Posted by Bob Greenberger on November 29, 2006
Much has been written about the change in management on Gilmore Girls, a series that has been a Greenberger Family favorite since its debut. The critics have pretty much savaged the writing, noting the hip and current asides are missing, the speech pacing has slowed down and therefore the leads – Lorelei and Rory – no longer resemble themselves.
After watching last night’s episode, I realized the show’s problems run deeper. The entire point of view has altered and not for the better.
In the beginning we were introduced to Lorelei who rejected everything her parents stood for and set out on her own, sixteen and pregnant, to find her own way. Her fierce independence has been demonstrated time and again, from living in the barn behind the Inn to seeking out her dream to own and run her own Inn. It was always Lorelei and Rory first and foremost.
With time, though, Lorelei has been slowly learning to not only trust others and let them in to her life, but that to achieve her dreams she needs to accept help from others. First, Luke was there with a loan when the money to refurbish the Dragonfly Inn ran out and later when there was a fire and her father had to step in and help her with the insurance. The latter actually helped heal long-standing wounds between father and daughter and both characters benefited.
Today, though, the series has been less about independence and more about class warfare. Now that Lorelei’s first love, Christopher, has come in to money, we have the Gilmores at the top of the pyramid followed by Lorelei and Christopher and Rory and the very rich Logan. Storyline after storyline has played with this battle and it’s rather wearisome. The show even tried to show us that Lorelei was wistful for the things that weren’t during the cotillion episode – perhaps the least in character moment of the season. The loveably idiosyncratic residents of Starrs Hollow now appear less unique and more like country bumpkins. That was made clear in Tuesday’s episode with how they reacted to Christopher marrying Lorelei and later after Christopher made up the shortfall in the fund raising drive. Worse, in the teaser for next week, he calls Luke the “diner guy”.
Luke is anything but that. Luke is as fiercely independent as Lorelei has been, keeping the diner his way and again, very slowly have we seen him accept other people in his life. The parallels between him and April and Lorelei and Rory are clear and as annoying as April was as a plot device, the relationship has grown nicely.
Christopher was a screw up, one reason he and Lorelei never really stayed together. He was failure in his personal life and his professional life. Despite Richard Gilmore’s support, he continued to screw up his career. Now that he’s come into significant money, he has proven that inheriting money equals character makeover. His character arc is unrecognizable and somewhat of a series low point.
Deb observed recently that Lorelei hasn’t looked happy all season despite rejecting Luke’s re-proposal of marriage, jetting the Paris and ultimately marrying Christopher. There’s little joy in her life as she’s allowed events to carry her along as opposed to the Lorelei of the past, the one who charted her course and bulled ahead to make the absurd a reality. If anything, the show has missed a key character point in never showing us her repaying Luke the thousands of dollars because if nothing else, she wanted to be beholden to nobody.
The show’s ratings have taken a beating as people have not warmed to the new production team’s approach to the show. We’re nearing the season’s halfway point and there’s little sign they’ve taken any of the criticism to heart. It’s a real shame since this was one of the freshest shows and most original voices on prime time television for six straight years.