Checking in with the Girls
(Gilmore Girls spoilers lie ahead)
So we're a good halfway through (little more, I think, actually) the first Sherman-Palladino-less season of Gilmore Girls and from what I've read, the critics and pop-culture bloggers of the land are less than thrilled. The bloom is off the rose, and I haven't read nary a critic or blogger express much of a desire for the show to get another season. And while I concede some of their points, I have to admit to being impressed with what new producer Daniel Rosenthal and his crew have done with the hand they've been dealt this season.
After all, the decision to have Lorelai leave longtime-flame-more-recent-beau Luke and hop into her daughter's father's bed was the previous regime's, not his. And the impulse surely must have been there to write away that development, much reviled by GG fans, as quickly as possible. But no, they took their time and dealt with it fairly organically, to the point that it was only finally resolved with the dissolution of that relationship last week. But what really compelled me to post was one recent moment in particular.
The catalyst for the breakup of Chris and Lorelai is a character reference Lorelai writes for Luke to help him get partial custody of his daughter. Chris finds the letter and pretty much loses it. Nothing fancy going on so far. But what I really loved is how they made it clear without ever hitting us over the head with it that the real reason Chris gets so angry, is that the letter, without meaning to, points up what a poor father he was to Rory. As the letter points out, Luke was always there for the two Gilmore girls. And, even with all of the stuff that's happened, he always will be there. And Chris wasn't. And in the episode immediately following, he once again isn't. We never hear Lorelai tell him that his absence still hurts after all these years; we never hear Chris get defensive about his absence. But it sits there, in our view but un-highlighted, as the real reason for his anger, as the real reason for Lorelai's inability, much as she might wish to, to truly trust him (which is why she can't, in the end, love him, trust being so critical to love). It's a subtle bit of writing that I haven't seen credited anywhere, and that I want to, in my very small way, acknowledge.
Yes, Gilmore Girls has had its moments of flailing this year (and last). But it still does a lot of things exceptionally well.