Welcome back to the third, and maybe worst episode of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, where we spend 15 minutes on the town musical, a terrible title card, a disappointing fat-shaming joke, Rory’s new unpaid job, going Wild, and the book. Yes, so many things happen in this episode, sometimes it’s difficult to keep track. I will help, though, to flesh out some of those more “what were they thinking?” moments, “awe” moments, and even those “this is seriously droning on, make it stop” moments.
The Title Card.
Wow, for a second let me just tell you something. The title card in this episode was the worst title card of all episodes. It was a sign at the pool that says that the pool is open for the summer season, and the camera zooms into the word summer and puts a little stretched out horizon over the word. It’s just not great.
Back Fat Pat
Oh, Amy Sherman Palladino, we know you were problematic back in the 2000s, but nowadays it’s harder to get away with it without being noticed. In “Winter” and “Spring” were doing so well. Then, you had to put in that fat joke. I’ve got to say, it was a big let down when we hear the joke about Back Fat Pat. Not entirely sure who your team of professional developers were who looked over the script and what not, but they did a pretty bad job if no one was going to cut that. Anyway, long story short, Amy, fat shaming was never, and will never be okay, and that joke definitely got the show off on the wrong foot.
Rory is not back, didn’t you hear? But she got a job…
Yeah, okay, I’m going off again on Rory’s story arch. Everyone in the town is at the pool coming up to Rory in the beginning of the episode, welcoming her back into Stars Hollow, as if no one has anything better to talk about than Rory’s homecoming (which they probably don’t). Once again, we see neighbor after neighbor coming up and saying hello and that they’re just “so thrilled” she’s back, when she practically screams each time, “I’m not back! Spread the word!” She’s not back because, oh, what’s that? Right… she doesn’t have a job, or a home. She’s homeless, living with her mother at 32 years old, but doesn’t want to admit it. Now, look, I’m not blaming Rory for her inevitable, spiraling downfall and failure, nor am I blaming Emily, Richard, Luke, or even Lorelai. It is very difficult for any millennial to get a job these days. A college degree doesn’t get you nearly as far as it did 30 years ago. Now, you need a college degree in two fields, three masters, and two PhDs, and 25 years of experience to get and entry level job in a company! However, the way Rory handles her situation is untidy and unrealistic. No, you won’t be handed jobs on a silver platter, Rory, you have to work for them.
The 30-Something Club and the Gazette
I’m going to cluster these two bullet points because they both take place at around the same time. They both have to do with Rory, and her place in Stars Hollow as well. At the town meeting, where we first hear about Stars Hollow: The Musical, we also catch our first glance at the 30-Something Club, a group of 30-something year olds who are living with their parents because something went wrong for them. Everytime someone mentions the gang around Rory, she cringes, and thinks the idea is ludicrous and silly. The reality is that she is a part of that gang, no matter how much she thinks she’s above it. She thinks because she was the wunderkind of Stars Hollow, that everything should come easily to her, and she has yet to understand that it won’t! Subsequently, after Taylor announces that the Stars Hollow Gazette will be on its final leg, Rory gets audibly upset by this, so clearly, she’s going to take it over. What doesn’t make sense is that Rory doesn’t get paid to take over the Gazette. She’s working in this very old looking newspaper office, with two very old staff members, a very old computer, and Taylor, saying, “Oh no, this is just volunteer work.” Rory partly may have taken the job because she wanted to save her local paper, but has she also taken the job to just keep up appearances?. After a quick, and enlightening visit from Jess, Rory mulls over the idea of writing a book instead, taking her life in another way. This brings me into my next segment.
The headstone and the book
Once Rory has decided she’s going to write the book about herself and her mom, she feels obligated to ask her mom for permission. They all go to the cemetery where Richard is buried, to see what the fourth headstone looks like, because the other three were all disfigured in some way. Alas, then Emily Gilmore finds, yet another deformity on the headstone, and must get it re-done again. I actually really liked this joke. It was a sweet nod to Richard, but also a classically Gilmore Girls thing to joke about. While Emily is speaking to whomever, Rory asks Lorelai about the book, and Lorelai gives this crazy reaction of “no way” but some of us don’t really agree with why she has this reaction. Is it because Lorelai knows that she was a kind of sucky parent, and she got very lucky to have someone like Rory who wasn’t too insane of a kid (or rather, a wunderkind)? Lorelai does bring up some horror stories that she wouldn’t want to be included in the book, and evidently, says no to the book being written, meaning Lorelai, deep down, truly believes she was a bad parent. However, it’s not hard to see yourself that way when you’re brought up believing you were a bad child, then you had a kid while you were still a kid yourself. However, this raises a lot of questions about the morals of Lorelai, and whether or not, all these years, she truly judged herself as a good parent or not. Here, we see, she thinks not.
Oh my god. This musical was very funny, with the terrible, terrible songs, but it should have ended with ABBA. I think having that whole commentary after the musical with Carole King and just totally adding unnecessary time, where we could have been talking about Lane or Mrs. Kim, was just a complete mystery to me. God forbid we give minor characters a story arch, and just a nod. It was really disappointing, not that the musical happened, but that we spent so much time we could have used in other crucial, underdeveloped plots, on it.
Finally, at the end of the episode, we see Lorelai making a big decision, which we’ll see being carried out in “Fall.” After a few fall outs with Luke, where we, as viewers, discover that their communication skills have not gotten better over the past eight years, Lorelai demands to herself to make a change. She decided to go Wild, or rather, follow a book about a woman who discovers herself while exploring the wilderness. Oddly, it’s difficult for us to imagine Lorelai going Wild, because Lorelai doesn’t seem the person who likes the wild, which is true. However, she wants to make this change, which seems like it’s going to be the end for Luke and Lorelai, but again, Amy Sherman Palladino always has a trick up her sleeve.
I hope all of you enjoyed the third segment to my commentary. Next time, after winter break, I will come back to you with the final “Fall” commentary. It will be filled with heartbreak, weird montages, finality, and the amazingness of Emily Gilmore’s character development (arguably the best character development in the show).
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