”Gilmore Girls”: Opening under new management
After tuning in to my wonderful girls for six seasons, I look for certain things in an episode: Lorelai and Rory cracking wise in the same room, Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop, where is your Emmy recognition?) throwing a fit, some physical comedy from my should-be best friend Sookie, and a good cry. I like jokes about Desperate Housewives and Somerset Maugham and Jude Law’s nanny. I worry that I what I liked most, though, was the whoosh and zing of creator-writer-director Amy Sherman-Palladino’s brilliant brain. The new CW network parted inelegantly with her at the end of last season, so, needless to say, I approached last night’s premiere with some anxiety.
We kick off where we left off, with, oh God, Lorelai in Christopher’s bed. Lorelai, who broke, ripped, and spat on my heart last year when she gave Luke that wrenching ultimatum to stop stalling and marry her already, sought comfort from Christopher. I was shocked then; I’m still shocked. (Make no mistakes, I’ve always loved me a little Christopher, and Luke behaved like a major lunkhead for much of last season. But still, sex with the ex? Lorelai! Don’t worry, I’m just like Sookie. Still here for you.) Christopher looks like a dopey smitten kitten, and Lorelai looks like she just ate cat food. He offers to make her breakfast in bed, and she bolts.
Rory, meanwhile, is missing Logan, who left hours ago for a year in London. (Oh Logan, I’ve got lots of friends — smart ones who are into nice guys, not jerks — who sing your praises. Sorry, blondie, I’m not buying it.) He’s left her a strange present that she doesn’t understand the significance of, a model rocket. Screw the spaceship, I say. He also left you a fully furnished rent-free apartment for a year. Invite Paris over and get loaded on homemade rocket fuel! Rory is bummed, though, and moves home to Stars Hollow for the summer to live with Mom.
And here is where, perhaps unfairly, I start to worry about new show runner David Rosenthal. Lorelai and Rory reunite, and Lorelai spills about breaking up with Luke (leaving out the part about consoling herself in the open arms of Rory’s father, of course). She’s not ready to get into it, though, and the two engage in some lame-brained blather about what they could do to keep from talking. Hello! Luke and Lorelai have broken up. They were supposed to grow old together, and he was supposed to make her special plates of diner food for the rest of her life. And now she doesn’t get to wear her blush-colored wedding dress! (Oh, I loved that dress. Not that weird fairy veil though.) I get that she’s in shock, but wouldn’t she break down for half a second? Or at least not get grinningly distracted by subpar banter about racquetball for God’s sake. Racquetball! (Amy, were you watching? Were you gloating?) That said, the later scene at the gym — Lorelai and Rory in cute workout clothes, sitting cross-legged on the court — was quite dear.
Later in the episode, Rory misses Logan so much that she calls him with the intention of inviting herself to London for the summer. He underestimates her enthusiasm and says he’s already bought her a plane ticket. For Christmas break. She feels dumb and deflated and hangs up. Why? Why couldn’t she have just said, ”Wow, you bought me a plane ticket? Thanks, blondie! I might buy my own plane ticket and come for a visit this summer. Cool?”
In the end, Luke (and Scott Patterson, I must say, you have never been better) shows up at the house looking sweaty and sheepish and like he might pass out from fear of losing Lorelai for good. The truck is packed, and he wants to whisk her away to get married, and he’s got all these heartbreaking plans for honeymoons. Lorelai, still stone-faced, tells him she slept with Christopher. Luke, poor, poor thing, burns rubber out of there.
And yet, no cry for me. No lump in my throat, no calf chills, no nothing. And, as Lauren Graham can do no wrong in my book, I blame the writers. I blame the writers for, in the era of Star Jones, James Frey, Katie Couric, Lindsay Lohan, Stavros whoever, only giving us one lame Fast and the Furious joke. I want more pop-culture funny. And I want to believe that you all can do better and that I’m totally jumping the gun and these are perfectly understandable early-in-the-season kinks. I’m 100 percent keeping my Tuesday nights at 8 o’clock free, but I want there to continue to be a swell reason to do so.
What did you think? Am I panicking unnecessarily? Will Lorelai and Christopher be a thing now? Is Logan bopping Kate Moss in London, or can he be trusted? And is The Fast and the Furious worth revisiting? (Never mind answering that last one.)