Known Johnson

May 10, 2006

Gilmore Girls season finale

Filed under: TV — Tom @ 4:13 pm

It had been lacking for much of the season, but the usual fun and chemistry we’ve enjoyed for years helped open the episode after a glum scene of Lorelai laying on the couch at Sookie’s house, seemingly oblivious to everything around here and absorbed in the drama of her rocky relationship with Luke.

A Friday-night dinner with the elder Gilmores, during which Lorelai’s mother Emily attempts to set up Lorelai’s ex and the father of Rory, Christopher, with the daughter of a family friend, a psychologist, allowed for a healthy dose of the usual Gilmore humor. Rory, who was supposed to be in attendance, instead opted to throw a party for her boyfriend, Logan, who was soon to be off to England to help with his rich father’s newspaper business. This left Lorelai to distract the awkward set-up with her usual cache of ridiculous questions in an attempt to save Christopher from further humiliation.

Emily Gilmore’s attempt to set up Christopher fails miserably, but it provides an opportunity for Lorelai to spill her guts to a qualified professional. And she does so from the backseat of her car, filling her in on the ups and downs of her life with the Gilmores, her brief relationship in her teens with Christopher which resulted in Rory, and the bumpy relationship with Luke, whom she says to her is the only man she ever really loved and that they really belonged together. Luke, who has spent much of the season getting close to a 13 year old daughter he never knew he had until late last year, has put on hold their June wedding and, in doing so, unwittingly put their relationship on hold. The psychologist tells Lorelai that she needs to speak her mind and get what she wants.

And she does – she runs to Luke’s diner and demands that he elope with her that evening, right then and there. Luke, understandably, is confused and thrown off guard by her frantic ultimatum and reacts like most rational people would – he asks that she just calm down and wait. Instead, Lorelai walks away, and when we see her next she’s knocking on Christopher’s door, who takes her in.

We cut to the morning and see Lorelai in bed, under sheets but obviously naked, and Christopher enters the room in a robe. There’s a glimmer of hope that what we’re thinking happened didn’t really happen, but that is dashed when Christopher removes his robe, crawls into bed, and snakes an arm around Lorelai. Staring off screen, she glares with the knowing, weary stare of someone who did something very bad and very stupid.

I have to wonder if departing show creators and writers Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband had to feel the same way, because with that one move they virtually destroyed any hope for this show functioning next season the way it has in the past – and may have driven off a large number of the show’s fans, many of whom flocked to the internet to discuss and generally diss the season finale.

Oddly, much of the episode’s non-Gilmore related story pertained to the events following town troubadour Grant Lee Phillips‘ “discovery” on the streets of Stars Hollow, and he is whisked away to open up for Neil Young. An onslaught of troubadors descend on the town also hoping to hit it big. Town mayor Taylor Doose has his hands full trying to dissuade the singers off his streets, but as the episode moves on, we see the town square filling up with them, whose numbers are populated by a who’s-who of indie fame from Joe Pernice to Sonic Youth to Yo La Tengo. It was especially thoughtful to give Sam Phillips (who sings all the “la la la” songs sprinkled throughout the show) a special spotlight at the end. It was a nice gesture by the departing Palladino creative team – both to Phillips and fans who expect semi-obscure musical references right and left throughout each episode – but it didn’t really fit in with the episode.

The whole episode seems like it was purposely written by Amy Sherman-Palladino to showcase everything she and her husband had to offer to the show and the network, who are both leaving the show having not convinced the WB to hand over large sums of money and guarantee two more seasons. Insufficiently financially compensated, the Palladinos seem to have set forth determined to put the show on an irreversible path, tacking on a horribly bad ending as if to say “you had all this humor and fun as well as intelligent drama, and now we’re going to leave you with this ‘nearly impossible to make positive next season’ ending! Good luck!”

I found it tremendously insulting – after a season of characters not acting anything like they normally would, they pull the ultimate out-of-character stunt and have Lorelai do exactly what she had scolded Rory for two seasons ago when she up and slept with (and lost her virginity to) then-married ex-boyfriend Dean? After all that emoting to the psychologist about how Luke was the only man she’d ever loved, that she’d never loved Christopher, she runs off and sleeps with him and throws away that relationship she so cherished with Luke? None of this makes any sense – but very little of what the main characters did this season made much sense, either.

Even knowing it was coming, from reading spoilers on the internet, I still found myself amazed at how minimally developed the issue of Lorelai sleeping with Christopher was because nothing in the rest of the show, or even the entire series, would lead you to believe she was capable of doing something that incredibly stupid. They failed to even provide sufficient impetus in this episode alone for her to make a dramatic character shift such as this. Lorelai, always given to impulsive moments, had never done anything quite this wretched, and we weren’t given a suitable build up to make it seem possible.

It’s bad writing to have a main character do something as momentous as cheating without actually showing it happen – it’s a cheap ploy by writers who don’t care to develop a situation and just want the quick shock. While it struck many fans as disingenuous two seasons ago, at least we actually saw Rory give in to Dean’s gross advances. Even though the whole thing was contrived to begin with, it at least had some development. We should have been given scenes with Christopher that made them getting together make sense. But we didn’t. We didn’t get any development that would make this make sense because, given any amount of thought, the twist in the story just would never happen. What we got was a cheap soap opera trick – and that was how we ended the season, on that dreary note.

