Home > The Gilmore Girls Companion > Friday Night Dinner 4

Friday Night Dinner 4

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

I started in on the chapter about the 7th and final season of Gilmore Girls yesterday. It is, by far, the hardest season to address, but also one of the most interesting for a variety of reasons.

Though there is the temptation to view it as “fan fiction with a budget,” it does have some interesting high points, even if you have to dig a little to find them. Luke showing up at Lorelai’s house ready to elope remains a heartbreaking scene no matter how many times you’ve seen it, and Paris’ SAT prep course where she inflicts her unique brand of truth telling on both students and their parents is one of the highlights of an already amazing character.

There’s also the very real fact that the Palladinos left our beloved denizens of Stars Hollow in some predicaments that would’ve proved difficult for any writers to extricate them from, including themselves. The cynics out there would suggest they did this precisely because they knew they were leaving, but that’s why I don’t spend much time with cynics.

The number of times Amy & Dan went to bat for Gilmore, and the care with which they developed this world and the people in it, makes it difficult for me to believe that they would engage in a “scorched earth” policy out of spite. For all of the angst to be found in Season 6, nearly every plot development rings true to the characters contained therein.

On the other hand, there are some scenes in Season 7 that should’ve worked but didn’t, and others that were poorly advised from the very beginning. The pedestrian way that Emily was jailed for using her cell phone while driving treated a very three-dimensional character like a pantomime dame, however funny the original idea was.

And the introduction of Rory’s friends Olivia and Lucy seemed to come about strictly to revisit the awkwardness between Rory and Marty. Olivia and Lucy would’ve seemed more at home in the “Aerie girl” commercials that book-ended several early episodes of Season 7 on The CW. (Note that this is not a criticism of the acting or casting, but of the characters themselves.) After six years of hearing just how rigorous Yale’s admission standards are, it’s a bit jarring to be presented with a pair of Yale students who seemed to have stepped off the set of Saved by the Bell.

That said, Season 7 showrunner David Rosenthal and his writers made the best of a very difficult situation, and for the most part managed to keep the characters true to themselves. If they didn’t apply the same strict standards that the Palladinos did (the insistence on delivering lines exactly as written quickly went out the window), they also didn’t have the same clout with the network that Amy did, meaning they couldn’t do exactly as they pleased.

(Of course check back with me after I finish the chapter on Season 7 to see how long that attitude holds out…)

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  1. August 31, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Great to find this website, I can’t wait for the book!

    I’m one of those rare GG fans who did not think Season 7 was horrible. To go even further, I will say that I think season 6 was the weakest of the series.

    To be clear, a week GG episode is 1000x better than anything on prime time now. But I truly thought that Season 7 ended up being a decent closure to this delightfully unconventional show. I liked that Lorelai made the colossal mistake of marrying Christopher and had to deal with it (remember it was AS-P who had Lorelai talking about wanting to get married at the end of season 6).

    I liked that Luke was ultimately redeemed when he took responsibility for messing up the relationship. For the first time he had to take a strong stand as a father and as romantic partner, and he came through. His character was pretty much decimated by the end of season 6 with the way he treated Lorelai, and it would have been a poor way to conclude. I also really liked how Lane & Mrs. Kim finally came to a respectful understanding during her pregnancy.

    And finally, I LOVE the way Rory finally stood up for herself at the very end. She loved Logan, but was not going to be tied down or swept away by his marriage proposal. She put herself, her career, and her dreams first, and this was very very true to the Rory we knew from the first season.

    I can’t wait to read the book, especially now that I know Season 7 will get a fair shake.

  2. September 1, 2010 at 6:29 am

    Hi Damon,

    Thank you for weighing in on the eternal Season 6&7 debate. Though I can’t comment on a weak GG episode being 1000 times better than anything on prime time now — I haven’t really watched television since Gilmore went off the air — I will certainly agree that the weak episodes were better than anything on TV at the time.

