“Lorelai’s First Cotillion,” season seven, episode three, originally aired 10/10/2006
So, when I started this project lo these many moons ago (in July), it appealed to the completist in me. The last four season of Gilmore Girls were just hanging there in our TV Club reviews, never to be fulfilled. As the very first thing I ever Tivoed was Gilmore Girls on ABC Family or whatever it was called back then, I considered myself the perfect candidate to wrangle this project to completion, and fortunately my editors agreed.
That’s not to say these episodes haven’t had their ups and downs. Rory briefly reuniting with Dean, the horrible Digger period, Rory and Lorelai’s breakup that went on way too long, and the introduction of April. Oh god, April. There’s a reason no one looks at Gilmore Girls seasons four through seven as the glory years.
I’ve discovered, during this rewatch though, that there is a GG character I will despise forever even more than April, who is, after all, a precocious but innocent child. More than Taylor and all of his fool city council regulations. I have unabashedly on record about my hatred of one Christopher Hayden, Rory’s father, Loralai’s ex, and all-around entitled, privileged worthless person, like Logan (a.k.a. Christopher 2.0) without the requisite charm.
But even then it wasn’t so bad. Christopher and Lorelai hook up the night before Sookie’s wedding, but it doesn’t last. Christopher gets drunk at Emily and Richard’s re-wedding and goofs up things with Luke and Lorelai, but at least Lorelai gets mad at him about it. Christopher is going to fall backassward into money and again act like an idiot, but fine, let him pay for Yale and then make like a tree and get out of here. This is a big buildup to say that even with all this backstory, I was unprepared for this stretch of Gilmore Girls season seven, the darkest timeline of all, in which Christopher does not appear to be leaving us any time soon: Lorelai and Chris’ romantic run.
Yes, Lorelai is still smarting from her seeming rejection by Luke, and the fact that the wedding did not in fact happen. Sure, she’s super-vulnerable right now, open to grand romantic gestures and possibly re-thinking her entire life. If Lorelai has based every decision she’s ever made by rebelling against her parents, she now reasons—based on one cute cotillion and her parents’ non-reaction to her breakup—maybe that was wrong. Which puts Christopher, the man she’s been matched up with practically her entire life, in a whole new light. At least he didn’t get a Pop Tart-worthy diatribe, but let’s face it: He is the Pop-Tart in that scenario.
Caroline, the wacky Lorelai stand-in in the group of cotillion 10-year-olds, certainly elicits some pangs with her high-top sneakers and tea-sandwich antics. And Michel’s glee at the cotillion is delightful, because Michel is. But Christopher’s impassioned love speech, meant to be epic, just comes off as pathetic, so much so that I am probably not the only person who threw something at the TV when Lorelai called him at the end.
“S’Wonderful, S’Marvelous,” season seven, episode four, originally aired 10/17/2006
Flighty Sookie is hardly ever the voice of reason, but I want to sing her kitchen speech to the rooftops now that Lorelai and Christopher are finally dating: 30 years! Continually let down! When will Lorelai finally learn?
Yes, I get that Christopher is a fictional character, and is not ultimately destined to be the love of Lor’s life (although he, sadly, probably still has a picture of her somewhere and just pines over it). It’s just that for him to be a viable romantic Lorelai option and threat to Luke, the show is really trying to sell him in these early days of Lor & Chris episodes. But Christopher now has more money than God himself: Doesn’t Luke’s ice rink, crafted with his own two hands, rank higher than Chris renting a fancy convertible and setting up a movie projector, which probably took him a couple of phone calls?
Give or take a horrific phone sex B-plot, Rory is somewhat cast adrift these episodes, so the powers that be decided to finally throw some friends at her that are not named Lane or Paris. Lucy (Jessica Jones herself, Krysten Ritter) and Olivia are basically a new set of Madeline and Louise salt-and-pepper shakers, and their artistic carefree manner unfortunately only comes off as obnoxious. The whole apartment scene is so awkward: What’s that tangent about rice about? If there’s so much rice, why is Lucy then able to pull out an entire popcorn popper out of the cupboard? Why do they keep asking Rory idiot questions when she’s clearly on the phone? Where are Lucy’s pants?
Interestingly, Krysten Ritter addressed her GG time in a Random Roles a few years ago:
Gilmore Girls was a completely different experience, though, because they were at the very end of their run, and here I was stepping in late in the game. That was tricky, because I was so young and wide-eyed and, like, “I can’t wait to do this,” while everybody else is going, “Let’s get this over with.” [Laughs.] But yeah, that was… It’s funny how many people watch those shows. They really got thing started for me. So I’m really grateful.
It’s interesting to get that inside perspective, because yes, so far this Gilmore Girls season is running purely on fumes, so it’s not surprising to hear that everyone was phoning it in. And we still have a few more episodes to even get to the dumb Paris wedding. Frankly, I am just counting the seconds until this whole Christopher thing to start falling apart. I predict I will be downright gleeful.
- It’s a little weird how Lorelai’s ardor is increased after she picks up her mother from jail. Also, even as clueless as Emily is supposed to be in this episode, someone who reads the Sunday Times is probably going to be familiar with the fact that driving while talking on a cell phone is illegal.
- “Lorelai, there’s nothing funny about being a lesbian.”
- Luke now wearing a too-big black cap to indicate how much his life does not work without Lorelai. Although setting up his place for April using Target was pretty cute.
- In other news, Lane and Zack’s pregnancy still sucks.
- Richard verb I had to look up: “dragooned.”
- Worst Gilmore outfits: Lorelai’s cute red dress is ruined by giant black belt that belongs on some sort of superhero costume. Also in red: I get that the babydoll dress was a thing, but it had to be fairly over by 2006, right? Just can’t believe that Krysten Ritter’s Lucy would walk around with no pants like that.
- Next week in terrible Christopher misdeeds: He gets a bunch of college kids drunk at lunch by trying to be the cool dad.