At first glance, the opening scene seems promising – everyone is splashing and rollicking at the Stars Hollow pool (which is a thing!) and it looks so fun and omg it’s so cold here I really miss summer and pools! Then we focus on Lorelai and Rory lounging by the pool with hats and sunglasses and attractive summery clothes (not bathing suits), talking fast about…how dumb people are for wanting to swim? Wait, I really don’t buy this. They go on and on about how to get to the pool, you have to walk there in the sun, which is hot, which makes no sense if the purpose of the pool is to avoid the heat, and if the other purpose is to cool off in water, they should stay home and take a bath. Oh my goodness. I think this is a new conversational low point. Remember when their first conversation of the revival was about Goop? I miss those days. I fully and completely object to the idea that they would be anti-pool to such an extent that they question why people enjoy pools. Wtf. I liked how they finished each other’s sentences but that’s about it. And just when you think this scene can only improve, they start saying ‘belly watch!’ when fat people walk by. Oh the fat shaming is both shameful and not quick. What lazy humor, Dan. Shame. SHAAAAME.
Okay, now the crappy stuff must be over, right? But alas. Andrew comes over to the girls and says how he’s glad Rory’s ‘back’, to which Rory argues ‘I’m not back’. Then Lane and Zack come over and Zack says the same thing. (Lane shows what a good friend she is by immediately saying ‘She’s not back’, knowing that’s what Rory would want.) Again Rory protests ‘I’m not back!’ Because being back living in her mother’s house – which she is doing – would be embarrassing? Would mean she’s a failure? No, it doesn’t at all, and it’s super common nowadays because our generation has been given a destroyed system that adds insult to injury by having older generations blame us for what they wreaked. But having Rory so vehemently oppose the idea of people thinking she’s back shows that that’s exactly what she thinks and what the show’s universe and creators think. Fie on them for perpetuating this ignorant belief that should be relegated to the province of old white congressmen only.
Zack looks like Santa Claus.
Okay, NOW the crappy stuff must be over right? Right? HOLY SHIT ALL THE PREVIOUS AWFULNESS HATH BEQUEATHED THE WORST AWFULNESS OF ALL, APRIL! NOOOOOOO! Okay, breathe. We knew she was coming, we knew. It’s just that after a fully loaded 2 minutes of this episode, chock full of as many trite jokes and insulting platitudes that can be crammed into 2 minutes, to have April show up before we even reach the 3 minute mark is like a stress test gone berserk.
She goes on about how she only watches German silent films (I don’t know anyone who ever went through that phase) and yells at Luke that the Constitution says she can pierce her nose (same Constitution those republicans seems to be looking at) and then, worst of all, doesn’t get Lorelai’s jokes. Now the Woody Allen quote I’ll give her a pass on, because Woody Allen is a disgusting paedophile, so disgusting that I’m giving him the British spelling and saying it in my head like Ted Mosby. But to not laugh at the greatest Lorelai line in so long is unforgivable: When April claims she spoke to BLE Noam Chomsky (best linguist ever), Lorelai says, “Ah. To Noam is to love him” and I CACKLED. April just looked confused. I mean, that was the best line!
I noticed at this point that Luke is, and has been, acting like Upside Down Luke. It’s him, but like…not. He refuses to have conversations. He refuses to talk with Lorelai about finances and about how much he’s paying for April to do whatever she wants. You have to have those conversations, Luke! He just shuts Lorelai down crankily and that’s that. I want to Cher-in-Moonstruck him and shake him out of whatever grumpy funk he’s in. But he doesn’t seem like the adorably grumpy guy he used to be; he just seems like an unpleasant ass. And that’s not Luke. I don’t really understand why they have him acting completely devoid of emotion, of love, of kindness in this episode and in Spring, unless it’s to lead up to something that is going to be very disagreeable. I guess we know that’s coming, but to have Luke’s lovable character completely altered in this negative way does not feel true to the show, or to him.
I do love that he forgets so much about the TV show they’re watching (“The Returned”) that he says "Oh yeah these people live in this small town, right?” and Lorelai prompts “…and some of them are dead...” and he has completely forgotten that part. That’s the one very Luke thing in hours of revival so far.
