Rollin' deep in the heart of the I.E. through the gnarled concrete arteries of 60+10+91 east to neon sunsets and Naugles, Taco Tia, the Mad/Friendly/Happy or Lucky Greek,The Menagerie, Spanky's, Butch's Grinders, The Denny's Cocktail Lounge at Hardman Center (in pace requiescat). We spell Paris P-E-R-R-I-S, bitches!
The Stars are Hollow
My butch cred, tenuous as it already is, might suffer a blow from this admission. I blubbered like a baby the other night because my beloved Gilmore Girls screwballed their way through the quaint corners of Stars Hollow for the very last time. Though I'm usually pretty damn diligent about keeping up with developments in the televisual landscape, I was totally checked out this time around. I was so consumed by end of the semester bureaucracy that I didn't even hear that the show was cut from the languishing CW prime-time line-up for next season.
Or was I just being a delinquent fan? I've been so wrapped-up in this season's Idolatry that I'd let GG episodes gather dust in my Tivo playlist until I felt like having "a very menses evening" with my fave trash snack: Totino's wafer thin extra- crispy Supreme Pizza.
I know lots of fans have moaned about how awful the first half of this, the 7th (and ultimately final) season, played out. Lorelai marrying Christopher in Paris? The tedious plotline about Luke's custody battle for the irritating "oops kid" he sired for Sherilyn Fenn? Both industry and popular wisdom thought the show was done-zo after Amy Sherman Palladino decided to relinquish most of the writing duties to other scribes last year. But this is not the stuff I want to dwell on here.
I'm just gonna miss it, damn it. I'll miss Luke's infuriating yet oddly endearing butch woundedness. Like many butches, he was afflicted with an old-school lesbionic aphasia around Lorelai. Never could say how he really felt or what he really wanted. Always underselling his efforts. Always hanging back. Waiting for the right time, but temporally challenged. FUN FACT: the character of Luke was originally written for a woman. That says something, I think, about the tone of this TV romance. HOTTT.
I'll also miss the girls themselves. The inappropriate desires they enacted and engendered in others. The finale, despite taking some flack from TV Watchers in journoland, the blogsphere and beyond, was appropriately quiet and absurd. No big weddings and cymbal crashes. Just a party and the butch-bottomy remark from Luke to Lorelai, "I just like to see you happy" before they kiss. The show ends with a shot of the girls chatting and chewing as they so often did in Luke's diner. It's an external shot, and they're framed by the plate glass of the diner while Luke himself arranges ketchup bottles in the background. This creates the effect of our noses being pressed up against the glass, as if to say "this world continues elsewhere: you just can't watch anymore."
When I started working on my RELOCATIONS book project, I imagined ways in which the "small town ethos" (like Stars Hollow's) often became appropriated by suburban artists and suburban types as an analogue for their own eccentric encounters. These encounters might provide a precious 'grain' for those daily experiences alienated from the "contact" of urban settings. The oddball everyday. That's what GG served up in generous greasy helpings.
The show also had some great tunes, long before gaudier forms of music branding hit the primetime scene (The O.C., Grey's Anatomy, etc.--Kangagi has a great paper about this and the Patsavas TV soundtrack empire). The hipster soundtrack was attributed to Lane Kim, the Korean drummergirl whose main mischief involved hiding cd's from her 7th Day Adventist mom in the floorboards of her room. I personally could've done without the "town troubadour" in seasons 1 and 2 (a pal of the Palladinos), but now that the town square is silent, I'll probably miss him too. In honor of the Gilmore Girls' soundscape, I created my own "Stars Hollow Mix" of tunes from the show (featured incidentally or as part of the diegesis) a couple of years ago. I shared it with some core GG watchers like Doylie and Gia. I've added a couple since this season. I share it now with you so the stars won't feel quite as hollow...
1. "I Can't Get Started" - Ella Fitzgerald
2. "Cities in Dust" - Siouxsie and the Banshees
3. "The Crystal Lake" - Grand Daddy
4. "Know Your Onion" - The Shins
5. "Flower Girl from Bordeaux" - Esquivel
6. "Teenager" - Camera Obscura
5. "Why Does it Always Rain on Me?" - Travis
6. "Time Bomb" - Rancid
7. "Legal Man" - Belle and Sebastian
8. "Church of the Poison Mind" - Culture Club
9. "Que Sera Sera" - Doris Day
10. "Suburban Homeboy" - Sparks
11. "The Man Who Sold the World" - David Bowie
12. "The Killing Moon" - Echo and the Bunnymen
13. "I Will Always Love You" - Dolly Parton
14. "My Little Corner of The World" - Yo La Tengo
And a late addition (in video format):