Monday, May 02, 2005

Strained Snark

As a big 'ol pop culture geek and TV fan, I, like any good webizen, am a fan of the snark and obsession on display over at Television Without Pity. However, there are times when the obsessive need to mock everything can get to be a tad much. It's like in those shooting video games, where bad guys pop up over and over and over and you shoot them; except every now and then a woman with a baby pops up and if you shoot her you lose points. The TVWOP folks are kind of like that, so ready with the snark gun that they'll, at times, shoot anything that moves.

So, in a kind of turanround-is-fair-play move, I'm going to here point out how a typical review can get a bit overzealous with the snark. The piece in question is Sara M.'s review of the April 26, 2005 episode of Gilmore Girls, on the WB. Quotes from Sara's review are in italics, with my comments following:

Rory apologizes for the underage drinking, and Lorelai lectures that Rory, of all people, should know the dangers of Miss Patty's Punch after Lorelai had too much at last year's "Salute to the Quakers" festival and did a Coyote Ugly bar dance. And also, apparently, traveled back in time to the year 2000, when that pop-culture reference was still relevant.

What, exactly, is the appropriate pop culture reference to use when describing drunken bar dancing by hot women? And when did 2000 become laughably dated?

Rory says he's right, and that this isn't Logan's fault. She just can't be "one of the many" anymore. You know who else didn't like being one of the many? Lindsay. Or, for that matter, Dean.

The reference here is to the fact that Rory, at the end of last season, had sex with a married man, and therefore, apparently, should, based on that one transgression, never expect fidelity from a mate again in her life. As if her behavior is an example of a continuity error, the writers forgetting that she had cheated, as opposed to a little hypocrisy on her part, hardly an unusual character trait for a human being.

Paris arrives at the dorm and finds Doyle in her bed. He explains that he's really sick, and that his roommates kicked him out. He had nowhere else to go (apparently the Yale Infirmary is not open on weekends)

No one at my college went to the infirmary; its ineptness being legendary. It's hardly odd that a college student suffering from a bad cold wouldn't run to the infirmary. I also doubt that any colleg student would call it the "infirmary," ours was a "health center."

Lorelai asks Michel for a rundown of the kitchen staff and what their jobs are, which you'd think she would know herself, being the owner or whatever of the Inn. I guess she's hands-off when it comes to aspects of Inn management that involve actual management.

Or she trusts her chef to manage the kitchen herself?

Logan and Rory have finished lunch and make plans to see a movie. Don't they have, like, classes? Or, if it's still the weekend, work to do?

We only see these characters for 42 minutes an episode, 22 times a year. That's 924 minutes a year, which is only 15 or so hours of their lives we the viewing audience are glimpsing, 15 hours in an entire year. That in choosing which hours to focus on they don't select the studying hours seems fair to me.

I really don't get why she is so cool with Logan not wanting to be with her.

She's not; she's understanding of the idea that commitment is new for him, and that, a mere hour or two into said commitment, he might not be completely at ease with the idea.

Lorelai is sick of working, so she goes home

Remember--15 hours. Do we really need to see her signing paychecks?

He (the kitchen worker) says it again in Spanish, although I have no idea how or why a small town in Connecticut would have a predominantly Spanish-speaking staff.

I live in a small town in Northern New Jersey, very near to, and demographically similar to, Connecticut, and many restaurant kitchens employ Hispanics.

As Grandpa Rich tells Richie that he has a responsibility to the family business, Richie stands up and walks out of the house. Rory follows, saying she doesn't understand why his family doesn't think she's good enough: "I mean, I'm a Gilmore! Do they know that? My ancestors came over on the Mayflower!" She adds that she went to Chilton, and goes to Yale, and even had a coming-out party! There goes my sympathy for her. Rory asks why no one has a problem with Josh, who doesn't even speak. It might be because by not speaking, Josh isn't making himself look like a snob by listing his good breeding credentials.

It seems pretty obvious that Rory is simply confused as to why she wouldn't be good enough, her family being rich snobs just like Logan's, and not actually putting dows poor Josh, and by pretending otherwise, Sara seems to be straining for the snark.

See--that wasn't so bad.

Let me be clear that Sara liked the episode, and that I like TVWOP. Reading Sara's review, I laughed a few times. The foregoing was just an attempt to point out that the good folks there can sometimes get a bit heavy handed with the snark, and be overly critical of a genre that, let's face it, gets plenty of criticism out there in the real world.

Until Whenever

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