No time to dwell on how the dream is dead because April decides to continue the conversation about how Rory is back home and how she too could fail like Rory and be spit out by the world and then she has an anxiety attack to mirror the one she gave me. April’s also wearing a rasta knit hat. I’m gonna need M.I.T. grad Bean to report to us on whether M.I.T. students wore those hats.
As almost a reflex when she’s dealing with the sads, Rory calls Logan for comfort, but learns that her affianced adulterer of a beau is now – what a gd surprise – living with the fiancée heiress. Instead of both of these morons realizing that maybe they should end their affair, they talk about what hotels Rory can stay in when she visits. Rory at least seems upset about having to stay in a hotel, but it’s probably not for a good reason like she’s coming to terms with her immorality but more likely because she doesn’t like the room service at the Savoy or she knows that Amber Riley’s unstoppable belting will travel up to her floor and keep her up at night.
Nope, they decide they’ll still see each other. Cool guys.
Yay a town meeting! With Carole King back as music shoppe owner Sophie! I love her even though it’s weird that she’s no longer singing the theme song because, sadly, the revival just starts, with no musical opening, which I strongly disagree with. Oh no. Oh no. The entire start of the meeting is about how Rory is back and how she should join up with ‘the 30-something gang’ of all the Hollow offspring who had to move back in with their parents and they go bowling and stuff. I’m offended in so many ways by this continued mockery, Daniel, and the suggestion that people in my age group enjoy bowling so much is not the least of it.
Why is there so much gd Bootsie in this episode yet we haven’t seen Patty in forever?! Bootsie sucks. I’m not okay with this lack of Patty at the town meetings – which are held in her own dance studio. There’s been a lot of Babette, and I adore Babette, but it’s almost too much of her, like they gave her all the time allotted for both Babette and Patty. Why isn’t Liz Torres doing more? Is she sick? Don’t be sick!
The next order of business at the town meeting is one I am fully behind – Taylor wants to put on a town musical! This is such an obvious plot device to cover up the Tweedledinos lack of good story ideas otherwise, but I don’t care because a musical! A musical! I am psyched. It’s going to be terrible, isn’t it? Yessss.
Nice to see that Stars Hollow now has roughly 6 people of color finally.
The last order of business is a new plot line for Rory that doesn’t involve adultery! How novel! The Stars Hollow Gazette is shutting down, not due to lack of funding or anything reasonable, but just because the editor is retiring. And because Taylor likes to do dumb things, the newspaper is shutting down instead of finding a new editor. Obviously, Rory cannot abide ending such a bastion of journalistic integrity/good coupons, and we can see the passionate fire of an extremely weak child trying to rub together two rocks growing inside her.
Before we see Rory save journalism as this series always told us she was born to do, we go back to the pool. Oh joy. Did I mention how they hired two little boys to hold parasols over them? I feel so bad for these little boys. It’s so hot out and they just want to play! It’s summer! But instead they have to listen to Lorelai and Rory do, what, plantation humor? as they talk in ‘humorous’ southern accents about how good their little servants are. Oof. And then more body shaming. Cool guys!
As the little boys trail behind the Girls, lugging all their crap, they see other kids playing and say, ‘That looks like fun.’ It’s not particularly funny, just sad, but I don’t see the point of including this at all unless it’s to show us that the Girls are horrible people. And while we know that they can be indeed horrible, I don’t believe that Daniel would want us to think that! Does he hate them? Is he throwing the game? It’s just so unnecessary unless he wants to spread hate. Which, to be fair, is so like him.
Yasss musical auditions!! The happiest time of year! Here’s Patty finally, handling the sign-up sheet with Babette. Her trademark lasciviousness seems almost forced, as her lewd comments to all the hot men are no longer funny but awkward. Her spark is lessened. Did all her amazing energy come from her old body? I did enjoy Babette’s “It says your name is Kevin but I’m going to call you…tomorrow.” Classic old lady line!
I cannot abide all the talk about how Sutton Foster played a character named Kinky Boots. As Lorelai points out, there is no character named Kinky Boots. As sadly NO ONE points out, there is no main role for women in the entire show. In fact, Sutton wouldn’t be right for any female role in the show, so this bothered me a whole lot. At least Kerry Butler/therapist Claudia is finally going to do something on this show she’s good at - sing! And while she talks to Lorelai about needing a good word put in for her (um you don’t you’re amazing), Sutton Foster is singing my favorite song to sing from ‘South Pacific’!!! What a great 40 seconds this was! Kerry sings too and was in such good voice. Slay queens.
