Monday, July 28, 2014

Podcast #2 - S1E1 - Pilot

Hello! Welcome to Return to Stars Hollow - a spoiler-free, retrospective podcast about Gilmore Girls! This is the podcast for Season 1, Episode 1 - Pilot!

An obsession begins.
You can direct download the episode here: S1E1 - Pilot

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Or you can tweet us at SeriouslySwatch (Cordia) or CelesteFohl!

The next podcast will post on August 4th for Season 1, Episode 2 - The Lorelais' First Day at Chilton!

Cordia's Review of S1E1 - Pilot

The presenting of the uniform. Gotta love Lorelai's face in this one.

Season 1, Episode 1
Original airing: October 5, 2000

My Rating: 72

The Good:
This is a show about relationships and this first episode did a wonderful job of introducing the audience to quite a few of them. The episode showed us strong families, estranged families, best friends, and even romantic potential. And none of it felt rushed. Lorelai and Rory are a stand out mother-daughter combo with their distinct, but overlapping personalities. I thought having a fight in the first episode was a great way to show us that Rory is NOT Lorelai, but she’s pretty close. Lorelai’s relationship with Emily and Richard looks like it will be very intriguing to explore further and I even got a little stomach flutter to see young love blossoming between Rory and Dean. In all of this, Sookie and Lane are obvious supports to our leading ladies and even Michel carved out a niche of uniqueness in a cast-heavy show. Each character is well defined and important to the whole and that’s pretty impressive on a pilot episode.

The Meh:
Alexis Bledel is a very young actress and she comes across very stony through most of the episode. Her scenes with Dean were the strongest and perhaps it came from acting with someone her own age. That all being said, I really appreciate the show hiring young actors of high school age to play the characters in high school. This type of drama could have pulled the stunt of hiring 20 year olds and I think that would have drastically changed the dynamic of the show and relationships.

The Bad:
Overall, I felt this was a very strong episode and I don’t have anything particularly bad to mention about it!

Favorite Moment:
The show got its first teary eyes from me when Lorelai presents Rory with her Chilton uniform. Even on the first episode, they do an amazing job of showing me how important this moment is for both mother and daughter.

The Bottom Line:
This was a pilot, which the show doesn’t try to hide. But it’s also possibly one of the best pilots I’ve ever seen. Twelve recurring characters are introduced and I came away from each with a good basic idea of who each of those people are and why they matter on this show. That’s a tall order. I also felt like the story did an excellent job taking us from happy-go-lucky intro through Rory and Lorelai’s first fight and the bond that brings them back together. A lot of ground was covered in these 45 minutes and done very well.

Célèste's Review of S1E1 "Pilot"

Gilmore Girls "Pilot"

Season 1, Episode 1
Original airing: October 5, 2000

My Rating: 
62 (I attempted to judge it against episodes in general, rather than what’s expected for a pilot.)

The Good: 
  • The jokes and characters are already there so early. Amazing how well established the whole world is right down to relationships and ancillary characters. 
  • The plot is simple, interesting, and makes me want to see more: what will Chilton be like? How will future Friday-night dinners go? What will happen with Rory and Dean? Is there something happening between Luke and Lorelai?
  • Some of the establishing knowledge was slipped very well into character-motivated dialogue. E.g.: the fight about Lorelai leaving home at sixteen. 
  • Since I mostly remember being annoyed by Dean (primarily in later seasons), I was pleasantly surprised to find him super charming in the Pilot. His story of Rory reading undistracted while a guy got hit in the face with a football was great, and it established that he likes Rory because she's different, not just because she's pretty. Rory's awkwardness around Dean was so cute, especially when she responded to the mention of Chicago with "Windy...Oprah," when she rambled about her birth story, ending with, "I don't normally talk this much," and when she told Dean she'd timed the journey to Hartford, oblivious to the oddness of that fact. 
The Bad: 
  • Some dialogue and some whole scenes seemed only to exists to establish knowledge. The first Sookie scene: did it need to be there at all or could it have been tied in with the other Sookie scene? Also, did we need the scene of Rory still mad at the inn when it was immediately followed by her being mad on the doorstep?
  • Rory: "You know how your mom doesn’t like you listening to rock music? You know how she doesn’t like me?" Lane: "Yes, Rory, we both know these things about my mother. Why are verbally establishing basic facts about my life? It's really unnecessary when there's a whole scene at my house that doesn't further the plot at all, but instead introduces my mom through the handy tool of show-don't-tell."
  • Although I am a fan of Alex Borstein, and I do think she was funny in this, the harpist doesn’t have anything to do with anything. Couldn’t a gag played for laughs at least relate to the plot in some way. These scenes felt tacked on. Some of the Michel stuff felt a bit tacked on too, but at least it established a major character. I wonder if Della was originally planned as a major character. 
  • The cool-mom mother-daughter dynamic was almost 100% there, but there were a couple moments that felt like someone's idea of a cool-mom, rather than the specific nuanced relationship Lorelai and Rory have. Specifically, I thought it was awkward when Rory asked Lorelai if she was happy because she'd done something slutty. In later episodes, Rory presents a healthy "ick" response to the idea of her mom having sex. A mother and daughter can be close while still having some boundaries. I think the boundaries the show establishes in future episodes help make their relationship seem more real.
Favorite Moment: 
Zooming out to reveal a lightbulb-lined window framing their “little corner of the world”: a table for two at Luke's is the perfect way to set the tone for the whole series, and a beautiful image at that. 

The Bottom Line: 
This episode has a few problems common to pilots: clunky establishing moments, a few things that don’t quite fit what the show later becomes (the harpist, Emily’s bad haircut), but is overall one of the best pilots I’ve seen, with a fully developed world, story, and set of characters. I’m hooked from the beginning, and I want to see more. When recommending Gilmore Girls, there is no need to say things like, “you’ve got to watch until episode three for it to get good,” which is something I often find myself saying about other shows. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Podcast #1 - Introduction

Hello! Welcome to Return to Stars Hollow - a spoiler-free, retrospective podcast about Gilmore Girls! This is our introduction episode! Join us for a few minutes to meet your hosts and hear how we came to the podcast and the show.

You can download the episode here: Introduction

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Comment on this post to leave your feedback for the next podcast!

You can also send feedback and voice clips to

Or you can tweet us at SeriouslySwatch (Cordia) or CelesteFohl!

We'll be back soon with our premier episode for Season 1, Episode 1 - Pilot!