Friday, November 11, 2016

Podcast #92 - S4E21 - Last Week Fights, This Week Tights

Hello! Welcome to Return to Stars Hollow - a spoiler-free, retrospective podcast about Gilmore Girls! This is the podcast for Season 4, Episode 21 - Last Week Fights, This Week Tights.

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The next podcast will post on Thursday, November 17th, 2016 for Season 4, Episode 22 - Raincoats and Recipes.


  1. I have so much to say, I don't even know where to start.
    The Lorelai part of this episode is amazing and I love pretty much everything about it. Rory’s story meanwhile is like watching two trains crash into each other in slow motion, but you can’t look away.

    It was just a small scene but I’m glad that we finally heard Rory express her feelings about Jess and Dean to Lane. She hasn’t really done that before and even though I don’t agree on the Dean side of things, I’ve accepted that that’s what the show is doing and that the character feels that way and it lays a nice groundwork for what happens later.

    Rory and Dean sleeping together is the first instance on this show where I’ve had trouble judging it. Just because I don’t like a character’s behaviour and just because it’s not the direction in which I would like the story to go, that doesn’t mean that it’s actually a bad story. I’ve gotten better over the years at differentiating between those things.
    So objectively, Rory sleeping with a married Dean is obviously a terrible decision, and not just because I’d be happy to never see Dean’s face again. But it is an interesting story. It’s the first time Rory has really screwed up in a major way and in a way that you wouldn’t expect from the character, as Lorelai points out. But I do believe that Rory would do it (more on that in my thoughts on the season as a whole) and I am very interested to see how they will handle this next season.

    The confrontation between Lorelai and Rory is great and it hurts. Another great performance from Lauren Graham here, Lorelai looks so disappointed which makes it all the more painful. Even though Lorelai is right with everything she says, I can also see Rory’s side of things. I think the worst, most childish thing she says is that Dean was her boyfriend first and that makes it right, which is obviously BS, but again, I believe, in this very moment, she would try to make that argument. She literally just had this wonderful experience and now Lorelai is attacking her for it and ruining everything. It’s only when she hears Lindsay’s voice that it sinks in that Lorelai is right and this might have been a mistake. This scene also reminds you again how young both Rory and Dean are and that they really don’t know what they’re doing.

    I also love that Rory points out that Lorelai slept with Chris while he was with Sherry. I would have liked it better though if Lorelai hadn’t brushed that off and tried to pretend that that was a totally different situation, which it really wasn’t. Instead I would have preferred it had she said that it’s specifically because of that experience that she knows first hand that just because a guy says it’s over, doesn’t mean it’s actually over and she knows how much that can hurt and she doesn’t want Rory to have to go through that. That would have made her argument stronger, I think, and as it is, it takes me out of the scene a little.

    I’m not quite sure why they felt they needed to bring Digger back, except to make everyone hate him which is not a good impression to end the character on. He’s really terrible here. Is he just here to create a misunderstanding, so Luke would confront Lorelai about it, so they would kiss? I’m pretty sure there are other ways to get there. I can’t believe I’m arguing for a better treatment of Digger’s character and yet, here we are.

    Luke and Lorelai’s first kiss... kisses..are great and very memorable. Yes, I'm back on the ship. I love that they're interrupted by a naked, screaming Kirk. It’s just perfect for this show. And I always love when Luke does things he doesn’t want to do for people he loves even though he would never admit that he loves them, so I love the scene when he agrees to help Kirk and then actually does it, even in this moment.

    1. I agree with you - I hate the character's decision making, and I hate that Rory does this, and everything she says about it so obnoxious. But I completely believe all of it, every bit of it, and I "enjoy" it from a story perspective. Like you said, just because you don't like what they're doing doesn't mean they shouldn't do it narratively.

  2. I've had a very positive memory of season 4 that didn't really hold up on this rewatch. It mostly stems from an exciting beginning and a very strong ending, but the middle part wasn't that great. At least Lorelai had a real storyline throughout the whole season, unlike in season 3, and the Emily and Richard stuff was also very good. And of course Lane had a real storyline with real consequences of her own which is always great.

