Thursday, February 23, 2017

Podcast #103 - S5E6 - Norman Mailer, I'm Pregnant!

Hello! Welcome to Return to Stars Hollow - a spoiler-free, retrospective podcast about Gilmore Girls! This is the podcast for Season 5, Episode 6 - Norman Mailer, I'm Pregnant!

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The next podcast will post on Thursday, March 2, 2017 for Season 5, Episode 7 - You Jump, I Jump, Jack.


  1. This episode provides a very interesting contrast between 2 groups of young adults: Lane/Zach/Brian on one hand, and the Life and Death Brigade on the other. It's not just the poor vs rich contrast, it's also "grounded in reality" versus "sheer ridiculousness invented for television."

    Lane and Zach's first date is very realistic to their circumstances and in character: they're broke, so they'll sit on the couch watching David Byrne, and Brian will provide the comedy. Zach scooping him up like a sack of potatoes before kissing Lane is honestly charming.

    The Life and Death Brigade, on the other hand... The whole display looks like a middle-aged TV writer's IDEA of what rich, bored college kids do -- as opposed to what rich, bored college kids actually do. They don't throw elaborate safari-themed cocktail parties in the middle of the woods, singing "As Time Goes By" while refusing to use the letter E and sleeping in vintage tents.

    If this story was going to be grounded in any sort of reality, then Rory would have discovered the LDB when the girl in the gorilla mask walked into the bathroom and puked all over her ball gown, and the "big outing" would have been going to some really expensive club in New York and drinking too many cocktails, before Finn gets the bright idea to try driving with his eyes closed.

    The LDB has some resemblance to Stars Hollow, in that the writers obviously intend that the LDB exist in some heightened reality. But I think they heightened it a little too much. If the point is "Rory needs to start taking risks and having adventures," that could have been accomplished without taking the environment so thoroughly over the top. (The other difference between Stars Hollow and the LBD is that Stars Hollow's quirkiness, in part, is there to form a warm, supportive home for our main characters. The LBD's quirkiness is there to show Rory that being rich and reckless is fun.)

    I do like the idea that Rory is trying new things and meeting new people -- that's what college is for! But the delivery of that message feels very off to me, especially in an episode inviting us to contrast the LDB with Lane and Zach.

  2. I find Ellie's comment really interesting, I have seen this episode many times and in all my watches I have never seen a comparison with Lane and Zach so this new perspective is interesting.

    I have always felt that they are contrasting Rory with Luke as two people being introduced to different facets of the same society. To me the events compare almost exactly, the dinner at Emily's with the safari evening where everyone is hostile and the big stunt with the golf game where the atmosphere is more relaxed and the two characters are being pushed to become more a part of the society they are experiencing. Richard appeals to Luke as a business man, while Logan appeals to Rory as a journalist. I think both realities are heightened, but I agree the LDB event is more heightened. However it would have to be, Rory would not be interested in a night out at a New York nightclub and her article would be terrible. It had to be quirky and interesting to get her attention.

    The very different responses of Luke and Rory are interesting too. You have Luke talking about peasants revolting and asking Lorelai if they can not hang out with her parents for a very long time. Whereas Rory looks eager to be a part of this society, especially when she receives the gorilla mask and champaign at the end.

    The grounded in reality thing is also intersting to me. I think it is heightened but Rory grounds it in reality with her questions to Logan. Possibly there are alumni sponsoring it, which would most probably be the parents or grandparents of theese kids given that they are probably ex members too. They might even be on a country estate of one of said parents, we aren't given information on that either. I also like that we see them setting up themselves, and we meet Seth who has clearly done all the planning (however minimal that might be) both of these things help ground the event for me too.

    I'm going to express what I am sure will be an unpopular opinion, but the other reason I find it difficult to compare the Rory storyline with the Lane and Zach one is because to me the Lane storyline is a VERY low point in an otherwise excellent episode (in my opinion it becomes even weaker if we are supposed to compare it with Rory's story). To me it felt like lazy writing, like the writers sat down and thought 'We are paying Keiko Agena, we need to do something with Lane, lets progress her and Zach, We have spent so much time wrting the rest of episode that there is no time left for this story, lets just have them akwardly stay home and watch tv, Brian can provide the comedy'. It annoys me even more because with two or three changes of dialog it could have been a great first date and it could then work as a comparison with the LDB. To me this feels consistent with the sort of under developed story that we usually get from Lane.

