Laurengraham_gilmoregirls_s7_240_1Congrats to Lauren Graham on her newly obtained status as credited "producer" on Gilmore Girls, a title she received for the first time before Tuesday (Jan. 30) night’s episode. Graham has been so routinely under-valued by awards groups over the years that it’s nice to see her get her due in other ways, even if the common conspiracy theory (very likely correct) is that the "producer" nod was meant as not-so-subtle encouragement to sign back up for another season.

Graham was actually multi-tasking all over the episode, titled "To Whom It May Concern," even hosting a commercial break sponsored by her upcoming chick flick Because I Said So. I wonder what kind of finagling went on to get that special treatment for the Universal release and what it would take to make me pay money to see it.

Overall, the episode was less bad than I feared it would be given that it was built around the letter-of-recommendation Lorelai wrote last week for Luke’s custody hearing and Christopher’s subsequent negative reaction, a device so contrived the producers of Three’s Company would have said "Nah, too contrived." While I didn’t approve of the way the writers set up the letter as a clunky device, nor did I understand the ridiculous way they let him find the letter (searching for a carpenter’s level misplaced when Lorelai was trying to hypnotize Paul Anka), I absolutely got why he reacted the way he did under the circumstances. The letter wasn’t all that romantic, but it sure was written in a way to be entirely a slap in the face to Christopher. Even the judge at the custody hearing looked ready to say to Lorelai, "Young lady, you’d better hope your new rebound husband never sees the handwritten notes upon which you based this letter."

Some highlights of the episode:

  • It’s good to have Paris back. "Operation Finish Line," a multi-dry-eraseboard plan to maximize their last five months at Yale, was exactly what my friends and I had at the end of college, except that it was less about oceanographic fellowships and LSATs and more about bars we hadn’t visited in Philly.
  • That was one prodigious tracking shot they used with Lorelai and Sookie discussing the pros and cons of pregnancy. Could it be the show’s longest tracking shot ever?
  • Post-break-up Lucy is much less annoying.
  • The cold-open with the quail was a hoot.
  • I want Christopher’s new flat screen TV.

    And some lowlights:

  • If a character of a certain age who hasn’t been around for a while suddenly plays a central role in an episode where all he or she does is utter sentimental and loving platitudes, that can only mean one thing: A heart attack’s comin’ round the bend. Glad to see nobody wanted to buck that convention.
  • So that out-of-character thing earlier in the season where Lorelai rushed to the hospital for April’s appendectomy was really just there to set up Luke’s rushing to the hospital to be with Lorelai? Sigh. Watching the show this season has been like watching Marionette Theater and constantly being distracted by the strings.
  • Nope. Not buying that custody decision at all. Good for Luke, but the show was far more realistic when Luke’s lawyer and Anna told him he didn’t have a chance.
  • I wasn’t happy with the number of roving moppets last week, so this week’s episode was without Gigi or April. But why did we need to meet Sookie and Jackson’s kids?

    Sound off on the episode’s brilliance (or lack thereof)…

  • Posted by:Daniel Fienberg