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''Gilmore Girls''

By RD Heldenfels Published: September 22, 2005

I finally caught up with Tuesday's telecast. My DVR is backed up with stuff, and the weekend is looking chore-laden, so I'm grabbing time where I can. Watched most of ''GG'' before ''Lost,'' then the remaining minutes after. A few thoughts:


-- When the banter level seems high, we should worry about what's going on in Stars Hollow. It's become more and more clear that the slinging of pop-culture references is Lorelai's way of avoiding the serious things in her life -- that it's easier to be glib and fast-talking than to stop and think.


(By the way, is that Kenny Chesney reference funnier in light of recent events, or less so?)


When Tuesday's episode started a little jokey, I at first blamed the writing (as I have in the past) but it began to make sense as the episode went on. This whole Rory-Lorelai thing is quite the mess, and the dialogue is underscoring it.


But while Lorelai is ducking when she talks too much, the reverse is true of Luke. When he has been quiet, it suggested that he was buttoning up his emotions, not saying what was in his heart. Now that he and Lorelai are a match (though I'm skeptical about their prospects for reasons I'll describe in a sec), he can talk as freely as he wants. His emotions are free, and so is his mouth. Think of the scene where he's on the roof and finally telling Lorelai what she needs to hear, both about what he did and what she should do.


-- Of course, what she should do is talk to Rory. And Rory should be talking to her. This season is showing how closely those two are bound, and how tough it is for both of them to be without the other. Of course, that's been looming since Rory went to college, since they were physically separated (and the show struggled to find ways to keep them connected). Now there's an emotional gap to go with the physical one, and they're both struggling even more. Rory is learning how much she needs her mother as friend and mentor, and that her grandparents are no substitute. So she is adrift, in pain and -- without Lorelai -- looking in all the wrong places for support. (This is going to be a real test for Alexis Bledel, who has to play all the changes in Rory, and so far I'm not sure she's up to the challenge.)


I fret even more over Lorelai. Absent Lorelai, she is impulsively searching for love substitutes. The dog was explicitly that.  But isn't Luke part of that, too? Doesn't Lorelai's proposal seem even more dangerously spontaneous when we see how far apart Rory and Lorelai are? (The roadside scene was even tougher for its brevity.) Could she have just turned to him to fill the empty place in her heart?


I'm not denying that Luke and Lorelai belong together. We've all seen that pretty much from the show's beginning. Remember the scene when Emily caught on -- even as Luke pretended there was nothing serious? Still, the timing of the engagement feels wrong, that Lorelai and Luke are together for the wrong reason. We'll see.


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