Season 4 was a turning point for Gilmore Girls as a whole. We left familiar settings and had both Rory and Lorelai try something new: college and opening an inn. Season 5 sees Lorelai’s inn running, and Rory still at college, but while season 4 at least still had some of the charm of the first three seasons, season 5 is where things get… Icky.
This is basically where everything starts going to hell.
I’ve been putting this off since basically the very first review, but I feel like I need to preface this one and all the ones to come.
I connect with this show on a very personal level. A very personal one. There are… Uncanny biographical similarities between me and Rory for the first three seasons, is the thing. So much so that she may or may not have been my idol when I was roughly 14 and found myself at a new and demanding school and with a brand new half-sibling coming from less than ideal circumstances, being raised by a financially struggling single mother.
To be fair, since I look nothing like Alexis Bledel, my boyfriends also looked nothing like Rory’s, and I pride myself in having marginally better taste, but still. This show has always meant a lot to me, and I always connected with it in a way that is probably a bit more intimate than it is for the average viewer. And I mean, my reviews have focused more on Rory and her plots on the whole, so… Consider this me owning my biases.
I identify with Rory’s awkwardness around authority figures who don’t immediately like her, her need to overachieve, and her social awkwardness. I grew out of most of these things, but damn do I feel her there. I adore the Rory who closes her door to parties and just reads, and who goes on Spring Break to eat pizza and watch movies with her friend.
I have no patience for the snippy, entitled, spoiled party girl she is going to become over the course of this season. #NotMyRory
Alright. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…
Let’s do this!
Taking out the trash
We start the season with post-coital Rory and Dean in bed, declaring eternal love for each other and calling this hurried romp in a tiny bed while one of them is married the bestest, most perfectest moment evar. To commemorate this, Rory puts on the very same Candyman song Taylor once sang in season 3. This is oddly fitting in a way the show most likely didn’t intend it to be.
And really, let me just run through everything we have left of Dean here. It’s only 8 episodes, and then we are free.
Rory is still acting like Lorelai wronged her somehow, and this is the first prolonged and ugly fallout between them. And, oh my god how long has it been since I said it—Lorelai being absolutely in the right with Rory acting out for no justifiable reason is, hold on to you hats, A TREND!
It’s kinda funny that they traded levels of maturity some time at the end of last season, with a grown-up Rory finally being less mature than her mother. And by funny I mean oh god why.
The inn is so, so pretty though.
But because she has some semblance of her brain left, Rory arranges to meet with Dean in Miss Patty’s studio, talk things out and end this before it happens again. Unfortunately, they are both still suffering from what I’ll call Maxeritis, which prevents them from getting closer than five feet of each other without fucking.
Lane: You had sex at Miss Patty’s? She would be so proud.
Lane somehow acts like this is some grand romantic adventure, instead of, you know, being horrified that Dean is cheating on his wife with Rory or something. This is very odd, considering both the usual morality of this show, and certain other biases she developed due to her religious upbringing that will come up this season.
Anyhow. Before they can do it in his marriage bed or in the gazebo or any other number of inappropriate places, Rory leaves for Europe with her grandmother, due to slight manipulations by Lorelai, but mostly her own inability to stand up for herself.
The events of this episode, by the way, are juxtaposed against scenes of Lindsay desperately trying to figure out how to make roast beef because Dean has been so upset lately and he loves roast beef. And by upset I mean he goes to the hulking over her and yelling place after finding out she answered his phone. “It could have been work,” he says. Dude, last season established that your wife served lunch to the entire construction crew on a regular basis; I think Tom knows she exists. Ugh.
Lindsay gets really desperate, and also dresses up in a pretty Marilyn Monroe dress to serve him dinner (are we seriously doing Donna Reed again?), and is adorably happy when the roast beef actually turns out okay.
Poor girl. I disagree with most of your life choices and also taste in men, but underneath the antiquated understanding of gender roles that made you become a housewife with no job training at age 19, you are a sweetheart and deserve better. Then again, at this point, everyone deserves better than to be with someone like Dean.
Rory makes her mom give a letter to Dean, in which she apparently describes their affair coherently enough for Lindsay to kick him out publicly, which given the insular community of Stars Hollow should have been way more of a scandal than it was on the show. We get one ugly confrontation and that’s it. Rory is not suddenly the town whore, which I can buy since the town basically raised her, Lindsay just vanishes from the plot, and Dean… Seems to face no repercussions.
This is a guy who was more or less ostracized by the town when he broke up with Rory in season 1. When he did it again in public during season 3, nobody bat an eyelash. Now he cheats on his wife, who has also been living in this town for at least 10 years given Rory’s elementary school anecdote, with that town sweetheart he already broke up with twice, and… Nothing. The only one giving him any shit about this is Luke, and that’s framed as paternal overprotectiveness. Dean has also only been living in Stars Hollow for four years at this point.
Ah, dammit, I wanted this to be quick.
Okay. Dean moves back home, shares a car with Lindsay, which makes meeting Rory for more sex difficult. At home there’s his sister blasting music and his mother opening the door to his room. Then he moves in with a friend, who is a good sport, but also doesn’t give them much privacy. Paris has her second most awesome moment post season 3 when she makes things awkward at Rory’s dorm by basically saying that the only quality Dean possesses is maybe being good in the sack, so bringing him there is also too awkward for Rory to bear.
They even try car sex once, in which we learn that giant guys and tiny cars don’t mix too well. And retroactively makes me even more creeped out by the giant car he built for her way back when.
There’s a horrible double date with Luke and Lorelai, during which Lorelai is in hardcore cool mom I think it’s great you’re with the guy who broke up with you twice and cheated on his wife with you mode, and Luke is grumpy and mean. I get you, Luke.
