''Gilmore Girls'': Lorelai misses Luke
Hooray, we're back in Stars Hollow! It's funny the first half of the season rubbed me wrong in so many ways, what with the sagging dialogue and ill-conceived story lines. And yet, and yet! What a relief to hang out with the Girls again, knowing full well that the rest of the world (save you, faithful message boarders) is gnashing their teeth over the embarrassing American Idol auditions.
Remedying some of the serious oversights from last year, the David Rosenthal gang has finally remembered to let poor Paul Anka in from the cold. There the old feller is in the first shot, and he's quickly followed by a suddenly sprouted Gigi downstairs. Poor Gigi, who mysteriously aged and picked up a pair of pink Uggs while adrift with her trampy mom in Paris, is back but looks like major deadweight sitting around the kitchen table with Rory and Lorelai. And kudos to the wardrobe and lighting department. Lauren Graham, who was terribly abused by awkward camera angles the last several episodes, is back to full sparkle. Fretting about her ability to write the perfect character-reference letter for Luke (loved the typewriter!), she launched into a breathlessly beautiful rant about her knotty, nonsensical swirl of a thought process. Somehow she went from the letter to President Bush to monkey monkey underpants in under 30 seconds. It was wonderful, and Gigi just stared blankly at her and talked about Santa. Nothing against kids, but there's no real place on this show for an airy, thick-tongued little girl who slowly repeats back the last two words of everything the more interesting characters say in her presence. ''We're making cookies by scratching!'' Bah! Send the slow half sister back to France.
Rory was home for a belated Christmas celebration after spending the holiday in London with Logan. Any pre-hiatus tension between the two was rather unsatisfyingly swept under the rug, as Rory tidily declared that Logan's little outburst to Lucy at dinner is all forgiven. Nothing a pair of diamond earrings couldn't solve! Rather neatly, she accepted responsibility for that whole unnecessary story line. Oh, blah. If the writers aren't bothering to up the stakes on this once-polarizing relationship, then I'm just going to let the young lovers be and comment instead on how much better Rory looks without bangs.
In better news, this was the first episode (sorry, I still don't count the knitathon as good communal bonding) that effortlessly welcomed back some much-missed supporting players. Lane, sporting the worst prosthetic belly ever, is back and ready to blow. She's cranky and sick of Zack and her mother's sweet hovering and doesn't know how she jumped from repressed child to overburdened mother of two. (Maybe she's pissed because Rory has still yet to throw her a baby shower or give her a onesie or a pedicure or anything. Worst friend ever!) But Zack, who really shined brightly this week, was a doll and reassured her that rockers have babies all the time and then, in a very tender moment, asked to carry Lane's groceries. Oh, I do hope this couple has had sex since their honeymoon. My secret crush Brian what, I like the nerds! came over for band practice, trailing Gil and a mini-Gil in his wake. Could Macon the Bacon and Gigi be Stars Hollow's next love match? Meanwhile, Michel popped up for a scene and, after asking about Luke's flannel obsession, walked away with one of the night's best lines: ''Let us just stand here and let the awkwardness wash over us.'' I wish I had the nerve to say that to some of my co-workers when we're stranded together in the elevator. Sookie showed up for but a second, warning Lorelai that writing a character reference for Luke might stir up old feelings. I say give any of the above whatever screen time was otherwise allotted to April. On a sneaked visit with Luke, she showed up in a pink helmet and later started making birdcalls. Make it stop.
And now, sadly, on to the romantic entanglements. Luke or Christopher, Christopher or Luke? It took the hiatus to make me realize that I really just don't care. In the last couple episodes, the writers seemed to be working double time to stack the deck in favor of Luke. Christopher's a good-looking dude, and he's got a wallet full of witty one-liners, but he's not oh, they make it easy for us, don't they? a stand-up guy. And Luke was awfully dear this episode. All that talk of monogrammed towels and unicorn marionettes nearly made a believer of me. But as much as I was moved by Lorelai's tender moment with Luke and by her poignant, carol-accompanied walk to the mailbox in the snow, I just don't care who she ends up with at this point. If she ends up with Luke, well, then why did we have to go through all this dumb, Christopher-baiting crap? And if she ends up with Christopher, why did the writers paint him as such a prince for all those episodes and then suddenly reduce him to a boob again? The previews next week have him accusing Lorelai of still being in love with Luke. Eat up those Christmas cookies fast, Gigi! You're about to lose another mother! Either way, the writers seem to have painted themselves into a corner. But as long as they continue to do a better job of making this show as much about romance as it is about family and friendship and community, then I'll continue to wait as patiently as I can for Lorelai's decision. But really, what a flake.
Finally, Meryl Streep was right in her Golden Globes speech. If enough people ask for something calmly, clearly, authoritatively the powers that be will eventually respond. Well, we asked. We demanded. We threatened mutiny. Goodbye, Aerie Girls.
What did you all think? Were you too taken aback by Lane's bursting belly? Are you ready to help April pack for New Mexico? Did Gigi's monotone voice grate on your last nerve? Didn't Lorelai look great this episode? Luke or Christopher? Or are you with me, and tired of the whole triangle?