So now you know why I was so glad the Palladinos are gone. As The Star-Ledger said yesterday, “The Palladinos have said in interviews that they wrote the finale with the intention of continuing the story next season — and, tonally, it fits in with some of their more unpopular story arcs of years past — but with all that happened afterwards, it plays out like a raised middle finger to both their replacements and the viewers.”
I read another article in USA Today that concludes, “[Lauren Graham], her fans, and her character deserve a better ending than they’ve been given tonight.”
The season began with a desperate plea in a diner and a Rory/Logan theme party, and it ended with a desperate plea in a diner and a Rory/Logan theme party. I get the bookends. Only, you know, it would have been a heck of a lot better without that last scene, which I am convinced is a big “screw you” to the WB, the fans, and the characters. As far as Luke and Lorelai are concerned, neither one seemed to get anywhere emotionally this season. In fact, we’re at a worse place than we were when we started.
Okay, so, I’ve had a little more time to think about this. I know you’re in shock. I was in shock, too, for a few days after I found out (accidentally) that this was happening. And I said, “This is the one thing I always said I would not tolerate. It’s ridiculous.” And if Amy and Daniel were staying, I probably wouldn’t keep watching, because they were the ones who said, “Invest in this couple,” and that Luke and Lorelai are soulmates. And then screwed everything over to create more drama and extend their contracts. But they’re gone. So keep that in mind. Someone can fix this mess.
Here’s what I know. If you look at interviews from the first part of the season, Amy and Daniel made it clear that they were heading in the direction of Luke and Lorelai going to the altar. And then a few things happened. UPN and the WB merged, the Palladino pilot for a new WB show got the axe, David Sutcliffe was available, and, suddenly, it seemed as if the Palladinos switched gears. Don’t believe me? Watch the first half of season 6 again. Read some of those interviews again. Then read interviews from the second half of season 6, where it’s clear that they’ve changed gears and are messing things up. It was set up clearly that Luke and Lorelai, who, as Amy said many times, are both adults with baggage, were learning how to deal with that baggage and have lives together. Great stuff! I can even believe that the Long Lost Daughter storyline was planned from last summer, as was claimed, because the Long Lost Daughter storyline could have been constructed in such a way to bring Luke and Lorelai together.
Instead, the Palladinos, trying to stretch the show out for two more seasons instead of just one (since no pilot = no job past the end of GG), decided that what we really needed was another diversion to keep Luke and Lorelai from the altar. The network did not want to offer them two seasons, so they trashed the show and the characters, and then left a mess. Those are the facts. The fact that both fans and critics have been upset with the second half of the season is no accident. It’s not just the people who love Luke and Lorelai who are upset. Although, I will say, Luke and Lorelai were not given one single episode to be happily engaged this whole season. First there was the Rory stuff and then the April stuff. Completely ridiculous. And so the Palladinos sacrificed their characters. They made Lorelai passive and Luke a jerk. They brought Christopher in and made him a good guy. Come on, if, a year ago, I had said that Lorelai was going to end up in Christopher’s bed at the end of this season, would you have believed me? The Christopher road was closed after Richard and Emily’s wedding last season. This is not organic storytelling, no matter what Amy thinks. It’s contrived and ridiculous. Good riddance to her.
In fact, I did not think that Luke and Lorelai should have eloped at the end of this episode. They have spent too much time not talking to each other. The promise of the first half of the season was not followed up on. If they still had so many things to work out, it would have been better for Luke to have (gently) said no at the beginning of the season and for them to spend this year working on their relationship. It would have made more sense for them to break up after the bad Martha’s Vineyard trip and then for them to spend the rest of the season getting back together. There’s an organic story. Instead, we have the season ending much like last season, with a frantic Lorelai running into the diner to propose, only this time Luke says no. Would the Luke Danes who said, “Yes,” without hesitation at the beginning of this season really have acted the way we’ve seen Luke Danes act this season? Would the Luke Danes who could “see her face” at the end of season 4 have acted this way? That Luke Danes wanted to tell Lorelai about big news, wanted to talk to her when he was sad. The Luke Danes from the first half of this season could read Lorelai better than he’s been doing in the past 10 episodes. That’s the kind of thing that makes me think, “Character assassination for the sake of a (not very good) story, plain and simple.” Would Lorelai really have acted so passively? If it was supposed to be leftover fear from confronting Rory and losing her, couldn’t they have said that? Because I am stuck believing that the Lorelai who dumped Jason because he was suing her dad would just say, “I need to meet your daughter. And can we set a wedding date?” Does Luke have NO friends in the town to tell him how Lorelai is actually feeling? Not even Kirk?
One of the worst things from last night is that Luke didn’t even follow her. I just don’t buy that. The only explanation I can think of is that he thought perhaps she just needed to cool off and then they could talk in private. Of course, we also have the possibility that Luke doesn’t know for sure that they’re broken up . . . she was still wearing the ring when she walked away, after all. We had an ambiguous breakup last season, Palladinos. Thanks for the original storyline.
So, do I think there’s hope for the show? Well, yeah. I wish it hadn’t gone this way, but I do think there’s hope. I think that fans who were manipulated into liking Chris and hating Luke this year can just as easily be manipulated back into liking Luke again. I never hated Luke this season. I did break up with him, but I watched the last few episodes in a state of shock, like, “These are not my characters.” I can’t hate Luke OR Lorelai, because I’m pretty sure that neither of them would actually act this way. And do I think there’s hope for their relationship? Yeah. I could see it being a detriment, Luke thinking, “She ran to his bed five minutes after we broke up,” but I can also see it being a way to finally get Christopher out of the picture. I am still of the opinion that Christopher was out of the picture after Richard and Emily’s wedding, but . . . okay. If it finally puts the “threat” of Christopher to rest, okay.
And the look on Lorelai’s face was something else. Lorelai has long been a rebound kind of girl – she went back to Max after Rachel showed up, she ran to Luke’s Diner when Chris was getting married to Sherri, she does that whole “stalking Max” thing after she’s seen Luke with someone else, she proposed to Luke after Rory dropped out of Yale. The three times we’ve seen her sleep with Christopher were at bad times – his parents trashed her and Rory, she was in a fight with Luke and Sookie was getting married, and, now, she’s just ended an engagement. So . . . despite the OOC things that have brought us here, sleeping with Christopher is not necessarily out of character for her. But it sure didn’t look to me like she was proud she had done it.
I have decided that I’m going to keep watching. I have hope for the new showrunner and the new writers. I think season 6 (especially the second half) was a mess, and it got too focused on the girls’ romantic relationships. There’s more to Lorelai than her relationship with Luke, and there’s more to Rory than Logan. Let’s get back to those roots, see the girls become themselves again, and then see what happens. Amy Sherman Palladino claimed that Luke was Lorelai’s soulmate, and before she got mad at the network, trashed the characters, and took her ball and left, I believed that was where they were ultimately heading. And I think that’s still where it’s going, good riddance to Amy. Let someone else tell the story now, someone who will take these characters back to the people that we know and love. I think it can be done. I don’t feel like I was foolish for believing that this season would end in a wedding, because I think that’s what was promised. I think the Palladinos are foolish for changing things up on their fans (and, as I noted above, it’s not just the fans who are upset), but I am not going to lose hope. I think there’s hope for the show . . . and if it turns out badly, I am just going to pretend that it ended with Luke telling Lorelai to stand still at the end of season 4. Because those were some good times.
(I’m not buying season 6 until I hear how season 7 turns out. And maybe not even then.)
(Rory’s story was great last night.)
(Next season WILL be better.)
(We can start figuring out how they’re gonna get out of this one now. . . . GO!)