What we see of their relationship is miserable. Dean gets grumpy about the not having sex part, seems uninterested in anything Rory is up to that does not involve his genitals, and due to scheduling issues they hardly see each other. This finally ends when Rory is thrown a party by her grandparents to hook her up with some eligible, rich, and probably not divorced Yale attendee on a night when Dean is supposed to come pick her up. She ends up partying with a crowd of rich guys that will get their own section, and when she stumbles out the house fifteen minutes late and all dolled up, Dean has finally… Had enough, I guess? So he breaks up with her for the third time, in front of a group of guys she goes to school with. Classic Dean.
Astute observation. Go throw salt, throw rosaries into self-made holy water, and attend a bunch of fridgings. I can assure you, you will not be missed.
A parade of unworthiness
You know, if someone asked me to rank all the couples and male love interests on this show, as much as I hate him, Dean wouldn’t be rock bottom. I think. Mostly because he did have nice qualities once upon a time, and because at this point in the story, Rory and him truly deserved each other for being shitty people. Well, as much as anyone deserves a Dean.
No, the people really getting the shaft in the love interest department are Paris and Lane.
This season is endgame season, by the way. The couples we get this season are the ones we’re stuck with until the series finale, basically. Lorelai is the exception that proves the rule, and even there, you know, endgame still follows it. This season is also the last time any number of new regulars are introduced in the form of Logan and his gang, who are so special they deserve their own section.
Lane and Paris hook up this season. Not with each other, or Rory, or anyone fun. No. Lane falls for the slightly more attractive and less geeky band member she had no interest in before, and Paris starts speaking with Doyle. Both of these men have the spine, personality, and appeal of a slightly larger than average slug. Zach’s hair might also just feel like one.
We’re presented with Lane’s new-found crush in episode two, when Zach brings his two newest lady friends to Luke’s diner with him and Lane is catty to them. At least one of them was blond, by the way. The trend continues. And that very one comes up to her after and apologizes, presumably for Zach parading them around Lane, which causes an epiphany for Lane. Because “a dirty skank said so”. See, there’s the judgmental religious upbringing that somehow kept quiet when Rory told her she participated in adultery!
Lane confesses this to Zach a few episodes later, Zach takes a while to process this, and turns out he’s into her, too. This was in no way set up before. What was set up was Zach’s and Brian’s inability to take care of themselves or run a household, causing Lane to mother them last season, and still during this one on occasion. Men who can’t take care of themselves are not the kind of men you want in your life, Lane. Run. While you still can.
Zach is also the reason we actually do get to see some ramifications of her growing up in a strict religious household. After cooking for her and putting on mood music, Zach tries to sleep with her, and she freaks out and tells him she was to wait until she’s married. Something she wasn’t even aware of herself up to that point. To be fair, after a rather uncomfortable “you’re not getting laid tonight, to the least I can do to make it up to you is do the dishes” this leads to a bit of interesting conflict. Lane seems to be very interested in having sex, but utterly unable to do so out of wedlock, because some things just are deeply ingrained, I guess.
The exploration of this is engaging and not uncomfortable for basically only the episode it’s first brought up in, though, and will be iffy every single time it’s going to be brought up in seasons to come. Oh well.
Paris, meanwhile, starts the season mourning Asher Fleming from last season, who conveniently died during summer break. It takes five seconds for the show to joke about this.
Seriously, people apparently have betting pools going on how he was going to bite the grass eventually. He was 60. That is not the average age for college professors to die. It’s not even average age for retirement, for heaven’s sake. Why is this a thing?
Frustrated by only being hit on by elder men after that, Paris attempts speed dating for exactly two minutes, where she meets Doyle, the slimy editor of the Yale newspaper who spends most of his screentime feeling sorry for himself. Some major kind of attraction seems to come up out of nowhere, and they fuck.
Doyle then becomes a permanent fixture in Rory’s dorm suite, and is the final nail in the coffin of Paris’s significance on the show. From here on out, she will be basically like Rory’s Kirk or Babette. An eccentric background character who is given screentime to cause wacky antics and be a nuisance to the protagonist.
I hate all of this.
Making crappy dads seem awesome by comparison since 1984
Guess who’s back this season! It’s Christopher! Didn’t we all miss him during his absence in the last two seasons?
No? Didn’t think so.
But this season, he is back with a vengeance. And because of vengeance. One night, Lorelai receives a call from him because he hasn’t slept in a few days and no idea how to handle his two year old daughter. Lorelai shows up, does something earth shattering like turn the crib around so Gigi can’t climb out, and watch her for a few minutes so Chris can take a shower.
Turns out that after doing what he does best by not being around for two years. Sherry, his wife, who used to be a very career driven woman and who also probably suffers from some form of OCD, finally had enough and quit. And by that I mean she quit her crappy family life and took a job in Paris.
Don’t get me wrong, taking off like that and leaving your kid with an irresponsible man is not cool. But boy do I get her frustration from what little we see of Chris here. In two years of having this kid, he has never once changed a diaper before, it seems, as he has resorted to duct taping them to close. Dude, have you never seen a diaper commercial? Don’t these things have at least crude instructions on the package? Ugh.
And man, is calling Lorelai a crappy move here. Don’t you know any other mothers, possibly living closer to your place in Boston? What about your OWN mother, she might have a clue! Or at least know where to find a nighttime nanny to do things for you because of money.
Lorelai is a good sport about this, though. That’s yet another consistent character trait she seems to have. She’s good with children, and likes being around them. You can argue whether or not she’s a good mother beyond that, but she’s always pretty good with other people’s children, at least.
Someone who’s not cool with this is Rory. Rory seems to have been paying attention back in seasons 1 and 2, and maybe her current situation made her remember that her dad has never been anything but a crappy influence on her and her mom. So she goes off to see him, and tell him in no uncertain terms to leave Lorelai alone. I usually disapprove of this kind of meddling, but damn. You go, girl.
