“On No She Didn’t!”
Once we picked our jaws up off the ground, those were the four words uttered by GILMORE GIRLS fans across the country after seeing Lorelai in Christopher’s bed during the shocking final moments of last season’s cliffhanger. After years of waiting for the quick-speaking heroine to hook up with Luke, we were tongue-tied by her ill-advised decision to hop into the sack with Rory’s dad.
As if that wasn’t enough of a shock, we then had to contend with the fact that Amy Sherman-Palladino — the show’s creator and driving force — left the show following an extended and failed contract negotiation with Warner Brothers. As much as fans may have griped about last season (the first half of which saw Lorelai and Rory estranged, and the second half of which found Luke and his favorite coffee drinker drifting apart), they feared a changing of the guard even more. Would new show-runner David Rosenthal be able to get things back on track? Or would TV’s most underappreciated — by Emmy voters, at least — be so hopelessly derailed by these developments?
That’s a lot of baggage for any show to lug into its seventh season, but watching the first fresh episode (airing Tuesday, September 26 at 8 p.m. on The CW), you can’t help but walk away thinking our girls are in good hands. Whether it’s Rory and Lorelai’s quick-volleying conversation about racquetball or Taylor sharing his latest misguided notion, Rosenthal has done the impossible by penning a GILMORE GIRLS episode that might very well have flowed from Sherman-Palladino’s pen.
And not only is it the girls who are back in fighting form, but so are their friends and neighbors. Need proof? How about a classic Paris moment in which the high-strung poster girl for intensity tries signing a teen up for her SAT prep course by taking a hard-sell approach with the girl’s mom. “She’s got a C average, which means she’s either lazy or stupid,” says the ever-forthright Paris. “I can work with either. Frankly, sometimes stupid is easier. I can scare stupid out of you, but the lazy runs deep.”
And what of Lorelai and the mess she’s made of her life? Let’s just say that the Rosenthal and company have their work cut out for them, but the two-tissue ending makes it clear they know her journey won’t be a simple one. Which may well be a fitting metaphor for the show’s relationship with some disenchanted viewers: Given the chance, Luke and Lorelai can find happiness together… just as we at home can, if courted properly, fall back in love with the show we’ve taken into our heart for the past six years. If this episode is an indication of the wooing to come, fans should prepare to be swept off their feet.
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