Rory finally asks Taylor to let her save the Gazette, which, okay, this is a decent plot line for her. At least she’s writing. But apparently it is an unpaid position? Or when they said the salary was nothing did they mean in figurative terms? Because that’s b.s. otherwise. She does take a lot of scotch from the editor’s desk though. Maybe she likes getting paid in scotch. Insert happy shouting here for casting the great hilarious Jackie Hoffman as one of the Gazette staffers!
Okay now we have to talk about the most disturbing part of the revival, maybe the most disturbing thing ever on television. Guys. What the hell is going on with this little girl? She is either Alien Learning to Assimilate to Humans By Only Watching Old Cartoons Where Facial Expressions Didn’t Change, or Worst Child Actor in History. I realize I am bashing a child but I can live with it. I cannot tolerate this performance. Seriously, what is happening here? This Boy Statue is holding I’m guessing a phone, completely stationary, and Alien/Worst is just grinning like a fool LIKE A FOOL for wayyy too long than is necessary to make whatever point about Aliens/Terrible Child Actors they’re trying to make here. Michel and Lorelai could have thrown down on the reception desk and instantaneously conceived and birthed a centaur and I would not have been able to look away from this Medusa’s head of a child’s face.
After Michel gave these little monsters lollipops, he had the greatest line of the whole episode:
Michel: “On a scale of 1-10 how much did I sound like a child molester?”
Michel: “Getting better!”
Omg so wrong and it made me think of this best scene from “Peep Show”.
Michel asks Lorelai to drinks that night so they can talk, which feels ominous, and Lorelai feels it too. Seems like her fears about Michel leaving were well founded. Cool that she had all that support from Luke about it. As Lorelai walks away, Michel turns to check in a family, and we see what we never in a million years could have guessed would ever happen on this show: for one shot, the four people onscreen are all black, and that is awesome. Now that that’s over, “GG” will quickly return to its position as Whitest Show in TV history.
One thing that Daniel did very well here is to call back to the town meeting from ‘Winter’ or ‘Spring’, when Babette shouted something about the ‘secret bar’ in town, which we never previously heard anything about. Well, that’s where Lorelai and Michel go for their drink! I adore how they set it up, with the space looking like any regular, popular, lounge-y speakeasy space, Lane and Zack playing their instruments softly in the corner, Lorelai making terrible jokes, all normal, until a few shouts of “Five-oh! Five-oh!” (like Hawaii?) ring out from outside and everyone blows out their candles, grabs their drinks, folds up their tables and chairs, and stands flat against the wall in the dark. Then Taylor walks by – and sees nothing. I loved this reveal that this was the secret bar!!
So the news is that Michel is indeed leaving, for the W Hotel so he can run a spa like he was born to, and get paid more like he deserves but the Dragonfly can’t afford. I loved his defense of needing more money: “We have a baby on the way! Well I think Frederic ordered one, I have to check.”
Grumpy Luke is even grumpier as he prepares Burger Day at the Inn. WHY IS HE STILL COOKING AT THE INN? Can’t someone tell Lorelai just to hire a f-ing new chef? I cannot stand new mean Luke but I fully understand his grumpiness in this scene. But I would prefer he actually learn to communicate with Lorelai and tell her she’s being unprofessional by refusing to, you know, run her business.
Back at the Gazette offices (at night? These oldsters have to sleep, Rory!), Taylor apparently thinks he’s the editor and is preening his feathers like he owns the place. I guess as official King of the Hollow, Taylor does also run this, but if Rory’s not getting paid can’t she just kick him out? So annoying. We get a good few minutes of hilarioussss jokes about how old the computer system is. Why does this have to be a terrible experience for Rory? Why couldn’t this be her big return to running a newspaper? I hope it just means that something better awaits her in the next episode, professionally.
With zero help from her staff about wtf happens at this paper, Rory has to deliver the newspapers herself, by foot. She and Lorelai run around town in a delivery montage and fight about which part of town is east and which is west, while ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’ plays, and it’s all kind of dumb and blah, and then Doyle calls Rory, and honestly, I have never been happier to see Doyle! He is such a good character. In classic form, he complains that Rory butchered his movie review that he submitted to the Gazette – because she had to trim the original 20,000+ words he wrote. I like the insinuation that writing terrible screenplays would have lessened his sharp editing skills. And I love what a good friend he is that despite his success, and despite his divorce from Paris, he still helps out Rory. Decent guy.