But Chris, being Chris, of course can’t do the one thing his daughter ever asked of him that isn’t a dictionary. So not only does he have lunch with Lorelai, no. When Emily comes storming into his apartment, fueled by oh my god, my daughter wants to marry a poor guy (who somehow owns like two to three houses at any given point in the series post season 2), calls his two year old “it”, and tells him to grow a pair and ask Lorelai out again, he doesn’t consider anything Rory ever said to him, and just does as Emily says. At a function that also includes Luke, he tells Lorelai that they’re meant to be together forever.
This stunt, more than anything, should have gotten him kicked out as a love interest for good, and also should have been enough for Lorelai and Rory to just cut any and all contact permanently. But getting rid of unstable people in your life isn’t a TV friendly way to deal with drama, so he will bless our screens with his ruinous existence some more. Next season. And the one after. Yay.
Something positive? Please? Anyone?
This season isn’t completely irredeemable, though. Only mostly.
The thing is, season 4 was important to set the tone for the rest of the series in a very peculiar way. It’s the point where you kind of have to switch protagonist biases around; Rory is now more immature than her mother by a long shot, and Lorelai suddenly has arcs and more interesting storylines. The stuff for Lorelai in later seasons is pretty damn good. Yes, I’d even argue somewhat in favor of her season 6 mess. No excuse for season 7, though.
This season in particular lives and dies with the relationship between Lorelai and Luke. Which they’re not technically in yet at the beginning. The kiss happened, naked Kirk happened, running into Rory and Dean happened. Kirk tells Sookie about the kiss, and Sookie fangirls about it, but neither Luke nor Lorelai are exactly sure where they stand for two episodes. This isn’t helped by the fact that Luke now has his very own side characters who are only around to annoy him and drag him into wacky hijinks.
In which Sookie is all of us.
Admittedly, Taylor and Kirk always have been nuisances more in Luke’s storylines than anyone else’s, but now he also gets Liz and her idiot husband TJ. He’s dumb as a bag of hammers, has no boundaries, and if you open up the giant dictionary Chris got Rory in season 2 and try to look up annoying, there should be a pop up picture of him saying just about any single line he’s ever had on the show.
Wait. Positivity. Right.
Anyway, despite these nuisances cutting into the time of Luke and Lorelai being cute together, they are quite consistently, very cute together. It starts even before they get together; Luke was being called off the RenFaire land in episode one, and in episode two, a few weeks later, we see them on the phone, exchanging gossip about the people working there. Yay for at least briefly portraying people doing the long distance thing and being okay!
They go steady-steady the next episode, when they go on their first date in a place owned by people who knew Luke’s parents, and he tells Lorelai he’s all in. That line seems to work, since the next thing we see is Lorelai sleep-drunkenly wandering into the diner to get coffee, wearing nothing but one of Luke’s shirts, and effectively outing the relationship to the entire town.
The town, by the way, takes two dating business owners quite seriously, and have contingency plans about dividing into pink and blue zones in case of a breakup. This plan sounds too hilarious and awesome not to come into fruition eventually, doesn’t it?
The only points of contention they face for the first half of the season are Luke’s “Dark Day,” one day every year where he vanishes which somehow both Rory and Lorelai completely missed in the 9 years they have known him, despite the fact that it would have fallen on almost every week day within those years, and they eat breakfast at his place every goddamn day. This should have awfully inconvenienced them at least once! Oh well.
It’s the day Luke’s father died, and before he died, he also started building a boat that Luke wants to get rid of, but Lorelai buys because of the sentimental value to him, or something. This goddamn boat will cause so many troubles, I’m sure it’s symbolic for SOMETHING, but I don’t quite care enough to think about it too much. It’s in Lorelai’s garage. Usually.
Lorelai also isn’t too forward in telling Luke about the times she meets Christopher during this first half of the season; she mentions the lunch eventually, but keeps quiet about a tequila evening after Chris’s asshole dad died. Not cool, but this comes back to bite her in the ass so spectacularly I don’t think I need to pass too much judgement on it here.
See, the plot explosion for the season comes a bit early this time around. It comes in episode 13.
United in Snobbery
Emily and Richard are officially separated. As separated as you can be when you’re living on the same giant property with nothing but a pool separating you, but hey. It’s the thought that counts.
They haven’t told anyone in their social circles about it, and still manage their schedules together so no one will ever find out. Also, the drinks portion of the evening now goes to Richard, while Emily gets to serve dinner and be upset because all the good conversation topics were already covered during drinks. It’s a bit ridiculous and very, very Gilmore at the same time.
Lorelai deals with this by accepting that her parents are adults and can do whatever they want with their lives, while Rory is really, really upset and makes plans to get them back together.
I hate this. I hate every single piece of media that focuses on kids getting their parents back together, and it’s not any better when it’s about grandparents instead. It dismisses choices adults usually don’t exactly make lightly, awakens false hope in their children, and also sends out the message that just because you created crotch dumplings together, you’re meant to be. It’s a dangerous narrative, is what I’m saying, and I have no patience for it.
Bless Rory for not trying to pull this shit with her parents, though.
This is, by the way, used against her at some point. Remember that party Dean broke up with her at? That was thrown by her grandparents, and she was roped into it because they were both in the same room to invite her. The party is a means to show Rory that there are lots of rich, single guys out there that didn’t drop out of college to work on constructions sites to finance their marriage straight out of high school that they inadvertently jeopardized by sleeping with their ex-girlfriends .
Another act of snobbery they get together for is tea bagging Luke.
You know how in past seasons, Emily seemed to be disgruntled but ultimately fine with Lorelai maybe harboring feelings for him? And how they at least managed to be civil during, say, Rory’s graduation, or that time Luke took Lorelai to the hospital after Richard got angina? And how they have both eaten at Luke’s before and didn’t exactly come down with salmonella?
