Monthly Archives: January 2017

Gilmore Girls, Part III: Emily

Wow, it’s been a while. Remember back before Trump was inaugurated? That was nice.

But I have a series to finish here, and also I have a movie review AND a book review waiting in the queue. I can’t be all politics all the time.

So, when last I blogged, I discussed the embarrassment that Rory Gilmore had become in “Gilmore Girls: A Day In The Life”. Bad at her job, bad at relationships, bad at being an adult…not doing well, at all. Today, we have a happier story: Emily.

So, again: SPOILERS! Big, honkin’ spoilers for “Gilmore Girls: A Day In The Life” (if you haven’t seen it yet, though, this is likely because you don’t have Netflix streaming and are borrowing it from a sibling of mine. (Hi, Mom.)

So, it seems a bit strange, maybe, to say that Emily’s story is a happy one. After all, the story here begins with the death of Emily’s husband of 50 years, Richard. (Made necessary due to the death in 2014 of Edward Herrmann, the fine actor who portrayed Richard.)

You might expect Emily’s life to be a mess…she was, after all, a professional wife. She married Richard straight out of college, and made his home for him. She ran the “social” side of his business, and maintained their high-caliber social life. That was her job, and she was very good at it. So, when Richard died, so did most of her life as she knew it. You might therefore expect her to be rootless and floundering once he was gone.

You’d be right…at first. Emily spends a lot of the first couple of episodes of the miniseries trying to figure out who she is. She starts seeing a psychologist (which goes better for Lorelai than it does for her, honestly). She hires AND KEEPS a maid, who is not particularly competent by Emily’s standards, but who is a good person with a wonderful family¬† (this whole bit alternated between delightful and weirdly racist, honestly). She takes to her bed for a while, sleeping until noon. She decides to sell everything she owns, turning up wearing jeans and one of Lorelai’s old T-shirts. All of this screams, “Something’s WRONG with Emily!”

Except…there’s nothing wrong. Emily has been Emily GILMORE for 50 years, and she never really got to be Emily The Adult by herself, at all. We don’t even know what her last name was before she became a Gilmore Girl. What Emily is doing in these scenes is discovering that whole parts of her identity aren’t her, at all – they’re parts of Richard, parts that she has no further use for now that he’s gone. The house, the furniture, the clothes, the servants…suddenly, she’s not sure what it all means. Over the course of a year, she figures out that…it doesn’t mean anything.

This all culminates in my absolute favorite scene in the entire series: Emily’s Bullshit Moment.

Emily is at a meeting of the Daughters of the American Revolution, interviewing a prospective member who is the…was it fourth?…wife of a dude who’s important in their social circle. The woman is clearly what we derogatorily refer to as a “trophy wife” – a third his age, with big hair and big boobs, which she doesn’t keep well-covered. The other DAR ladies lead the woman along, trying to be polite to get her out of the room before they start gossiping about her and reject her membership. And then…Emily lets loose.

“You’re not getting in.”

She then rips the DAR ladies a new one, about how they’re doing exactly that: stringing the woman along because they want her husband to be happy, but the entire thing is just a big pile of…wait for it…

BULLSHIT.

A word that she says several times over the course of the next two minutes. It. Is. Amazing.

The DAR ladies take their leave of her, and she takes a cookie and walks away, never to look back.

This is where Emily Gilmore becomes…Emily. Whoever that is. She does sell the house, and all its contents. By Fall, she is living in a new house in Nantucket, has a new man in her life, and is working as a docent in a whaling museum, scaring the bejesus out of the kids who visit. Oh, and she still employs the same maid and her family.

I loved Emily’s part of this. Her relationship with Lorelai isn’t really an issue here, for once. Her relationship with herself is. And Emily, alone of the Gilmore Girls, really does seem to know how to move ahead. She knows how to grow up. She’s done it a couple of times, now, and she takes her steps forward with confidence and grace, and just a little profanity.

I love Lorelai. She is my spirit animal (along, again, with Temperance Brennan). I have grown apart from Rory – she needs to do some serious work on herself, and is taking after her mother in ways that maybe she should have tried harder to avoid.

But Emily? Emily is my hero.

Okay, that was quick. For next time, I’m either gonna talk about Arrival, or The Last One (a novel I just finished). We’ll see…

 

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