I’m going to ignore the mid-montage inclusion of the 30-something gang and the continued mockery of this demographic and their love of Paul Thomas Anderson because it is painful, offensive, and trite.
After her papers are all delivered, Rory calls Emily, at noon, and Emily is still sleeping, and isn’t sure what day it is. She’s completely out of it, seemingly sick if not totaled by depression. Guys, if they decide to kill Emily Gilmore, I will revolt. I will riot in the streets. That would not only be horribly sad but it’s also just lazy storytelling! Get a better idea, Tweedles! Don’t kill her!
Finally, we made it to the musical! You’d think considering that most of this blog is musical reviews this is the part I’d be really qualified to write about. But holy mother of god, this was (luckily) like nothing I’ve ever seen. Omg! It’s so off its rocker while also being kind of funny and mostly just bad, but in a way that accurately lampoons bad musical decisions. It stars Broadway ledges Sutton Foster and Christian Borle, who have four Tonys between them and lots more nominations. Suffice it to say, they’re among the best of the best, so if you are unfamiliar with them, know that their performances here were CLEARLY DIRECTED to be terrible. But great still. But terrible.
Workin on buildin workin on buildin STAAAARS HOLLOW!
Obviously, the musical was painfully horrible, and the music and lyrics were worse than the Hugh Grant movie of the same name. But so much of it was bad in a funny way (despite the pain) and so many terrible decisions – like the standard tap moves that turned into a kickline – were on the nose for making fun of what bad musicals usually do. It was meta. Some lyrics cracked my shit up:
“We met so awfully cute
And you were ripe and curvy
You brought me a crown* of citrus fruits
Which I hoped would cure your scurvy”
*it sounded like crown and I refuse to listen to that again so we’re going with crown
“We’ll have 14 kids and hope that 3 will survive!”
The best was Babette whispering to Gypsy “The guy is hot.” And also the apparent relationship between Tom (the Dragonly contractor) and Carole King! I want to see that storyline! I loved the random shout of “Lafayette!” in the Revolutionary Time song, and thought it would be great if that was as close as the show got to referencing ‘Hamilton’ – makes fans think of it, but it’s not being annoying by actually saying flat out “we’re referencing Hamilton!”, and it can be easily ignored as not a reference at all (it prob isn't!). But, of course, I gave Daniel too much credit, because a minute later a third actor came onstage and started rapping. His first words were literally “Look I’m rapping, just like Hamilton on Broadway”. I mean. That’s not even funny. It literally hurt me to watch. I sacrifice so much for you. This is agitating my sciatica so much. $100 says the Tweedledinos never saw ‘Hamilton’, p.s. They can't get tickets.
The only ONLY good part of that piece of shit section is that the guy actually said ‘Lin-Manuel’ in his horrible rap, and now I cannot wait for Lin, who JUST started watching Gilmore Girls, like season 1, last week, to catch up and see that he’s mentioned. Can you imagine how weird that would be, to get into a TV show and then have them reference you? So weird.
Christian Borle was SO into the finale that I kind of loved it! And Sam Pancake’s faces throughout the musical were pretty amazing. I mean, overall, I may have loved all of it (except the rapping/Ham reference). It was so freaking perfect to end with ABBA playing and forcing the audience to stand up and dance and clap because I DESPISE when shows do that – they force you to give an undeserved standing ovation! That’s the whole trick! And all the oldsters love dancing and clapping along to songs from their youth, so they leave the theatre on a high and forget how shitty the show was. Oldest trick in the book (since jukebox musicals happened). So it was quite perfect that they included it here as yet another aspect that had Lorelai (the only voice of reason in the room) roll her eyes almost out of her head.
Ugh and then they talked more about Hamilton. No way on earth that Taylor knows who RZA is. Omg they just keep talking about it! Ughhhh. The entire post-show session with the advisory committee is soo infuriating. Lorelai raises legitimate concerns – like the fact that the female character apparently has sex 26 times in the show – and the rest of the group just calls her a prude. Maddening. To top off this whole shitty post-show, Carole King’s Sophie says that she’s written a few songs that the show could include – and she gets up and plays ‘I Feel the Earth Move’, which Taylor hates. Oh come on. This is dumb.