Well, add that to the Dean breaking up with Rory pile of things that we all communally hallucinated. Luke is trailer trash, diners serve roadkill, and someone who owns at least two, if not three houses is the dirtiest poor who ever poored and unworthy of so much as glancing at Lorelai.
I mean, you’d think that someone who can spontaneously buy a set of golf clubs should be right up their alley, but no. Luke drinks beer and cooks for a living. Get the pitchforks.
A mentioned before, Emily settles for getting Christopher instead.
As alluded to in their living arrangements, Emily and Richard are also not particularly good at being apart. Emily tries dating at one point, but is miserable afterwards. They eventually bond again over taking care of a stray dog together, and that would have been a fine reason to get back together, but… Well, Richard sees Emily with the guy she dated at a function and drives into her car a little out of jealousy. What is it with this show and violence against cars? Emily for some reason thinks this is super hot and tells him to come home.
This admittedly leads to a really great scene where Lorelai and Rory catch them making out after finding the pool house abandoned.
Lorelai: I think my parents are having an affair.
To celebrate getting back together, Emily and Richard decide to get married again, sort of. They’re renewing their vows. That’s the big function where the plot explodes for every storyline in episode 13, which Emily invited Christopher to after having seen Lorelai hold a wedding dress up to herself.
The vow renewal and reception are actually rather fun. Last season’s wacky distant Gilmore relatives make an appearance, and Lorelai teaching Luke how to maneuver those is actually pretty entertaining. Rory does stuff, too. Stuff I’m not wild about, but stuff we will cover later.
The event is gorgeous and thoughtful, and it all goes so well until Christopher enters the scene and gives that speech about how he and Lorelai are meant to be. He also says something about the tequila night Lorelai kept from Luke, and Luke, having taken shit from Lorelai’s parents all episode and just a few episodes ago, has finally had all he can stand and runs off.
Not without running into Rory in a state of undress, of course.
As much as I hate the trope in general, the scene where both Luke and Christopher yell at Logan, Mr. Frosted Flakes Sr., to get his hands off Rory is kind of amazing and I could watch it all day, every day. Luke also tears Chris a new one on his general not-being-around-ness in Rory’s life. You go Luke, four for you, Luke.
However, the entire event results in Luke and Lorelai being on uncertain terms, and Lorelai telling her mother they were through forever.
Bad at being broken up
This causes a bit of a falling-out between Luke and Lorelai, and one of the most visually striking episodes in which Lorelai has yet another dream. But this one is sad and a bit creepy, and probably sticks out all the more because this show doesn’t exactly go for that kind of surreal. It is a surreal show in that characters being quirky is always, always more important than things making sense, but the visual presentation is a lot more subdued.
But one thing at a time. After the vow renewal, Luke needs some time to himself to think about things, making everyone and their mother believe he and Lorelai broke up. Lorelai can’t deal with being in Schrödinger’s break up limbo and goes to confront Luke before he is ready, causing him to finalize the breakup.
This causes a complete meltdown for Lorelai that is gut wrenching to watch. She stays in bed for days, Rory has to come and take care of her (which she does. In a limo. It’s kind of the most awesome thing she does all season), and the creepy dream happens. Also, the town carries out the ribbon contingency plan, which is something I personally adore, never mind how contrived it is.
This breakup doesn’t last long, though. There are boat shenangians, and they both help with an elementary school’s production of Fiddler on the Roof. In an episode sensitively titled “Jews and Chinese Food”. Classy, guys. Luke is testy because he has to deal with children while building sets and Lorelai isn’t there because she does costumes at home. When she finally is around, they get to stare meaningfully at each other while watching a third-grader sing at Kirk about how she’s loved him for 25 years or something.
Remember that we don’t talk about Kirk? This is why we don’t talk about Kirk. His girlfriend is teaching that 3rd grade class and they cast him as the main character and he fits right in with the kids, but is also sexually active with their teacher, and now I feel dirty and need to move on.
The breakup lasts for an entire other episode after that, during which Luke is pissed for some reason. Dude. You were the one who broke up with Lorelai. This situation is literally all your doing. You alone have the power to rectify it. Stop moping and do it.
And he does! After Emily of all people pays a visit to the diner and tells him to, in an effort to make Lorelai come to Friday Night Dinner™ again. See, Rory has been mean to her about it, which no one understood. What is Luke to Rory?! Why, her actual father figure, idiots. I thought you were around for her graduation.
Luke immediately runs back to Lorelai and they just start making out without even saying anything. Okay, cool. You do you.
They stay together and happy for the rest of the season, and despite the alleged rule that happy couples make for bad TV, I enjoy the hell out of them. There’s a little drama when Luke buys a house for him, Lorelai, and their potential future kids to live in, while Lorelai has an offer to sell her less than a year old inn and travel around the world to teach other people how to run an inn. She makes it clear she’s never serious about it and just likes being courted, but Luke still backs out of buying the house.
Dean pops up, once again, during that period of time, and tried to freak Luke out by telling him that he stands no chance with Lorelai because all he has to offer is Stars Hollow (and now four houses he owns) but Gilmore Girls will always want more. And that’s why Rory apparently broke up with him for the third time. Kinda fitting his last words on this show are completely nonsensical and with a hint of gaslighting. Lorelai chose this life for herself, she chose Stars Hollow, she chose to build an inn there, and has never, ever had any aspirations outside of Stars Hollow outside of that business degree she got like two towns over. She ain’t her daughter. It’s enough to freak Luke out for a bit, though.
Oh, and Lorelai has a pregnancy scare for one episode, talks to Rory about contraception for the first time and apparently, all these years, all she had been using was condoms. Don’t get me wrong, kids, condoms are awesome and you should totally use them, but that’s more because of the STD thing and less because of the pregnancy thing. The failure rate there is not something you want to gamble the rest of your life on, so get additional protection, is all I’m saying. Rory does! Or so she alludes to, because talking about how you apparently actually went on the pill five years ago in public on the phone is so embarrassing.
