A Meathead Watches Gilmore Girls (“The Breakup, Part 2” and “The Third Lorelai”)
Something finally happens that really helped the show. Also, I try to figure out how to use a very inappropriate word without actually using a very inappropriate word.
“The Breakup, Part 2: Electric Boogaloo”
Just kidding, that’s not the actual title of the show.
Here we continue to endure the fallout of the entirely senseless Rory and Dean breakup. Remember that Dean said that he loved Rory and she balked at returning the sentiment. So Dean freaked, then Rory freaked, and then it was all over but the moment in which Rory stands in the foyer, broken-faced, and Lorelai literally drops a phone to be with daughter. That finale was a good reminder of where the show can go emotionally when it has its act together, even if the break-up itself remained nonsensical.
Now it’s the next morning and Rory is manic. She has made a list of things that need to get done, and she includes an unwilling Lorelai in her plan, dragging her out of bed at the crack of dawn on a Saturday. Lorelai knows the score though, and suggests that Rory might be happier wallowing. Rory rejects this as ludicrous and Lorelai accepts this in the same sort of way that anybody who knows better accepts the over-confidence off those who do not.
Inexplicably, everybody in Stars Hollow already knows about what has happened. Rory and Lorelai are horrified by this common knowledge as if they themselves are not integral parts of the bizarre Stars Hollow practice of everybody literally knowing everything else about everybody else (except for Lorelai not knowing about Luke’s long-term girlfriend who repeatedly breaks his heart, but whatever). This culminate when Luke decides to confront Dean, banning him from the diner, and they almost get into a fight, because nothing’s more sensible than a business owner in his late-30’s bullying a 16-year-old kid.
Rory eventually decides that going to a party being thrown by one of her Chilton nemeses makes sense. She takes Lane with her. Lane meets Henry, a Korean boy that her mother might actually approve of, and is predictably instantly smitten, repeatedly running off to dance with him. Rory meets Tristan and witnesses him getting broken up with. And, because teenagers are impossibly stupid, she decides that kissing Tristan – remember, this is a character who thinks that Pretty In Pink‘s James Spader is absolutely worth emulating – makes perfect sense. So she does. Then she flees, heading home, wrecked.
While Rory is partying, Lorelai goes to visit the incredibly boring Max Medina. A brief conversation turns inexplicably into sex, presumably because Lorelai just wanted him to stop being so boring for two goddamned minutes. And if you’re thinking to yourself, “Wait, didn’t Lorelai make a huge deal out of not getting involved with anybody, and now she’s had sex with two characters in three episodes, and neither of them was Luke, and that’s even though she’s spent considerable time wondering if Luke might be the man for her, and what the hell writers, can’t you try, at least try, to maintain some modicum of consistency from episode to episode, and not act as if Lorelai’s life is a series of entirely disconnected moments?” then yes, you were thinking like I was as I tried to figure out what Lorelai was doing naked in Max’s bed.
But, because I just can’t quit this show, both Lorelai and Rory end up at home at the end of the evening, and a broken-hearted Lorelai is now ready to wallow, recognizing perhaps that not having Dean hurts like hell.
“The Third Lorelai”
Also, Rory encourages Tristan to take Paris out on a date. He does and Paris is over-the-moon, so much so that she eventually comes to Rory’s house seeking clothing advice for the big night. The date goes well in Paris’s mind but Tristan is indifferent and publicly declares that there will be no more dates, crushing Paris. Then he compounds things by helpfully adding that he only took Paris out because Rory suggested it. Tristan is Latin for “unbelievable dumbass.” Paris explodes at Rory.
That though isn’t what really matters here. What matters is this: When I was a kid, I was visiting the home of a ladyfriend whose mother was talking to another woman. I heard the mother speak several times about a third woman, repeatedly saying that this third woman was a real “See You Next Tuesday.” I didn’t get the reference. I asked my ladyfriend about this, and she said, “See You Next Tuesday? Say it a few times slowly. You’ll get it.”
Speaking of which, Lorelai’s grandmother has come to visit. Her name is also Lorelai, because everybody’s named Lorelai! Anyway, she is a woman that is comically awful to Emily. Lorelai delights in seeing her mother chopped down a peg but it is quite clear immediately that this woman’s open hostility toward Emily goes far beyond the often bitter back-and-forths between Lorelai and Emily. She is a terrible person in every imaginable way. Richard doesn’t see it of course, because he’s simultaneously a dense father and a doting son, but his mother’s behavior is reprehensible.
Emily scrambles to keep her mother-in-law happy but absolutely nothing works and things worsen considerably when Lorelai’s grandmother hears that Emily and Richard are paying for Rory’s schooling. She decides that she can solve this (non-existent) problem by giving Rory a considerable sum of money to do with as she pleases, including paying for her schooling at Chilton.
Lorelai is into this, accepting the offer, but Emily curiously warns against accepting it, noting that once Rory isn’t dependent upon Lorelai, there will be nothing binding them. Lorelai scoffs at the warning but it nags at her and she doesn’t tell Rory about the money.
Meanwhile, Emily blows up at Richard about his mother visiting and about the offer of the money. Richard’s at maximum doofus here and has no idea what the problem is but Emily does. She confides that if Lorelai and Rory have the money to pay for Chilton, they’ll never come back. And all of a sudden, we see what hasn’t been said: that Emily – no matter how awful she can be – loves Lorelai, misses Lorelai, and regrets having lost Lorelai sixteen years earlier.
There is, in other words, texture here. Nuance even. Now the offer to pay for Chilton isn’t just about providing for a granddaughter and reminding her own daughter of what she could have had but rather, it’s Emily’s mechanism to get Lorelai back. And Richard’s See You Next Tuesday of a mother-in-law is gleefully threatening that.
But Emily doesn’t say this to Lorelai. They later fight publicly while discussing the money, Emily believing that Lorelai is afraid to lose her own daughter, Lorelai insisting that Emily is trying to ruin yet another good thing. Whatever the case, Richard’s mother witnesses this argument and decides that Lorelai is not responsible enough to oversee the money, withdrawing her offer for it. (Again: See You Next Tuesday.) Emily and Lorelai achieve an unexpected and presumably brief peace in the aftermath of all of this.
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