WTF is a Vow Renewal Anyway
We watch Episode 100 (together!): "Wedding Bell Blues"
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—Megan & Maggie
What’s Wrong With Episode 100: “Wedding Bell Blues”? Telling a Girl She’s “Special” Is Not The Come-On Logan Thinks It Is (Also We Don’t Understand Vow Renewals)
By Maggie and Megan
With the previouslys out of the way, we open at Luke’s Diner. Luke is ordering boat equipment over the phone, gruffly. Lorelai is annoying him. She wants fishing boots of her own, size 9. Luke eventually gives in and orders them for her.
Maggie: Ah yes, a reminder that here we are at the the uber-rushed wedding vow renewal!
Megan: Brought on by a violent intentional car accident! We hate to see it.
Maggie: Truly hate.
Megan: Is Lorelai wearing YET ANOTHER dragonfly shirt? Truly a leitmotif.
Maggie: And one I had never noticed before these viewings. Love it.
Luke wants to work on his boat, but he has no supplies! What will he use?
Maggie: “Sheer masculinity and some sandpaper” is a pretty good line. Also Lorelai ordering the fisherman boots makes me wonder if she did not already have fisherman boots from when she went fishing with Alex the Coffee Guy and was super into the outfit???
Megan: He also ordered them in size 9 without specifying men’s or women’s. Those boots are going to be too big for Lorelai.
Maggie: Unless she’s a men’s size 9! Speaking of this, however, why are men’s and women’s shoe sizes different?
Megan: No idea. Probably the same reason we can’t have real pockets.
Meanwhile, Chez Gilmore, Rory is spending the night and it’s time for CD-burning (remember CD-burning?) and a junk food feast. Should Lorelai make instant mashed potatoes or stick to the classics: tater tots? She hems, she haws, she is flummoxed by the thought of cooking even instant food. She settles on tots.
Megan: I love this pancake and Pop Tart spread.
Maggie: Totally agree with tater tots over mashed potatoes. Tater tots are a perfect food.
Megan: Rory knows how to make instant mashed potatoes, though! She made them for Dean in an episode I wish didn’t exist!
Maggie: UGH. BAD MEMORIES.
Megan: I’m self-soothing by looking at this spread of doughnuts and marshmallows.
Emily calls. She’s disturbed by the state of her vow-renewal dress, but that’s not excuse to be hateful, Emily.
Maggie: EMILY WITH A “CRACK BABY” REFERENCE??
Megan: Crack babies are a racist myth used to control people’s reproductive autonomy, but unfortunately I don’t think the Palladinos know this. They were not ahead of their time.
Maggie: Most definitely not.
Now Emily’s coming over so Lorelai can fix her wedding dress, ruining a perfectly good night of eating junk and watching rubbish. Luke is at work on the boat when Emily arrives. Vow-renewal Emily is shockingly rude, even moreso than Regularly Repressed Grandma Emily. She tells Luke that “You congratulate the groom. You offer the bride best wishes” because she is Emily Post in disguise, I guess.
Megan: Emily even WALKS threateningly in this scene. I love it.
Maggie: Ugh, I don’t like the talking down to Luke though. It’s so classist.
Megan: Also is she the bride? It’s a vow renewal. They’re already married. Seems a little silly to be so etiquette-focused.
Maggie: I’ve always found vow renewals a bit confusing!!
Megan: Good for them? I guess? I mean not really given the impetus for it, but isn’t a vow renewal just… staying together but with fancier outfits? I don’t know. I’m clueless. Regular weddings are so expensive anyway I can’t really imagine anyone in our generation having a vow renewal.
Maggie: Yes, we’re already often eschewing the wedding thing.
Meanwhile, Richard is inexplicably having a bachelor party at what appears to be an actual Old Boys’ Club.
Megan: I would like to eschew this room full of men. Richard’s old man “bachelor” party may be my idea of hell.
Oops, Rory and Lorelai have been conscripted into throwing Emily an impromptu “bachelorette” party.
Megan: “I didn’t think you had a bachelorette party when you haven’t been a bachelorette for forty years!” I didn’t either, Lorelai!
Maggie: Weren’t all these people at Lorelai’s bachelorette party?
Megan: I think so. But maybe not Gypsy. The actor who plays her said she always played Gypsy as having a crush on Lorelai and I am enjoying watching this scene with this subtext in mind!
Maggie: Truly love that. Feels subversive against the ASP constant homophobia..
Megan: Yeah, I like that she injects subtext the Palladinos couldn’t even fathom. It rules.
Alas, we’re in season five of this show and it still has not figured out how to dress Melissa McCarthy. Despite the revelry around her, Rory is stone-cold sober.
Megan: Sookie’s styling feels very rude, as usual.