It’s just a tiny little scare, though, amplified by Sookie giving birth to her second child. And then carting Jackson off to get a vasectomy, without talking to him about this first, or his actual consent. Keep this in mind, by the way. It’s gross. But things are going to get grosser – the wonders of season 7!
Tragically Friendzoned Marty
As much as I really, really don’t like it, Rory does stuffthis season, even after Dean breaks up with her for the third time. And this time, it involves Yale and the people there. And it almost exclusively focuses on men. Two, actually. Let’s talk about the lesser in every way, tragically friendzoned Marty.
He started out as Naked Guy last season, when Rory found him naked in the hallway after a party and lent him her robe. He then talked to her again when she showed up for breakfast in her pajamas. Rory seemed uncomfortable to offended for the entire meeting. He was then occasionally brought out to say hi the to camera for some reason I’m not too sure about. Maybe they ran short on filmed footage, or something.
Anyway, we’re reintroduced to him this season as Rory’s very close and special friend. This came literally out of nowhere, but suddenly, there he is telling her about how his father is actually his uncle but also his uncle is actually his father, and how he has to bartend for the rich people to stay alive. Ew, a poor in the general vicinity of Rory, kill it with fire.
And like, that sounds like an interesting premise, but just from seasons 4 and 5, I can tell you exactly the following things about Marty: He’s a bit mopey and also comically detached from his fucked up family situation, a poor who has to work, likes Marx brothers movies, makes a kickass Margarita, and constant googly eyes at Rory. That’s it.
And yet somehow, Rory apparently spends so much time with him, Paris is annoyed by it, he regularly brings by food from rich people parties, and at some point, Rory ends up falling asleep in his bed. Right after he awkwardly asks whether she has a boyfriend and she’s like “no idea” and drives out to meet Dean at his childhood home in the next scene. But not after Marty can tragically tell us how nice it is to have Rory fall asleep in his bed.
He also helps her look for a lost high school girl she’s supposed to take care of, but who weaseled her way away from Rory and to some campus party. He uses the opportunity to tell Rory that one of the rich kids who treated him like dirt during his first scene fancies her. She denies this, and he tragically walks if off while she takes a taxi home.
After that, Rory falls in with the same rich kid crowd that treats him like dirt, and seems to feel guilty about it, since she organizes an elaborate Marx Brothers movie marathon for Marty, which gets crashed by Frosted Flakes Sr. who wants to go out eat fancy Chinese food. Rory can’t say no, and Marty assures her it’s okay and they both come along, where as a poor who works for a living, Marty sticks out like a sore thumb and has to borrow money from Rory to cover the tab.
He uses this highlight in his life to tell Rory he likes her, and she immediately and flatly answers “I like Logan.” Marty is like yeah, I know, and stalks off. Tragically. Only to show up again in season 7, where his existence is easiest compared to a bag of flaccid dildos. Hard to explain, ultimately useless, and you’re kinda angry you even bothered with them in the first place and forgot why you thought this was a good idea.
The next scene after his exit, by the way, if Rory and Logan having sex in her dorm. Classy, Rory. Classy.
Did this age badly, or was it always horrible?
As mentioned before, this season is endgame season. Whoever you’re with at the end of it, you are with for the rest of the series, no take-backs. And Rory just so happens to be stuck with the last member of the leather jacket trifecta, Logan Huntzberger, or Mr. Frosted Flakes Sr.
He’s Tristan. I’m not even kidding. He’s Tristan, a little grown up, and with a family background tailor-made to appeal to Rory’s ambitions, but other than that he’s a blond, rich asshole hitting on her who constantly gets into actual legal trouble and yet gets away with it because affluenza and white privilege.
We’re introduced to him in the context of him not recognizing Marty after the latter had bartended for him. It’s pretty damn insufferable. Rory tells him so during their second meeting and first extended talk. I think he’s supposed to come off as smart and charming, but during this conversation, he is basically every entitled debate bro you’ve ever had the displeasure to come across on an internet forum. In a space of three minutes, he plays devil’s advocate “for the sake of the argument,” and uses “it’s a free country” as a justification to be a dick to poor people he pays to perform a service. He then tells Rory to call him “Master and Commander” in the future, and that she can’t say fake-debating about her friend’s right to be treated with basic common courtesy wasn’t fun.
You know. I’m not a big fan of love interest parallels, especially when it’s about how a character is totally into men that are like her father, but as an introduction, this is almost as bad as back when we were introduced to Christopher by seeing him sexually harass Lorelai on the open street and then completely undermining her authority as a parent. And the thing is, the show agrees with me to an extent. Logan and Christopher parallel each other a lot more than Luke and Dean could ever hope to. But more on that way, way later.
The next thing we learn about Logan is that his father owns basically the entire journalistic print market on the eastern seaboard and is, as such, bigger money than Emily and Richard could ever hope to be. This father also occasionally shows up at the Yale Daily News to make Doyle cry by blaming him for the fact that Logan never does shit for the paper, despite being the heir to the empire.
Because for some reason you also have to be able to write for a newspaper to own it on this show. I’m not sure how accurate this is in reality, but something tells me that when you just inherit a bunch of companies from your father, you wouldn’t actually have to be able to perform entry-level jobs in said companies. But uh, thanks for trying, show?
Lifestyle of the Rich and Sleazy
Logan also wasn’t around at all last season because he was busy sailing the family yacht around the world, crashing it, and being bailed out of Indonesian jail. What a catch, Donnie.
His and Rory’s paths cross when she meets a drunk girl in a gorilla mask yelling Latin at a limo and stumbles upon a secret society of rich white kids doing illegal shit that she assumes Logan is part of after doing some actual journalistic work for a change.
