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Friday, February 02, 2007

The Gilmores Have Jumped the Shark?

Okay, painful confession time. I'm a fan of Gilmore Girls.

I know, I know, I know. It's a chick show and I'm a guy! How on earth did I ever get swept up into this show?

It's my wife's fault. She watched this show faithfully before we got married. After we were married, I would vacate the room on Tuesday nights when this came on. But my wife, she gets into her TV shows. She would say things very loudly or laugh or gasp or something and I think at one point I got suckered into going into the living room to see what the big deal was.

It was all downhill from there. Matter of fact, my wife does this to me all the time. That's why I'm a fan of America's Next Top Model and have been known to sit through episodes of Trading Spaces from time to time. But those are stories for another day.

So why did I get hooked on Gilmore Girls? One reason: Amy Sherman-Palladino. Her writing kept me hooked. In the first seasons of the show, the dialogue was extremely fast-paced. More importantly, it was sharp, clever, and filled with references from pop culture, literature, movies, music, and more. In short, you never knew what the Girls were going to say or reference. The stories were intriguing and the denizens of Stars Hollow just goofily endearing enough to keep me coming back.

But sadly, Gilmore Girls has, in my opinion, jumped the shark this season. It's time to let the Gilmores go before their legacy is completely trashed.

Most fans know this already, but Amy Sherman-Palladino left the series at the end of last season (or at least she was supposed to). Perhaps this knowledge has tainted me in regards to this season's episodes, but in my not-so-humble opinion, this season has been just awful.

For starters, the dialogue is too slow. I bet the actors love the fact that they don't have spew words like an auctioneer on crack anymore, but the show has lost some of its zing.

Second, the references aren't there. Oh, sure, they try from time to time, but for the most part, they just aren't there. As a result, the show doesn't seem as witty or smart anymore. It seems like any other drama on TV.

Third, the whole show is wrapped around the Gilmore clan a little too tightly. Sure, it makes sense to follow them since hey, the show is named after them, but part of the fun when Amy was at the helm was seeing the bizarre antics of the denizens of Stars Hollow. I miss Kirk. I miss Taylor. I especially miss Michel, the sharp-tongued concierge of the Dragonfly Inn. And what about the Troubador? He annoyed me in the early seasons, but he's become one of my favorite minor characters. I loved what Amy did with him, especially when she flooded Stars Hollow with would-be troubadors in the last season finale.

To put it bluntly, the show has lost that special magic it had for many seasons. From where I'm sitting, there are two solutions: we either beg Amy Sherman-Palladino to come back and fix this mess, or we let the show retire with what little dignity it can muster.

But hey, what do I know? I'm just some crazy guy who got roped in by his wife.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Hi, John. This is a great post. There's so much here I want to comment on.

(BTW, I found your blog through a search on "Gilmore Girls." How does that make you feel?)

Gilmore Girls is not just a chick show. Yes, most fans are young women. But there are a fair number of us guys. In my house, I was the one who discovered it. I first watched it, because Edward Herrmann stars in it, and I'm a fan of him. And then I was hooked. I'm still the biggest fan in my family, though my wife and daughter also like it.

And the most important aspect of Gilmore Girls to me? Like you, it was Amy Sherman-Palladino. Her vision for the show and her genius so clearly infused every episode. I believe I've used the word genius. And I'm really looking forward to The Return of Jezebel James.

You're also right about the snap of the writing and the quality of the references this season. In prior seasons, it's nothing to dig out dozens of witty pop-culture references. This season, the wit has been declining, and the number, too. Last week's episode hit a low point, perhaps an all-time low point. This prompted me to ask, Is This the End of the Gilmore-ism As We Know It?

That said, the show is not dead yet. Even going back and watching the season-7 episodes so far, I see that they're not all that bad. Even so, the writers will need to discover how to give back the characters' voices. Or else come up with a good reason why their voices changed.

-TimK