Maggie: And once again, Rory CLEARLY didn’t have anything to drink even though, totally fine time to try it out!
Megan: It’s funny because she did get drunk at spring break last season so she definitely… used to drink? Maybe she’s on a drinking break? I did that first semester sophomore year too.
Maggie: Yes, and her “lemonade” at the end of finals last year. It’s a good point.
Post-party, Lorelai and Rory are getting into the Elder Gilmores’ bad behavior, which Lorelai accurately compares to the Life and Death Brigade: “a bunch of selfish rich kids, the children of entitlement, blowing off school.”
Maggie: Ha!! I love Lorelai calling out how vapid the Life and Death Brigade is. Poor Rory.
Megan: Yes, Lorelai is right.
Maggie: Also, she says this after peeping Logan Huntzberger’s name in the seating chart. And like…I still don’t believe that he would be invited?? Or go???
Megan: OK I have a theory about Rory’s non-drinking: I think she’s trying to take control again after her foolish decision-making with Dean last season. I have no textual basis for this but it’s the only thing that makes sense.
Maggie: OOOH. This is a good theory!!!!
Vow renewal time! A Sam Phillips musical interlude ensues, it’s the upbeat guitar vamping, not the la la las.
Megan: Oh, the SOMEONE’S UP TO SOMETHING music is back.
Maggie: DOOO DOOO DOOO DO DO DO DOOO DOOO
Megan: TIME FOR A CAPER
Megan: Is Rory’s hair curly now? It looks good but it’s clearly styled.
Maggie: I feel like she could have curled it for this? But yes, it seems like they’re trying to make it look like Lorelai’s.
Megan: Yeah, it looked that way at the “bachelorette party” too? What is happening? At least they got rid of the early-seasons flat-iron, I guess. Lorelai’s hair looks so much healthier when they just let it be curly!
The Elder Gilmores continue to be dreadful to Luke, because they are snobs. Emily implies that getting nice jewelry is the real reason to get married, and Luke can’t provide Lorelai with this. (Even though we know he gives her jewelry from Liz, who’s good enough to seem like she has a healthy Etsy following.)
Maggie: I get very sad about how they treat Luke in this episode.
Megan: Me too. I also hate that Emily’s metric for a good relationship is getting nice jewelry. What about not getting your car revenge-hit?
Maggie: Yes, and these reasons she wants to get back together with Richard all just sound like dependence.
Rory is wearing a suit for her entrance as Richard’s best man. It’s Marlene Dietrich meets Y2K and we approve.
Megan: I love Rory in the suit! They should put her in menswear-inspired looks more often. Or something. I wish they would give her character personal style of any kind really.
Maggie: Love a menswear inspired look. Also love Lorelai’s sparkly dress and shrug though. TRULY CANNOT BELIEVE THEY INVITED THIS MANY PEOPLE ON A WEEK’S NOTICE TO A VOW RENEWAL AND THEY ALL CAME. This is a massive suspension of disbelief.
Megan: Yeah it’s definitely straining credibility for me. I like Rory’s hair though! It’s very Rosalind Russell or something.
Cut to the reception! Shortest vow renewal ever!
Maggie: Ugh ugh ugh. Here comes the drama. Of course Christopher is LATE.
Megan: And Logan is there. Logan who didn’t give Rory a reporting credit last week.
Maggie: AND WHO DEFINITELY WOULDN’T GO TO A RANDOM FRIEND OF HIS PARENTS’ VOW RENEWAL.
Megan: Maybe he’s there just to lightly stalk Rory. He likes her enough for that BUT NOT A REPORTING CREDIT. Also, it’s kind of weird we don’t really see the ceremony? It’s just a cut to jazzy upbeat music and the reception? Kind of a missed opportunity. And with all those people in attendance!
Maggie: This guy is correct about the cousins and second cousins explanation, a thing I have to explain to people all the time. Because I have a zillion cousins so I know these things. I hope I don’t sound like this guy when I explain it, though.
Megan: He’s doing them a public service though, and so are you! That guy should be around at all large family gatherings to help people know how they’re related.
Uh-oh. Lorelai’s getting caught in her lie of omission about going over to Christopher’s.
Maggie: Lorelai, perhaps this is why you should have told Luke about Christopher earlier!!!!! Also like how did you not tell Christopher that you’re dating Luke??????????????
Megan: Yeah, this is like NOT the time. Either stick with the lie or tell the truth in private. Don’t make Luke feel uncomfortable when he’s already having a bad time in WASPland.
Maggie: OOOOH RIGHT. OK. Now I’m remembering this episode and the champagne moment later…. Rory is drinking coffee now. Maybe you are right about your theory!
