an old woman’s sitting room):

Screen shot 2016-02-21 at 12.58.30 PM

And she rocks a plunging neckline without the slightest hint of cleavage. It makes me so damn mad that I can’t pull that off. I’m gonna auction my dumb boobs off to the highest bidder and use the money to buy plunging everything.

The reporter mentions Lorelai’s upbringing and Lorelai, who is unaware what an “interview” is and what a “reporter” does just starts slamming Judgy WASP Mom for being a terrible person. She watches the reporter take notes and she just keeps saying terrible things about Emily Gilmore. Lorelai is also unfamiliar with what “on the record” means. Judgy WASP Mom may deserves to hear some hard truths about herself from her daughter, but maybe not in print? The “Mom, you’re an asshole” conversation is better in person (or not at all.)

During Luke’s “volunteer” work, who should show up but Floppy and his stupid hair and stupid face and stupid everything. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Boo.

While I rage cry over Floppy’s unwelcome (AND COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY) return, Paris and Rory get the hell out of Yale because they are dudeless. Paris is fighting with Doyle, Smarmy has lost interest after all his “NO ONE BETTER TOUCH MY SHIT AND BY SHIT I MEAN YOU, RORY!”crap from last episode. Rory heads home to Stars Hollow and is surprised to find Paris sitting on her mom’s couch. Her parents fled the country because they are rich people who don’t know how to hire good accountants to legally dodge taxes. Isn’t that Rich People 101? Learn to read, learn to identify a real Manet, learn to hire an accountant that will exploit all the loopholes built into the U.S. tax code.

Everyone turns out for the Stars Hollow museum opening. Since Rory, Paris, and Lane are disappointed by the men in their lives, they opt to get drunk on Miss Patty’s punch. This leads to a barefoot Paris begging for change (to use to call Doyle), Lane’s misplaced ang yelling at Music Lady because she saw Zach leaving her place, and Rory calling Smarmy’s phone to discover he’s going club hopping with his friends.

Of course there is an explanation for Zach’s behavior – he likes the banjo and was afraid to admit it. Oh Zach, just wait about a decade.


(I almost picked “Lover of the Light” because it stars Idris Elba and he is a beautiful, beautiful man. But there is no actual banjo in that video. Go watch it .)

Lorelai, Sookie, and Luke get stuck watching a horrifying audio presentation augmented with mannequins that outline the history of the town. It looks like this:

Screen shot 2016-02-21 at 2.01.27 PM

This is complete with detailed voice over that drones on long after its funny. There’s a saying in writer land – don’t be afraid to kill your darlings. This means don’t hang on to something you wrote if it doesn’t serve the story you’re telling. If it causes the story to drag, if it serves no purpose, TAKE IT OUT. This episode, and really, the show as a whole, could have benefitted from listening to that advice. I wish there had been a Tim Gunn-like person on the staff of this show who would have look both Amy & Daniel in the eye and said:


After standing through the diorama nightmare, Luke finally admits to Taylor why he volunteered: He wants to buy the house. He goes to gather his tools and he runs into Floppy, who tells him that his relationship with Lorelai is exactly like the Floppy and Rory fiasco. He says that Lorelai wants more than Stars Hollow. Uh…SINCE WHEN? Rory I can understand, she grew up there and had to move away to go to college. But Lorelai? Lorelai, the grown woman who could have moved any number of places but decided to start a business of her own in a town where everyone treats her like a queen? Lorelai, the woman who volunteers to makes costumes for the school play when her daughter doesn’t even go to school there? Lorelai, the woman who views attending town meetings as one of the best forms of entertainment around? BULL. SHIT. She loves Stars Hollow. She IS Stars Hollow. She’s its life blood. Floppy – sorry you’re a bitter mess who ruined his marriage after coming down with Wandering Penis Syndrome (the most basic of all syndromes), but you’re talking out your ass about things you literally don’t understand. And Luke is so insecure in his relationship with Lorelai after the disaster with C-Money and Judgy WASP Mom that he believes him.

We end with Lorelai comforting a drunk Rory on the floor of their bathroom. Rory sobs about Smarmy and wonders why he doesn’t like her and what she did wrong.

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This is new territory for Rory, who has never walked into a room and not immediately been swarmed by guys who will do anything to get with her.  Rory, as an Invisible Woman (meaning a woman guys literally never notice, even if they physically walk into me) let me help you here: There’s nothing you can do to make this guy like you. No amount of makeup or new outfits or flirty looks is going to change the fact that he doesn’t give two fucks about you. My advice is advice I wish I had been given (and had the ability to listen to) when I was younger. Move on. Lose his number. Don’t contact him. Go find another guy who will care about you. You’ve got so. many. options. which gives you a distinct advantage over most of us. So, forget Smarmy, go find someone else. (Someone not married, just in case you didn’t learn that lesson already.)


2 thoughts on “Review: Gilmore Girls – Season 5, Episode 18 “To Die and Let Diorama”

  1. More good advice to young women, Jen. But I’ll bet we aren’t finished with the Rory/Smarmy relationship. Shit.
    BTW, the Stars Hollow Museum: TOTALLY a David Lynch Moment (DLM)!!
    The new show “4 Season of Gilmores” or somesuch premiers on Netflix on Nov. 25th! I’ve got to get through these before then! I think I can… I think I can…

  2. I literally think Jared Padalecki was only in this episode because they were about to lose him to Supernatural. But Dean’s appearance was so random that I’m binge watching the episodes (meaning I watched Pippi Virgin two days ago) and I’d literally already forgotten why he was so mad at Luke. I wonder what would have happened to the character if Padalecki hadn’t been casted in Supernatural. Jared always says that he didn’t feel a since of closure for his character b/c one day he was on the GG set and the next he was on the SPN set, which means they hadn’t let Padalecki go as an actor, but I have no idea where the character could have possibly gone. Rory was beyond Dean and for much of the fan base, the adultery sunk the ship.

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