Review: Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life – “Summer”

Not in a good place today, kids. There is a crack in the Arctic ice shelf that you could drive a fucking truck through, a greedy orange boil has appointed a climate change denier to head up the only agency in our government designed to protect the planet, and maybe Russia was responsible for some fuckery during our election.

Cool. Cool.

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Let’s ignore that ever-present feeling of helplessness and despair to talk about Gilmore Girls shall we?

Daniel Palladino wrote this episode. Of fucking course he did. It’s no secret but I don’t typically like his episodes. I find them overly indulgent and they tend to spend way to much time focusing on things that absolutely have no bearing on the story whatsoever. So it really wasn’t a shock to see what he wasted 10 god damned minutes doing this episode. (we’ll get to that. Oh, will we GET TO THAT.)

We start at the pool with Rory and Lorelai being overly bitchy in a way that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before. They aren’t the kindest people and they often bring snack food to watch town drama, but have they ever sat around and made such openly bitchy, anti-everyone who isn’t them comments before? They remind me of this sketch (spoiler: I wrote it):

Everyone keeps welcoming Rory back to Stars Hollow and instead of just flashing a close-lipped grin or giving a non-committal wave, she’s being a huge bitch by snapping “I’m not back!” to everyone who asks. Look, you don’t owe anyone anything and you certainly don’t have to be polite to random strangers if you choose not to be. But being openly argumentative to random people wastes energy. Save it for verbally eviscerating those who truly deserve it.

Hey! Guess who else is back? POOCHY aka APRIL! I never hated Poochy like a lot of other people did, but I did hate that she was in the show at all. She was a pointless addition thrown in at the last-minute because god forbid Luke and Lorelai be together without DRAMA and ISSUES like real fucking people. Not gonna lie, I kind of love this version of Poochy who is trying so hard to be cool and progressive but is really just a ball of anxiety and self-doubt. She is the most realistic character on the show. Also I’ve always secretly been jealous of people who can pull off looking cool and being politically active at the same time.

While Rory comforts Poochy, Lorelai asks Luke where the money for Poochy’s travel would come from and she acts surprised when Luke says him. Apparently she has forgotten that Luke is the richest man in Stars Hollow, capable of buying an entire building – in cash – in one day and then loaning his friends 30k for the fuck of it. But ok. Luke wears flannel and slings burgers so he obviously must be one of the poors.

Rory, tired of talking to another person about a subject that isn’t “Rory Gilmore,” calls Smarmy on her giant phone to ask if she can come see him tomorrow.

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This bitch wants to fly to London at a moment’s notice because she’s BORED. She’s not trying to find a job, she’s not looking for her next freelance gig, no, she’s trying to fly to another country to go see her engaged boyfriend. Smarmy’s all, “Totes cool, babe, you’re just gonna have to stay in the apartment next door and suck my dick through the glory hole I have in my closet because, like, my fiancée is gonna be here? But it’s cool, I spend a lot of time in my closet so she won’t wonder why I’m in there all the time.” Rory, the literal worst, is all “OMG, YOU ARE SPENDING TIME WITH YOUR FIANCEE OVER ME? I GUESS I’LL JUST STAY IN STARS HOLLOW AND FAT SHAME EVERYONE OVER 100 POUNDS WITH MY EQUALLY TERRIBLE MOTHER.”

Rory and Smarmy decide to keep their plans for her to go to London in three weeks, when his fiancée will still live with him but somehow it won’t be a problem then. How terrible is it that Smarmy doesn’t even consider not cheating on the woman he’s going to marry? He acts like this is no big deal. I knew I was justified in my Smarmy hatred.

