Friday, July 18, 2008

Gilmore Girls - the final season

Just finished Season 7 of Gilmore Girls - an occasion that needs to be marked.

When I first started this blog, GG was the fifth show I mentioned. I've posted news about it ever since, including the depressing Sherman-Palladino contract negotiation debacle. As a result of (basically) firing the show's creators, I couldn't work up the enthusiasm to watch the seventh and final season at the time it aired. I heard rumours on the internet - that it had a wavering tone, there'd been a dulling of the dialogue, and that there was an implausible - or at least irritating and obviously time-marking - romantic relationship for one of the leads.

But I tuned in occasionally - mostly in the second half of the show's run. And what I saw impressed me. The episodes had moments that counted as series highlights for me: Lorelai and Luke meeting in the maze, Lorelai singing karaoke.

So I guess I was predisposed to like Season 7 when I finally sat down to watch it on DVD, because I had faith that it would go to the right places and find the right tone.

I'm not going to say much more than that I enjoyed it, and that I loved the final episode, but in the spirit of analysis I do have some observations:

1. We needed the Christopher arc. Chris has been a part of the show since the beginning: he was a strong post-Max Medina romantic possibility for Lorelai, and since then he's orbited her for five seasons. I appreciated that we got a definitive answer to the nature of their relationship - and that the story was based on their character flaws.

2. But lots of Chris means very little Luke and Lorelai. Removing their scenes removes a central dynamic that makes the show what it was. However, I coped with having very little Rory and Lorelai in the first half of Season 6; I found it pretty easy to deal with this.

3. Michel - gay or not? Okay Jenni, you might have a point on this one.

4. Talk, talk, talk. I found a lot of the early episodes had scenes of main characters confiding to secondary characters about how they felt about things that had just happened or were going to happen or which might happen. And lots of secondary characters (like TJ) who were obviously introduced as a means of giving us access to Luke's thoughts on the Lorelai situation. On the other hand, this eased off as the season went on. Characters began to act, decide, and repress and compartmentalise in really interesting ways. Overall, I can forgive the sometimes not so interesting talky-talk as a side-effect of the writing team developing a post-Amy-Sherman-Palladino groove.

5. The show seemed to move faster. This is the first time I've watched a whole season of the show in roughly 24-hours. Each episode dealt with a pretty big chunk of emotional territory, and the whole thing felt more soap-opera-ry than usual.

To synthesise all that - you've got a show that (early on) often lacked scenes that pushed the story along, felt more like a soap opera than its normal shaggy easy-going self, and removed a key relationship (Luke and Lorelai) for a large stretch.

On the other hand, you've got this:

And this:

So, yeah, I'm gunna say: Amy and Daniel, and David Rosenthal, Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel - thank you very much. You done good.