    I love the concept of Rory's storyline but the execution was not good. As I've mentioned above, I totally believe that she would sleep with Dean at this point and that she is drawn to him. I think you suggested at some point that you would like it better if it wasn't Dean but instead some other married guy? I don't think that would work, I think it has to be Dean, otherwise Rory wouldn't do it.
    The story I think they were trying to tell (though they didn't do it very well) is that Rory is really struggling to adjust to Yale. She doesn't really find friends, she has to live with strangers and Paris for the first time, she doesn't fit in when everyone is partying, she misses Stars Hollow, she has to really work to get into the Yale Daily News, she struggles academically, she doesn't see Lorelai that often, Jess comes back and leaves and comes back, makes a terrible proposition and leaves again. And then there's Dean, who in a way represents Stars Hollow and who has always loved her and been there for her and was the perfect boyfriend (no, but I can't talk about that anymore). I could see how, in Rory's mind, everything started to fall apart when she broke up with Dean (even though, no, he broke up with her). Jess treated her terribly which the show acknowledged for once unlike with Dean, he left, and then all of the not so great Yale stuff happened. So I can see why she would be drawn back to Dean and kind of would want go back in time to that place where she was happy and everything was going great. And because Lindsay has been painted as the horrible wife and Dean says it's fine (I'm too angry and disgusted with Dean to talk about him any more), Rory can justify it to herself.
    So when I look at this season from this perspective, that's a good, interesting story. They didn't do a good job telling that though so who knows what they were trying to accomplish. Instead they threw random things at Rory (huh, kind of like they did with Lorelai in season 3) and Rory came across as really terrible in a lot of those episodes and they didn't tie those things together at all. It just happened and then it was over and forgotten. They also went back and forth on her performance at college. Is she good or not? Who knows, depends on the week.
    I also think it would have been better if they had removed Rory more from Stars Hollow, instead of having her there almost every week and for every single town event. Or they could have tied this together with her academic struggles. Either she can't come home because she has to work and she misses Lorelai, or she's not doing well at school because she's home all the time and she has to learn to set her priorities. It would change the dynamic of the show drastically if Lorelai and Rory weren't constantly hanging out together, but they could still talk on the phone and see each other at friday night dinner. I think it would have been interesting to really see these two adjust to not living together anymore which was something they talked about before Rory moved out and a little at the beginning of the season, but then nothing really changed.

    Sorry, I guess if this rambling has proven anything, it's that I would use my time machine to give ASP some notes.

    1. I agree; I think Rory's season was pretty disappointing.

      I don't know if you guys saw it, but ASP just did a short interview with Time magazine where she said that people always ask her about Rory's boyfriends. ASP said she was really disappointed that people were so obsessed with that topic, as opposed to thinking about Rory's journalism career.

      this season is a perfect example of WHY viewers obsessed about the Rory/Jess/Dean triangle. There was nothing else to obsess over! As we've discussed in past episodes, the show missed a huge opportunity by not using Yale as a point of conflict for Rory. If Rory had spent the season struggling to balance her schoolwork and the Yale Daily News, then I could understand why ASP was so frustrated with the viewers.

      Beyond that, I still have no sense of Rory's life there: does she have friends? Does she actually like Tana or Janet or Doyle? Does she have a favorite class or professor? Throughout seasons 1-3, Rory's main storyline outside her love triangle was, Will Rory Go to Harvard? Now that she's actually at college, the writers seem to have lost interest in giving Rory an intellectual life.

      It's particularly galling because the show did some excellent season-long arcs: Lorelai Opens the Dragonfly, Lane Struggles for Independence, and Richard/Emily Break Up. And led to some amazing moments: Lorelai crying with Luke after Trix humiliates her! Drunk Emily refusing to plan Trix's funeral! Zach and Brian making tea for Mrs Kim!

      All 3 of those arcs are about people moving forward, not being satisfied with their old lives, taking risks to pursue something new even at great personal sacrifice. Lorelai works her tail off and almost goes broke. Richard and Emily lose trust in each other. Lane gets cut off from her family. But they keep moving forward!

      And Rory? Spends the season moving backwards. At the beginning, she's just returned from Europe and heading to college. By the end, she's back in her childhood bedroom with her high school boyfriend, she's being yelled at by her mother, and she's crying. Not exactly an inspirational tale of a young woman venturing out into the world for the first time.


  3. Hi guys. I haven't written in a while but I just had to chime in because Last week fights... has been my favorite episode. So, I was very intrigued to hear your take on it! I basically agree with you EXCEPT for my favorite scene: I would have chosen the dance scene. :-)

    As for next week's episode: After the anticipation this one left me in, I found it somewhat anti-climactic with the slow build-up between Lorelai and Luke. But in a way it was a perfect reflection of their relationship so far! Always one step forward, two steps back. But the end made up for it all! And Kirk was the cherry on top!

    As for Rory and Dean... All I can say is: Uarg... So wrong!

    PS: I have been doing a little project to create a character network for Gilmore Girls. It would be great if you could check it out under and let me know if the data reflects your impression. :-)

  4. Thank you girls for doing last week's podcast. This has been a very tough year for my family for many reasons, and I will be really glad to see 2016 hit the road. That being said I've learned through it that the hardest part is moving on with your life, and I was very grateful to have your podcast to listen to, to tune away from all the negative mental energy I had been expending, and to begin the painful process of moving on with my life - as much as that feels like a betrayal sometimes. We all have to move on - not the same, DEFINITELY not the same.

