Lots of hay has been made over the fact that this season of Gilmore Girls is the first produced without the show's singular voice, it's creator and writer of many episodes, Amy Sherman-Palladino. And lots of critics (see Alan Sepinwall's blog for a sample) are saying that in the premier episode the magic is gone - that new showrunner David Rosenthal's attempts to replicate the fast-talkin', pop culture-alludin', singular style of Sherman-Palladino's dialogue are impressive but in the end obviously an imitation of the real thing. But I wonder. I wonder if Sepinwall and many of his fellow critics would feel the same way if they hadn't been writing reams and reams about the Palladinos exit over the last six months, if they weren't so focused on the fact that the creators are new, if they didn't know all of this backstage stuff so well. After all, it's worth remembering that the average viewer has no idea who is in charge of a show, or who is writing it - the average viewer most likely doesn't know anything about the change. My guess is that if they didn't know the writers and creators were different they wouldn't have a problem with the premiere - it's a case of not being able to get around preconceived notions.
Because I thought the premiere was very, very sharp, with some classic-level GG dialogue and interactions. The whole raquetball thing, in particular, was wonderfully written and played, and very true to these characters. But most impressive for me was how Rosenthal handled the big mess he was handed - the seemingly needless (and repetitive--we've already done the Luke-Lorelai breakup thing) Luke-Lorelai breakup. And he handled it by addressing it head on. Lorelai slept with Christopher, she felt horrible about it, but she wasn't running back to Luke either. I actually was waiting at one point halfway through the episode, when Luke first came to Lorelai to apologize, for Luke to ask Lorelai to marry him right then and there. And then at the end of the episode, he did. And she said no - that it was really over. And, panicked, he insisted that it couldn't be. And she told him she had slept with Christopher. And he stormed off, obviously as devastated, angry, and hurt as he's ever been. Let me tell you, that scene right there was as well-written and acted as anything I've ever seen on this show. Kudos to Rosenthal--this is one fan who ain't going anywhere.