Thursday, June 2, 2016

Podcast #78 - S4E7 - The Festival of Living Art

Hello! Welcome to Return to Stars Hollow - a spoiler-free, retrospective podcast about Gilmore Girls! This is the podcast for Season 4, Episode 7 - The Festival of Living Art.

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The next podcast will post on Thursday, June 23, 2016 for Season 4, Episode 8 - Die, Jerk!


  1. First thing's first, picturing Richard and Emily in Atlantic City is hilarious, but picturing Richard doing body shots in Cancun is just too much.

    Joining the Yale Daily News is a much more interesting story of Rory's adjustment to college than some earlier plot points, particularly the study tree. It's related to the Rory we know, and shows a direct line of her success at the Franklin to some initial struggles in a higher grade paper. It's good to see Rory having to work at something and not be naturally flawless. As much as we love Rory and think she's perfect, it's good to know she's human too, and this is a very natural transition for a lot of people who excelled in high school. However, I did have problems with the story about her review of the ballet. First off, from what we hear of Rory's review, it seems that she was largely criticizing the ballerina's size, by repeatedly referring to the "hippo" line, and including how she had a "roll around her bra strap" and that seeming like she "couldn't fit into a standard leotard." Also, when Rory and Lorelai were watching the show, Lorelai mentioned how the guy wasn't supposed to wince when he lifted the ballerina, and while I'm not sure if that made into the article, it contributed to the general feeling that they were putting down her body rather than her dancing abilities. Lorelai does make a few comments about the ballerina's grace, like her slipping a bit, and the ballerina said the article included a line about 'having the grace of a drunken dock worker," but the recurring comments seem to be about her size. Of course, we can only speculate about what the review actually said, but the show does seem to make us believe Rory was criticizing the ballerina because of her weight. And when the ballerina approaches her and brings up the hippo comment, Rory tried to show that she meant it as a "humorous comparison." Not cool Rory. Not all people can eat like crap and remain tiny, a lot of women have curves or athletic bodies, and the conversation should not have even been about her body at all. The one thing I appreciated from the review story line was that Lorelai recognized that something she said was horrible when she read it in Rory's review (the roll around the bra strap line).

    Another complaint about their elitism and seemingly strange concept of money. They really order clothes online and just never wear them?? Even Emily recognized how ridiculous that is, which really speaks to how irresponsible Rory and Lorelai are with money.

    Ewwwwww Digger is so gross. Why is he in the credits? I'm sure it more likely is something to do with the actor's contract, but of all of Lorelai's potential love interests (her fiancee, Rory's dad) why is Digger the one that makes the cut?

    I found Lorelai's baby talk to Michel super annoying. Please say this is a Gilmore last.

    It made me a little sad that because we haven't heard about Lane and Dave in so long that I had forgotten Mrs. Kim was cool with their relationship. Apparently they're still dating? I enjoyed the comedic aspects of the marriage jug scene though. The wheat balls! It was funny seeing that Mrs. Kim had no memory of the "marriage jug" and Lane imagined her mother's intensity. Is this going to be the reason she and Dave break up? I really hope not. I know Adam Brody had to move on to the OC, but it is so sad to see the fallout effect it had on Lane and Dave.

    Comedic moments I enjoyed:
    "wifi, it's called"
    Davey's first word

  2. Since you brought it up: What I wouldn't give to know what went on in the writers room of Gilmore Girls. From what I've heard in interviews and on podcasts with different people it sounds like it was maybe not the easiest room to work in, but I don't remember the details of what people said or didn't say, so I'm not going to elaborate on what I think I remember. And it probably changed over the seasons. The impression I got from interviews with ASP and also the dvd extras is that she seems to be very specific in what she wants and is very much like "This is my baby and I know what's best" and that's totally her right as the showrunner and creator. Just sometimes it leads to questions when we have episodes where the characters cross the line between quirky and terrible without the show realizing it, independent of which writer's name is on the episode. Because when there are too many of these episodes, you can't pretend anymore that the writers just missed the mark. At some point that's just who the characters are and that's sometimes unfortunate, like in this case. I knew that there would be a few episodes in season 4 where Rory is kinda the worst, but I didn't remember so many of them coming in a row. But again, I don't think the show is doing this on purpose or intends for us to see Rory this way.