    Anyway. Luke and Lorelai. NO. Not cute. NOPE. I admit I was charmed at the end with their kiss, they DO have so much chemistry, and Luke is so charming, but the whole lead up was so. much. no. He watched her look upset while talking to Digger. He asks everyone BUT her about their relationship. And then he explodes on her saying - most notably - that he did everything right so now she should be with him. Nice Guy TM. Look girls. There's been a lot of energy expended on the Dean character as far as Jared Padaelcki's performance changing the way he's coming across, the writers not realizing how things are coming across, etc. Sorry. I think now we have to conclude that the writers truly believe that this is the way good relationships are. This is the way attractive men behave. His behavior and Dean's are perfect complements to each other here, and the characters explicitly state how great Dean is, and by extension, therefore, Luke. This is the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon but back in 2002. The feminist lens of viewing men and sex is NOT the dominant lens in this culture.

    Rory and Dean, ugh. Rory's never been so repugnant to me. I really liked the moment of her picking up the phone and calling Lane, and then realizing she couldn't tell Lane since that showed her taking ownership of the reality of what she'd done. I also appreciated her mentioning Christopher to Lorelai, and I especially liked Lorelei's rebuttal. Lorelei's bad behavior does not excuse Rory's.

    Could Kirk look any less like the Brawny man? Lulu is the best.

  5. Season 4 thoughts...

    I think season four showed that the writers didn't know what to do with Rory outside of her interactions with Lorelai, and that was a huge bummer for me. I've always been most interested/connected to Rory because our personal stories were much closer to each other. But Rory was not a main character in any of the major side plots this season - with the exception of cheating on Dean, which was not a season long arc by any means. If there really had been a side plot of Rory maturing and struggling - as I really feel they meant for there to be - that would have been fantastic, and Rory cheating on Dean would have been the crowning moment - the moment that she does something irrevocable that forces her to confront herself in a new way. Which, of course, she still had to do, but it was so frustrating for you as a viewer because it really was like just watching two trains collide in slow motion. You can very easily fill in the blanks yourself, using your own knowledge of growing up, maturing, making mistakes, bumping your way into adulthood. But this is a scripted television show not a mad lib. I wonder how a teenaged viewer would see all of this, not having had those life experiences with which to contextualize Rory's actions.

    I enjoyed Jess's arc this season as well. I'm excited to see him become a man in his own right, learn to deal with his emotions and his relationship, and make his own non conventional path. I'm glad he's off on his own to figure himself out. He and Rory are not good for each other at this time of their lives. Did you see the interview Milo Ventimiglia gave where he posed the question, "Has anyone ever stopped to wonder if Jess wants to get back with Rory? She broke his heart twice."

    Lorelai's plot arc was excellent. I see so much character growth with her, and I'm excited to see her succeed as an entrepreneur. It's ironic that all of the hard work that Rory has forced Lorelai to put in to her relationship with Richard and Emily has resulted in all of them being closer - but has also resulted in Richard and Emily's separation. Emily drew the line with Richard because he wasn't valuing Lorelai and Rory's relationship with them more than he was valuing business. Sure they were having other issues as well, but this was such a large, important straw.

    On a more general note I really enjoyed bringing Lane and Mrs. Kim so much to the forefront this season. Another complex mother-daughter dyad to play off of and compare to our leading ladies -and the only relationship in this show that doesn't involve Lorelai really! I'm excited to watch Lane also take the non traditional path like Jess. I think it's so powerful when popular culture normalizes and makes explicit that not going to college is not the end of the world.

  6. Words cannot express how much I wish the Rory and Dean plot arc this season had just not happened. It all belongs on the cutting room floor. I have been dreading getting to the episode where they sleep together, and if possible, it was even worse than I was expecting. It would be different if their attraction was believable and I liked them as a couple. Illicit relationships can make for some great dramatic TV if the chemistry is so overwhelming that the audience is still rooting for a couple to be together despite it being wrong. The buildup feels sexy and forbidden, you cheer when they finally get together, and then when the inevitable ugly fallout happens, it feels like it’s worth it because you’re invested in the couple and the story. I think that’s probably what they were going for.

    Unfortunately, that is not what was happening here. Rory and Dean have no chemistry, and I am not rooting for them. Instead of eagerly anticipating them finally getting together, I was just dreading it. And the bedroom scene itself was really awkward to watch, and not at all romantic or sexy. Something about the way Rory looked so meek and Dean was towering over her gave him an almost predatory vibe. I’m sure it wasn’t supposed to feel like that, but I was cringing the whole time. And as for the fallout, I’m already tired of it because I just don’t care. Sadly, I’m sure there will be more fallout to deal with next season, and I’m not looking forward to that at all.

    On the other hand, Luke and Lorelai finally kiss! Yay! I’m so glad they are finally making some solid progress, although I’m not entirely sure I bought Luke pulling back and saying, “What are you doing?” when Lorelai tried to kiss him back. I know it was just supposed to be a cute little comedy moment, but it seemed weird to me and kinda took me out of the moment. The man’s not stupid. They had literally just finished kissing 3 seconds ago, there’s no way he was actually confused about what she was doing. Luckily, I don’t really care because I’m just so happy that they kissed!