Miseducating Lorelai

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I used to really dig Gilmore Girls. A friend of mine even went through a phase of starting each day with a visit to Stars Hollow, and it seemed to improve her mood greatly. No surprise there.

Lauren Graham

But lately I just can’t make it through an episode, and I know I’m not alone in that. At least one commentator, however, thinks the show is getting better, not worse. Ed Martin at Media Village is glad that Lorelai is “acting her age.” Really?

Lauren Graham

I guess it does sound like a reasonably good idea on paper: Lorelai grows up, learns to grapple with mistakes and — maybe — even adjusts to life without Rory. But what if “acting” her age makes her start “talking” her age, bringing an end to the manic babbling, the endless references, the wisdom disguised as one-liners and the utterly clever nonsense?

Lorelai: Lately I’ve been having these dark premonitions.
Rory: About what?
Luke: [handing Rory and Lorelai their food] Dead cow… and dead cow.
Lorelai: That’s weird.
Rory: He’s always weird.
Lorelai: No, I mean my premonitions have been about death … about my death.
Rory: I don’t want to hear this!
Lorelai: And the thing is, they’re all silly.
Rory: What do you mean, silly?
Lorelai: In one, I slip on a banana peel and fall into a giant vat of whipped cream.
Rory: Silly and fattening.
Lorelai: In another, a turtle eats me.
Rory: A turtle? How?
Lorelai: Very slowly. There’s lots of chewing.
Rory: And in your premonition you didn’t run away from what is perhaps the slowest land animal on Earth?
Lorelai: His first bite injects me with immobilizing poison.
Rory: Well, you left that part out.
Lorelai: This last one’s a little more gory. I’m hunting …
Rory: [interrupts] A favorite Lorelai Gilmore pastime.
Lorelai: … and my shotgun backfires. My whole face spins around a bunch of times and winds up in the back of my head like Daffy Duck.
Rory: That’s the silliest one yet!
Lorelai: Now, if that’s how I go, you have to promise to move my face back to the front of my head like Daffy did with his beak.
Rory: I should really be writing this down.
Lorelai: You can remember to move my face to the front of my head.
Rory: It depends on what I have going on that week.

As far as dialogue goes, a little so-called maturity could be a very bad thing. More important, I think the reviewer is missing something when he says, “The newly mature Gilmore Girls may not be the frothy fantasy it once was, but it’s not as childish in its outlook on life as in seasons past, either.” Childish is one thing, but childlike is quite another, and is the heart of the show’s charm. If Lorelai stops finding life delightful and stops rushing headlong into things, will there really be any show left? Sadder but wiser is appealing in real girls, but it doesn’t always work for fictional ones.

Anyway, an air of maturity might be difficult to impose: Lauren Graham herself doesn’t really seem to be into acting her age either.

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