next_to_normal: Kate Bishop typing on a computer with two fingers (Computer Kate)
[personal profile] next_to_normal
So, a couple weeks ago, I had lunch with [personal profile] angearia and [personal profile] gryfndor_godess and they both mentioned that they were watching (or rewatching, in Emmie's case) Gilmore Girls in anticipation of the new "season" (4 90-minute episodes) coming to Netflix in November. And because I absolutely have the free time for a 7-season binge and NOTHING ELSE TO WATCH (/sarcasm), I decided to do my own rewatch. I'm up to season 4, and had some thoughts that essentially are an extension of our lunch conversation but were too long for text messages, so they became a post, lol. 

1. Luke and Lorelai - Emmie had suggested that Luke/Lorelai was possibly the kind of couple that wasn't really planned for, but ended up becoming a Thing because of the great chemistry that developed, and I honestly couldn't remember, especially since I don't think I saw all of the first season. (I originally started watching somewhere around Jess' tenure, and managed to catch up on the early episodes somewhat, but not completely in the days before Netflix.) But... nope. Upon rewatch, it's clear that Luke/Lorelai was meant to be a Thing right from the beginning. Or, at least, Luke is clearly in love with Lorelai and Lorelai is oblivious.

But my recollection, which I still stand by, was that the will they/won't they of it all was handled so well in the early seasons that it was almost unnoticeable. (Which makes the later seasons - and April in particular - so especially heinous and disappointing, but that's a post for another time, if I manage to stomach rewatching those episodes.) There's very little of the annoying artificial obstacles - significant others, shocking revelations, stupid fights - that frequently get thrown in to keep couples apart in these types of situations. Granted, both Luke and Lorelai do their fair share of dating, and the resultant jealousy and pining are obvious, but there are also long stretches where both are single and nothing is really standing in the way of them getting together... 

Except for the fact that Lorelai is immature and terrible at committed relationships and if she and Luke got together, she would inevitably break his heart and ruin the friendship, and then she and Rory would starve because they could never eat at Luke's again. And Luke KNOWS this, and without it really needing to be stated, it explains why he never makes a move, despite it being obvious to everyone in Stars Hollow that he's in love with her. And Lorelai, once she figures out she has feelings for Luke, also knows this, so their interaction makes perfect sense without needing a bunch of silly contrived obstacles to keep them from dating.

It's possible that this argument was actually TOO convincing, because I also recall that I ultimately found myself not wanting them to get together because it would ruin the great dynamic they already had. (Which... it kind of did.) It's harder to sort out how I feel about things this time around - I'm still not eager to get to the big coupling, but I also find myself thinking, "Yeah, okay, they're cute together," more than I expected to, so I don't know if my hesitation is because I know what's coming and I could, in ignorance, be excited about a potential Luke/Lorelai future. I never watched the final season, so I don't know how they left things, but I'm assuming that resolving this relationship will be one of the key plots of the new episodes, and I don't know how I feel about it yet.

2. Rory/Dean/Jess - While I am withholding a opinion on who Rory should end up with until I revisit Logan (though, frankly, she could do better than ALL of them, and I kind of hope she does), Alex had brought up that she was not looking forward to this particular triangle because she'd heard that the writing for Dean went way downhill in an effort to make him look like the bad guy and get viewers to shift their loyalty to Jess. Presumably, this comes from Dean stans, because I gotta say, I strongly disagree. I know there is some unpleasantness yet to come with Rory/Dean, and I won't rule out that nonsense as being terribly written or out of character, but up to this point, at least, Dean's behavior is actually remarkably consistent. He reacts exactly the same way to Jess as he did to Tristan in season 1. The only difference is that Tristan was never a legitimate threat, whereas Jess was.

The triangle is actually driven a lot more by Rory's attraction to Jess than I thought - I recalled it being mostly Jess being obnoxious and trying to break them up and Rory valiantly resisting until Dean's jealousy got to be too much for her to handle. And at first, I was all, "Oh, Dean. Here we go again," because it's so cliche to have the boyfriend make a big stink about the "other guy" out of jealousy when the girl honestly wasn't even interested in the other guy UNTIL YOU POINTED HER IN HIS DIRECTION, DUMBASS, and then became so obnoxious about it that you're basically giving her no other choice but to pick the other guy. But this was much more Dean having a legitimate grievance with Rory stringing him along while liking Jess and trying to deny it.

I don't think they made Dean any more unlikable than he'd previously been, or that the writing for him got worse. In fact, I think it's really good writing - in the sense that it's very realistic - where they've given Dean real flaws while also making him SEEM like the perfect boyfriend so that it's impossible for Rory to dump him. I mean, he's gorgeous and caring and polite and eager to please Rory (seriously, what other guy would sit through movie nights WITH HER MOTHER?) and is utterly charmed by her quirks, when many people could easily find her annoying. And okay, maybe he can be a little condescending sometimes, and they don't have many interests in common (there's definitely an emphasis on "Jess and Rory both love reading and Dean thinks it's booooring," lol) but it doesn't really matter because he'll always do whatever Rory wants. And he's always viewed her as out of his league because she's so much smarter than him, and it makes him feel good that she chooses to be with him anyway, but it also makes him constantly insecure that someone better will come along and steal her away. Reader, I HAVE DATED THIS GUY, so let me tell you, the ego boost is delightful, but the insecurity is exhausting, but you feel like an idiot for wanting to break up with him because when he's not being an insecure jackass, he's basically perfect and worships you and who doesn't want that? 

So I totally get why Rory has such a hard time pulling the plug, though don't get me wrong - she definitely ends up dithering for way too long and is completely unfair to Dean. But the show also acknowledges (at least for a minute) that she's being a jerk - both Dean and Lorelai call her on it. Once she's with Jess, it sort of gets forgotten and Rory is back to being lovable, but that's protagonist privilege for you.

3. Characters of color - So, in the course of our discussion, Alex brought up the overwhelming whiteness of the show and pointed out that, although you have Lane in there, her mother is such a Korean mom stereotype that it almost negates the point of having a POC in the first place. She also mentioned not seeing a black person until the episode when they go to New York, which... wait, are we not counting Michel? I feel like maybe she forgot about Michel. Anyway, I can't really disagree with the general whiteness (and Alex is certainly not the first person to bring it up), but I did recall Mrs. Kim getting better as time went on. It's taking quite a bit longer than I anticipated for her to go from one-dimensional stereotype to actual full-fledged character, but in season 3 when she quotes Shakespeare and Dave is confused that it's not from the Bible and she responds, "I can let loose once in a while, too, you know," I laughed, y'all. Score one for Mrs. Kim.

I have many, many more thoughts that I probably will never get around to writing up (Money in the Gilmoreverse: A Wealth of Inconsistency; The Gilmore Diet: They Stay So Thin Because They Never Eat What They Order; Gilmores Who Would Benefit From Therapy: An Alphabetized List) but we'll stop here for now, even though I risk losing steam (OMG did I actually write something that isn't Crohn's related, YES I DID). I'm into season 4 and already it feels like a different show - it's the beginning of the Rory College Years, although it doesn't truly go downhill until season 6, as I recall?
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