You can look at it two ways – perhaps it was just time for the Palladinos to move on. They seem to have simply run dry of ideas for the show that didn’t sink into melodrama. Not having the freedom to end the show this season, and I’m guessing not feeling comfortable ending it next season with the events on the show working out as they have lately, they asked for a two season guarantee and a bundle of money to get their creative juices flowing again. They didn’t get it, and so they seem to have sunk the show as a final rude gesture.

But if they were going to stick around with their drought of ideas, then perhaps it’s better they left and handed the reigns to someone else. David Rosenthal is that someone else, and he’s got a huge task on his hands next season figuring out how to right the wrongs that were committed in the finale. The Palladinos may or may not have intentionally dug this show into a hole to spite the WB, but here’s hoping that next season Rosenthal can, as the old saying goes, get the best revenge by doing well.

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2 Comments »

  1. Hi… man!!
    I have to say that I loved your little rant about my favorite show!! All this things that you said was true, and I totally agree with you! I used to love Amy and Dan… and even when they anounced that they were leaving I still thought “Hey, maybe it’s good… they did an amazing job during this whole time, they did they share!” But now I’m just really really mad!! How can they throw Lorelai in bed with Christopher?? I mean… is this really happening? ‘Cause I can’t see why, actually she is Lorelai, the queen of doing stupid things, but this is too much even for her!! After saying how much she loves Luke and that she never loved Chris… and Chris is such a pain!! He has to be really desperate to sleep with someone who had just had a fight with her fiance and is having a total break down!!
    I still can’t believe this is happening…

    Comment by Adara — May 11, 2006 @ 10:35 am | Reply

  2. In search of an answer to a question that is burning holes in my head I stumbled on your site and comments on that show. Your reasoning makes complete sense. I was never comfortable with the reasons given by the Palladinos to quit, I think they are lying through their teeth. I am now bothered on so many different levels by a show that I fell in love with even in the most anguished moments pre-season 6.
    I am bothered of course by the finale which I qualify as “unredeemable”. I believe things will never be the same. How can Luke forgive her for that. For me that is the end of the Luke and Lorelai story.
    I am bothered by the fact that the Palladinos kept dragging Christopher out of the dumpster where he should have been buried for good after the stunt he pulled at the “elders second nuptials”. However he made a prediction back then that Lorelai and him belong together, so maybe that is what the Palladinos intended all along? Who knows. But then it raises the question as to why Lorelai makes these declarations of her love for Luke in the finale. Does not make sense. Nothing makes sense.
    I am bothered by the fact that the Palladinos contrived that story of the long lost daughter. I am bothered by bringing in a dog in the picture as well and puzzled as to its purpose. I agree with you that they ran out of creative juices. But they were and are control freaks or they could have turned to other writers for ideas. The show was doing very well without all the drama they felt compelled to throw our way. Fans never asked for that. Fans certainly never asked for this so-called cliffhanger. And as you say, all the blogs that I myself read on the Internet confirm that and comfort me that I am not alone in thinking that Season 6 was a major flop, at least the 2nd half of it. If the Palladinos ran out of ideas it is because in my opinion they became disinterested with the show as they were already putting together another show. Gilmore Girls became their neglected child. Just a thought.
    Everyone sees that except those most concerned.
    I am bothered by the attitude and comments of actress Lauren Graham. She has issues for personal reasons with playing Luke (Scott Patterson)’s love interest. She does not like having “intimate” scenes with him. That is not very professional of her. She made comments that she was satisfied with the finale as a “logical conclusion”, something that was “a long time coming”. That she “did not like to be dictated to by Luke”. When did Luke dictated anything? She is not invested in her role when it comes to Luke and she projects that very clearly on screen and it turns me off now. Way back she always favoured a Lorelai-Christopher relationship. Which would have been logical when Rory was younger not when she is 21 and moved on and out on her own. There is no on-screen chemistry between her and Christopher. He is a bland character. A weasel-like person. If he had been her love interest from the beginning the show would have ended at Season 3 because their witting exchanges become boring after a while, whereas with Luke it is always interesting. They are different in some ways and alike in others and that works wonders on screen and for the fans. We see it but Lauren Graham does not. She is Lorelai but she does not care about the character she has played for 6 years now. That is very sad and disappointing.

    I am bothered by the fact that Lauren Graham may have more of a say in the storyline under Dave Rosenthal. Then for sure the Luke-Lorelai romance is doomed.

    I do not hold much hope, if any, for Season 7, having read enough about what is coming and seen promos of the first episode. Like Lorelai acting as if she had just ended a relationship with a casual date instead of the love of her life. Not showing any distress and moving on with her usuall so called wit.
    I will follow the unfolding of season 7 by “tuning in” on the Internet but I will not be watching the show. If I hear that Lorelai is back with Luke then I will be interested again.

    Finally, if the Palladinos wanted or if D. Rosenthal wants ideas on how to make great chemistry happen between Luke and Lorelai they should read some of the fabulous fan fictions on sites like Black White and Read. Some fans have actually found ways out of the hole the characters are in, not without angst at first but always with a beautiful ending and compelling stories.

    Sorry for the long tirade but I just vent whenever I can to sympathetic souls and you happen to be one.

    Thanks for your viewpoint. Makes total sense to me.

    Comment by Noële Filius — September 9, 2006 @ 8:10 am | Reply


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