Saturday, 15 Jun 2024
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Gilmore Women: Analyzing Episode 137, “Go Bulldogs!” and the Parenting Dynamics of Lorelai and Christopher

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What’s Wrong With Episode 137, “Go Bulldogs!”? Lorelai and Christopher Are the Terrible Parents They Make Fun Of

I see what’s happening here. I get it. The writers of this episode are ever so slowly making the case for Chris and Lorelai to finally break up and attempting to introduce this idea that Luke is still in love with Lorelai. In other words: The new crew is still performing cleanup on the absolute chaos of Season 6. Fine. But truly, must I spend any more time with Christopher? Please. God. No. I am truly ready to throw him off a Parisian subway platform at this point. Because boy do I not want them to go to France together (DUN DUN DUN) as I’m really not OK with them even going to Yale Parents’ Weekend together!

In the first few episodes of the season, Lorelai was seeing Chris as a rebound guy. She was keeping her distance. Then only because he was open with her about the letter from Sherry, she’s OK planning a trip to France with him and taking him to Yale’s Parents’ Weekend? Also, where is Gigi when Chris is basically just living with Lorelai now? But enough about the smaller child in this scenario (she’s written off as a nothing but a thorn in their side all the time anyway!) Now suddenly, Lorelai, famously not getting her child involved in her love life Gilmore, is not worried in the least about the effect this whole dating Rory’s father thing is going to have on her child???

I know, I know, Lorelai relishes the ability for her and Christopher to do something “normal” like tell Rory “your parents are coming to Parents’ Weekend!” So I see why she went along with Chris’s desire to go. But here’s the thing: This is not the right decision for Rory at all! Lorelai is bringing Christopher to Parents’ Weekend as though he’s her dad, when he’s never acted like her dad. And as though they are a happy, married couple, when they’re, at best, in the very early stages of a new relationship. Parading all of that around, in front of Rory’s colleagues at the paper and the other parents at the school feels really potentially harmful to Rory.

Now, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I do not believe the conversations being had at the Parents’ Weekend brunch. Everyone introducing themselves as their children’s parents? As though parents of college students at a school with an undergraduate population of around 5,000 will actually know who the other children are? These people would 100% make awkward small talk and drop obtuse references to how fancy their lives are and how many houses they own not bestow compliments on the editor of the campus newspaper.

Lew: “I’m Lew, Ethan Morton’s dad.”

Christopher: “I’m Christopher, this is Lorelai. We’re Rory Gilmore’s parents.”

Lew: “Rory Gilmore? She’s a Senior right?”
Lorelai: “Wow, did you memorize the student face book?”
Lew: “The masthead of the Yale Daily News. Ethan’s an aspiring journalist and a big fan of your daughter’s.”
Lorelai: “I love that Rory has fans.”

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I don’t! Nor do I believe that this guy would happen to know who the editor of the Yale Daily News is. But come on! Poor Rory has already been held to impossibly high standards her entire life, we do not need this scene wherein parents of strangers laud her and her perfection and accomplishment out of the blue. Later, these other Yale dads begin to talk to Christopher about how proud they should be of their children.

“It’s just hard to let go, you know, after all those years of looking over their homework, and reading papers and practicing lines with them for the school play, and taking them to karate lessons, violin lessons, SAT Prep courses,” Lew says. “What about 5:00 AM hockey practice?” another dad chimes in. Sorry, but I don’t believe for a second that these late ‘90s, early ‘00s WASPY dads were the ones taking the kids to all of their activities and ensuring they did their homework every night and just generally taking on any emotional labor when it came to child-rearing whatsoever. That was a rare dad in that era indeed. Some of them may have been involved in a harmful, holding them to impossible standards kind of way, but no, emotional child-rearing was mom’s job 18 years ago. (Yes, this episode aired nearly 18 years ago).

To add to the total irrationality in this episode: if there is a fancy-ass restaurant in a college town there is no getting into it on Parents’ Weekend without a reservation! And there is definitely no way to get in at the last minute on the same day, and then change your table from 3 to 9 people!!!! So, while yes, the setup of Christopher thinking he’s doing a “cool dad” thing by inviting Rory’s “friends” to fancy-pants lunch only to look like a buffoon in front of people she only knows in a professional capacity is believable and a good plot device, but no. There is no way this would actually occur, unless Christopher truly is just bribing everyone in his path with boatloads of cash? Which I guess he could be!

I like that Lorelai is on Rory’s wavelength while Chris goes on about planning a ski weekend with the YDN staff, but the fact that Rory sees his truly cringey behavior as “sweet” and as Chris “trying” is just more proof to me that this is going to be so genuinely traumatic and damaging to Rory when it all ends, again. This is not sweet, this is putting Rory in a really awkward, shitty situation and once again, makes me wonder whether Chris actually likes his kid! (Or, either of his kids, I guess?!)

Chris and Lorelai also would not have gone to a rugby match! Why are they waiting around at all at Yale when Rory is busy working on the newspaper and she had dinner plans with the grandparents?! (SIDENOTE: as a former college newspaper editor, albeit not a daily one, I’m actually with Paris on the whole covering the protest thing. I don’t think Rory needs to really get the whole staff back in for an all-nighter to cover once campus war protest for an ongoing war! Yes, by all means, send a photographer to get a photo of them in the President’s Office, but a couple of good photos plus a long caption is probably all you need to add to the paper!)

To cap it all off, Christopher tries to buy Rory’s love (again!)/ apologize by bringing her staff donuts and coffee. Then she’s the one who has to be the grown-up and tell him, the fuckup wasn’t getting her not friends drunk, it was not spending time with her. Truly, this setup is just so inevitably full of heartbreak for Rory. Just look at how Christopher talks to Lorelai about his feelings around being an absentee father, and how they both describe Rory as a fully-functioning adult in need of nothing.

