Gilmore Girls, Part 3: The ugly

Worse than the periodic spinelessness of the title women, for me, have been the relationships of the secondary characters.

Exhibit A: Lane and Zack. Zack acted like a complete ass, and Lane dumped him for good reason. He showed no sign of real remorse, he didn’t apologize, they hadn’t had a conversation about even getting back together, and all of a sudden he just says to her “I miss you and I want to get married”, to which she responds “Okay”. And there’s no voice in the show, nothing that ever suggests we’re supposed to think this is anything other than awesome, because yay, wedding! The fact that you weren’t even speaking, let alone dating, ten minutes ago is now completely moot! I’m often willing to forgive a character for making a bad decision, and even let a show slide if a bad decision doesn’t end up being recognized by the character who makes it, if someone in the show world would acknowledge that there may be a problem and cause for concern. Just a character who can speak as and to the audience to suggest that something is off about a situation like this, and remind us that a marriage proposal is not in and of itself that thing that we wait for, regardless of the form and context in which it comes, and regardless of how intelligent, talented and awesome we are as individuals.

And just in case we haven’t invoked enough television clichés recently, how about a pregnancy? The first time she has sex? Oh, with TWINS! While the pregnancy has provided good fodder for exploring Lane’s relationship with her own mother, and her sense of self within the cultural view of motherhood to which she is accustomed, I feel like there was plenty to explore in Lane’s character without bringing in babies in such a hackneyed manner.

Exhibit B: Speaking of babies, Sookie’s having another one. I realize this got written into the show because Melissa McCarthy got pregnant, but other shows have written and filmed around an actress who was pregnant without making the character pregnant, and in this case they had to write around the fact that Sookie and her husband had agreed that he would get a vasectomy after their last child. It’s how they wrote around that that makes me angry in this case: he just didn’t get the vasectomy because he was scared, and he didn’t tell her, because she had been continuing to take the pill for some reason. She stopped her birth control, assuming they were okay, again with no discussion coming up, and boom, she’s pregnant with no idea that it was really possible. It comes out in oh-so-humourous fashion when Jackson is acting overprotective about her having even one drink or going skiing, since he knows what she does not, which is that she may be pregnant (for a show with so many words, nobody seems to say the really important stuff). She really isn’t angry enough about the violation to her body and to the trust within their marriage that is represented by a pregnancy that she took on good faith was at best highly unlikely. Let me be perfectly clear: that is not in any way light or funny. That is not something one should get over in the space of a 15-minute conversation in which one’s best friend points out the good things about motherhood. That is grounds for divorce, and it is completely counter to her right to choose, not to mention to the idea of the circumstances under which she thought she was consenting to sex.

Damn, writing about this is making me angrier than I thought I really was.

Comments

  1. says

    OK, now I’m realizing why my sister said I could stop buying her Gilmore box sets after Season 3. Note to self: remove later seasons from Netflix queue.

  2. SunlessNick says

    So, in a nutshell, Jackson says “Oops” a few times, and Sookie’s friend reminds her of the glory of her mothery destiny, and it’s all ok. Is that about right?

    And presumably, the pregnancy is all her fault anyway: he thought he didn’t have to tell her he was still fertile because she was still taking the pill; and she should have told him when she stopped. What are the odds that’ll be spun?

    Ugly is a damn-on description.

  3. Maartje says

    I totally agree with you about GG’s unfortunate turn for the worse. There is however another gruesome detail you left out of the Jackson/Sookie saga. The vasectomy was a Surprise!Vasectomy. Just after their daughter was born Sookie informed Jackson that he was getting a vasectomy and he was dragged away. To console him she named the kid just about every name they had ever thought of.

  4. Jennifer Kesler says

    Lane and Zack – sounds like the network sent the producers “notes” (as they are wont to do) demanding weddings and pregnancies during sweeps month, and the producers said, “Fine, assholes, here you go – no explanation, no buildup, no freakin’ sense, but there’s your wedding. Eat it up.” I may be giving producers too much credit but (a) we know networks do this and (b) we know producers have been known to get cheeky and/or flip about it.

    Which I can understand as a creative artist myself, except must we screw over the audience just because someone let a bunch of MBA’s in the backdoor and we haven’t dislodged them from their thrones yet?

    Or, you know, maybe the producers are just moronic, but I figure that’s always implied as a possibility in discussion on this site. :D

    Re: Jackson and Sookie. So they’ve made this Jackson guy into a total asshole by having him wimp out of a very common outpatient surgery AND then lie by omission to his wife. She did nothing wrong – apparently, the vasectomy isn’t instant, so you need another form of BC until the man has had sperm tests come back negative.

    Except… wouldn’t she notice the lack of bandages and swelling and stuff? That he wasn’t in pain for a bit after the surgery? That he didn’t go in for follow-up sperm tests until they were sure the vasectomy had taken?

    Only on TV could you hide from your wife that you had failed to get the vasectomy you promised.

