Summer || Gilmore Girls || Review


“You won’t get anything unless you ask for it. And if you ask for it, maybe it wasn’t worth having in the first place. Some things are just never meant to be, no matter how much we wish they were.”
-        Carolyn Bates (6x22 – Gilmore Girls)
This was one of the final lines Amy Sherman-Palladino wrote for ‘Gilmore Girls’ ten years ago, when Lorelai’s relationships (particularly with Luke) were absolutely crumbling and Lorelai was completely shutting down.

When the psychologist offers Lorelai the opportunity to talk, Lorelai takes it and is given advice which would make any JavaJunkie fan bawl. 'Summer' reintroduces this mindset, as Lorelai has struggled to articulate her insecurities regarding her and Luke’s relationship. It manifests itself in ‘Winter’ as Luke can’t read between the lines about why she’s so insistent about discussing surrogacy and adoption, and Lorelai can’t bring herself to explain how her insecurities stem from her past – in terms of her pregnancy, her parent’s treatment of her and as we find out in ‘Fall’, how men in her life have devalued her.  I’ve mentioned that Lorelai internalises others’ opinions of her in ways which probably affected how she raises Rory, but Luke fell in love with her and stayed, but without having explored their underlying problems together. We are given glimpses into Lorelai’s therapy sessions in this mini-series, but when she finds her therapist auditioning for the Stars Hollow Musical, Lorelai has lost that connection just as April becomes an issue for Luke and Lorelai. April is not the issue, but she represents how Luke and Lorelai choose to run separate lives without ever investing themselves fully – and when Lorelai tries to break that habit (again), by asking if April’s expenses are both their responsibility, she’s promptly shut down – and again, Lorelai has nowhere to run. So, she runs away (literally). (Easter egg for observant Gilmore Girls fans. The opening scene depicts Lorelai reading ‘Wild’). Before she leaves however, she gets in an argument with Rory over her decision to publish a book.
“Do whatever you want, Rory. You’re a big girl. I can’t stop you.”“No. That’s not how you and I work. We don’t do the passive-aggressive thing. That’s how you and your mother work. You’re supposed to be on my side. I need this.”
Lorelai and Rory’s relationship has been consistently idealised, in my opinion, and I don’t think it was ever the intention. I think it was an honest exploration into a specific type of parent-child relationship, where issues that arise are not typical in the teenage sense, but are authentic to the reality that familial drama and relations are inherently intertwined with how they were raised. Lorelai and Rory’s relationship is a direct result of Lorelai and Emily’s in that Lorelai tries to keep an open dialogue so she’s always in the loop, but the upbringing she had, and the opportunities she missed out on hold themselves over Rory’s head. In 5x22, Lorelai says, “She was supposed to have more than me. She was supposed to have everything.” Everything Lorelai did was to prevent Rory from making the same mistakes she did, and I think Rory and Lorelai share a trait of internalising other’s expectations of them. It’s this characteristic which played a significant role in Rory not ending it with Dean when she needed to, and it’s partly why she drops out – because Rory doesn’t know how to keep going when she feels the weight of expectation and potential disappointment.

When Rory chooses to write this book, it’s because Jess has given her something she needs when she’s been flailing – a goal. Rory thrives off consistent support, because she’s had a best friend from the day she was born – and she needs someone to fulfil that role as she moves through life. It’s why she struggles in Season 4, and how she ends back in the arms of Dean despite knowing it’s wrong. It’s why she calls Logan subconsciously while she’s ranting to Lane. (Do not take me as ignoring how Rory has been in this revival because I’m completely uncomfortable with the cheating element, but there are parts I understand.) Rory expects Lorelai’s approval, and she needs it – and the only times she could overcome that is by leaning on someone else temporarily.  

Lorelai struggles with accepting Rory’s choices, but it’s something that’s subtler because Lorelai views herself as a best friend, and only brings out the ‘mom card’ (a version of herself which mirrors Emily Gilmore) occasionally. When Rory explains her book plans, we see Lorelai’s insecurities rise to the surface – as she holds onto a world of insecurities that she doesn’t want the world to have a say in.  It’s completely unreasonable in the way Lorelai throws Rory’s transgressions in her face but it’s realistic because it’s how she handles criticisms against her. 

We know Lorelai values her independence, but it’s evident in her argument with Rory that independence gave Lorelai the opportunity to find herself without having to acknowledge others’ expectations – and Rory’s idea threatens that. That’s not to say Rory shouldn’t write the book, especially not when Rory insists she needs to do this because she’s clearly been holding onto this story for… something – but it does highlight an issue that I feel is glossed over, that Rory and Lorelai’s relationship is hardly perfect, especially when Lorelai reveals her harsher side even when Rory doesn’t deserve it. (I would’ve given Rory attitude over the whole Logan thing in the last episode but anyway). Lorelai also took this fight as another opportunity to comment on Jess, and while I feel Lorelai should be giving him more credit as he has grown significantly – she’s having issues with how she views herself. Lorelai is defined by her ‘inability’ to commit by Emily Gilmore, and she forged an alternative path to overhaul that image. Jess was a remarkable parallel to her in some ways (barring their childhoods) in that they both struggle massively when they’re young before they find themselves. His success isn’t fully shown in this series, yet it’s implied. It may seem Lorelai is holding onto her grudge towards Jess, but the way Lorelai says ‘I’m looking forward to Jess’ take on me’ pronounces the parallel and suggests Lorelai’s argument with Rory may not be about anyone but herself.