Everyone gathers for the town meeting and we’re introduced to the “30-something gang.” This group is composed of older millennials who got seriously fucked over by a world with ever-increasing cost of living that offers shit pay for entry-level jobs that require a college degree and at least 5 years of experience. These kids were told that a college degree was a necessity for a good life (how many times did you hear “go to college so you don’t end up flipping burgers!”?) and that they needed to follow their dreams. So they took out loans to go to good schools just like they were told to do only to discover no company would pay them enough to both eat and pay back those loans. They did everything they were told to do and that “mean old world” spit them back into their old bedrooms because god forbid a corporation paying a CEO 37 million a year pay its employees a living wage. Why, that would cut into the shareholders profits! We can’t have that! Profits must always increase, even if it means sending an entire generation into debt and poverty with little hope of finding a way out.

Who, according to the show, is at fault for this? Why, THE 30-SOMETHINGS ARE! They’re just coddled “entitled” kids who expected the world to be handed to them, not people who got fucked over by an increasingly unfair system that funnels all wealth to the top!

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Question – If Donald Trump suffered no adverse affects by not paying people he hired for the work they did and didn’t have to pay taxes for god only knows how many years, do the rest of us have to keep paying our student loans? Why do the rest of us have to meet our financial obligations when our “leader” doesn’t have to meet the same standards? This is just a thought experiment, obviously.

 

You know the worst part about the 30-something gang? Rory acts like she is so much better than all those kids and she’s probably the only one there who doesn’t have to pay back any student loans.

Taylor has called this meeting to announce that Stars Hollow will be having a musical and the Stars Hollow Gazette will be shut down. Finally, Rory cares about something! She loves the Gazette and doesn’t want to see it shut down.

The next day, Rory and Lorelai go back to the pool to be terrible humans again. They even get themselves some child slaves! I’m sure those kids love holding umbrellas over them instead of playing in the pool with their friends.

If you thought that first scene of them hating on everyone was too short, have they got a scene for you! An extended scene where not only do Lorelai and Rory insult a man they call “back fat Pat” they actively act disgusted by his (headless, dehumanized) body when he comes over to make small talk. That’s right – Pat doesn’t do a god damned thing besides talk to his neighbors while being a fat man and these two treat him like he’s beating a puppy in front of them. This whole thing is fucking gross. I get that Palladino used to write for Family Guy, but there’s a reason barely anyone watches that fucking show anymore. And that reason is because it’s not (or, at least it fucking shouldn’t be) ok to bully people. Not that they haven’t fat-shamed before. I’ve talked about a few times where these calorie immune, exercise averse characters rag on any woman who dares to be larger than they are (“hippo” ballerina and that time Lorelai accidentally grabbed a fat woman’s bag containing underwear come to mind) but this is some next level unacceptable shit.

Before anyone tells me to “get a sense of humor” or “learn to take a joke, SJW!” let me be 100% clear: There is nothing funny about making fun of people for the way they look. It is a perfect example of “punching down.” It is cruel. Words have meaning and words like the ones here have negative effects on real people. It’s not ok. It will never be ok, no matter how “funny” some people think it is (spoiler: those people are wrong.) I realize that I now live in a country where a large swath of my fellow countrymen watched a major political candidate mock a disabled reporter on television and didn’t consider it a deal breaker, but that kind of bullying and the kind that is on display here on the show is a deal breaker for me. How many people watched this and felt shame over the way the two heroes of the show treated someone with their body type? Probably a lot.

I spent – no, SPEND – a lot of time wrapped up in self-hatred and negative thoughts because of how relentlessly I was teased as a child. I was too tall, too fat, took up too much space to ever be considered a “real” woman. My hair was the wrong color, my eyes the wrong color, my feet the wrong size, my clothes not good enough. I tried to kill myself when I was 9 years old because I didn’t want to face another day with the kids who made me feel that my very existence was unacceptable. I failed to take my own life. There are so many kids who do not. To anyone who is feeling that they don’t belong because of their size, gender identity, religion, sexuality, the color of their skin, disability, etc. – you belong. You matter. This world is a better place with you in it. I know things are tough, especially now. I know it feels hopeless and like we’re taking a huge step backwards. All us people who are/were bullied/targeted for any reason are feeling like the bullies have won and there is no justice or goodness in this world. I have to believe that’s not true. I have to believe that even though things are bleak now we will find our way back to the light. Acceptance, tolerance, and equality aren’t things people are going to stop fighting for just because a bunch of people angry that they can’t say the N word while rapping along to Jay-Z songs gave power to a mean-spirited man. The battle for a better world is one that is worth fighting. We may not all make it to the end but we are not going to let those fucking bullies win.