  5. SunlessNick says

    Re: Jackson and Sookie. So they’ve made this Jackson guy into a total asshole by having him wimp out of a very common outpatient surgery AND then lie by omission to his wife. - BetaCandy

    Her too – if I’m reading Maartje right – for “inform[ing] Jackson that he was getting a vasectomy and he was dragged away.”

  6. sbg says

    Her too – if I’m reading Maartje right – for “inform[ing] Jackson that he was getting a vasectomy and he was dragged away.”

    LOL, my sister did just that. Both she and her husband agreed that they didn’t want more children and that a vasectomy was the way to go (less invasive, I think)…and yet he was still very, very, very reluctant to actually do it.

  7. Jennifer Kesler says

    Ah, I cross-posted with Maartje. Never mind, then – they’re both assholes.

    SBG, I’ve read the vasectomy is the safest and least invasive surgical BC procedure.

  8. Patrick says

    One of my favore executive meddling anecdotes is from J. Michael Straczynski: he had a line where a criminal referred to the detective pursuing him as “my own personal Ahab.” An exec asked JMS who this Ahab was, and why we hadn’t heard more about him the script script. JMS explained that it was a literary reference, to Moby Dick. The exec’s response? “Well, I have an MBA, and if I haven’t heard of it, nobody else has either. Take it out.”

  9. sbg says

    Oh, man. I HATED Moby Dick…but your anecdote still physically hurts me, Patrick.

    Teh stupid knows no bounds.

  10. Jennifer Kesler says

    I apologize in advance to the many intelligent people who have MBA’s, but there are a lot of alleged MBA’s out there who are ignorant and stupid. I say “alleged” because apparently a lot of people go around claiming they have degrees and no one checks up on them. (And I’m thinking of cases that happened before the internet coughed up dozens of sites offering fake degrees and credentials.)

    I never read Moby Dick, but I’ve heard references to “white whales” and “Captain Ahab” in all sorts of TV shows, and I knew what they meant.

  11. Purtek says

    So, in a nutshell, Jackson says “Oops” a few times, and Sookie’s friend reminds her of the glory of her mothery destiny, and it’s all ok. Is that about right?

    And presumably, the pregnancy is all her fault anyway: he thought he didn’t have to tell her he was still fertile because she was still taking the pill; and she should have told him when she stopped. What are the odds that’ll be spun?

    We’re several pregnancy episodes in, and (small mercy), they’re not spinning Sookie as the blame-taker here. They just seem to have forgotten that neither really wanted to have another baby in the first place and moved into the warm fuzzies of baby-prep and quirky hormonal fluctuations. As the first paragraph says, it’s just all okay. Seriously, she was over the whole situation in like fifteen minutes based on Lorelei reminding her that she felt great when she first laid eyes on each of her two children, even though she had literally been counting down to being beyond constant diaper-changing.

    That Moby Dick anecdote frightens me, too. I mean, I’ve never read the book either, and from what I understand, I have no desire to, but who hasn’t heard of the damn thing? Also, the attitude “I have an MBA and I therefore not only know everything, I understand exactly what everybody else is looking for” is pure narcissistic insanity.

  12. Gategrrl says

    Heh. JMS should have used “Les Miserable” anyhow, as a comparison for a lawman chasing a felon for years with an obsession that knows no bounds. Jean Valjean was chased by Javert. A much better analogy than Ahab and Moby Dick.

    Of course, the executive in question may have never seen the musical adaptation (if there was one at that time, I don’t remember!)!

  13. Jennifer Kesler says

    OMG, I just remembered something: there’s a remark about Moby Dick in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

    Ted: Had wooden teeth, chased Moby Dick.
    Bill: That’s Captain Ahab, dude.

    Case closed. B&T is the quintessential teenage goof comedy of all time. If its target audience can handle the reference, then this MBA guy’s a few frames short of a reel.

  14. MaggieCat says

    Remember, musicals are for girls and gay men. I can see where a Les Mis reference would have been just as taboo. ;-) (And I believe the original version in French opened in 1979, with the English adaptation opening in 1985.)

    Moby Dick is one of those books I’ve just never gotten around to reading. Can I substitute a few lesser known Shakespearean plays to restore my geek cred?

  15. Patrick says

    JMS has been screenwriting professionally since 1978, so it could have been before or after the LM musical.

    And Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was rife with references. Bill not only knew he had an Oedipal complex, he knew what to call it.

  16. Jennifer Kesler says

    And Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was rife with references. Bill not only knew he had an Oedipal complex, he knew what to call it.

    I still say that movie makes a good litmus test. It was not marketed toward brainiacs.

  17. Patrick says

    Maybe not, but I think that was a marketing error. How many high school students would actually know who Sigmund Freud and Socrates were?

  18. sbg says

    How many high school students would actually know who Sigmund Freud and Socrates were?

    Probably more than you would think.

    As for me, I didn’t know who So Crates was until Bill and Ted showed me the way. Ahem. *cough*

  19. Jennifer Kesler says

    That’s a good point – hearing people who’d seen the movie talk, it was apparent they knew who the historical dudes were. But you really CAN learn that in the course of the movie – which in addition to being hilarious is probably the only thing that our culture that could awaken a latent interest in history.

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