Christopher: I’ve got Gigi, and that’s great, but Rory? Rory’s grown up. I missed it. She’s a senior in college, Lor. (SIDENOTE: VERY RUDE TO GIGI!!!)
Lorelai: We have years of hard parenting ahead; she is due for a quarter-life crisis. All those years of stability do not bode well. (SIDENOTE: ARE WE FORGETTING THAT SHE STOLE A BOAT AND DROPPED OUT OF COLLEGE?)
Lorelai: We’re gonna have plenty to do. And the best part is, we get to deal with it together.

I know we kind of stop talking about how Rory was so parentified because now she is in college. But this episode reminds me how much it sucks to be a parentified child as a young adult, too. You feel like you are already supposed to know everything, and make all the right choices, and impress everyone with your maturity and adulthood, and how you seamlessly transition into the grown-up world because wow, you just really always make the right choices, don’t you!? When in reality, you’re really not done growing up at 22 and having to act like an adult/parent when you’re young really doesn’t exactly prepare you for the real world where you can’t just perfectionist your way to good grades anymore.

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I mean, what message is it sending to Rory that the only reason Christopher finally shows up to be Rory’s dad is because he’s dating Lorelai? Do we think that makes Rory feel good? Do we ever delve into how she feels about any of this? In some ways, I can forgive this episode for being a bit emotionally ham-handed as I know the writers are still mopping up the metaphorical mess on aisle four that was Season 6, but it also makes me realize that while exploring Rory’s messy feelings about her parents would have certainly killed her perfect-little-genius-who-is-bffs-with-mom vibe, maybe that would have made her a lot more interesting, too.

11 Other Things Wrong With This Episode

  • While the cold open is funny, (Lorelai pretending to talk to an answering machine even though Emily answered the phone) there is no way that Lorelai had plans to go to Hartford to see Emily’s curtains? This woman had to be bribed to the tune of an entire private school education for her child to see her parents for dinner once a week! Even now that Christopher is paying for Yale, I don’t think Lorelai and Emily are having friendly engagements like “come check out my new home decor!”

  • The empty coffee cup situation in this episode is particularly dire!! Those café au laits in to-go cups have NOTHING in them, which is obvious when Christopher removes the top to his. And even the porcelain cups at the fancy Yale brunch have NOTHING IN THEM. WE HAVE EYES. WE CAN SEE THERE IS NO COFFEE THERE.

  • Why did Rory call Lorelai at the beginning of the episode? She never tells her anything! Lorelai tells her they’re coming for Parents’ Weekend, but Rory is almost to class and seems in a big hurry? So why call? Did she just get totally steamrolled by her parents but actually have something important to say, like maybe “Mom, please keep your and Dad’s relationship at a distance from me until you guys figure out what it is?!”

  • Sookie pretending to crack a whip on the only Black character in this show is really something that should not have happened!!!!!!!!!

  • There are so many random baseball caps in this episode. The new vegetable guy has a hat that just says “T” and Luke’s says “C D” but neither appear to be actual logos of teams or anything. They’re just like, pretending? Bring back plain baseball caps, costume department!

  • It’s so nice to see Rory with her bangs pushed aside and wearing a nondescript sweater while she’s in the newsroom on Saturday! Maybe this is why I feel so sympathetic for her in this episode. But honestly, a pussybow satin blouse to a morning lecture!? Come on!

  • I know we’ve discussed at some point before that Lorelai likes to wear cross necklaces. And I get it when it’s like a big chunky rosary because that was kind of a thing and she’s kind of sacrilegious like that, but this tiny silver cross necklace is just absurd. The woman is not a Christian!

  • Ugh. The Coach Bennett story really had to delve into “single women be crazy!” didn’t it? Why? I would have loved more insight into Luke learning to swim as an adult and how he felt about that, maybe that providing some kind of growth or learning about himself, instead of, you know, one date with a “crazy” woman!

  • OMG, Sookie is always paranoid about the perception that she is cheating on Jackson, which makes me really worried for her safety!! This episode it’s because she made a ratatouille with vegetables from someone else’s farm!!!! This plus Jackson being so riled up over having to take his shoes off at someone’s house who is watching his children is really bringing back our Jackson is a men’s rights psychopath theory. AND I DON’T LOVE IT.

  • I’m not sure I buy that Lane is visibly uncomfortable while sitting on the couch with April when she’s still barely pregnant. Besides nausea, she’s likely not feeling anything physical at this point.

  • I don’t know what it is exactly but somewhere between listening to the banter between Kirk and Lulu, the banter between Luke and April, the banter between Chris and Lorelai, etc. etc. in this episode in particular just really started to feel like someone who wasn’t a Palladino is trying to write like a Palladino and it got a little tiring. This sentence makes me think that maybe I watched this episode too many times before writing this!!!

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  1. What is Gilmore Women?
    Gilmore Women is a weekly newsletter created by journalists Maggie Mertens and Megan Burbank. They discuss everything that’s wrong with Gilmore Girls while still expressing their love for the show.

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Conclusion

Gilmore Women continues to delve into the intricate dynamics of Gilmore Girls, analyzing the flaws and nuances of each episode. In episode 137, “Go Bulldogs!”, the focus is on Lorelai and Christopher’s awkward parenting decisions during Yale’s Parents’ Weekend. The newsletter highlights the unrealistic scenarios and character inconsistencies that make the episode less believable. Despite its emotional shortcomings, the analysis raises interesting insights into Rory’s experiences as a parentified young adult. Gilmore Women invites readers to join the conversation and discover more about the complexities of the show.

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