On the way back from the pool, Lorelai and Rory run into Miss Patty and Babette who are signing people up for auditions. Lorelai’s therapist, aka The Unprofessional, is there to audition. She asks Lorelai to put in a good word for her.

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This is when Rory decides that she’s going to ask Taylor if she can work for the Stars Hollow Gazette. At first, I thought this was a really cool idea. She’s going to take over the paper and start doing great things with it, actually working and making a name for herself as the journalist she always wanted to be. Nope. She’s going to work there for no pay and complain the whole time.

Back at the Inn, Michele, whose name I have been misspelling the whole time (too late, in too deep, GOING WHOLE HOG!) asks Lorelai if they can go grab a drink at the Secret Bar, which is something I actually love. Michele tells Lorelai that he wants more out of his career than the Dragonfly can offer and if they don’t expand he’s going to leave. You know what? Good for him. He’s good at his job and if he needs more from his career at this point in time he should leave. He needs to do what’s right for him.

Lorelai understands but is too concerned with how it makes her feel, so she goes to Rory’s office to drink? Because that’s what journalists do? Whatever, show. Is the Gazette a seasonal paper? Taylor mentions the poem on the cover is to usher in the season. Is Rory spending all her time at a paper that is only published four times a year?

Once the paper is put to bed and actually printed, Rory has no idea how to distribute it. Stars Hollow is a block long and she can’t deliver papers on her own because we need a musical montage that eats up time we could be spending with Lane or Paris or any character we care about. Good thing Lorelai calls her child slave to help her get her work done or she’d have to spend 3 extra minutes walking.

The next morning Rory and Lorelai are in pain from walking an entire block. Rory calls Judgy WASP Mom and discovers that she was still asleep, even though it’s noon. She doesn’t even know what day it is. I want more of this and less of the 30-something gang! Judgy WASP Mom is depressed because her husband just died. How is this woman, who has admitted in the past that her entire life was built around her husband, dealing with his death? Give me more of that story, show!

But no, we’re not going to get more of the actual things we care about because we need to break for 10 GOD DAMNED MINUTES for a full musical. This is why I hate Daniel episodes. Too much of shit I don’t care about, not enough stuff I do. This tells me two things – they need an editor and they had way too much time to fill. (Side note – I’m watching this episode as I write the review and my husband came out of the other room to ask me what I’m watching. I told him. He said “why is there so much singing?” I told him we are all asking ourselves that same question.)

After the musical, they have a workshop where we’re asked to believe that Carol King’s “I Feel the Earth Move” doesn’t exist in the Gilmore universe. No. Absolutely not! If Halt and Catch Fire exists, so does this fucking song.

Rory’s at the paper again (the poem is on the cover so maybe it’s a weekly? A weekly with the same poem on it every week?) when Jess aka Broody walks in. He’s in town to help Luke get his mom and TJ out of the cult they accidentally joined. I have never been a huge Broody fan. But I feel that he is one of the few characters who has grown over the course of the series. He was a punk kid who didn’t know how to deal with his shit who became a man who, as far as I can tell, worked on his shit and became an emotionally healthy person.

