Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson
Oh, the sights and sounds of spring! The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming. Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Emily (Kelly Bishop) sit in a room filled with defining silence, again. Yes, spring has sprung. As the snow melted in Stars Hollow, Lorelai agreed to take a trip to the therapist with her mother Emily. Shockingly, nothing good comes from this.
The therapy storyline is one of the major storylines in this episode of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. The other is Rory’s (Alexis Bledel) continued downward spiral. First, though, we arrive at Lorelai and Emily’s silent therapy. Having this mother/daughter duo enter into some head shrinking isn’t a bad idea; there’s still some surface level bad blood that came up during “Winter” after Richard’s funeral. Instead, the two decide to sit in silence. Lorelai breaks the silence at the end of their first hour by offering a “blanket apology”. Emily doesn’t accept and drudges up past grievances, dating back to Lorelai leaving home with Rory at age 16.
I was hoping that this would lead to some more interesting conversations, but it really goes nowhere. Later in the episode, Emily quits therapy and Lorelai ends up attending alone. The biggest problem with these therapy sessions is that they’re meant to be used as a Sopranos-style look into the thoughts of the characters, but they’re designed in a way that feels bulky and in the way. Any emotional progress from the sessions that’s mentioned takes place off-screen.
Meanwhile, Luke (Scott Patterson) is concerned about his relationship with Lorelai when he learns that Emily cancelled her portion of therapy, but Lorelai is still claiming they both go. Luke and Emily spend some time together when she arrives at the diner to follow-up on the inheritance Richard left him to start franchising Luke’s Diner. (There’s a nice Easter egg for Shameless fans, as one of the rundown diners they potentially want to convert to a Luke’s is actually Patsy’s.) Emily reveals she blew off therapy and pokes fun at Luke because she knows Lorelai didn’t tell him. Emily has a way of poking at people in just the right ways to drive them at little bit nuts. Lorelai and Luke’s relationship isn’t the center of the reboot storyline, but their slow simmering drama about the state of their relationship and future together boils up every now and again throughout the episodes. The question that comes up in this episode is whether or not their relationship is slipping away; are they as close as they used to be?
“Spring” offers more drama for Rory. Her times with Naomi Shropshire (Alex Kingston) are becoming less and less productive as they try to determine what their book should be about. Rory gripes about her to Logan (Matt Czuchry) who, as it turns out, is engaged, a nugget of information shared by Logan’s father Mitchum (Gregg Henry) himself when clarifying plans with Logan after interrupting his son’s lunch date. Mitchum, a shark who’s never been able to stop surprising Rory, at least does offer her some professional career help.
As a fan, I don’t appreciate them putting this relationship into such a bad light. Truthfully, I care more about Rory than I ever will about her boyfriends, but I’ve been on Team Logan for a while now. I don’t think he’s a bad guy and I don’t think Rory is bad, but pushing the two of them into a situation that is lose-lose reaps no storyline benefit—at least, not yet. Rory’s downward spiral does push her to question her identity, but to stoop so low as to be her ex-boyfriend’s mistress seems woefully out of character. She seemingly learned nothing from her brief affair with married Dean (Jared Padalecki), even though we thought she had.
So much time was spent in the original series mending relationships after her time with Dean because she wasn’t as likeable after that. (Lorelai certainly was disappointed in her.) Additionally, so much time was spent having Logan grow as a person, rejecting his family’s company, going out on his own, staying in a long-term and committed relationship with Rory: all good things. Because so much of that growth happened during the non-Palladino-approved seventh season, it seems to be cut and disregarded by writers and creators Amy and Dan. Now we end up with a Logan mirroring his younger self: following in daddy’s footsteps, being with two women at the same time, and ignoring consequences, all the while dragging Rory down with him.
That being said, a perk of secretly dating a media giant’s son is that you can get a general meeting with Condé Nast. Rory screws this up too, offering little to show for what she has been up to and significantly not wowing her interviewers. They do tell her about a “lines” story they haven’t been able to crack. She takes that challenge after Naomi’s book falls through (much to her relief) and she gets an offer to be a teacher at her high school alma mater, Chilton (which she seems almost offended by).
The scenes at Chilton lead to one of the best sequences of the whole reboot: a very close look into the psyche of Paris Geller (Lisa Weil). Between her bathroom breakdown and monologue about the family’s five-story New York townhouse with no elevator, Weil is in good form as Paris and steals the episode. Rory decides to stay with Paris in New York for a while allowing her to take some time and write a spec piece for GQ on the lines of New York.
With Lorelai in tow, Rory begins to interview the people in the streets waiting in long lines. Some are waiting for pastry, some are waiting for shoes; many stories present themselves to her, but she literally falls asleep during an interview. This is supposed to be funny, but it offers little humor and only continues to push Rory further into bad light. Lorelai herself could be Rory’s story as everything these folks were in line for Lorelai managed to get early and sneak passed adoring fans.
The lines story isn’t actually that hard; I wrote one for PopMatters about this show, in fact. So, Rory’s nonchalant attitude about what could be a big break, and her indifference for professionalism, displays her lack of passion. Journalism has lost its appeal. So much so that she makes the ultimate unprofessional move and sleeps with a Star Wars fan dressed as a Wookie she met in a line.
“Spring”, in essence, marks Rory hitting bottom. She has a one-night stand, eventually admits to Lorelai is in a relationship with Logan (whose reaction was underwhelming based on her freak-out following Rory’s hookup with Dean back in the day), and has lost her iconic drive and spirit. This girl looks like Rory, but isn’t; her fire has been put out. The last straw was blowing her interview with Sandee Says after the site pressed her for a year about joining the team. Although Sandee (Julia Goldani Telles) was incredibly rude to her and very unprofessional, this all pushes Rory into such a flux, she moves home. The good thing is, she has nowhere to go but up.