Of course, she then immediately runs up to Logan and tells him she’s going to tail him to find out about this Life and Death Brigade thing, which, as the glorious Jen points out, isn’t exactly good journalism. Don’t tell people you’re tailing them, that makes the tailing infinitely less effective. Kind of like with stalking.
Because he… Wants to fuck her? Thinks she’s adorable? Likes playing with her? Logan agrees to bring Rory along to an illustrious gathering somewhere in the woods. They abduct her blindfolded, don’t tell her where she is, and throw her into a tent in the middle of nowhere where no one can hear her scream. I’d be scared shitless, especially since she can’t tell anyone where she is. It turns out okay, though. Rich people snob at her a bit because she comes at them with a notepad and this is a highly illegal gathering (prime journalistic skills, that). They run around in safari style outfits and talk without using the letter E. The next day, they shoot paintballs at live targets, the women in evening robes play cricket from litters carried around by the men, and the large main event is jumping from a giant-ass scaffold only wearing flimsy leather belts and an umbrella.
Logan talks Rory into doing this to live a little, and tells her she’s too sheltered to be a journalist. Now, I agree with this assessment in principle. Rory is sheltered as fuck. But you don’t become less sheltered from jumping down from unsafe heights with drunken white rich kids. In fact, unless we count exposure to narcotic substances without the fear of legal consequences, every single kid there is just as sheltered as she is. But no, go on a more extreme version of a freefall tower, and suddenly you’re a worldly woman that get involved with the reality of the world, or whatever.
Logan also can tell your dress size just from looking at you, he’s so dreamy.
The episode is really, really pretty though. And since Rory in Entitlement Land is contrasted with Luke being treated like a peasant by the grandparents, this almost makes you hopeful the show might be at least a little self-aware.
What even is self-esteem?
This little adventure takes place just before Dean breaks up with Rory for the final time. He’s annoyed she has no time for him, and she’s sad that Dean can’t tell her anything other than that he liked the article because he has no idea of what constitutes good writing. This visibly hurts her, but why tell him that when you can instead take it like a bitch?
Oh my god Rory needs that on a T-shirt for this and all seasons to come.
Anyway, this is contrasted with Logan congratulating her on the article and superficially criticizing a word choice or something insubstantial like that, just to show that he’s a smarty smart who knows how to write good and is so much better than Dean. And I mean, yeah, he is, but come on, that’s pretty much the lowest bar to clear on this show.
After the break-up, which happened in front of Logan, Rory doesn’t seem particularly sad or heartbroken or anything. It’s basically… Oh, hey, this happened, guess I’m free to chase Logan’s tail now. And it’s painful to watch.
She at one point invests a lot of time and effort into lending Logan a metric fuckton of notes to help him with writing that one article he’s supposed to hand in every semester or so, so his daddy will stop making Doyle cry. During their cooperation, Logan tells her about a party at New York he’s going to have to attend to meet some writer. Rory then enthuses about this writer and how awesome he must be and how much she’d just love to meet him some day, but doesn’t get invited along as Logan’s date, despite basically having already made the traveling arrangements and clearing her schedule.
Why she’d even want to hang out with him at all after the events of episode 10, I have no clue. That’s the one where she babysits a high schooler to show her around Yale. During this episode, Logan and his cronies Colin and Fynn crash a lecture she’s at, yell dramatic crap about how she left them cold in bed that morning, stage a fight over her, and are broken apart by the third guy dressed as a British cop. They leave the lecture hall under applause and not led by security for some reason.
Rory yells at Logan about this, and someone as introverted and invested in her academics as she is would be humiliated beyond belief by this display and avoid the person responsible at all costs. And yet a few episodes later, she’s all over him again.
Her way of getting revenge is admittedly pretty epic, though.
Things come to a bit of a climax during the vow renewal episode, in which she basically just walks up to Logan and asks him out. You go, Rory! Of course, she doesn’t really ask him out and just wants something casual. Whether this is what she actually wants or she only says this after he tells her he doesn’t do commitment is up in the air.
“You’re special […] Beautiful, intelligent, interesting.”
Yes, fuckface. Beautiful, intelligent, and interesting women are so hard to come by around college campuses. I myself only know about 20 by name right at this moment. Ugh. Never, ever buy this line from anyone, girls. You are beautiful, intelligent and interesting, but if a guy uses this to set you apart from other women, that’s usually a sign he doesn’t have the highest opinion of women in general. Avoid.
Anyway, Rory drags him off for some casual sex in the back room. During the vow renewal of her grandparents. Classy!
After getting run in on by her mother, her father, and her true father figure, Logan bolts without a word and doesn’t call, causing Rory to seek advice from “other girls”. The PE majors who are pretty and know the lingo, yo. One of them is even blond! And the other one of the rarely sighted black people to star on this show.
Anyway, after getting advice from these less special girls, Rory calls Logan to hang out. He invites her over without telling her there’s a poker game going on and he won’t have any time for her. She actually tries to confront him about this, but he twists her words around a bit in a way that makes me uncomfortable, and makes her agree that meeting for group things is totally fine, too. And, sure. If you tell her about it first!
I almost wish Rory had worn nothing but a coat and sexy underwear to this meeting. But then again, I highly doubt Rory ever even looked at sexy underwear.
He does let her use his limo and driver (another black person! That’s two in one episode! And the driver even has a name! It’s Frank) to go and take care of her mother though, isn’t he dreamy?
Our next adventure in Who Is This Person And What Has She Done To My Rory #NotMyRory involves Lorelai seeing Logan out with another girl, which is perfectly in line with their current relationship agreement, but it’s pretty damn obvious Rory isn’t quite as okay with this as she pretends to be. At least to the viewer and her mother it is. And actually, given how Logan brings this up and dances around the issue, he might be faintly aware of her discomfort with the situation, too. Which makes rubbing it in her face even less cool. But why talk about your issues with your casual escort when you can instead take it like a bitch?
