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Case Number 08005

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Gilmore Girls: The Complete Fourth Season

Warner Bros. // 2004 // 959 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ryan Keefer (Retired) // November 9th, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge Ryan Keefer wonders if there really are hollow stars, but thanks his lucky stars for birthing Lauren Graham in the state of Virginia!

Editor's Note

Our reviews of Gilmore Girls: The Complete First Season (published May 17th, 2004), Gilmore Girls: The Complete Second Season (published February 2nd, 2005), Gilmore Girls: The Complete Fifth Season (published December 13th, 2005), Gilmore Girls: The Complete Sixth Season (published September 25th, 2006), Gilmore Girls: The Complete Seventh Season (published December 19th, 2007), and Gilmore Girls: The Complete Series (published November 28th, 2007) are also available.

The Charge

Jason: "I have a bottle of vodka back at my place. A big bottle of vodka. The world's biggest bottle."
Lorelai: "What'll you drink?"
Jason: "Gin."

Opening Statement

By its third season, Gilmore Girls had moved from a breakout success on a still emerging network to a staple program on the Warner Brothers schedule, featuring a cavalcade of young stars. Its dialogue is rapid-fire and full of pop culture references, and any show that provides mild nods or tributes to the SLA, Akira Kurosawa, and Howard Stern, sometimes in the same episode, has got to have some kind of gravitas to it. So, how does the last season before the magic of syndication look?

Facts of the Case

Much like previous seasons of the show, twenty-two episodes span six discs with four episodes on each of the first five discs and two on the sixth. The episodes are:

• "Ballrooms & Biscotti"
Resuming season three's adventures, where Rory (Alexis Bledel, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) and Lorelai (Lauren Graham, Bad Santa) have just returned from a summer of European backpacking after Rory's high school graduation, they catch up the events in their sleepy town before Rory packs her bags for Yale.

• "The Lorelais' First Day at Yale"
As Rory is apparently short for Lorelai, and Lorelai squared isn't too suitable for the hip crowd, there's the reason for this nickname. Rory gets her footing at Yale, and finds herself rooming with her friend Paris (Liza Weil, Stir of Echoes).

• "The Hobbit, the Sofa and Digger Stiles"
Aside from the introduction of Jason (Chris Eigeman, Maid in Manhattan, the son of a friend and former associate of Lorelai's father Richard (Edward Herrman, The Aviator), there really isn't much to acquaint yourself with.

• "Chicken or Beef?"
The big news is that Rory's former boyfriend Dean (Jared Padalecki, House of Wax) is getting married, and invites her to the wedding. And Dean decides to open up on the feelings he still has for her to Luke (Scott Patterson, Little Big League).

• "The Fundamental Things Apply"
As a result of Rory leaving the nest for Yale, Lorelai invites Luke over for a movie, which the girls used to do together. Lorelai also runs into problems as her and her friend Sookie (Melissa McCarthy, The Life of David Gale) attempt to get their inn ready for customers.

• "An Affair to Remember"
Lorelai and Sookie cater an event for Lorelai's mother Emily (Kelly Bishop, Wonder Boys), and are insulted when Jason suggests that the event is inappropriate. She is equally flabbergasted when Jason asks her out.

• "The Festival of Living Art"
Luke, who was married very quickly in season three, is surprised to find his wife come to town, and they have been running hot and cold, but she still wants to save things.

• "Die, Jerk"
Well, the chemistry between Jason and Lorelai continues to heat up, and Lorelai finds out more about Luke's relationship with his wife Nicole.

• "Ted Koppel's Big Night Out"
The girls go to a tailgate party at a Harvard/Yale game with Richard and Emily, where Emily finds out about a secret that Richard's been hiding for years, and takes it out on Lorelai. In return, Lorelai decides to pick up the pace on seeing Jason. In the meantime, Paris is introduced to a Yale professor (played by Michael York, Logan's Run) that she takes a fancy to.

• "The Nanny and the Professor"
Jason and Lorelai are seeing each other, but Lorelai refuses to divulge this to her parents. Jason decides to subtly push Lorelai into taking a position on their relationship. And Paris' relationship with her professor starts to cause problems for Rory.

• "In the Clamor and the Clangor"
Lorelai and Luke get into an argument about Luke's relationship with Nicole, and how it affects her life. The private life of Lane (Keiko Agena, Cats and Mice) is discovered by her mother, and she is forced to move out.

• "A Family Matter"
Not a lot going on in this episode. Everyone is going to say something significant, but no one ever goes through with it. Lorelai almost tells her mother about her relationship with Jason but doesn't. Rory sees her ex-boyfriend Jess (Milo Ventimiglia, Cursed) but doesn't say anything either. It's a pattern.

