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Throwback Thursday - Gilmore Girls - Wedding Bell Blues

4 Jun 2020

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Throwback Thursday is a weekly article in which we look back at our favorite TV episodes from the past.

For this week's installment of Throwback Thursday, we will be diving into an episode of the one and only Gilmore Girls! I'll admit, I almost picked 'You Jump, I Jump, Jack', hence this intro, but ultimately 'Wedding Bell Blues' won out because it is a quintessential episode that really shows Gilmore Girls at its core, and at its best. Not to mention, it's also the 100th episode, which is quite a feat in itself for any show out there (unless you're Grey's Anatomy, in which case it's par for the course).

I first watched Gilmore Girls in 2008, pretty much (without knowing it) months after it finished airing its initial run, and after a pretty bad breakup in my case. Safe to say, since then I've rewatched it many times, listened to the Gilmore Guys podcast, screamed in excitement at the revival announcement, sighed in disappointment when it wasn't, um, as good as I'd have hoped. But overall one fact remains: Gilmore Girls is my go to comfort show. More than that though, it's a witty, wickedly smart, funny, heartwarming little gem of a show. And even though some of it has not aged that well (even I, with my Stars-Hollow-colored glasses, can see that some of those "jokes" should never have made it on paper, let alone on know the ones I mean, and the diversity is quite lacking), it remains a staple in American TV and never fails to warm my cold little heart. Getting to cover the show, and a beloved episode to boot, is a chance I never thought I'd get, so let's get into it before I start gushing too much.

To set the scene (in case, unlike me, you don't rewatch GG every year, in the Fall): we are about halfway through season 5, Richard and Emily have reconciled after the ill-fated Pennilyn Lott / Jason debacle, and are renewing their vows in a very rushed 'second' wedding, in which of course Lorelai and Rory have key spots. Lorelai and Luke are in the early-ish stages of their relationship but so far it's been pretty smooth-sailing, and Rory and Logan have been circling each other ever since he appeared next to her dorm room. Dean, thankfully, is done and gone (for good, this time).

The episode starts off with Luke very reluctantly agreeing to attend said-wedding, although resorting to bodily harm to get out of it didn't seem out of the picture. It turns out he very much should have faked an injury (or gotten a real one), considering the events that will unfold. In the meantime, Lorelai and Rory's Coprock marathon gets rudely interrupted by a flustered Emily who basically takes any excuse to come over. Seriously? Her dress had three undone pearls?? We're talking about Emily Gilmore here, her dress (and dressmaker) would be way too terrified to dare even have one thread out of place. It's also kind of weird that:

1. She'd actually want a bachelorette party? Again. Emily Gilmore here, hardly your ridiculous-outfit wearing Bridezilla who runs around town harassing strangers and ends up in a strip club taking off an edible thong off a man she won't remember in the morning,

2. If she did want one, not have it planned to an inch of its life? Emily would have organized some tasteful (Irish) high tea session at some exclusive and expensive venue, with gold painted ceilings,

3. She would spring one on Lorelai and Rory, assuming they'd gather whatever town people were available. Emily is a very well connected woman, she has approximately 100 DAR friends she could've "partied" with, not to mention her charity connexions, Richard's colleagues's wives, women from the club... the list goes on.

But since this is a show, it wouldn't do since we wouldn't know any of those people, so townsfolk it is. Admittedly, it was kind of hilarious to watch Gipsy feel more and more uncomfortable as Emily unleashed her drunk-mode, as was seeing Emily holding phallic-shaped pasta. That said, it was also especially awkward to have Emily brag about her upcoming nuptials when none of these people would be allowed to cross the venue door, let alone be invited to be in the actual wedding.

Emily and Richard's relationship, despite Richard's mother doing her best to ruin it (Emily learned from the best, you see!), really is one for the ages. Sure, they didn't make it easy on Lorelai as she grew up, since she didn't fit in their world at all, and sometimes their methods leave something to desire, but no one can deny they were made for each other. During Rory's graduation speech, when she described them as "her pillars", they also represent probably the stablest relationship on the show. Which is why seeing Richard tear up when Emily walks down the aisle as if it was the first time, gets me every time. Their introduction as a couple (this century anyway), is equally incredibly sweet and emotional and yes Wedding Bell Blues (the song) is now stuck in my head, but the story behind the song is perfect and incredibly on brand for them. Lorelai tries to ruin it with little snarky comments but overall, this scene is particularly amazing.
Which brings us to another staple relationship... or love-triangle, since Christopher has invited himself to the wedding, unbeknownst to Lorelai, following Emily's attempt to throw a wrench in the Lorelai/Luke union.