Luckily, all that b.s. ends with a cut to Emily hosting a DAR meeting. And guys, we have a new DAR member – BARB FROM COUGAR TOWN! Oh my god I literally screamed BARB!! Apparently she is playing the exact same character. Revel in her glory, especially the last scene:
Jess is in town to help Luke with Liz and TJ. Listen, if we don’t see Liz and TJ in the ‘Fall’ finale, I’m going to riot in the streets over this too. So Rory and Jess drink desk scotch and make small talk, until Rory confides in him that she feels like a failure, ‘coulda been a contender’ and isn’t, and is broke and has no car and let her license expire.
Back the f up, Rory.
First of all, you were driving your Prius the day before. So a) you do have a car, and b) you don’t seem to mind a little driving without a valid license.
Second, shut up with your whining about how broke you are. You just left your millionaire grandmother’s house, and she has never been shy about wanting to buy you all the things you could ever want. INCLUDING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN YALE TUITION. Your great-grandmother and OG Lorelai died several years ago and most definitely left you some moolah. Your grandfather just died and even moster definitely-er left you even more money. And to top it off, your father who is good for nothing BUT offering you money is richer than all of them put together! And then in the next scene you’re going to talk to Lorelai about how you’re looking for apartments in Queens and want a 2 bedroom place so princess can have a separate writing space! SO SHUT YOUR MOUTH ABOUT HOW BROKE YOU ARE! Especially to a guy who has built up his entire business from the ground up. What the hell Daniel! Get her story straight! This is infuriating. Why she so dumb.
Best is when she complains to Jess that all of her possessions are scattered around three different states (not to mention the other country, Adulterer). THAT IS YOUR FAULT, RORY. YOU DID THAT.
I used to very vehemently be on Not Team Jess, because he was such a shithead in his early seasons. But during my latest rewatch, later-seasons Jess is a winner. He has his shit together and he is the only guy who seems to understand Rory. Now, to continue the trend of him knowing what’s best for her, he suggests that she get out of this current rut by writing a book about her relationship with her mother. Um, yes, excellent advice! Do approve! It would be a fantastic way for Rory to achieve success in the universe of this show. Kind of pat but beautiful, I think.
Ps, you know that part in “Trainwreck” where Amy Shumer is at the movies with John Cena and some guy calls him Mark Wahlberg and Cena’s like, “Dude have you seen me?! I look like I ATE Mark Wahlberg!”? Jess looks like he ate teenage Jess. (In a good way. Have you seen this?!)
The next scene is upsetting in so many ways. The three Gilmore Girls go to the cemetery to see Richard’s new headstone - #5, because Emily is so picky or really they just keep getting the stone wrong! She can be picky about this. (Except, in general, like, stop burying people. Gross.) Emily has a new man friend, which is alarming, but hopefully he helps her get through her malaise. I loved when Lorelai was complaining about him to Rory, and how she couldn’t find anything online about him because there were too many Jack Smiths. “Try searching John, Jack is short for John.” “Okay googling John Smith and now my phone is just laughing at me.”
For the first time, Emily is right about Lorelai's relationship with Luke. It turns out Luke never told Lorelai about that day when Emily ambushed him with Ida Attorney and took him to see franchise locations. Emily asks Lorelai, “Do you and that partner of yours ever talk about anything?” No, Emily, no they don’t.
Lorelai and Rory finally get a moment to themselves to chat about Rory’s big project – she’s decided to take Jess’s advice and write their story. Their moment comes at the cemetery, which lends itself well to a terrible joke on Lorelai’s part that cracked me up: “So what it is about! I’m dying to hear-- (looks around) Sorry just an expression.” So dumb but I laughed. But when Rory tells Lorelai she’s writing about their relationship, their ‘journey’, Lorelai is not laughing. She’s actually angry and upset. We have rarely seen her like this, especially with Rory. As Rory explains more of the format, Lorelai just simply says “No.” She does not give her permission. I am shocked, really, at her reaction to this. She says how it’s her life and how she tried very hard to make sure that people only knew what she wanted them to know. This all seems very much out of left field, considering how Lorelai’s arrival in Stars Hollow with baby Rory was in the newspaper back then! Everyone knows everything about her journey! I don’t buy this AT ALL. No way in hell Lorelai wouldn’t love this idea. She’d be proud to be the subject of Rory’s ‘brilliant’ writing.
