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…)