A Meathead Watches Gilmore Girls (“Kiss and Tell” and “Love And War And Snow”)
One of these two episodes is enough to make me absolutely lose my mind. But which one? Will be it the story of Rory’s first kiss? Or will it be Lorelai’s absolutely insane infatuation with both a stupid snowstorm and the doofus Max Medina that leads to the dumbest episode I’ve yet witnessed? Read further to solve this puzzle!
Rory’s First Kiss
It was a masterstroke of storytelling to start the show just as things – all sorts of things! – started happening to Rory: going to Chilton, turning 16, having her first boyfriend. If we’d started in the midst of all that, we would have missed so much, and if we’d started long before it began, we would have been, frankly, bored. Viewers who stop to ruminate on what exactly was happening just before pilot are forced the accept that the answer is, apparently, not much. We know that Lorelai and Rory had this life together, and that it was fraught at the outset, but by not troubling us terribly with how we arrived at where we are, and with leaving so little completed before we got started, we have the opportunity to experience much of Rory’s adolescence.
And that’s before addressing that the Gilmore girls came to be when Lorelai was 16. That’s when she had Rory. That’s when her own life irrevocably changed. That’s when this mythology began properly. It is easy to be a fan of storytelling done right.
Rory visits Dean in America’s most absurdly charming grocery store, an institution so old-fashioned that it might as well be straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. All that’s missing is the gruff storekeeper with the heart of gold. Err, no wait, that’s in there too. Norman Rockwell for everyone! Dean kisses Rory and Rory thanks him before fleeing to see her best friend Lane. There, the kiss is rehashed with the same level of import that some conspiracy theorists save for the Zapruder film. And, like all things in Stars Hollow, the kiss is noticed and known by everybody, seemingly immediately. Except for Lorelai. But Lane’s taciturn mother knows.
When Lorelai comes into Lane’s family’s antique store, she is told flatly that Rory is a bad influence on Lane. Lorelai isn’t worried about Rory’s bad influence. She’s pissed at having not been among the first-to-know, an entirely unrealistic expectation in the real world. Or at least, a what-I-would-think is an entirely unrealistic expectation in the real world. Perhaps it is that daughters run to their mothers to speak of their romantic conquests. I know that I never approached my father to say that I had nervously and horribly kissed Yvonne while she was on break at concert camp. But maybe that’s just me!
Rather than directly deal with this issue – Lorelai could have simply noted that everybody in Stars Hollow always knows everything – she tries to hint Rory into a confession. This strategy fails, which leads to direct confrontation, followed immediately by nervous jokes made in an attempt to take the edge off. The girls decide to watch a movie and inexplicably, Lorelai invites Dean over. Rory freaks out but endures the viewing and Lorelai knows enough to eventually leave both of them alone, although only after telling Dean that the town’s eyes are following Rory and that any pain Dean visits upon her will be paid back. In another show, this would be a threat. In this one, it is difficult to imagine what it is exactly. Maybe Stars Hollow will quaint Dean to death?
Eventually, Lorelai and Rory have the conversation they apparently should have had immediately, although Luke’s warning to Lorelai – that her daughter is growing up and that separation is coming – makes this scene difficult to take too seriously.
“Love And War And Snow”
Winter is coming to Stars Hollow and Lorelai is beside herself with excitement, because who doesn’t love the frozen hell that is the American northeast in the bleakest November? She’s so excited that she opens her windows just so that she can drink in the approaching weather. And in case Lorelai’s love affair with winter’s arrival isn’t nauseating enough, Max Medina is back. He’s Rory’s English teacher, an impossibly boring stickler for every rule that doesn’t involve him having sex with his students’ mothers’.
First, he calls her, and Lorelai literally acts like a 16-year-old girl, listening to his message over and over and over, because who doesn’t love listening to a monotone statue deliver dialogue on tape? Then, she inexplicably runs into him the next night. There’s no obvious reason for him to be in Stars Hollow, but he is anyway, and he and Lorelai spend the night together, walking in the snow, taking in a movie at the most town’s most painfully adorable “movie theater” you’ve ever seen, making out in Lorelai’s living room. Let’s wait on that last part because…
Lane and Rory are falling out. Rory’s got Dean and she isn’t paying attention to Lane, even after a disastrous social interaction in which Lane inexplicably touched a boy’s hair, a huge no-no because reasons. Rory remains focused on herself, which is either entirely out-of-character or shockingly in-character, depending upon what version of her we are engaging with. Lane flees to Rory’s later, but Rory isn’t there. She went straight to her grandparents but the weather prevented Lorelai from making it. Rory calls home to say that she’ll stay with Richard and Emily but Lane answers instead. This is the point at which Rory realizes she’s badly erred with Lane but she can’t make up for it because the phone goes dead. It is a snowstorm in New England after all and what does New England know about dealing with snowstorms?
So, we’ve got Rory at her grandparents, Lane in Rory’s bedroom, and Lorelai and Max necking in the living room. Lane’s presence eventually stops the adults-acting-like-teenagers behavior. Lorelai consoles Lane. Max sleeps on the couch. Rory makes her grandparents eat frozen pizza, which they’ve never had before, which is weird, because it’s in their kitchen and because it is very difficult to imagine either of her grandparents eating DiGiorno and loving it. (We’ll simply ignore Emily accusing the maid of having brought the food into the house, because why would that ever happen in a million-bajillion years?)
Rory comes home the next morning and discovers Max in her living room. (We’re now literally one episode removed from Lorelai losing her mind because Rory kissed a boy. Now Lorelai is bringing Rory’s teachers home. Yknow, whatever.) She promises Lane that she’ll be a better friend, and she leaves her mom and Max to enjoy their Saturday morning together. Scene.
This is a terrible episode. The show’s critics could easily use it as serious ammunition. If my wife hadn’t been with me, I would have spent the entire episode screaming at the television, and as it was, I heard her mumble under her breath several times about Max.
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