What Does Rory Have Against Service Industry Workers?
Megan Watches Episode 113: "Always a Godmother, Never a God"
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What’s Wrong With Episode 113: “Always a Godmother, Never a God”? Rory’s Snobby Learned Helplessness
I’ll be honest: I made it to inbox zero while watching “Always a Godmother, Never a God.” It’s great background noise. It is not good TV.
This shouldn’t be a surprise, because it was written by Rebecca Rand Kirshner, whose writing career includes both late Gilmore Girls and the worst seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s possible Kirshner just had the extraordinarily bad luck of getting assigned to floundering writers’ rooms and was doing her best on some very doomed sinking ships, but the writing in this episode is some of the worst I’ve seen on Gilmore Girls. Let’s get into it!
As far as the show’s ongoing male gaze invasion goes, “Always a Godmother” picks up where “The UnGraduate” left off, and adds in some utter nonsense. Did we really need to see Lorelai repeatedly sexually harassed by Jackson’s gross cousin? This is a person played by Nick Offerman, an actor I love, and even he can’t save this character from coming off as anything but an absolute creep.
Meanwhile, Lorelai is obsessed with a bad TV movie starring a neurotypical actor playing a developmentally disabled character in a way we’re supposed to find comical (no). I love bad movies as much as the next person whose tolerance really went up while reviewing them for a job, and there are so many bad movies she could’ve chosen. Why this one? Why now? And why are Jackson and Sookie suddenly the most dysfunctional couple ever? Why does one of their children have so many names? I thought that was a joke the first time it came up, but no, it turns out “Martha Janice-Lori-Ethan-Rupert-Glenda-Carson-Daisy-Danny Belleville” is canon. I wish I didn’t know this.
It’s common knowledge that season 7 is one of Gilmore Girls’ worst, but even this early on, I’m beginning to think season 6 might be the truly rotten foundation that makes season 7 the mess it is. This season has some really beautiful moments (the dollhouse! wHy dId yOu dRoP oUt of YaAaaaaaLe? Richard’s character development!) but this episode is so uneven it’s almost unwatchable, and there are so many like it still to come! Plz pray 4 us.
Still, I kind of like the premise: In a misguided effort to force a reconciliation between Lorelai and Rory, Sookie invites them both to be godmothers to her children during a baptism that’s only happening to appease Jackson’s family. Who among us does not know someone who’s had an obligation baptism or similar religious ceremony! This could be a source of interesting tension, but Jackson’s family are absolute clowns and while there are some genuinely sweet moments between Rory and Lane and believably fraught ones between Lorelai and Rory, they’re extremely brief. Here’s one of my favorite exchanges in this episode, as Rory and Lorelai struggle to share their views on religion with Reverend Skinner, a character I am always happy to see:
LORELAI: We’re a bit lapsed.
REV. SKINNER: Yes. From?
LORELAI: Well, um...religion. But, you know, I can’t speak for Rory, but I have a strong belief in good... you know... over evil. I mean, if I was asked to choose a side.
RORY: I read The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe.
LORELAI: I have a bible. Although I may or may not have accidentally given it to Goodwill, because I’m remodeling. But Goodwill is a religious organization... I think. But even if it’s not, “good will.” It’s in the ballpark.
RORY: I buy tons of Girl Scout cookies.
LORELAI: I have two “Mary is my homegirl” T-shirts.
REV. SKINNER: Well, these are all very positive if somewhat irrelevant things. And it seems like your hearts are in the right place.
This is one of the few moments in this episode that actually feels like it connects with Rory and Lorelai’s history in any real way. The details they share are irrelevant to the task at hand, as Rev. Skinner notes. But that’s true to who these characters are: a WASP desperate to lose the P and her raised-secular daughter. Rory’s religious education would be limited to C.S. Lewis, and the literary reference is also a callback to her original personality, before she was retconned into a person whose hobbies are lunching with ladies, having a boyfriend, and nothing else.
About that: This is the episode where I really start to actively dislike Rory, and it’s not because of those “interests.” It’s because she suddenly is condescending and terrible to all of the service industry workers around her. After the Elder Gilmores’ maid gives her closet a seasonal edit—something that I, a person who has never rotated a wardrobe seasonally, would personally greet only with appreciation—Rory, sounding wounded, calls out “Maid? This is not going to work. Maid!” I’m sorry, does the maid not have a name? You were just polishing silver with a different maid a few episodes back. She’s here every day, Rory. Learn her name.