Additional Notes:

  • Of all the characters who can’t binge television, it’s not surprising it’s Luke. “We get through one episode, then half of another then he gets tired and falls asleep. Then he won’t watch again till a week later and which point he has not only forgotten the abandoned but the episode we watched before. Then we have to start all over again.” As someone who was up till 3am watching the entire revival (I experienced four seasons in complete darkness!), this is the moment I stopped identifying with Luke Danes.
  • I have a few more thoughts on April. Firstly, I was under the impression she would be at the Friday Night Dinners in Hartford! Secondly, I found her personality disorienting. I think I was just expecting something different. Finally, I don’t like Anna but I’m a little surprised no one even name-dropped her when they were talking about April going to Germany and graduate school. Luke wouldn’t the only one paying for April’s fees because Anna didn’t raise her for 12 years alone to cut her off.
  • The hypocrisy of Rory when she’s not okay staying in a hotel when they’ve been cheating for a while before this nauseates me. The moral high ground doesn’t exist in this situation.
  • I enjoyed the newspaper montage, and I loved seeing Rory in an environment she understands. Random thought: Every time Rory says ‘crap’, I just think of the time Luke freaked at her saying ‘hell’, haha.
  • The fat jokes were cheap. This show has never been the most diverse, but that joke was gross. In the original series, Lorelai declares her inability to gain weight despite her poor diet the ‘Lorelai Paradox’. Why on earth are she and Rory being so judgy?! Also, I found the gag with the kids being treated as slaves is so uncomfortable to watch. There’s too many issues in the world where these jokes can be normalised and not be considered insensitive.
  • SPOILER: Michel tells Lorelai he’s going to leave and head to the W Hotel in New York because he needs more money and responsibility, and Lorelai needs someone cheaper. In an interview today, Yanic Truesdale reveals that they filmed an additional scene where Lorelai and Michel get a spa (SEASON 7 reference) – suggesting that Michel would stick around.
  • When Doyle yells at Rory, he’s at Paris’ apartment. Coupled with Paris’ missed period, is it possible they’re back together?!
  • Either Rory is blind to her privilege or the writers are. Rory might not have underwear or a car, but she seemingly has enough to fly back and forth between London and Connecticut, and potentially change flight plans when she’s ‘bored’.
  • I don’t have much to say about Emily, because I have so many thoughts for ‘Fall’. I loved how we could already see how tired she was with the world she entered without thought upon marriage. Since this is my least favourite episode, I think it’s probably time to talk about race portrayal in this show. I watched this show in 2015, but I knew it was a show created in 2000. I let the iffy portrayals of people of colour in this show go because I didn’t know what the norm was. I let the mostly white nature of the town go because I just wanted to watch the show. Things have changed a lot for me since then. I’ve made it priority to learn about racial disparity, how bigotry and hatred percolates itself through our societies which is what made the presence of Berta uncomfortable. While I appreciate Emily doesn’t treat her maids as dispensable anymore, the ‘Spanglish’ they have Berta speak just seems so insulting. 
  • “This should’ve all worked itself out by now…. I am not unbreakable. I am breaking right now. Maybe everyone can’t have the dream.”
  • I don’t think the musical needed to be so long, but I liked it. The last song was incredible and I think I’m going to make a fan video with it. Stay tuned for that J


Comments

  1. I really like your writing! I never really thought about the Rory/Lorelai dynamic and your right, it isn't perfect. Lorelai projects her life goals onto Rory and Rory in returns expects her mother to just agree with everything she does, up to and including cheating on her perfectly nice boyfriend. And the Berta thing was so weird, I kept on thinking it was supposed to be Gypsy's character in disguise playing some sort of con/joke on Emily and someone would recognise her but no. It was just an unfunny bit that wouldn't end. Additionally did you think that the Lorelai/Luke plot was just too sad? Like Luke never got the chance to be a real Dad because they never talked about it? The way their relationship ended up was depressing, like they were too afraid to ask for what they wanted and wasted 10 years of their lives. Bleak.

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  2. Hey! First of all, thank you so much for reading my reviews (I assume you left a comment on 'Spring' as well)! :)

    Yeah, I felt similar about the whole Berta plot. It also doesn't seem to show any growth on ASP's side in regards to how she views diversity and how anyone who isn't like her is just someone who no-one understands.

    Anyway, the Luke/Lorelai plot grew on me. It worried me a great deal when 'Winter' suggested that Luke just went along with whatever Lorelai wanted and ignored his own desires, but by the time I watched 'Fall', I started to feel he didn't need to have a biological kid with Lorelai. I think he meant it when he said he had April and felt like a father figure to Rory, only still holding onto the fact he subconsciously expects people to know what he wants. I truly do believe if they had a conversation about what they wanted, Luke would've been dead sure he didn't want more children - but you're right that the first three episodes of the revival didn't make that clear at all. Luke's speech in 'Fall' saved that relationship for me - because Luke was learning to use his voice and even realise he didn't need more - just that he needed to *talk* to Lorelai.

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