    I think you hit upon something very important in what you said — how you view those controversial seasons is down to what type of filter you view them through. If you’re expecting the quirky humor and outright whimsy of the first two seasons, you’re in for a bit of a shock. However, if you’re willing to take them on their own terms, you will enjoy them a great deal more.

    That said, there are two or three episodes in Season 7 that, in my opinion anyway, are abysmal by any standards. Mostly this is because they’re designed to undo some of the mistakes of previous episodes, and “show the joins” while doing so.

    I will have to break ranks with you only on Season 6. Though I remember vividly hating the whole Lorelai/Rory estrangement when the season first aired, it really grew on me with repeat viewings. It seemed true to both characters, though Lorelai’s hasty torpedoing of her relationship with Luke never made much sense to me, beyond being a symptom of her occasional selfish streak.

    One of the most interesting things, to me, is how similar Gilmore’s Seasons 6 & 7 were to the last two seasons of another WB series — Buffy. In both cases, Season 6 was the gritty, time-to-grow-up-now series, while Season 7 in both cases brought things full circle, if not in an entirely satisfying way. One thing I hope people will finally realize after reading The Gilmore Girls Companion is exactly WHY the series had such an abrupt ending — all being down to what was happening behind the scenes.

    Boy, THAT was a lot more than anybody wanted to hear from me 😉

  3. September 3, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    I’m glad to hear all of it. I enjoy your posts, your comments, and will be pre-ordering this book as soon as it’s available.

    The Season 6 estrangement just never made sense to me – from Rory’s standpoint. The whole conflict with Mitchum seemed contrived. She never doubted herself before, and Mitchum’s motivations for discouraging her were quite transparent. It made sense for Lorelai to take a “tough love” approach. And in another context, it would have been fascinating to see Rory drop out of her school, “find herself,” and rebel against Lorelai. Unfortunately, Mitchum’s disparaging remarks did not seem like a realistic basis for all this to unfold.

    I agree Season 7 had its weaknesses, but I feel GG fans give it a hard time in a vacuum. AS-P’s story threads were not always consistent either. I just watched the Jackson Wins Town’s Selectman episode again. Was his position ever brought up again? Did he get to keep his green house? Did Jason ever return from the bathroom? Maybe these and other pressing questions will be answered some day.

  4. September 4, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Though I think there may ostensibly something of the “contrived” about Mitchum/Rory story line, it is actually fairly consistent with Rory’s character, though the foreshadowing of her breakdown over her career choice was extremely subtle. In fact, I will have to admit that I didn’t catch it until I went through analyzing each episode for the book.

    There’s a point where Jess and Rory are driving and Jess says something, merely in passing, about the possibility that Rory might not have a career in journalism, and she completely freaks out. Later (I think it’s in “The Lorelais’ First Day at Yale”), Rory observes that she can’t very well be Christiane Amanpour reporting from a foxhole with her “mommy,” another sign that she’s carried a bit of self-doubt over her ability to a) break away from Lorelai, and b) become a journalist, long before Mitchum drops his bombshell. More interesting to me is that, on some level, she equates those two things in her head. In my opinion, a lesser showrunner would’ve taken the “mother and daughter as best friends” idea and made it consistently cutesy cutesy, without ever delving into the negative effects that situation might have on both mother and daughter.

    As for Jackson, yes, they did pretty much let that story line slip off and die quietly in a corner somewhere, which is probably for the best. As some have pointed out, it can be inferred that the election recount Taylor threatened the town with at the end of the election might’ve happened, and Taylor being Taylor, he probably had it rigged.

    The disappearance of Jason is an interesting case where the Powers That Be weren’t afraid to change course midstream, and realized there was simply not enough chemistry between Lorelai and Jason to keep that relationship going any longer. The one you really have to feel sorry for is poor Alex, who Lorelai dates for a while, and then simply stops mentioning.

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