    What I take from this episode is that Rory is a terrible critic and a horrible person. It's one thing to say these things to your mom in the moment you see something and don't like it. It's a whole nother thing to write that down for all the world to see.
    And I agree with McKenna, the whole review apparently boils down to "She's fat. Did you see how fat that ballerina is?" And somehow I'm always especially disappointed when this show makes some stupid fat joke. For example when they had that comment about the Lord of the Rings extras being just "that fat guy talking". Because there are so many people on this show who have all kinds of different body shapes and that's never an issue. Nobody ever comments on it and I love that. It would be so easy to imagine an episode where Sookie or Babette or Miss Patty or Taylor or whoever decides to go on a diet and that's some funny C-story in the background, but they never do that. So I'm just really mad whenever they pull something like in this episode.
    I also think that when Rory proposes to rereview the ballet or write a correction, she's mainly doing that to make herself feel better because she was personally attacked. I don't think she feels sorry about what she wrote and the consequences that had for other people.
    The one beat in this storyline I like is when Rory worries that she peaked in highschool. It's selfpity, sure, but I'm not mad at her yet at that point so I kinda feel for her here.

    I like the Lane story for what it is but it's certainly not what I would have wished for if I had a say in these things. I like the moment when she seems sad at the end that this thing she believed in her whole life basically was just a way for Mrs. Kim to shut her up as a child and she doesn't even remember it. That's a nice moment.

    Doyle! I watched Gilmore Girls many times before I watched Buffy for the first time, so I kept referring to him as Doyle on that show, too. And when I finally started to think of him as Jonathan, Conversations with Dead People happened and, no spoilers, but, you know.

    Lorelai's long pink coat is my favourite piece of clothing anyone on this show ever wears. It's so pretty and I want it even though it probably wouldn't look that great on me because I'm not Lauren Graham (surprise!).

    Kick him where the sun don't shine! (I don't think that's too bad as a curse)

  3. I found myself very confused by Rory's review. What do the writers want us to see? Are we to think that the ballet, and the ballerina, were terrible and so Rory's criticism was justified but worded harshly? Or that the ballerina really is talented (Julliard, Miami, 14 years of training) and Rory just couldn't see it? Was it fair, or not fair, for Rory to call the ballerina fat (even though the actress playing the ballerina does not seem any different than Rory in body type)?
    The show may be running into some realism problems, because if this ballerina has really been training for 14 years and danced with the Miami ballet, chances are she has plenty of talent and is not "too fat" to be a dancer, nor would she ever go onstage in a leotard that was way too small. (Seriously, dancers practice in front of mirrors! They know what they look like!)

    (As an aside, ASP must be a fan of ballet, because she wrote Bunheads, which I highly recommend to all.)

    It seems like the show didn't quite know what story it was trying to tell about Rory's evolution as a journalist: does she need to get over her natural niceness and tell it like it is in order to be a hard-hitting reporter? Or does she need to accept that she has the power as a critic to affect people's lives and use that power more sparingly in the future?

    Another consequence of this storyline is it revealed some real nastiness from Richard and Emily in complimenting Rory's review, particularly Richard's throwaway "now she can go to business school" line. They seem to think that Rory should have the power to affect the ballerina's career choices. (In contrast, Lorelai is horrified at Rory's review.) It really comes off badly to me, and I would love to know whether the writers intended that.

    Luke/Nicole: sigh. Apparently we're doing this. Lorelai behaved very, very strangely when she had her "fight" with Luke, like she wanted him to lose his temper so they could yell at each other but he just wasn't playing along.

    Digger: I know he's generally unliked around here, but I enjoy his presence on the show because I think he bounces off Lorelai really well, and he gets the sheer nuttiness of the Gilmore Clan. Except for Christopher, we don't get to see Lorelai's boyfriends trying to interact with her parents, so this is new territory. (I also appreciated that Digger treated Rory like an adult and didn't act weird about Lorelai having a kid.)

  4. I don’t understand Rory’s total lack of self-awareness, here. She says she didn’t mean to be hurtful, but all of her excerpts are more than mild slights. This seems like a case of her snarky movie commentary with Lorelai failing to translate outside of their living room.

    Dave is off the show, and it’s incredibly obvious, but here they’re able to give us more than exposition. I respect the attempt to work him into Lane’s plot.

    Giving the one black character on the show the “I’m being discriminated against, like Rosa Parks” joke felt like the show was flying a little too close to the sun, there.