A Meathead Watches Gilmore Girls (“Sadie, Sadie”)
I enjoyed my brief respite but this show ain’t gonna watch itself.
In case you’re wondering, this show finished its first season with Lorelai and Rory twirling with one another in the center of Stars Hollow, each having achieved love. Rory finally had the stones it took to tell Dean how she felt about him, that she loved him, and that he was the one that she wanted, her life at Chilton and its incessant bullies be damned. And Lorelai had been proposed to by Max Medina after he’d sent 1000 yellow daisies to…
*needles scratches across the record*
*record player bursts into flames*
*the “Oh the humanity!” guy gets to take his favorite catchphrase out for a spin*
I’m now remembering what it was exactly that motivated the respite. It wasn’t my wife and I moving, although that was part of it, and it wasn’t the holiday season, although that was also part of it, but it was definitely me having watched the first season’s finale and thinking to myself, “Ehh, what if I didn’t keep watching?”
But then she and I sat together in bed after she’d and our older daughter had endured a nasty fender-bender on an icy road and I said, “Let’s watch something…” and I scrolled to Gilmore Girls and there we were, right back in Stars Hollow, no more than a few hours after the last episode had ended.
No, literally, no more than a few hours. In fact, the second season opens with Lorelai and Rory strolling through the center of Stars Hollow, presumably very close to if not right on top of where the first season had ended. And everywhere there are yellow daisies. Lorelai’s (presumably desperate) plan to get rid of the daisies that Max Medina had flooded her workplace with was to run around frantically throwing them everywhere.
Then the weirdness begins. Patty, the town’s dance instructor, is talking to Lorelai about the proposal – because of course she already knows – and then she’s rightly asking if Luke knows. Because Luke should know, Patty insists, because Patty knows what everybody but Lorelai does: that Luke has a thing* for Lorelai. There were hints of Luke’s interest during the entire first season, including literally everything that happened during the entire first season, but some Lorelai continues to plead ignorance.
But she doesn’t act ignorant. She agrees to tell Luke and when she does, she’s wishy-washy about it, almost as if knows that telling Luke about Max Medina’s proposal would hurt Luke, but why would it hurt Luke if Luke doesn’t have a thing for Lorelai, the position she’s taken since the outset of the show? And then to confuse things even further, Luke is simultaneously congratulatory and cautious, warning Lorelai that she needs to think through her marriage plans. Because of course Luke is going to be put into a situation in which he coaches Lorelai through her engagement to Max Medina. Absolutely. Here I’ll note only that it’s a shame that the fictional Luke killed the dogs that belonged to the show’s entire writing staff, because he does nothing in this show but suffer humiliation after humiliation.
I should also add that up to now, Lorelai hasn’t actually accepted Max Medina’s marriage proposal. Rory and Lorelai go to Richard’s and Emily’s castle for their weekly dinner. Rory’s grandparents have discovered that Rory is in the top three percent at Chilton and are beyond proud, proposing a party for the following week, and they suggest that Rory bring somebody. While this is happening, Lorelai slips into another room to phone Max Medina – she wants to talk with him about what she talked with Luke about earlier: how a marriage would actually work. But in the process of trying to have this conversation – one that you’d obviously have over the phone – Lorelai realizes that she’s ready to say yes. Then she slips back into the room with her daughter and her parents and she gives Rory the knowing look of a mother-who-just-accepted-the-marriage-proposal-of-the-world’s-most-boring-man-and-also-a-character-who-has-serious-boundary-issues-with-his-teenaged-students-but-whatever and then Rory and Lorelai lie to Richard and Emily about their happiness. Lorelai doesn’t think to tell her mother that she is newly engaged.
Cut to a week later, and Rory has brought Dean to celebrate her grades. Richard is suspicious of Dean from the outset, disgusted upon his arrival and seething throughout their meal. He finally snaps, giving Dean the absolute business – here’s video evidence – about being precisely the sort of boy that Rory has no business being around. Rory is horrified at her grandfather’s behavior and rightly says so, going so far as to storm out of the house (good for her) while Richard insists that he has done nothing wrong.
Lorelai and Emily, usually the ones screaming at one another, find themselves in the middle. Lorelai says as much and is later forced to play the peacekeeper, reminding Rory that Richard’s meltdown was a result of him remembering Lorelai at the same age. She councils Rory to consider forgiveness and notes that he only go so angry because he loves her so much, a conceivably dangerous lesson to teach, but in that this is the first time Richard’s ire has been aimed at Rory, perhaps a fair one. Meanwhile, Emily listens to Richard rage incessantly about Dean’s inappropriate existence and then the phone rings.
It is Sookie calling to set up a surprise party and would Emily be available?
Emily says she will call back and hangs up, walking into Richard’s office and telling him that he will be apologizing to Rory come morning. He gurgles as he objects but before getting anything substantive out, Emily tells him that Lorelai is engaged and that she didn’t know and that she cannot stomach the idea of enduring the same ignorance of Rory’s life.
There it is – enough of a thread to keep our attention. Emily is a character who knows the score and acts accordingly. Her daughter didn’t think to tell her mother that she was engaged. It didn’t cross her mind as far as we know. That is how little Emily’s encouragement/approval/knowledge matters to Lorelai. To be fair, we’ve seen Emily easily earn that sort of exclusion. She has at times behaved in truly contemptible ways. Here though is her breaking point: to risk being cast as far afield from Rory’s life as she has been from Lorelai’s is simply too much for her, even if the cost is telling Richard to stand down.
I’ll be back to doing two episodes at a time after this one. I found that to be a useful mechanism of cycling through the first season.