A very frustrated Lorelai goes to Luke’s diner for coffee, which he tries to stop her from because it would waste the whole pot. Um, has he met Lorelai? She finally snaps and asks how much longer he’s going to be like this. Good question, I’ve been asking the same thing! Just a total dull grumperpuss! She confronts him with the fact that he didn’t tell her about Emily and the franchise locations – but he responds with how she lied about continuing therapy with her mother. I thought this would finally get them to speak kindly with each other, if Lorelai admitted to him that she’s been going on her own because she felt she needed it. I was so pumped for Luke’s take on this reveal. But instead of seeing him respond to her with love and kindness, he flat out does not believe her. She finally confides in him the secret she’s been keeping from him for fear of what he would think of her, and he does not believe her. Literally the worst thing he could possibly do to her, or anyone can do to anyone they supposedly love. They start fighting in front of customers and it’s very awkward, until Luke reminds her of their ‘deal’ – that they live separate lives, and keep their bits to themselves, as Lorelai set up. Obviously she did not set this up. That’s just what Luke wants, and Lorelai realizes that he sees them as two separate players and not as a team.
In the middle of a very emotional Lorelai sandwich is an emotional Rory filling, in which she talks to Lane about her fight with her mom while she reflexively keeps calling Logan and hanging up. Logan finally gets through to her and asks, Ace, wtf? in so many words. Rory explains how she keeps wanting to talk to him about her life but can’t, because she can’t ignore his fiancée anymore, like he apparently can. They ‘break up’, although Rory’s acknowledgement that they can’t ‘break up’ because they are ‘nothing’ was pretty sad. Is that the end of Logan Huntzberger? I can’t believe he is going to go out with a silent phone hang up. But I think he’s only in three episodes, so that might be that. Wow. Wait but Finn and Colin haven't shown up yet and they wouldn't be in Fall without Logan, right? Maybe Logan's in 4 eps. I kind of hope that isn't the end of Logan! What's happened to me?!
Back to sad Lorelai stuff – Taylor and the guy from Brooklyn wrote a new song for the musical and invited the advisory committee to hear it. This is such by-the-numbers storytelling but I don’t care because the new song is actually good. Lorelai thinks so too, and it speaks to her. Don’t get me wrong, it would have less than zero business being in the Stars Hollow Musical as we know it. But as a plot device used to speak to Lorelai, it’s great. Lauren Graham is at her best in this scene and up to the end of the episode. We see in her eyes everything she’s feeling as she listens to the song, and as the lighting focuses just on Sutton and her, blacking out everyone else in the room, her anguish is powerful and staggering. She recognizes her own struggles in the music and connects deeply to the message as she starts to cry. It’s such a strong scene for her and for this revival, finally, to let her/anyone feel real emotion and acknowledge that something needs to be done about it.
On that note, she goes home to find Luke fixing things up like nothing happened at the diner. But Lorelai is shaken, and something is obviously different. She quietly informs Luke that she is going away, maybe for a while. She is doing ‘Wild’, she says – you may have noticed she was reading Cheryl Strayed’s famous book at the pool. He’s confused and makes dumb comments about how she can’t possibly know what that entails and isn’t serious. But this is a quietly determined Lorelai that we haven’t seen in a long time. She is going. Luke can’t stop her. He finally asks her a question he’s probably never asked her before - ‘why’ – and she responds with the quote from the song, "Because it’s never or now." That's not really why, though, Luke; it's because you are being a complete diddadoof and she needs you to snap out of it and realize how much you love her and how you need to work harder and be better.
This scene is spectacular. The acting is top notch, the kind we used to see all the time in this show. And it is so cathartic to finally see Lorelai and Luke even approach talking about what they need, what they feel. And how this relationship is in need of a lot of work. Everything about it was perfect and moving and almost made up for the rest of the episode. I’m so glad this revival is finally addressing what needs to be addressed – and I’m trying not to focus on the fact that they are seriously running out of time to do it properly.