Reviews

Gilmore Girls

Samantha Bornemann

Lorelai and Paris, Rory and her grandparents... Gilmore Girls' most long-standing relationships seem set for realignment in Season Six.


Gilmore Girls

Airtime: Tuesdays, 8pm ET
Cast: Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Kelly Bishop, Scott Patterson, Melissa McCarthy, Keiko Agena, Yanic Truesdale, Edward Herrmann, Matt Czuchry, David Sutcliffe
Network: The WB
Amazon

NOTE: This review ends in information that might spoil any viewer who can't imagine how a man who already bought a future home for the woman he loves would respond to her proposal.

You know your mother, Rory. Everything's the end of the world -- so dramatic. Ladies and gentlemen, Lorelai Barrymore!
-- Emily (Kelly Bishop), "The New and Improved Lorelai"

I have reformed. From now on, no more scheduling, no more planning. I am just going to spend my days making ice cream beer floats and just taking life as it comes. You'll see: new me.
-- Rory (Alexis Bledel), "The New and Improved Lorelai"

Note to TV creators: to achieve series longevity, ground your story in family pain. Quarreling parents and children make should've-known-better repetition feel organic and oh-so-true. Thus, the hurts-so-good appeal of Gilmore Girls. Now in its sixth season, the WB's mother-daughter dramedy resumes tonight just where it left off: with Lorelai (Lauren Graham) heartbroken and daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) way overdue for a swift kick in the ass.

Once everyone's little darling, Rory has racked up a series of boneheaded moves since leaving home for Yale. Season Four ended with her sleeping with Dean (Jared Padalecki), the married ex, in an attempt to rectify a lonely, intimidating freshman year, and last spring she stole a yacht, landed in jail, and dropped out of school -- all in reaction to a single negative performance review. On each occasion, Rory rebuffed her mother's attempts at tough talk and tough love, establishing an unhealthy new family pattern: when she doesn't like the vibe at home, she turns to Emily (Kelly Bishop) and Richard (Edward Herrmann), her wealthy, doting grandparents.

This latest escape hurt Lorelai doubly hard, because she had asked her parents (no easy thing, given their troubled history) to unite with her in insisting Rory re-enroll at Yale. Alas, Edward's resolve crumbled when his tearful granddaughter showed up seeking help ("I'm so sorry about everything, I just don't know what to do") and threw herself in his arms. Just like that, the pool house was Rory's.

Let's hope she and the grandparents enjoy their new arrangement, because Lorelai is resolved to let the new threesome go it alone. "You finally got a shot at getting the daughter you've always wanted," she tells her parents in tonight's premiere. "Now you get your do-over: a new and improved Lorelai." Though Luke (Scott Patterson) tries to talk her out of this hands-off policy, Lorelai won't budge. "She knew exactly how I felt about the situation and she chose to ignore me," she says of Rory. "She chose to move in with my parents, she chose not to tell me about it." Therefore, she's on her own, free to make her own mistakes just as Lorelai did when she ran away from her parents after Rory was born. "I had to go through that and Rory has to go through this. Now, she's smart and she's strong and hopefully she'll figure it out, but I'm not gonna force my way in."

But is Rory strong? Not like she used to be. In an enlightening Fresh Air interview last May, series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino said she created the character to fill a vacuum in TV's representations of teenaged girls: "There wasn't a girl who was comfortable in her skin and sort of had her life and didn't really belong to any group and was kind of okay with that -- and that books and reading and education and her future was the most important thing -- way more important than boys. It just felt like, where's the other girl?"

Five years on, Rory might be asking herself the same question. Since high school, she's made bad choices with men and proved thin-skinned and naïve where her future is concerned. (That bad performance review came after she spent a few weeks playing assistant to the publisher dad of her wealthy boyfriend; when was there time amid the note-taking and coffee-fetching to determine if she had the "stuff" to be a hard-hitting journalist?) Rory is a Type A running scared, and, rather than dig in and toughen up, she seeks out those who offer shelter, distraction, and the words she wants to hear.

Among these is boyfriend Logan (Matt Czuchry, signed on for the season), the playboy who likes her so much he swore off other girls rather than lose her. A gold card-carrying troublemaker, he worries he's been a bad influence on the girl he sees more clearly than she sees herself. You'll be back in school within a month, he tells Rory. "You love school. I saw it. That doesn't just go away."

Roommate Paris (scene-stealer Liza Weil) can't believe the news, either. Stunned to hear that her only friend ("She stays in the room until I'm completely done saying something") and academic competition ("She's my Pace car") has dropped out, she rushes to Stars Hollow to plot with Lorelai. Echoing Luke, Paris suggests they kidnap Rory and convince her to return to school: "You can pull some of that supermom crap that you always do and get her to change her mind." But Lorelai won't be swayed, and, in a revealing bit, Paris backs down as soon as Lorelai says she can call her any time she needs to talk.

So: Lorelai and Paris, Rory and her grandparents... Gilmore's most long-standing relationships seem set for realignment in Season Six. Meanwhile, another pairing is poised for evolution. In last season's cliffhanger, Lorelai offered Luke those four little words: "Will you marry me?" To no one's surprise, he's thrilled by the question. Yet he also knows that Lorelai is in pain. As in Sex and the City, Gilmore's girls make each other's worlds go round; when they're out of sync, the resulting dark shadows color everything else in their lives. "Are you sure you want to celebrate now?" Luke asks. Lorelai says she is. "I just want to be happy right now. Okay?" Wouldn't it be nice -- for Lorelai, for all of us -- if shaking the blues were really that simple?

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image