Above screenshot: Gilmore Girls. Below photo: Warner Bros./Delivered by Online USA/Getty Images

“New And Improved Lorelai,” season six, episode one, originally aired 9/13/2005 

We’ve had some good times with this TV Club Classic run, haven’t we? Luke and Lorelai’s first kiss, some classic Stars Hollow quirkiness, some hilarious Paris one-liners. We even all got through Digger together, and that means something, dammit. Now is when the dregs come in. Now is when we find our true mettle—if we have the stamina, the inner strength to go the distance: Gilmore Girls seasons six and seven. We have the Friday night fights episode to look forward to, and an excellent Jess reappearance, and… open to suggestions, here.

Granted, it’s off to a bleak start. At least Luke and Lorelai are engaged, which would be a happier thing to focus on if we didn’t know that it was headed for disaster.

And at least Rory gets the book thrown at her for her yacht-stealing prank, with 300 hours of community service. There’s something really gratifying about seeing this character at her most privileged and whiny (“One guy said something bad about me so now I have throw away every advantage I’ve ever had! Wah!”) have to pick up trash at the side of the road. It’s about the only way we can deal with her painful partying and luxurious, to-be-redecorated pool house to hang out and do nothing with. Logan’s dubiousness over Rory’s break is about the most I’ve ever liked him, actually.

Although she puts up a good front, her bedroom crying jag shows us that Lorelai is broken by this rift with Rory, while trying to stick to her tough-love plan. Her insistence on staying out of everything in Rory’s life, including her court date, is truly impressive. As a parent who has definite helicopter tendencies, I honestly don’t know if I could have kept myself away from my kid’s criminal court appearance. I think the elder Gilmores are less territorial here than they are just trying to do the right thing, but they seem clueless as to what that could actually be. As incongruous as Lorelai’s plan seems to be, it’s apparently the proper path.

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“Fight Face,” season six, episode two, originally aired 9/20/2005 

In this episode we have Rory’s community service, and Luke and Lorelai’s contracting problems. Contractors are boring enough in really life, why would we want to see discussions about larger bedrooms and crown moldings on TV that’s not HGTV? And watching Luke get suckered by Liz and T.J. yet again is akin to Lucy holding that football for Charlie Brown: After awhile, you have to blame Charlie Brown for continually falling for the same gag.

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In other news: Lorelai gets a dog. A very cute, neurotic dog that obviously is meant as a stand-in for Rory. Rory gets a job, shepherding the antics of the DAR. Also, Rory gets into a fight at her community service, which seems highly out of character, except if, like Lorelai’s meltdown, it’s meant to show how truly in anguish she is as well.

In fact, the best scene in these entire two episodes may be when Rory, lonely and out of sorts, goes to visit Luke at the diner. These two have had very little one-on-one interaction, so the fact that Luke would open up to her about the engagement is a nice moment, although a painful one for Rory. Unfortunately it’s followed by a yelling fight between Luke and Lorelai that just gets more annoying as time goes on, even though it’s a nice callback to Luke’s indignation that Obi-wan Kenobi defeats Anakin just because he’s on higher ground. But so far Gilmore Girls’ season six, like one of its female protagonists, is merely aimless and adrift.


Stray observations

  • Sometimes Lorelai’s hairstyle choices (like season four’s giant extensions) confound me. Here we have: The awkward side part. It is clearly not her natural part, so a considerable amount of her hair wants to keep falling into her face. To get the unnatural part to stay, it has been scraped down all the way to her scalp. It’s painful to look at, and I can’t wait until it’s over. Off-center parts, people! They work the best!
  • Shout-out to Emily’s original panic room code.
  • Random Gilmore cameo: That’s Revenge’s David Clarke—James Tupper—as the biker who gets a trophy thrown at him.
  • I like having Paris and Luke on the same side, although he’s obviously met her before, and saw her Chilton graduation speech.
  • Worst Gilmore outfits: Lorelai’s pink blazer is proof that puffed sleeves look ridiculous on grown-ass women. And Rory’s courtroom outfit is indeed Mennonite.
  • Best Gilmore outfits: N/A.
  • I have no doubt that DAR meetings actually consist of ladies sitting around discussing which founding father they’d want to sleep with.
  • “Less of a chance than all four of the Beatles getting back together”: dark.
  • C’mon, everybody knows what a light saber is.
  • Doose’s has a liquor license, who knew? And isn’t $5.99 champagne better than Zima?
  • Apologies for the lateness of this review, but I had to see a man about a Star War.
  • Next week: More of the same, but at least we have this to look forward to:

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