Megan: Yeah, she’s on dry January or something.
Richard is giving a speech about Emily, and how once Lorelai was very sick and they didn’t have a nanny for a while so Emily had to parent her own child.
Megan: Yeah this is not the heartwarming story Richard thinks it is. “My child was sick and my aggrieved wife had to spend time with our child because we couldn’t get someone paid to do it.” Yikes! This is very cute though. And I support any chance for Kelly Bishop to show off her dancing skills from her A Chorus Line days.
Maggie: Yeah I like this song (though I just realized its title is the reason for this episode’s title: “Wedding Bell Blues,” which seems an odd choice for a vow renewal song!) and the end of Richard’s speech is sweet? I guess? God. Christopher just like serial killer watching them in the corner and getting wasted on hard liquor.
Megan: Yeah that shot seems like it’s from a different show. Like she should be murdering someone in the coat closet next.
Christopher, brooding from a table in the corner watching Luke and Lorelai dancing, storms off into the Salon where the still life class is working, and takes a seat on a couch. Rory, upset that Logan is dancing with the girl he brought, follows Christopher and they begin chatting when Christopher suddenly, unprovoked, tells Rory about the first time Lorelai kissed him. Rory says she never heard the story before, and Christopher responds, “Probably wanted to make me seem more manly.”
Maggie: No, Christopher, I don’t think Lorelai cared about your manliness. Although, if the context were slightly different, I would really love this moment??? Rory asks if Christopher liked that she kissed him first.
Megan: I actually think it’s really nice. I like that she asks a question subtly that is clearly about her own dilemma and for once he gives her good, friendly advice. A rare parenting moment from Christopher!
Back on the dance floor, Luke is looking for an out and Lorelai is trying to keep him dancing. They keep saying “spaz” and “spazzy” to describe each other’s dancing for some reason.
Megan: How many times have they used the word “spaz”? One is too many.
Maggie: Agreed, feels very dated.
Rory walks directly over to Logan and confronts him about why he’s there and why he brought a date. Logan says the girl is just a family friend and Rory asks him to dance. Rory asks why he hasn’t asked her out and he tells her it’s because she’s “girlfriend material” and he is definitely '“not boyfriend material.”
Maggie: This is my favorite part of Rory and Logan. Rory actually is direct!
Megan: It’s very cute. She actually expresses her feelings for once. While wearing a suit. It’s a great Rory moment.
Maggie: This is also the reason that this part works — Logan should be the guy that pushes you from a comfort zone, and who you experience no strings attached fun with… but we all know that’s not the end.
Megan: That said: His reason for not asking her out is a red flag. A guy who says “I like you but I am not good enough for you because of XYZ” is usually telling the truth. Like, go have fun, but get out while you’re still having fun and that should be three months tops.
Maggie: YUP. And she should have taken him seriously.
Rory, insisting she wants some “no-strings-attached fun” leads Logan from the dance floor, boosts a bottle of champagne from the bar cart and heads to a coat room with Logan, where she (clearly inspired by Christopher’s story) kisses him.
Maggie: And of course, we have to make this a weird gay joke thing because Rory is in a suit.
Megan: He can’t just kiss a girl in a suit. He must remind us he isn’t gay.
Maggie: Performative masculinity is so exhausting.
Back at the wedding/vow renewal/party Christopher (drunk) joins Luke and Lorelai at their table and immediately tries to make Luke uncomfortable by bringing up how long he and Lorelai have known each other, etc.
Megan: I’m not enjoying this Luke-Lorelai-Christopher triangulation. Let it die! No one wants Lorelai and Christopher together!
Cousin Marilyn arrives to tell Lorelai that Emily wants a photo of the wedding party in front of the cake, so Lorelai heads off to find Rory, and finds her and Logan in the coat room in various states of undress. Lorelai starts to sputter: “Rory, what are you doing? You're at your grandparents' wedding! Renewal, vowal, thing. Whatever. They're right out there. God, Rory, I swear!” Christopher and Luke are close behind Lorelai barging into the room and both offering to beat up Logan if he doesn’t unhand Rory!!! It ends in Christopher telling Luke to “back off” his daughter, and Luke proving Christopher is a terrible dad and Luke asking where he’s been for all of the moments when Luke was there and Christopher wasn’t.
Maggie: I hate that Luke and Christopher try to “protect” Rory from making out with someone she clearly wants to be making out with… I do love this moment though of Luke clearly showing how he’s a much better father figure for Rory than Christopher ever has been. OK, Why did Lorelai react SO BADLY to finding Rory and Logan??? That feels very not “cool mom” of her?
Megan: I mean, Rory and Logan are both single adults, and it’s a WEDDING. What do you EXPECT single people to do at a wedding? This is one of the best things about weddings. Just let them have fun!