    Imagine this, they have the exact same conversation outside Luke's. Next scene, Zach knocks on Lane's door, then instead of making excuses they have a cute discussion in which Zach says he has heated up last nights leftovers and then maybe they could go to the Black, White and Read movie theatre where they are showing 'Stop making sense' (It has already been established that the cost of going to see a movie there is $1 each - so even starving artists could splurge and go there for a special occasion). They sit down to dinner and then Brian comes home and sits in the middle of them saying 'Hey last nights pasta, is there any left for me?'. They then have the exact same coversation they have in the episode and Brian disappears off to Lane's room with his new headphones to listen to music on her stereo (to establish why he didn't hear them leave). Next scene, the apartment is empty, Lane and Zach come in, take off their jackets and have the exact conversation they had in the episode, except now their date has been more than stay at home and watch tv but not extravigent at all. To me it then works as a comparion with how rich/poor would celebrate a special occasion.

  3. I love this episode and all the storylines in here, but I have surprisingly little to say about it. So I'll just touch on one thing.
    I may not agree with Logan accusing Rory of being boring and not living enough because she doesn't want to jump to her death, but Rory certainly seems to think there's some truth in his words. Even though I did not like Logan when he first appeared, I have to say that I really enjoyed this dynamic in the last two episodes and I'm very curious to see this develop because Rory is obviously intrigued and drawn to Logan and this world. It's especially interesting because Lorelai ran from all of this, she could have been a Logan, but she chose a different path and raised Rory differently. We've seen before how horrified Lorelai was that Rory liked golfing with Richard for example or the coming out party. I'm really excited to see where all of this goes.

    This is the only episode that has an audio commentary on the dvds and I listened to it. It's not the greatest one I've ever heard, but it's still pretty interesting, even though ASP doesn't seem excited to be doing it and disappears at some point, so it's mostly Dan Palladino talking, mostly about the actors, casting, sets and stuff like that.
    I just want to mention one thing they talk about which is that they wanted to introduce the fun, appealing side of the rich world with Logan and the Life and Death Brigade. Whereas Emily and Richard represent the unpleasant side of money, very judgemental with a very narrow world view, as also shown in this episode with how they behave towards Luke. Logan and co are clever and inventive, the idea of, if you could do whatever you want to do, which these guys can, what would you do. And Logan is kind of seducing Rory into not being Rory by convincing her to jump off that thing. She was always this angelic figure as a teenager but became more and more flawed as life happened, which we've seen most recently and most extremely when she slept with Dean. This is Logan showing Rory what she can be and pushing her along the way of finding her own way, as Dan puts it.

  4. While I appreciate the parallel of having Rory and Lorelai both dealing with the ups and downs of hanging out with rich people, I could have done without Lorelai’s story. It was super awkward, and most of the jokes just felt uncomfortable. Poor Luke.

    In contrast, I greatly enjoyed the Rory subplot. Logan and his entitled-rich-kid lifestyle are something of a guilty pleasure for me. I don’t find Logan particularly attractive, in either personality or looks, but there’s something weirdly therapeutic about watching rich people spend outrageous amounts of money, not to mention the allure of having some rich guy woo you with expensive gifts. I could never actually live such a lavish lifestyle in real life, even if I somehow had the money for it, not when there are people who have nothing, but boy is it fun to watch in fiction.

    My daughter is almost 3, so I totally understand how difficult romance can be when you have a toddler running around. They always want to sit right between you when you’re trying to snuggle on the couch, they fall asleep in your bed, and their bums always seem to be intruding on your romantic moments. As sweet as they can be, toddlers just don’t understand that sometimes mummy and daddy need some alone time. Next time Lane and Zach want to have a date night, they should send Brian over for a play date at Uncle Gil’s house.

  5. Hi Ladies, I have been bingeing the podcast and planned to hold off on commenting until I was caught up, but the discussion about Sherri abandoning the baby in this episode inspired me to write early. I was glad to hear Celeste point out that the fact that Christopher didn't raise Rory didn't mean he had a serious mental illness, as that is exactly what I was thinking. It didn't occur to me to think of this as abandonment until I heard the listener feedback. Is it abandonment if you leave your child with its other parent? I feel like this would not be a question if it had been Christopher who moved to Paris to take a new job. We wouldn't think well of him, sure, but neither would be accuse him of abandoning Gigi, since she would still be living with her mother. I don't care about Sherri, but I don't think this counts as abandonment.

    Anyway, love the podcast! I often listen at work and it livens up my data-analyzing time. I'm so excited to be nearly caught up!

    1. Also, I did look this up:

      As it turns out, according to Merriam-Webster’s website, the -ing form of binge can be spelled either way, one of only two members of the class of words of this type with such flexibility. But among the others, the retention or omission of the e is inconsistent (but sensibly so). Here’s a list of such words and the accepted spelling of the -ing form, along with definitions.