To be fair, and I know I'm not going to make any fellow Gilmore Girls friends with what's about to follow, I used to really like Lorelai and Luke together. They had that whole will they/won't they dynamic up until the end of season 4, they have a lot of chemistry and Luke has been there for Lorelai (and Rory) since they moved to Stars Hollow.
To some extent, I do still think they work OK as a couple, so I'm not mad they turned out to be endgame. But...but. But if I'm honest, I don't think Lorelai realistically would have ended up with Luke. Granted, she did want out of the Gilmore world of endless debutante balls and three-story houses, and she made a life for herself in Stars Hollow. But sometimes, it truly feels like Luke can't really keep up with her, that they'll never have the kind of connection she and Christopher, or even Jason, shared. Chris wanted out of that world too, so it's not like she'd suddenly turn into Emily if she was with him. It also depends on Luke's characterization, which isn't always even during the course of the seven seasons. In this episode, they play up the "small town diner owner" to the max, with him blundering in front of Emily and Richard as he's working on the boat or not changing his outfit at the venue. But in other (following) episodes, it still feels like he kind of holds Lorelai back, and ultimately I think she would've needed something more, to be with someone who was more of an equal on an emotional and intellectual level, who wanted to travel and not stay in Stars Hollow forever, completely set in their ways.

They ruin Chris sometimes too, by making him unnecessarily immature at times (I do believe them having a kid at 16 kind of ruined any chance they had at a future together too, but they still fit better, for me, than Luke and Lorelai do. I'm also on the Rory/Logan bandwagon as opposed to Rory/Jesse so please don't come at me, I'm just expressing my thoughts!), which is why ultimately I wish she'd stayed with Jason, but that's a story for another time. This certainly doesn't mean I approve of Emily's misguided attempts to salvage her daughter's future by meddling in her relationship in the worst possible way. What did Emily expect? That seeing Chris at the wedding would help Lorelai realize they were meant to be, that she'd ditch Luke after the cake cutting and they could all honeymoon together in the Bahamas?! The only realistic result was that Emily would lose Lorelai... again. Still, you can tell Chris still feels like she was the one that got away and he should fight for her. His strategy (or lack, thereof): alienating Lorelai by measuring up with Luke, is terrible, but I do believe his intentions were motivated by love, however misplaced they were right at that moment. When he reminisces about the first time he and Lorelai kissed, when she "just wanted to know how it would be", it feels very genuine. And Rory actually gets inspired by the story, which is refreshing because while she's often the opposite of her mother in how she acts, now is the time to be bold.

Who could not like being kissed by a Gilmore Girl?

Which brings us to my other controversial relationship opinion: Rory and Logan! Rory is very displeased that her current crush seemingly came with a date. Alexis Bledel's acting has been said to weaken as the seasons progressed, and the little girl voice does get on my nerves sometimes, but in this episode she nails all her scenes. Peaking at Logan and the blonde from behind that large man and looking increasingly put off by them, boldly asking Logan to dance and tentatively touching his shoulder as she wonders why he hasn't asked her out yet... all great choices (whether from her or the episode's director, I don't know, but in any case, great job!).

This episode truly marks the beginning of Rory and Logan, even if at this point he's still a player and she pretends to not want a boyfriend but something very casual. I won't hold it against her though, we've all been there, hoping that gradually things will change.

I just want to spend some time with you. No strings attached.

Ahh the "I want to spend time with you" line, in order to avoid saying anything else more compromising. I don't think anyone believes for a second that Rory will be able to handle the casual stuff, but to Logan's credit, he does end up committing to her in the future. So I guess the lesson is: be bold and ask for what you want. In any case, Rory grabs a champagne bottle (always helpful) and goes for the kill with a kiss, just like Lorelai did all those years ago with Chris. They quickly get interrupted by Lorelai, who's actually meeting Logan for the first time (fantastic first impression, with her daughter still attached to his mouth and both their shirts undone, no doubt), followed by Chris, and finally Luke. Mortified doesn't even start to cover how Rory looks.

Meanwhile, Chris is also going in for the kill with an ill-fated declaration that only serves to push Lorelai further away from both him and Emily, resulting in one of the coldest lines in the entire run of the show (during bridal party picture time, of all things). You can see Emily's face losing its satisfied smug as Lorelai speaks, incredible acting (as always) by Kelly Bishop.

You and me. We're done.

Overall, a stellar episode, more than deserving of its 100th episode status. What's not to love? A wedding, couples breaking up and getting together, that gorgeous venue with all the flowers, Emily being a bachelorette, and that song.

Look at them all! One can only hope they'll jump on the Zoom cast reunion train and bless us with an unfiltered hour of anecdotes about the show. Aaaand, that's a wrap. What are you guys' favorite Gilmore Girls episodes? (I almost did 'They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?', or "The Bracebridge Dinner" another classic, but there are so many to pick from!)