Maggie: Single college age/20-somethings hookup at weddings! Get over it Christopher and Luke and Lorelai!
Megan: I mean, they could have chosen a different trysting location, but calm down, everyone! At least it’s not Dean anymore.
Maggie: Right? Like, Rory is 20, she doesn’t need to be making good decisions about who she kisses. That is the point of being 20.
Megan: Who among us has not made such a decision in our early twenties. IT’S FINE.
While Christopher and Luke yell at one another about who belongs in Rory’s life, Luke says he’s dating Lorelai so Rory does concern him and Christopher lets slip that Emily knows that he and Lorelai belong together and that’s why he’s there, because Luke and Lorelai won’t last forever. Lorelai puts two and two together, and the episode ends on a shot of Rory, looking rumpled and awkward, next to Richard, Emily, and Lorelai on the other side, arms crossed, telling Emily “You and me? We’re done.” Emily turns toward her in horror just as the photographer’s flash goes off.
Maggie: SUCH A GOOD ENDING. I love that Lorelai sees immediately what has happened with the Christopher situation and just snaps at both of them. I LIKE this episode because of the drama that plays out…it’s great that Lorelai gets mad at Christopher and Emily. It’s great that Rory does something rash and kisses Logan and is direct with him. It’s great that Luke tells Christopher he’s a shitty dad! But I hate this episode because it makes me feel sad that we’re just going to circle around these plots ad nauseum until the end of this show instead of letting them play out and move on, grow, etc. (OK SORRY THIS IS ALWAYS OUR COMPLAINT.)
Megan: Yeah, I mean all the character development Lorelai was going to have around Christopher already happened in season one. This is all just vamping so that Lorelai and Luke will break up again when it’s already taken them entirely too many seasons to get together.
Maggie: Yes, and that Logan will somehow be with us FOR-EV-ER.
Megan: When his introduction is him basically saying exactly why he isn’t good enough for Rory and won’t be a good long-term partner for her.
Maggie: BUT SHE’S “SPECIAL,” MEGAN. So of course she will change him.
Megan: Yeah, if a guy tells you he can’t be with you the way you want because you’re “special,” run away.
Maggie: THAT should be the lesson from the Logan character arc!!! HOW IS IT NOT? I wonder if ASP would have broken them up earlier if she had stayed with the show.
Megan: It reminds me of something I’ve encountered where men will be like “you are a special person, so I have a harder time just objectifying you like I do with the other girls I’m attracted to, and I don’t know how to feel about that.” Except they don’t say that. That’s the subtext to “You’re special.” It’s like saying you’re not like other girls and all it means is that they don’t really respect women generally and see you as an exception.
Maggie: Whoa. That’s deep. And feels like such a good explanation for the whole reason “You’re not like other girls” is so gross.
Megan: Yep. I may have dated some Logans. Seriously: Get out after three months AT MOST.
Maggie: RORY! DO YOU HEAR US?!!?!?! But OK, the shot at the end with Lorelai telling Emily “You and me, we’re done.” Then the look back from Emily, realizing she’s been found out, right as the photographer takes the photo??? Perfection.
Megan: It’s extremely well done. Like some of the nicely abrupt endings from the earlier seasons of the show. And a reminder that Lorelai and Emily’s issues will never really be resolved.
Maggie: Yessss. And makes me think of the references the show has made visually to the family portrait above the fireplace in the elder Gilmore house — just another example of the tension between these characters who want desperately to be seen as a perfect family.
Megan: Right? And to be seen for who they really are by one another. Which is something we only get in small glimpses, and never in a way that’s big or sweeping. Usually in these big, sweeping moments they’re actually at their most dysfunctional!
Maggie: Yes, like the tiny moment of Lorelai trying to be vulnerable with Emily earlier by saying yes she did want to get married, and hinting that she wants that with Luke, only to have Emily totally shut her down. They just don’t want to see each other for who they are. Or maybe it’s just Emily who doesn’t want to see Lorelai…
Megan: I think it’s both! I think Lorelai sees Emily as a tyrant and only has moments where she can really see her in her full humanity. And I think Emily sees Lorelai as a little girl who made her feel abandoned, and not the complex adult woman she actually is. They can’t see each other clearly most of the time, which is what makes the moments when they do connect so special.
Maggie: And these moments of total breakdown so much more heartbreaking.
Megan: Yes! Because they can actually connect - we’ve seen it! - but they don’t have the skills to actually communicate in a healthy way most of the time. Basically they need therapy.
Maggie: Thank you for coming to our TED Talk. Why most characters on TV should be in therapy.
Megan: To be continued NEXT WEEK, when we dive into part two of this wreck.
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