Rory takes Broody to “lunch” by giving him booze. At this point I’m beginning to worry that Rory might have a drinking problem? Then she proceeds to talk about herself again and we learn that she STILL hasn’t broken up with her forgettable boyfriend. How is that possible? Anyway, she tells Broody how upset she is, how she’s not going anywhere, her life sucks, blah blah blah. Then Broody suggests that she should write a book and she acts like it’s the first time writing a book has occurred to Rory Gilmore, a writer. You know what I think is bullshit? That Broody only pops up in Rory’s life to give her advice she already knows yet refuses to acknowledge.

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I just happened to pause on this. I am amazing at screen caps. I should really have an exhibit of them somewhere.

Questions #1 about this scene: How is Rory broke? She got a trust fund from her grandmother and I’m sure Spacey Grandpa left her something. He only died about a year ago in the world of the show! So…? Did she spend it all on molds of Smarmy’s dick?

Question #2: Am I really supposed to believe the girl who makes lists for everything decided to mail all her stuff in boxes to four separate people, one of whom lives in a foreign country?

Question #3: Does no one on this show know how surrogacy works? Rory mentions that Paris always liked her teeth so maybe she could be a surrogate. She doesn’t say “egg donor.” she says “surrogate.” Last I checked, the surrogate and the egg donor can be (and often are) two separate people. Meaning the surrogate has no contribution to the DNA of the child. All those sturdy blonde military wives Paris loves so much are doing is acting as incubators for those who cannot carry their own child for whatever reason. It doesn’t matter how nice their teeth are unless they are also providing the donor egg.

Broody leaves to go with Luke and we get this:

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YES. THIS IS WHAT I WANT MORE OF. I’ve always wanted a show about Luke and Broody learning to see each other as father and son. We could have spent 10 minutes with them bonding and shit instead of watching that musical. What a wasted opportunity.

Lorelai goes over to Judgy WASP Mom’s house and is horrified to find that Judgy WASP Mom is seeing an older gentleman. Why? Why would she be so upset? I understand that she loved her father, but he’s gone. He’s dead. Why wouldn’t you want your mother to find someone else? Would you want her to be alone for the rest of her life? Would you want her to be depressed and sad for the next 20 years? I’d want my parent to find someone else if they wanted another relationship after the other one passed on. And if I were to die tomorrow, I would absolutely want my husband to find someone else when he was ready.

Judgy WASP Mom even tells her that just because she’s seeing a new man it doesn’t mean that she replaced her husband. It just means she’s still alive and he’s not. Even though she wishes he was.

The girls go to see Spacey Grandpa’s new tombstone. It’s not right (again.) Judgy WASP Mom goes to discuss the issue with the guy while Lorelai and Rory stay at the grave. Rory tells Lorelai that she’s writing a book about them and Lorelai freaks out. I can see both sides here. Lorelai doesn’t want her life to become a book, but it’s also Rory’s life and she wants to write about her own experiences. Maybe if Rory focused more on her experiences instead of starting with Lorelai? This is also classic Lorelai in that she’s always Rory’s best friend until Rory does something she doesn’t like and then she pulls the mom card.

My advice to Rory – write your book the way you want to. Your mom will either cut you off entirely or you can hold it until after she dies! (But seriously a lot of people are saying “write what you know” is terrible advice.)

Lorelai goes to the diner where she’s all “YOU NEVER TOLD ME ABOUT HANGING OUT WITH MY MOM!” Luke is all, ” YOU WENT TO THERAPY!” and then Lorelai is all “WE HAVE AWESOME COMMUNICATION AND HAVE NO PROBLEMS IN OUR RELATIONSHIP!”

Luke tells Lorelai that they have a “deal” where they live separate lives but somehow have a serious, long-term, committed relationship?

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Then he tells her that he’s been going along with everything she’s wanted since the beginning. Why would you ever admit to that? More importantly, why would you ever want to be in a relationship where you just do whatever the other person says regardless of your own wants and needs?  How is that a relationship?

Rory calls Smarmy because she always calls him when she’s upset. They “break up” but not really because he’s engaged to another woman.

