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Friday Night Dinner 2

The second in a weekly look at the progress of The Gilmore Girls Companion as we round the bend on this 2+ year adventure.

This week, the book’s art director, Pamela Norman, and I spent a lot of our evenings rewatching some key episodes from Seasons 5 and 6.

What surprised me most was how some of the ones I remembered as being exceptional were merely OK (6.10 “He’s Slippin’ ‘Em Bread, Dig!” for example), while those I didn’t really remember fondly at all (e.g., 6.7 “Twenty-One is the Loneliest Number”) I found extremely interesting this time around. Part of this I attribute to the last several weeks I’ve spent poring over every detail of these episodes while writing the chapters about Seasons 5&6. Yet another factor is the whole Lorelai/Rory estrangement.

That initial breakup of mother and daughter when Rory was living with Richard and Emily was extremely traumatizing to watch the first time around, making those episodes that much harder to revisit. It actually reminds me of a similar arc that Buffy the Vampire Slayer took. (The comparisons between the two shows doesn’t end there, and will be touched upon in the book.)

Finally, after fighting it for the better part of a year, I decided that I had to go back and include a little something about Emily’s maids in each episode. To ignore this running joke would be as egregious as turning a blind eye to Kirk’s many, many, many jobs.

OK, gang, you can stop fidgeting. Gerta’s just put the souffle in the oven and I have all of these tapes of championship ballroom dancing set up for your viewing pleasure in the den. You weren’t planning on going anywhere, were you?

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  1. zoran
    August 6, 2010 at 9:49 am

    You gave me just the right cue, Aaron. Because, today I was thinking about how, for the fans, reading the book will possibly change the view on some/all episodes. For now, that they can imagine what went on behind the scenes.

    It might spark just another round of analyzing and discussions, it seems the folks at televisionwithoutpity.com are turning in circles.

    Regarding the separation of mother and daughter, as traumatizing it may have been for you and as poorly it was initiated (written), I believe it was necessary for Rory’s development as a person. I would have found it very unbecoming for her not be able to cut loose from her mother.

    Finally, the beginning of the end, first episode of season 4 (oh, I shouldn’t sound so harsh). But, the tone changed slightly though, did you notice?

  2. August 6, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Thank you for your insights, Zoran. Before I go any further, please clarify your use of “beginning of the end” — does this mean the beginning of the change in the mother/daughter relationship?

    One of the strengths of the series, and one of the reasons that it is so rewatchable, is the fact that Amy refused to follow the structure of a typical dramatic series, something at least two of the writers have commented on in the book. Gilmore frequently resolves story arcs at the beginning of an episode, only to begin another one in the middle, and vice versa. The result is a series that feels a lot more like real life, because reality seldom wraps things up in an orderly way.

    I always point to Rory’s losing her virginity to a married Dean, and the awkward relationship they had afterward, as a prime example of this. In a typical television series, the sex would’ve been an explosive event, and their relationship would’ve ended just as dramatically. However, their relationship simply ran out of steam as Rory discovered another type of life and outgrew Dean.

  3. zoran
    August 6, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Beginning of the end means, the episodes lost a bit of the spark that was there in the first three seasons. Not specifically with Lorelai and Rory, they just seem different. I can’t really put my finger on it. They were exciting to watch, just in a different way than season 1-3. Maybe it was the fact that Rory was away from home, I don’t know.

    Another example for this uncommon structure might be the transition from season 1 to season 2. Season 1 carried on into the first four episodes of season 2. For me personally, Season 2 starts with the arrival of Jess in Stars Hollow.

    This might be the secret of Gilmore Girls, to be slightly “off” in comparison.

  4. August 6, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    There may be something to that. It seems as though the first two or three seasons concerned themselves with developing the make believe world of Stars Hollow; perhaps this was us seeing the world through Rory’s eyes. Naturally, when she went to college, her experiences forced her to see that life is more complex. As a result, the stories became more complex, too. Nothing was quite as black and white as it once was. In a sense, we the audience grew up with Rory, and even Lorelai was forced to do the same.

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