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

“Friday Night’s Alright For Fighting,” season six, episode 13, originally aired 1/31/2006

For all the accolades this episode gets, the actual fight in “Friday Night’s Alright” only shows up with about 10 minutes to go at the end of the episode. It’s definitely worth the wait, but I’d forgotten just how brief this brief bright spot was.

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Before this, Rory not wanting to at least call her grandparents to inform them that they don’t need to pay for Yale any more sums up everything that’s annoying about Rory. Steeped in privilege, not to mention ungrateful, she is ready to toss the two people out of her life forever who supported her when she needed it. Without even so much as a thank you. And why is she so steamed up, exactly? Because Emily wanted her to wear a pink dress to a Russian tea? Even Lorelai, who has years more ammo against the elder Gilmores than Rory does due to her own upbringing, at least mildly calls her out: “Ice, ice baby!” On this rewatch, my disdain for Rory Gilmore grows with each passing episode.

Alongside that, we have to view the destruction of Paris as she brings the Yale Daily News to the brink of total a failure, only to have Rory and Logan save it, cementing their reconciliation. At this point, it’s almost nostalgic to have words like “desking” thrown around, as well as hard copies of stories, and frantic phone calls to printers (the paper version of the publication you’re reading now ceased in 2013).

And of course, Luke continues his clueless journey into becoming a character it’s hard to believe I ever liked in the first place by cutting Lorelai off from April, adding insult on top of injury after postponing the wedding last week. What’s worse, he doesn’t appear to notice how much he’s hurting her, when it’s so obvious even someone like Kirk could spot it from across the room. Wanting some solo time with his daughter is understandable, but at least introducing his daughter to his fiancee would only strengthen that relationship. Especially since they’ve kind of already met.

Maybe that helps explain why Lorelai is so anxious to glue her family back together—after the estrangement, and with Luke spending time with his own offspring, Rory and Emily and Richard are all she’s got. Only creator Amy Sherman-Palladino could be brave enough to pull off that fight scene, though, with swinging around hand-held camera, unearthed resentments (Emily to Rory: “I never realized how spoiled you were”: hear, hear) from recent (Rory getting kicked out of the DAR) to the faraway past (Lorelai and Emily, hilariously bringing up her teenage pregnancy again.) In between, Sherman-Palladino throws some brilliant breaking-the-tension segues like some passionfruit sorbet, the reveal of Emily’s takedown of Shira at the DAR event, and Lorelai’s offhand reveal about Luke to her father (“He has a kid.”) It’s the kind of knock-down emotional brawl that more families should have, frankly: bringing everything out into the open as opposed to years of seething resentment. (You’ll notice, though, that everyone’s biggest fights are with Emily: Rory, Lorelai, and Richard all have separate beefs with her.) In the end, everything is torn apart and then gingerly leans back together, until the Gilmores’ Friday night dinners are intact once more.

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“You’ve Been Gilmored,” season six, episode 14, originally aired 2/6/2006

I like that the Friday night fight didn’t fix everything, with some lingering tension spilling over into the next FND. Unfortunately, after that fun and awkward cold open, we’re still stuck with a clunker of an episode that involves a silly spat between Michel and Luke, and Rory taking over the Yale Daily News and subsequently moving into Logan’s swinging bachelor pad.

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As is so often in these clunker episodes, at least we can cling to the charismatic beacon that is Lauren Graham as Lorelai. She actually saves that Michel plot as Lorelai realizes that Michel is mostly sad over losing his regular sitdown with her to go over the list of Dragonfly Inn chores. And her sparring with Luke before the dinner with the Gilmores, as well as the two bonding over surviving the dinner, is just another example of how well the two worked as a couple. Even with no wedding date, Lorelai still easily casts off comments about what her life will be like with Luke once they’re married. Knowing where everything is headed, it’s rather heartbreaking to witness. And the reappearance of Christopher does not help.

Stray observations

  • “Any specific reason [the wedding] is so soon?” “Oh, boy.”
  • “It’s not a snub, Dad, I swear”: Lorelai trying to cover up for her daughter’s demonesque tendencies.
  • Gilmore Girl cameo: That’s future Community star Danny Pudi as Raj, the Yale Daily News staffer who has to unplug and replug his computer.
  • Worst Gilmore outfits: Lorelai’s colorful scarf, obviously. That short-sleeve black cardigan didn’t do her any favors. Rory’s date outfit is ruined by the frumpy cardigan over her brown dress. And what’s with all the drab colors? She’s 21, not 61.
  • Best Gilmore outfits: The girls’ matching black sweaters and fancy skirts for the dinner cagematch worked well. And it was nice to see Emily in something other than one of her suits.
  • Christopher on his new bff Logan: “He’s a cool guy. Great apartment, funny…” “He’s taken, Chris.”
  • “Covering sports as if they matter…”
  • If you ever wondered whether Logan and Christopher were in fact the same person, their bonding over the prep schools they got kicked out of should clinch that theory.

Next week: What many people consider the worst Gilmore Girls episode ever made. Frankly, I feel like there have been a lot of other candidates lately, but then I haven’t seen “Vineyard Valentine” in a while.

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