Paris is Burning
Season 1, Episode 11
Original airing: January 11, 2001
This is a well plotted episode. I think it works really well to have Lorelai panic about her relationship and Max realize how unfeasible it is for his chosen profession and current job.
We can presume that Lorelai has not had any truly serious relationships in at least 16 years, so I find it very believable that she would panic when she started to feel too happy. Sookie’s comments hit the nail on the head, but support the overall idea really well.
It’s a poor decision by Lorelai to have the break up conversation in the classroom at Parent’s Day, but I think it suits Lorelai’s state of mind. I know when I’ve been on the verge of a break up, my thought processes are not at their most logical.
The scene in the classroom was very well done. Max is true to his character by trying to actually understand what’s happening and thinking it’s Lorelai being indecisive again (as she’s been their entire relationship). But his final realization that it is a truly poor choice for him to date a student’s parent was long overdue. It’s a believable reason for him to walk away from her.
Paris was a great catalyst for the break-up. She’s a confused, upset, abandoned teenager with a commonly surly attitude. She was perfect for spreading the gossip around the school and instigating Max’s decision.
And buried under all of this, was the utter perfection of Sookie asking out Jackson. Lorelai’s comments on Sookie’s lack of relationships felt natural and spurred the most perfect scene to date for the show (See Favorite Moment).
Unfortunately, we haven’t had the time to really get to know and connect to Max. He’s been very sporadic in his appearances and whenever he’s not around, Luke is there to fill the void. I feel sad for Lorelai’s obvious heartbreak, but it doesn’t touch me personally as a viewer.
It doesn’t help that Luke continues to be sweet and thoughtful (in his own way) in this episode. He takes Lorelai’s skates and offers to sharpen and polish them with no prompting on her part. This is the stuff that makes him seem so great to the audience. It’s hard to care about Max leaving when Luke is waiting on the sidelines.
I don’t think any of our girls have been as sweet as Sookie asking out Jackson. Her soft voice, subtle tremor, and big, doe eyes were absolute perfection. And I loved Jackson’s thrown response. You don’t need big overdone emotions to have a perfectly heartfelt moment.
The Bottom Line:This was a well-written and formulated episode, but it lacked heart. Max just hasn’t been around enough for me to care about his relationship with Lorelai. It’s easy to shrug it off and think, “There’s always, Luke!”