I’ll need to find a nicer way to phrase that in the future, because boy am I going to be repeating it a lot next season.
Anyhow, in retribution, Rory accepts when a friend of Logan’s asks her to attend a Tarantino themed party with him. She doesn’t even know his last name and he seems like just another douchebag, but he does make Logan jealous and try to drag Rory away to ditch both their dates. Rory says no, and for the space between the end of this episode and the beginning of the next, all is well.
Until episode 18, in which Rory gets drunk with Paris and Lane, who are all disappointed by the unworthy men in their lives. She ends up sobbing into her mother’s lap about “why doesn’t he love me?” and spends the night on the bathroom floor.
When Lorelai voices concern about this, Rory blows her off. She does that a lot when it comes to Logan, actually. Near constantly. But after this breakdown, Rory finally had enough! So she heads over to Logan’s dorm room and tells him she’s a commitment girl and can’t do this anymore and is technically trying to break up with him.
Logan, in a long tradition of men on this show, is bad at hearing that, though, and instead get aggressive about her issuing an ultimatum. Which she did neither do nor intend to do, but he isn’t hearing her protests there either, and very aggressively declares they’re now girlfriend and boyfriend.
Did you just gaslight Rory into a relationship?
She’s happy with this, though, despite her thoughts that Logan might not be capable of only dating one girl at a time. As fate will have it, Logan receives a visit from his sister that day. She’s blond, so Rory gets a shot of looking jealous of her before that is revealed, and after that she’s pretty cool. Her name’s Honor, she’s getting married, and wants Logan to attend a family dinner to run interference when she’s telling her parents about the engagement. Then she invites Rory, too, because Logan has never called anyone his girlfriend before.
Rory flurries off home to get a nice and fancy dress for the occasion and tells her mom not to say a peep about the Logan situation.
At Huntzberger Castle, things get a bit weird though. Rory should technically be every mother in law’s dream. Well-bred, well-educated, demure, and a good influence on everyone she meets. Yet when she goes to meet Logan’s parents, his mother and grandfather are very, very upset.
See, the personality-less guy the sister is marrying is fine by them. But Rory? Rory wants to work! In the very industry this family makes their money in, but pooh! A working woman! With an education and possibly an independent income! Not to mention that she was born out of wedlock.
Credit where credit is due, Logan doesn’t take any of this shit and storms out of there, Rory in tow, who of course took it without a word, because that’s just what she does, okay? I do enjoy her indignation about this a lot, though.
“I’m a Gilmore! My ancestors came over on the Mayflower!”
I sense a shift in genres. Someone get Dame Maggie Smith on the scene.
Logan can’t take all this commitment pressure and storms off for five minutes, long enough for Rory to call her mom and worry that now the entire relationship might be over and oh noes. But then he comes back and is actually fine and they go have dinner anyway, so oh yay!
Welcome to the White Privilege Olympics
You know, when Lane didn’t happen to have a subplot in that particular episode, this show has always been whiter than an untoasted mayo sandwich, but now that we’re officially dealing with almost nothing but rich people, it gets, really, really obnoxious.
I mean, the season itself starts with Richard and Emily having a fight so loudly that the police comes to check out the ruckus, and Richard tells them to “either shoot us or go away”. Talk about lines that wouldn’t fly on television today, geez.
Then there’s the entire life and death brigade deal. I don’t blame the show in making every single kid participating there white. These are rich kids who illegally camp out in the woods or wherever and perform dangerous stunts. The one Rory got to witness was actually one of the harmless ones; in the following season they enter a Costa Rican nature reserve to illegally base jump off a cliff – and they get away with it because of money and whiteness, basically.
And speaking of the Life and Death Brigade: When being invited to his engagement dinner with Rory to the Gilmore household (I am not exaggerating. Richard and Emily are planning Cape Cod weddings and blond babies with blue eyes), Logan attempts to steal a trinket from Emily and replace it with another knickknack from another right person’s house, claiming they’d never notice, and that he’s done this all along the east coast. When Emily does notice, it is Lorelai to make him return the sewing kit in actually a pretty nice manner towards him, but he still got the maid fired with what he did. And stringently ethical Rory just sits there and says nothing. It’s what she does now. #NotMyRory.
Which leads us to this douchebag. Mitchum Huntzberger.
…Is it just me, or does he look eerily similar to someone?
Logan’s dad here was late to the party back at his house, and felt bad about how his wife and presumably father treated Rory, so he offers her an internship. Rory initially declines because she wants to work for her internships and not get them handed to her as a consolation gift. Or hush money, as Lorelai puts it later on. Mitchum Huntzberger then says the probably most privileged sentence on the show to date:
“Life is all about making the most of everything you’re handed.”
This convinces Rory that yo, nepotism is totally cool with her, and she takes the internship and founds a personality cult around Mr. Huntzberger. Since Rory is extremely passive and can’t really function in the real world, the episode in which she starts the internship is horrible and cringe worthy, but she gets… Better? I guess?
All we see her do is run around, hand files to the right people, and speak the lingo, yo. She’s basically an unpaid errant girl, which is admittedly the most realistic depiction of an internship I have ever seen. This makes what happens after even more baseless.
See, Mitchum Huntzberger has magical powers or something. He can sense whether someone has “it” to make it in journalism just from, I don’t know, taking a sniff at them. And sniffing Rory has come back with the result that she’d suck as a journalist, but be a great assistant.
Gee, I don’t know how you could come to that conclusion. Maybe because all you had her doing was assistant work?
Don’t get me wrong, I too believe that Rory’s journalistic ambitions might not be the right thing for her. But I was at least around to hear the speeches she has written, the debates she was in, and to hear all about turning a piece on the repavement of a parking lot into an existential piece on the fleeting nature of life or whatever. This douchebag has never read a single word that she’s written, and has seen her once a week for what I’ll graciously call maybe four weeks.
