Today I (re)watch: Gilmore girls, 1.11

Uh-oh. Paris is Burning.

The summary: Paris’ parents are getting divorced and everyone at school is talking about it. Lorelai wigs out that “Rory is getting attached to Max” (hint: it’s not about Rory) and decides to break up with him. The plan goes wrong and drama ensues at Chilton, the Gilmore girls’ house, the Gilmore grandparents’ house. Paris starts to not hate Rory that much.

In this episode, Lorelai is me, the earlier years. Getting attached is a tricky business.

As per usual, because I have seen this series before a hundred times, there will be spoilers for possibly all the seasons.

But first, let me tell you about Skippy, in case you never watch this episode, or need a reminder. It’s a wonderful anecdote in the Gilmore repertoire, one of my favorites. Skippy was a hamster that Rory and Lorelai had. Everytime Lor would stick her hand inside the cage, Skippy would bite her. So she started stuffing scented Kleenex inside the cage every day until all you could see was a cage that moved a little. One day, Lorelai waited until the guy at the counter of the pet store left and she abandoned Skippy there. I think that one and the anecdote in which the cops arrest the party clown at Rory’s 8th birthday are two of my favorite memories-I-wish-we-saw-flashbacks-of.

Now on the attachment thing. We don’t see much of Lorelai and Rory’s life before the show. The flashbacks we see throughout the years are of when Lorelai was about to have Rory or when she had just had her, but never of the 15-ish years in between. The way Sookie talks about Lorelai’s dating life – bolting after about 2 months every time – it seems incredibly lonely, and incredibly confusing for both her and Rory. I wonder, did Christopher ever try to come back before we see him (soon, my darlings, soon)? Did she ever have a long(er) lasting relationship after Chris but before Max? It seems unrealistic that she never did, but it sure sounds like it. That just makes me very sad, but also very understanding of Lorelai’s pattern and how unsettling it is to try to break it.

But, I mean, breaking up at your daughter’s school, the daughter you are meaning to “keep your personal life from affecting”? Terrible idea. Making out with said teacher, in the classroom? Terrible idea. And, looking at the entire series, Lorelai does nothing but involve Rory in her personal life, to be honest. I love her dearly, but it’s true. Rory’s teacher, Rory’s father, the grandparents’ business partner, Rory’s other father figure, Rory’s dad again, Rory’s other father figure… I won’t go into it all that much because it would be spoiling the entire series – if you are in it for Lorelai’s dating history, which if you are, you’re a fool – but it’s true, and it’s kind of normal. Kids get the hits of their parents’ dating decisions. It’s inevitable in a way, and I think it is silly of Lorelai to think she can change that. Rather than doing that, engaging in meaningful, two-way, honest communication about it with Rory would really be best. And as much as they communicate, they do not talk all that much about how Rory’s feelings are hurt by Lorelai’s decision-making. At the end of this episode Rory comforts Lorelai, and even if the focus here is Lorelai’s heart-ache, I can’t help but feel Rory’s confusion and heart-ache as well. Her mom’s relationships affect her, no matter what rules they put up. While I don’t know how this works because my parents have always been together, I can only imagine the weirdness.

I don’t like the screaming match that Rory and Lorelai get into. It is true that Lorelai makes the rules but clearly they are not working and Rory says so and Lorelai pulls the “you’re a kid, you don’t know what’s what”. Lor wants to shield Rory but how about listening to her? This is one of those episodes in which I am not a huge fan of what Lorelai does/says.

This terrible yet understandable “let’s break up because I have feelings” decision does not stop me from feeling very very sad when Max does break up with Lorelai for real at the end of the episode. I feel very very sad especially since it is because of what Lorelai did – freaking out, breaking up with him, making out with him instead – that Max has to do it.

I like how this whole thing relates to the Skippy anecdote: Lorelai is not good at keeping relationships and wigs out when she is getting attached. She bailed on Skippy and she meant to bail on Max. But then Max breaks things up, and Lor is left crying. And when Lorelai cries, I cry.

A brief paragraph on Paris and Rory: I love it when they are enemies because it’s entertaining but I love it more when they are friends. And this is another glimpse of that beautiful blossoming thing that is going to happen soon: two awesome kickass ladies being buddies. Paris screws up but I cannot even imagine what she was going through with her parents and the whole school being a bunch of dickheads. She apologizes and Rory offers to talk. They are still in a push/pull situation but they are working on it. They’re both smart and ambitious ladies and there is no reason why they should keep fighting their inevitable love friendship.

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