Lorelai watches a performance of a new song for the musical about how maybe everyone can’t have the dream. This is territory we’ve already covered with Luke and Lorelai. She wanted the whole package and he didn’t. That’s why they broke up in the first place. Now it’s 9 years later and they haven’t progressed past that moment. Neither one has the relationship they want. They don’t communicate and they view their lives as separate. So why are they still together?

However – Lauren Graham. Killing. This. Scene.

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Lorelai goes home to tell Luke that she needs time alone to “do Wild.” She’s going to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Luke is all, “DAFUQ?” and Lorelai, in the best line of the revival, says, “Because it’s never or now.”

I don’t believe Lorelai would ever want to hike anything, let alone something as intense as the Pacific Crest Trail. But I can’t say I don’t understand the impulse.

 

 

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14 thoughts on “Review: Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life – “Summer”

  1. What a great recap, Jen. You were so right to call them out on those horrific pool scenes. I’m so sorry you have had first hand experience with bullying…wish I could give you a hug.

  2. It took me so long to realize they’d actually gotten Christian Borle for the Bizzarro Musical. And then I briefly thought he and Sutton Foster had gotten back together, because WHY ELSE WOULD YOU DO THIS if it wasn’t a solid you were doing for your wife? And then Google told me they were still divorced, and I was kind of sad. It was, indeed, an overload of everything that was annoying about the Daniel Palladino episodes, but I did love that last song.

    Another thing I kind of loved? Jess. I generally agree he was a terrible boyfriend to Rory (all of them were terrible). But he was by far the best character of the three main Rory boyfriends, and is one of the few characters who’s been allowed to actually progress from 2007 (him and maybe Paris, basically). Jess/Luke were great. I remember being annoyed with the lack of Jess in Season 7 not because of Rory, but because it seemed like his reactions to all the Luke stuff would have been interesting.

    • SarahMae, I agree that the last song really got to me…it was catchy (I’ve watched that scene a few times now) and Lorelai’s reaction slayed me. I cried. I guess I’m at the stage in life (middle-age) that I have realized that I’m not going to “get it all” and I need to be happy with what I DO have.
      I never thought I’d say this – but Jess is too good for Rory!

  3. I really did not understand that scene with Luke and Lorelai talking about who is going to pay for April’s trip… Are we meant to believe that Lorelai is now making more than Luke and he has a problem with it? Was it to drive home the point that 10 years later, they’re still not having conversations that they should be? Also, if the inn is doing so well and Luke was an investor in the Inn, shouldn’t he be reaping benefits from that as well? And is it realistic that the 10-room inn is doing SO well that she can be paying Michel out of her salary and still be taking home enough to be able to afford to help with April’s trip? And Luke can’t? I’d really like to know what was the motivation behind that scene.

    I too also HATED the fact that 10-WHOLE-MINUTES were wasted on that stupid musical!!!! These 4 mini-movies felt overly padded at times and I found that very frustrating. The time that could’ve been spent delving into some of those relationships was really wasted on silly town crap. I didn’t mind the town stories in the original run of the series as they usually only lasted a min or 2, but the extended scenes were way too much.

    Loving your reviews still! I must say that you seem not to be enjoying this revival that much though…

    • It’s not that I’m not enjoying it, it’s that I agree with Demi from the Gilmore Guys – I like it, but it wasn’t necessary.

  4. And so…progress or at least the brink of it for both Lorelai and Rory. I wasn’t happy with the way either one of them was behaving. However, I ended this episode feeling hopeful for the next. Although breaking with Logan wasn’t nearly as drastic as Lorelai’s decision I feel that both of them have made choices that will lead to them getting their heads on straight. Please don’t let me down ladies! And now…Fall.

  5. Every time I’m in the middle of an episode and something I’m baffled by happens (pool scene, 10 min long musical), my first thought is: can’t wait to hear what Jen thought of this! You never disappoint and I find myself looking more forward to reading your review than watching the next episode 🙂

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