You know what he’s basing this on? She didn’t speak up during the staff meeting.
You read that right. The 20 year old college sophomore intern didn’t speak up during a staff meeting where people discussed how to organize freelance workers. How dare she. I’m sure she has a deep understanding of the industry and valuable points to offer on how to handle a freelance staff. And don’t established councils just love to take the opinions of interns into account?
This, naturally, doesn’t justify anything that follows it. Upset that one douchebag who never read a word she wrote told her she would never fulfill her life’s ambitions, Rory storms off to Logan’s sister’s engagement party and makes Logan steal a boat with her. Because Melville told her so.
Admittedly, Logan doesn’t need much convincing and doesn’t even bother to ask why his sheltered and stringently ethical girlfriend suddenly wants to play grand theft boating with him and just goes along with it. They get busted, and to Logan and his friends, this is all a joke and basically just another Tuesday. And from what next season shows us, that’s absolutely what it will be for them.
Everything falls apart
We’re at the season finale now. Lorelai picks Rory up from jail, and tries to be mostly cool about this while also being on top of things. I get the feeling that committing a felony and stealing a yacht isn’t exactly something to be cool about, but okay. Lorelai also blames all of this on Logan again, but Rory argues that it was her fault, and, you know, like last time this happened, I’m not going to argue that point.
This was all Rory. And if criticism by one douchebag who has never even read her writing throws her off like that, I’d kind of seriously consider counseling at least.
Rory is as dismissive of this whole felony thing as her new friends have taught her to be and goes back to school, where she fails her last final because being criticized that one time made her lose motivation to go into journalism. She promptly decides to take a sabbatical.
The argument this causes between Lorelai and Rory is actually a decent one, for a change. Rory is doing a bad job at not making this sound like she’s just going to quit school forever, though. Lorelai is right that one opinion shouldn’t get to Rory like that, and is definitely no reason to drop out of school. Rory however is right in that sabbaticals happen, lots of people go back to school, and if she needs some time to figure out what she wants to do with her life, doing so at Yale while costing her grandparents money might not be the best idea.
Lorelai goes to her parents for aid, and it goes over so, so well that you can just tell this is going to fall through. Sure enough, before they can tripleteam Rory at Friday Night Dinner™, Rory shows up and collapses into her grandfather’s arms, sobbing. I’m not sure whether this is genuine or not. It might be her actual despair, but it might also be her manipulative streak rearing its ugly had… But maybe this ambiguity it the point.
Whatever it might have been, Rory gets her will, takes time off of Yale, and moves into her grandparents’ pool house. Lorelai watches her unpacking sadly, and then drives away.
This is the first actual rift between Lorelai and Rory, and it is more painful to watch than just yell about each other about adultery. The fact that they really both have a point possibly helps.
Completely distraught, Lorelai makes her way to Luke, who immediately starts to come up with plans to kidnap Rory and force her to attend school, because she has worked too hard to get in there to quit now, and he won’t let his little girl do that to herself. Lorelai… Probably doesn’t react in the best way.
Shush. No. You’re not in life altering decision mode now.
Man, this season. It’s just… So all over the place. It’s infuriating and gratifying in almost equal parts. Luke and Lorelai finally being together and happy and mostly functional is such a treat, you don’t even notice Lorelai has no real arc again. Sure, there are moments about the inn, but nothing really develops much. The thing about selling is never, ever taken seriously at all and feels like contrived added drama we really didn’t need.
Still. Lorelai and Luke are the strong part of this season.
But more than about Luke, Lorelai’s story is also about coming to terms with Rory being her own person, and that that person might not be the one Lorelai would like her to be. Rory being more and more drawn into the privileged and rich crowd is the only consistent thread this season follows, and it is not a positive development for her. At all.
Hell, she starts the season off hating Logan for being rude to her friend. Now I’m not exactly sold on where that friend came from, but it’s the principle that counts here. She ends the season committing a felony with that very same person, and any and all bad treatment of her friend is dismissed entirely.
I don’t even like Marty and I want to punch Rory for her behavior in these episodes. Who are you?
Honestly, this is all best summed up in these two heartbreaking images:
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but all of this has me actually looking forward to what I remember of season 6. Wow.
- When Luke is stuck in Maine for six weeks or so, Lorelai jokes “I’ll see you when Hillary’s president”. I am not pointing at the election date and the release of A Year in the Life, which comes out 2 weeks later.
- I am aware the elected person doesn’t become president until January but come on.
- Lane and her band go on tour through 7th Day Adventist communities are the end of the season, organized by Mrs. Kim. It’s pretty badass.
- The Pippi Longstocking song in any other language than my own sounds weird. Then again, I guess that’s what the Swedish think about our version as well.
- Lorelai at one point says her porch light was broken since “Rory broke up with Dean the first time”. Good to see the gaslighting never stops. On the other hand, we also see the porch light work pretty much every season, sooo…
- The same episode has Lorelai saying “It’s only a matter of time until the Literati come swarming in”. I don’t think the writers are aware of fandom couple names, especially not at this point, but this is a funny coincidence.
- Emily lectures Luke, the dirty poor, about wedding conventions at one point. “You give congratulations to the groom and offer the bride best wishes.” I never heard of that, either, but it is so delightfully sexist and downright Westerosi, I’ll buy it instantly
- “Congratulations, you get to fuck that. Best wishes, maybe he’s gentle.”
- …that makes the title of that one season of the Pokemon anime incredibly sinister.
- “Rory never even shoplifted.” Uhm. Lorelai. I have some 5 year old news.
- Rory’s court date is June 3rd. What. The. Fuck.
- This is the first season that had me rate episodes below a 3. The overall total is a rating of 3.25.
- Favorite episode is the Vow Renewal one, episode 13.
- Least favorite is split between the double date one, the Rory gets her grandparents back together one, and the one with the internship and the pregnancy scare.
Images courtesy of the WB