Gilmore Girls: Season 2 — a review

Gilmore

It bothers me when Gilmore Girls is referred to as a “chick series.”

I am an older man (I shuddered a little when I wrote the word “older,” but I guess it’s true), middle-aged only if I live into my 100s, which looks doubtful. While my testosterone levels may be lower than when I was in my 20s, I’m still a man. I don’t hunt and fish with anything resembling regularity, and football is the only sport that I really follow. Maybe some people would think I fail to measure up to their standards of manhood, especially since my tastes run heavily to pop culture, but that’s never bothered me overmuch. My wife says I’m weird; I accept that as well—weird is definitely “in” at the moment.

My point is, I am a man. And, I love Gilmore Girls.

There I said it.

If you love the series as well, male or female, I’m certain that we love a lot of the same things about it. I’ve heard the show compared to “a comforting cup of hot cocoa,” which sounds about right, although I would have substituted “hot coffee in an oversized mug.” The word “dramedy” has probably been over-used at this point, even though it applies here as well. The show has many funny moments, especially in dialogue, but is also capable of ripping your heart out and stomping that mother flat. Season 2 had its share of both moments.

A brief rundown of the season’s highlights:

  • Lorelai accepts Max Medina’s marriage proposal, but calls the engagement off by episode 3.
  • Lorelai and Rory take a road trip and an unsupervised tour of Harvard, where it appears Rory will fit in splendidly.
  • Luke’s 17-year-old nephew Jess arrives in Stars Hollow for an extended stay.
  • Rory becomes a debutante, and is presented by her father, Christopher, who has become more stable and responsible, which Lorelai is attracted to.
  • Lorelai and Sookie decide to make the leap to open their own inn, and then have the first fight of their friendship when Lorelai unilaterally scraps the idea after panicking.
  • Dean is the jealous boyfriend throughout the season. When Rory and Tristan are cast as Juliet and Romeo in a school play, this surfaces. It resurfaces over Jess. Turns out that all of Dean’s jealousy isn’t misdirected, because Rory is attracted to Jess, a fact she tries to deny throughout most of the season.
  • Lorelai and Rory have a couple of fights during the season, and this is always one of the most emotional things in the show—we don’t want mother and daughter to fight.
  • Richard Gilmore, Lorelai’s father, is forced into retirement. He doesn’t enjoy retirement, and working on a school project with Rory convinces him to un-retire.
  • Sookie and Jackson get engaged, and then get married during the final episode of the season.
  • Rory is in a car accident. Jess, whom she was tutoring at Luke’s request, was at the wheel. This is the car that Dean built for Rory, by the way. This results in a fractured wrist for Rory, a huge fight between Lorelai and Luke, and Jess’s temporary expulsion from the heaven that is Stars Hollow. Everyone is blaming Jess for everything, even though Rory knows she is equally at fault.
  • Lorelai graduates from business school, but Rory misses the ceremony because, on a whim, she cuts school and takes a bus to NYC to see Jess, who never said goodbye when he left. Lorelai’s feelings are hurt and it looks like it might be another fight until Rory apologizes with an outpouring of emotion that Lorelai can’t ignore. She knows Rory has it bad for Jess.
  • The fight between Lorelai and Luke is maintained for several episodes, which gives Lorelai the space needed for her to get caught up in Christopher’s spell again, only to be crushed when he goes back to his girlfriend because she’s pregnant. He doesn’t want to miss out on this offspring’s childhood the way he did with Rory. Christopher has charm and charisma (if the two aren’t the same thing), but it’s difficult to like him when he keeps breaking Lorelai’s heart.
  • Rory’s friend Lane finds her calling at a drum kit in the new music store in Stars Hollow.
  • And, finally, Jess returns to town, setting the stage for more drama in the third season.

Even with such a list, I left out plenty of good things, such as the Bracebridge Dinner and the basket auction. And, I didn’t mention Paris at all. She’s well-represented this season as well, I assure you.

I love drama in my fiction as much as I hate it in my real life. Drama is tension and opposition and antagonism, all good things in story. For me, as a writer, watching this series is a master class in worldbuilding, character creation, and dramatic tension. As always, the characters come first, informed by their various settings, and all story (read: drama) grows from that core. And so far, Gilmore Girls hasn’t let me down.

And, speaking of characters, this show continues to add to its roster. First, a correction, I misspelled town selectman Taylor Doose’s name as “Doosey” during my review of the first season. He owns the town market in Stars Hollow.

I also failed to mention Kirk Gleason, a quirky Stars Hollow citizen who apparently works dozens of different jobs. He was in the first season as well, but becomes more visible in the second.

And, at Chilton, there are Madeline and Louise, who always seem to be in Paris’s orbit.

Honorable mention must go to Gypsy, the town mechanic in Stars Hollow, and Bootsy, who runs the town magazine/newspaper stand and has a long-standing feud with Luke. Both of these characters appear for the first time in Season 2, I believe.

This season did not dampen my enthusiasm for the show. In fact, I’m looking forward to beginning Season 3. And, it’s not just a “chick series.”

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