Things get even worse when Rory takes on managing Emily’s social function. “This tray is half-empty,” she says disdainfully to a member of the catering staff and rearranging his tray with palpable condescension. “OK, you can circulate! Now circulate!”
Call me crazy, but a “please” and “thank you” goes a long way when you’re delegating tasks.
Not for Rory, it seems.
“There is garnish on this tray,” she says to another staff member. “There shouldn’t be. My grandmother hates garnish. Circulate, circulate!”
As if commanding people to “circulate!” weren’t rude enough, when Rory goes into the kitchen and finds the coffee pot empty, her response is to shout out “Someone make some coffee!”
This is where Rory really starts to lose me. I have very few dealbreakers that will give me the ick forever about a person—we are complicated! life is long!—but being rude to folks working retail and service jobs is one of them. I’ve had jobs like that. I know what it’s like to be ordered around by demanding customers who don’t understand that Frappuccinos are truly one of the worst things in the world to make. When I worked as a barista in my early twenties, my favorite customers were the ones who were nice to me, or at least didn’t treat me like a magical coffee robot with no inner life. There was this one old guy who came in every day and ordered a venti drip with a dash of heavy whipping cream and paid in quarters and always said thank-you. That guy was the best.
But there was also the woman who once made me remake her matcha latté three times, each time taking a sip, frowning, saying it didn’t taste quite right, and asking me to make it again. My dear patron, it doesn’t taste right because you do not like the taste of matcha. Order something different and please stop wasting your time and mine!
This is why, to this day, if someone messes up my order when I’m out getting coffee, I just drink it. Who cares! It’s coffee someone else made for me. Thank you!
This kind of mentality should be familiar if you’ve spent any time in the service industry. And if you were raised by someone in the service industry—like, say, someone who cleaned hotel rooms and worked her way up to management—I would presume you would know not to be an asshole to people doing these jobs, which require a ton of emotional skillfulness on top of physical labor.
So it’s really unforgivable that Rory turns into such a snob. While the pool house, the semester off, the bad boyfriend, and even the bangs feel wrong for her character, her rudeness is really what makes her unrecognizable compared to the Rory of yore. I would never want to hang out with someone who treats workers this way.
And come on. This is Gilmore Girls. She would know how to make a fresh pot of coffee.
8 Other Things Wrong (and a Few Right!) With This Episode
I don’t think candy stripers actually dress that way.
There is a British woman in the DAR, part of this show’s ongoing conflation of wealthy WASPs with wealthy Brits. But, uh, the Daughters of the American Revolution is so named because you have to “prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution,” per DAR rules. In case that point is confusing, “DAR defines a ‘patriot’ as one who provided service or direct assistance in achieving America’s independence.” FROM BRITAIN.
The less we say about Logan’s friends, the better. They clearly hate women and I presume they only tolerate Rory because she never pushes back on their bullshit.
Both Luke and Logan encourage Lorelai and Rory to skip the baptism for Sookie’s kids. I know this is just to encourage a parallel between Lorelai and Rory but it’s an absurd thing to suggest. Sookie is Lorelai’s best friend and like an aunt to Rory. Do these men know anything about their partners?
“This is the suit they buried my dad in,” says Kirk of his baptism outfit. Between this and Kirk’s habit of befriending elderly women to get their jewelry when they die, I really am beginning to think Kirk is an Ed Gein-type grave robber. Sorry to everyone who just googled Ed Gein.
Zach and Lane no longer seem like they’re dating. But Lane says they are? For a couple set up as endgame, this show isn’t doing a very good job of showing they’re actually into each other.
I do love Zach’s C-SPAN journey: “I can’t believe there’s a second C-SPAN,” followed by “Whoa! THere’s a THIRD C-SPAN!” is really a cute moment.
Constance Betterton is someone’s name in this episode. A+ WASP caricature. We love to see it.
I really would like to hear less about Luke’s butt.
Rory’s bangs look good when they’re styled, but this is only some of the time. Why? I get it, bangs are a commitment, but come on. Bangs are a commitment.
Lane is really the voice of reason in this episode and I wish we got to see more of this side of her.
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"I’m beginning to think season 6 might be the truly rotten foundation that makes season 7 the mess it is." This has always been my opinion!
I've always had a place in my heart for the line, "Satan can kiss my ass!" LOL. And I also love me some Rev Skinner, as well as the rabbi who shows up sometimes!