On ''Gilmore Girls,'' the people of Stars Hollow shine in an episode about Rory's baby shower for Lane

By Karen Valby
Updated March 01, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

Gilmore Girls

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”Gilmore Girls”: Local heroes

Signs of life, friends! In an episode built around the celebration of Lane and Zack’s pregnancy, the writers finally found Stars Hollow’s heartbeat. At this point in my TV Watch arc, I sometimes feel like the fella at Luke’s Diner who complains about the difference between rolled oats and steel-cut oats. Where did the effortless, erudite underpinning of pop culture zingers go? What’s with the bloated, draggy scenes? When was Rory lobotomized, replaced by this hunched-shouldered, pretzel-armed little noodle? Well, even if Lorelai’s laborious romantic triangle has been swept too tidily into the town dumpster, last night provided a warm glimmer of old-school charm.

First off, Rory. She was in charge of Lane’s baby shower (although except for a lame toast, it all fell in Lorelai’s lap), but she got a call from a bigwig at The New York Times. What a relief to see Rory breathless and excited about something other than Logan’s coworker or some random teacher’s assistant. This is the girl we know and love. She’s a star! She asked her mom, ”What’s a color?” at 3 years old! Go get ’em, Rory. Of course, the night before her big meeting, Logan, whose hair has yet to move this season, stumbled home blotto at 3 a.m. With all the practice he’s had, Matt Czuchry still plays drunk lousy. Anyways, man wants sandwich! So Rory got up and started putting some iceberg to bread, half soothing Logan and half chastising him for failing to check in. Man cranky, hates sandwich! So he belly-flopped into bed instead, and she sat there looking down at a counter full of food. Rory, next time Logan shows up drunk — and we all know there will be a next time! — launch a loaf of bread at his head and go back to sleep.

I could have done without the bit of Rory waiting in a coffee shop, wading through a sea of bald heads. Wouldn’t it have been nice to see some of that interview instead? My favorite aspect of Rory has always been her unapologetic intelligence. Sure, she’s cute, and sweet, and sort of dorky, but the girl has brains. (This at a time when most girls on TV are bonging beers or boning their housemates or trying to become America’s Next Top Model….Oh, how I’d love to see the Gilmore Girls go after Tyra Banks, who kept popping up on my screen like an angry panther in drag during commercial breaks. ”It’s not just fierce — it’s ferocious!” What does that even mean?) After her interview, Logan begged off the shower and finally told Rory about his bust business deal. He bitched and moaned and snapped at Rory for her can-do spirit. Then he decided what he really needed was a trip with Colin and Finn to Vegas, baby! Logan was showing shades of evil Christopher (spoiled and immature) and a smidgen of remote Luke (why didn’t he tell her about the deal, exactly?).

Back in Stars Hollow, it finally became clear to me how depressed Luke is. He doesn’t have any of his churlish bite left. He’s a pasty, baggy imitation of his former self. While this doesn’t always make for great TV, it seems entirely reasonable to me that a man who suddenly discovered he had a daughter, only to then lose her in a custody battle, and who suddenly fell into the arms of the woman he had always loved from afar, only to lose her to the man she’s always loved, is a prime candidate for black-cloud status. So I kind of like how he speaks softly now and how any movement seems to draw a wince. When Liz and T.J., unforgivably annoying the both of them, threatened to sell his boat out from under him, he didn’t react so much as retreat. But his sister’s speech about their father, who was stuck treading water for most of his adult life, triggered something interesting. Luke called April (I was sure we’d seen the last of her!) and offered her a Disney World vacation. He sold the old boat (to Kirk, who blended their names and christened it the genius SS Lurk!) and bought himself a new one. He even showed up at Lane’s baby shower, although that meant a confrontation with Lorelai. I like seeing Luke push at the walls of his self-imposed box, and Lorelai seemed to like it too.

Speaking of the baby shower, Lorelai did some peace brokering throughout the night between Lane and Mrs. Kim. Something about fried shrimp set the two off, which inevitably evolved into a battle about the unborn babies and their future religious lives. Lorelai gently smacked some sense into Lane, saying that her babies might want to go to church and they might hate shrimp and any desires or lifestyles she imposes on them may well be for naught. So Mama Kim and Lane made up, and Mrs. Kim made sure that her sentenced-to-bed-rest daughter made it to her party. I wrongly worried last week that Lane would go into labor at her shower and be raced through the streets to the hospital. Turns out it was a mere means of transportation, and Lane even threw in a knowing nod to the Monkees.

And the party at Miss Patty’s dance studio was wonderful. Everyone was in attendance, even a flat-ironed Gil. Zack, who I’m just liking more and more each episode, held court on the bed with Lane. Miss Patty and Babette manned the decorate-your-own-onesie station. Lane gave a touching speech to Rory, marveling at how Lorelai saved the day, and asked her friend to be her sons’ own Lorelai Gilmore. I want my Lorelai Gilmore! And I want to one day have a baby shower where someone paints a fried egg on my kid’s onesie! And I want to live in Stars Hollow and have all the townspeople, plus Sebastian Bach, sing lullabies to me! And that’s how I knew that maybe Gilmore Girls was back on track. For the first time this season, I was reminded that I don’t just like watching this world. I want my own version of it.

But what about you? Do any of you — besides Debra — like or trust Logan? Did the baby shower warm your cockles? Will we ever see Christopher again? Is Luke going to have to make the first move to get back together with Lorelai? And was that Lauren Graham’s voice during a random Special K drink ad?

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