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We buckle up as Gilmore Girls enters the Digger era

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Screenshot: Gilmore Girls
Screenshot: Gilmore Girls
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Gilmore Girls

"Ted Koppel's Big Night Out"

Season 4 , Episode 9

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Gilmore Girls

"The Nanny And The Professor"

Season 4 , Episode 10

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“Ted Koppel’s Big Night Out” (season four, episode nine, originally aired 11/18/2003)

Wow, we are really in the weeds in mid-season four, aren’t we? Rory’s main plotline seems to involve just “being at Yale”; Richard and Emily, the show’s second-strongest relationship, is heading for rocky waters; and with no other romantic options on the horizon, Lorelai takes up with Digger.

The Yale game is almost a bottle episode for the Gilmores, fancy tailgating before the big game. Unfortunately, it throws a wrench in the works in the form of Pennilyn Lott, who Richard has been having lunch with every year for 39 years? Nobody could blame a control freak like Emily Gilmore for blowing her top over it, but Lorelai is in the unfortunate position of being in the direct path of her mother’s wrath, leading her to give up her current parental detente in favor of dating Jason. Mostly the episode functions as an ode to the delightfulness of Edward Herrmann, singing his Yale songs and chugging down Bloody Marys. Amy Sherman-Palladino was right on to devote so much of the revival to his passing: what a loss.

My Gilmore entitlement list is already super-long, but I still have to mention Lorelai’s insufferable behavior on her first date with Digger. (She’s even making me feel sympathetic for him!) She rejects the private room he booked at the fancy Chinese restaurant, even though the food is supposed to be amazing, because it’s too awkward. She won’t order tacos through the drive-through, not because Jason doesn’t like them, but because it won’t be fun for her to eat alone. She resents him picking up shaving cream at the grocery store as the evening gets more ludicrous because it turns their date into an errand. Honestly, what’s in it for him escapes me, even with Lorelai’s considerable charms. But a guy who can get her her purse-sized can of chips obviously knows the way into her heart.

“The Nanny And The Professor” (season four, episode 10, originally aired 1/20/2004)

After the holiday break, Lauren Graham discovers a hair-straightener, and the Stars Hollow set segues from fall to winter. Considering this was meant to be an intro into the show’s 2004 winter season, this is an unholy mish-mash of an episode, anchored only by Lorelai’s first overnight at Digger’s, in which his creepy manifestations begin to emerge. The moment he kicks Lorelai out of his bed, it’s clear that he will never be endgame for our girl. However, he does have the cutest dog ever. Cyrus is not weird, Lorelai! He is adorable!

Digger is also shady for dating other girls on Lorelai’s watch, claiming that there’s no way possible he can show up to the fibromyalgia benefit alone, and instead has to dupe some poor dumb girl named Crystal. Sure, Lorelai’s plan to keep this relationship secret is bound to blow up in everyone’s face (which it does in spectacular fashion later in the season), but he could have given her a little heads up. Especially after they slept together. Remembering why I don’t like Digger so much, you guys. But Sookie and Micahel’s reaction to his appearance at the inn was straight-up adorable.

In other news, Michel is threatened by Sookie’s new manny, new employee Lane is ruling the roost at the diner, Paris and Rory pass the newspaper trial, and an ill-conceived home tour pushes the Gilmores further apart, as Paris’ affair with Basil Exposition heats up (You may also know him as Logan from Logan’s Run). There’s so much going on it’s hard to focus on any of it, honestly, as various plotlines carry more weight than others: For one thing, Tobin is never seen again (not even in the revival). They could have added about five more nouns to the nanny and professor of the title. This is the only episode producer Scott Kaufman ever wrote for the series, and it’s pretty obvious why.

Stray observations

  • That crazy, quirky Stars Hollow: Imagine how bad Frog Boy had to be for even Kirk to turn on Luke’s Diner.
  • Honestly, some of Richard’s Yale stories are disturbing enough to constitute actual hazing.
  • At least Michel has some really great moments in “The Nanny And The Professor,” including rolling Davey under the bed. “I thought you were celibate.” “Not by choice!”
  • “You are a honey-tongued devil, aren’t you Dick?” Guess we could really see Paris’ propensity for much older men coming a mile away, huh.
  • “Charlie Rose is a good friend of mine.” “Whatever.”
  • “You got me bunnies?” “They’re for whoever now.”
  • This week in scarves: The blue one meant to cover up Lorelai’s crimsonwear at the big game.
  • Best Gilmore outfit: That LBD Lorelai wore to the Jason date was indeed dangerous.
  • This week in Gilmore entitlement: Poor Cecil gets kicked out of the Gilmore football block because Lorelai wants to go for one hot minute, then spends hours almost immediately whining about it like it’s the worst thing that has ever happened to her. And he just lost his colon.
  • This week in Gilmore entitlement, part two: Taking up two tables in Luke’s diner for no reason other than to be annoying during the morning breakfast rush. Saying really embarrassing things to Pennilyn Lott, making the encounter with the Gilmores even more awkward. Talking for an entire movie, almost getting your date into a fight because of it. This one is especially egregious to me, as I hate movie talkers.
  • This week in guest stars: Bruce McCullough as Manny Tobin! He will always make me think of this song:
  • Next week: You will learn how to hate a bell.