• "Nag Hammadi is Where They Found the Gnostic Gospels"
Rory and Jess cross paths in Stars Hollow and never really talk to one another until the end. Basically, Jess' character is the typical bad seed that comes from a broken home and looks to cause trouble, without showing any sensitive side he may have. But Ventimiglia is one of those people that you can easily see yourself punching for justifiable reasons. He looks like a guy who would cry if you looked at him long enough.

• "The Incredible Shrinking Lorelais"
Rory may possibly be biting off more than she can chew at Yale, and the work of getting the inn ready during the construction stages starts to get to Lorelai, and she gets into arguments with her friends.

• "Scene in a Mall"
What do the Gilmore women do to relieve stress? Why, they become part of the commercial revenue for the Connecticut area, as Rory, Lorelai, and even Emily, spend a day in the mall to shop, with various motivations.

• "The Reigning Lorelai"
Richard's mother (Marion Ross, Happy Days) dies, and he takes the news hard. Emily decides to take care of things for the funeral until she is surprised by an old letter from his mother to Richard.

• "Girls in Bikinis, Boys Doin' the Twist"
Rory and Paris go to Florida to enjoy spring break properly, and Lorelai and Jason's relationship steps up a little bit as well, even though Lorelai has to bail Luke out of jail.

• "Tick, Tick, Tick, Boom"
Jason's father and Richard's former associate decides to sue Richard and Jason, seeing them as a business threat, even though Richard is unsure if his new business can afford the trial. Dean's wife tells him to stop talking to Rory. Jason's father outs Jason and Lorelai's relationship to Lorelai's parents.

• "Afterboom"
While Luke is finally divorcing his wife, Lorelai and Rory decide to see what their parents are doing, as Richard's secret begins to wear on Emily.

• "Luke Can See Her Face"
Luke's sister Liz (Kathleen Wilhoite, Pay It Forward) is getting married to TJ (Michael DeLuise, 21 Jump Street), while Luke gets an idea of who he should be with, and the opening of the Inn (named the Dragonfly) gets Lorelai a little panicked.

• "Last Week Fights, This Week Tights"
Luke decides to ask Lorelai out on a date, and Rory and Dean start to gravitate a little more towards one another.

• "Raincoats and Recipes"
Despite Jason trying to reconcile with Lorelai after the confrontation with his father, Luke decides to open up to Lorelai, and Rory loses her virginity. Is it to Jess? Or Dean?

The Evidence

While Gilmore Girls does feature a lot of good performances by quality actors, sometimes the show immerses itself more in the pop culture references than actually advancing storylines. The B storylines feature characters that not many people can identify with or even tolerate. What makes this an even bigger problem is that these are given such little attention over the course of the season, that anything that doesn't involve a Gilmore is essentially an intrusion when one watches the show. And the reason why they are not discussed here is that they're not worth the eye strain to read, or the keystrokes to type. Does anyone want to hear about the emergence of Skid Row's Sebastian Bach as a television actor? OK.

The performances by the cast are still good, Graham plays a woman with conflicted feelings to two men kinda well, and Bledel's performances continue to improve, and this season provides her with the best lines and stories she's had to date. Patterson is still a little wooden and stoic, but the evolution of his character in season four is nice to see. Since they have always played a key part in the Gilmores' lives, it was great to finally see Bishop and Herrmann work in some scenes that had more teeth to them, and the characters were certainly hitting stride in the show, and the season is left with some interesting uncertainty.

All in all, fans of current events and humorous references will enjoy the dialogue, because that is what you're going to hear. It's certainly not as compelling as other sitcoms, but it's innocuous fun that spans a broad audience—and it's better than anything else on the WB right now.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

Six discs of quality young adult television, and there's nothing to inspire any prospective new fans to the show, aside from the possibility of incestuous desires that folks like Seth McFarlane have suggested at. But seriously, here's hoping that Graham, Bledel, and company can give some more love back to those that have helped in their success by contributing more to these sets.

Closing Statement

In the last year that the Gilmore Girls were still under one roof, a lot of events were going on and culminated with a huge event in one girl's life, providing the perfect transition to future seasons of the show. Fans of the show enjoyed this season, and for those who are curious, there are enough substantial connections with each part of the family to bask in the quality acting.

The Verdict

Lorelai, Rory, Richard, and Emily are free to go with reservations. Assuming they meet the conditions of their probation and correct the wrongs the current season has experienced, the charge will be expunged from their record.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 88
Audio: 84
Extras: 30
Acting: 86
Story: 83
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 959 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Comedy
• Drama
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Additional Scenes
• Interactive Trivia Game
• Subtitled Trivia Track
• Montage of the Season's Romantic Moments

Accomplices

• IMDb
• Official Site
• Fan Site
• Season 1 Review
• Season 2 Review








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