On ''Gilmore Girls,'' Lorelai tries to make the town accept Christopher; plus, Rory parties hearty with Marty

By Karen Valby
Updated November 29, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

Gilmore Girls

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”Gilmore Girls”: Christopher can’t buy love

Is it just me, or does Gilmore Girls feel very much like an episodic sitcom this year? It’s like you can feel the wheels churning behind every scene. A pickle spill? Yes, there will be a pickle spill outside of town, and everyone will gather and respond. Appendicitis — genius! A home birth! Yes, Liz will have a home birth, and Luke will cradle the baby and determine that he will miss no more of April’s milestones! And now all the scenes end with an over-and-out bad closing line. Luke gets news that his sister is going into labor? We get a scene that ends with ”I’m on my way!” The zip is gone, and I think we can all agree that it’s gone forever. That we can do nothing about. But, on a more productive note, the writers can keep integrating Babette and Miss Patty into the show. Their halfhearted welcomes of Christopher were terrifically funny. And they can give us more of Sookie, and even let her have a moment outside of the inn kitchen. (Best line of the evening: ”Jackson’s a fiendish two-stepper, but he’s handsy.”) And they can limit April’s dramatic scenes. I’ve always been a defender of the poor thing, but even I wanted to smash her glasses when she had another meltdown, this time because her mean mama is moving them to New Mexico. When she started in on that bad, tearless crying jag, I just wanted to help pack her bags and send her on her way. But this episode, in which Lorelai tried to ingratiate Christopher with Stars Hollow, and Rory made nice with Marty at Lucy’s party, had some interesting moments. (Although the scene of those A.E.G.’s planning their 2002-themed shindig — ”We are going to Ugg up!” — almost sent me to bed in protest.)

But enough with the complaints. Herewith, some highlights:

Here’s a mandate I’d like to see put into effect. I want a scene of Paris Geller dancing, or, as she put it, ”scorching the floorboards,” in every episode. In the meantime, a bonus to whichever stylist dressed her in that blue sweater with a Siamese cat on the front. And another one to whoever choreographed that little number she and Doyle performed at the party to Pink’s ”Comin’ Out.” It takes a lot to make me yearn for my college days, but seeing Paris shake her way into the center circle, surrounded by geeky kids in awe of her moves, made me a wee bit nostalgic. The only nice thing I can say about those A.E.G.’s is that they rightfully worship Paris, and for that, and that alone, they can be spared.

I’m genuinely intrigued by the return of Marty. Physically, he’s a winning combination of the kid from Big and the character actor Campbell Scott. And the scene of him making a tequila-slammer concoction for Rory was charming and sure-footed. But as much as I’m digging him, that creepy, aggressive kiss he shoved on Lucy’s mouth after he slipped and told Rory how beautiful she looked was a turnoff. Still, I like his earnest vibe, and it was refreshing to see Rory at a party (with people her own age!). I do hope someone gives her better notes the next time she has to play tipsy though. Bledel seemed to remember halfway through the scene that she’d been sipping the sauce, as she only started slurring and acting silly when Marty sat down. Meanwhile, I kept waiting for Logan to pop out from behind Paris’ hips, having cut his fancy client dinner at Nobu short so he could surprise Rory and Marty on the sofa. Points to the writers for passing on that predictable awkward moment and opting to wait for a more interesting confrontation down the road.

And I really liked the scene when Christopher came down the stairs looking all Rico Suave for his man date with Jackson. (Note: One ”man date” reference is very funny. Seventeen is overkill. And it doesn’t make it less irritating to have a character on the show point out that it’s irritating. Restraint, people.) Lorelai’s twittering about his outfit (”that black shirt is a little Joaquin Phoenix at the Oscars”) was sweet and funny. And I was genuinely amused by Christopher and Jackson’s beer together, and didn’t mind their dancing around the subject of his staying power with farming metaphors. I am nervous, though, that the writers are working double time to convince us that Christopher’s a good guy, with nothing but honest intentions. Yes, he’s the fat wallet who ruined the knit-athon. (Oof, what a doofy buzzkill move that was.) Yes, he’s a Stars Hollow outsider walking around in fitted jeans and hair gel. Yes, he kept referring to Jackson, a tad too reductively, as ”a farmer” and was shown in the scenes from next week dismissing Luke as ”that diner guy.” But the writers have also got Christopher spouting off his intentions to tend to his crops morning, noon, and night. They’ve got Lorelai declaring, in almost a direct lecture to bloggers and message boarders, that even though her life didn’t turn out the way everyone hoped, she needs people to get on board. We are being forced to get on board, people. And if they yank that board right out from under us, as it looks like they might start doing next week, well then, I’ll feel manipulated and unnecessarily batted about by the writers. If this whole marriage to Christopher really is just a cheap plot device to prolong the suspense about Luke and Lorelai’s eventual marriage in the town gazebo with all their friends cheering them on, I’ll really be pissed. Not because I want Chris and Lorelai to live happily ever after, or because I approve of Christopher’s past actions, or because I’m over Luke. I’ll be put off because this whole first half of a season will have been a lazy cheat. And for that reason, I’m placing bets that Lorelai will end up with Christopher (or, more likely, alone), and Luke will move to New Mexico to stay close to April.

Death to Aerie.

What do you think? Did Scott Patterson have a cold when they shot this episode? Are you rooting for a Marty-Rory reunion? Were you seduced at all by Christopher’s declarations of intent, or are you counting the minutes till the Luke-Chris showdown in Stars Hollow?

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