My mom and dad got us to first watch Gilmore Girls. If you were like me (without the benefit of my folks) and didn’t know anything about it, Gilmore Girls was a chick flick show that ran on TV for seven years. Lorelai Gilmore is the quirky single mom. Rory is her tenacious daughter. Stars Hollow, the town, is a bedlam of kooky characters. We ended up watching all seven season (which, at an hour per show, is a solid week of tears and laugher. Sigh).
Now we are watching Jericho, a show about a Midwestern town struggling after the country is nuked. I’m still not sure if the writers were trying to capture a town fumbling with the unexpected, or if they are simply bad writers. So many blunders. The town doesn’t think to post any watch over their roads (that water tower would have been perfect). They don’t form order in any way. They hold candlelight services and talk about maintaining “their humanity”. They have BBQs and Halloween parties (wasn’t a nuclear attack more than enough horror for a lifetime?). And while we were watching it, my wife noted, “Jericho reminds me of Stars Hollow.”
And that got me thinking.
In the TV space-time continuum, what was going on over on the east coast?
Let’s say New Haven (and Yale) take a small bomb. Lorelai is working in the town park on this week’s festival, some sort of wacky founders thing. She’s got a cell cocked under her chin, yammering at a mile a minute with Rory, both of them so hip you need to slow-mo with subtitles on to catch all the cultural reference. And suddenly the phone squeals, Lorelai starts to look at it in confusion, and-
Luke, Kirk, Taylor, all the others stand in the park as a mushroom cloud roils majestically overhead, followed by the booming shockwave. Another cloud, then another. The eastern seaboard has been hit hard.
Then Lorelai realizes that the squeal was Rory’s phone melting in the blast, that her daughter is nothing more than an handful of ash rising through 30,000 feet, that she is dead. In a blind screaming panic, she tries to get into her jeep to drive into the blast zone, to save her daughter, but EMP has knocked it out. Screaming like a wild woman, she has to be sedated. Meanwhile, the town attempts to survive.
Taylor calls for an immediate town meeting. Fearful of refugees who might spoil the authentic nature of their rustic enclave, he orders the bridges dropped and the police to maintain a barricade. The rest of the cast retires to their homes, shaken, unsure what to make of this world-without-laughtrack.
All those supporting characters: Paris, Jess, Logan, Chris, they are all likely dead. We never find out for sure.
As the show continues on its newer, bleaker tack, we see things slowly fall apart. Taylor institutes martial law and Kirk, ever the wingnut, becomes his perfect Nazi sidekick, enforcing the new Draconian rules. When the video comes in of a Chinese newscaster detailing the blasts, Kirk immediately declares Mrs Kim and her daughter enemies of the town. In the middle of the night, they are loaded onto a flatbed and carried away, ostracized. Only later is it revealed that he shot them both in the back of the head and tipped them into a shallow grave. The antique store is nationalized for the good of the town, to be managed by Taylor’s growing empire.
There are other side stories. Emily and Richard Gilmore simply don’t take the disaster seriously, sticking to their huge mansion even after the neighbors and maids have fled. They are still there when looting mobs break in and kill them.
Lorelai is now a shell of her former self. She sits in her dark old house, eating food that is going bad, gluttonizing through her broken heart as is her way. Perhaps Luke might have been able to comfort her but being practical, he’s moved all his diner foodstuffs to his second story apartment and dropped the stairs. Now holed into his tiny lair, he squints through the curtains with a rifle across his lap, mindful of Taylor’s vengeance for all those cutting comments in the town meetings.
Other issues resolve themselves over the next few shows. Babbette and Morey stay up late to watch the moonrise, sharing a handful of pills and a gentle exit from this horrible world. Sookie, diabetic from her obesity, eventually dies when insulin is no longer available. The town troubadour picks through the trash, his hacking growing worse from having inhaled a deadly dust speck.
TJ and Liz were at a Renaissance fair. At first they attempted to make it back to Stars Hollow but the disarray of the countryside prevents that. TJ, always a brute, easily slips into the roll of highwayman/killer, justifying his horrific actions in keeping Liz safe. But his wife, flighty in the best of times, is now near catatonic, unable to come to terms with what has happened, embracing quasi-religious crystal worship, babbling about angels and the end of days.
Perhaps in this bleak and windblown world, there is hope. Perhaps Gypsy (the feisty mechanic) somehow brings down Taylor, perhaps through a growing opposition movement, no doubt backed by an embittered Zack. Or perhaps Max Medina, flash-burned, hallow-eyed, yet having found courage in the trials of this harsher world, returns sanity to Stars Hallow.
Yet through all this, Lorelai grown gaunter, weaker, her teeth falling out of her bleeding gums, her will to life lost with the atomic destruction of all that is trivial. So very sad.
It would certainly make for an interesting season.
My jury is still out on Jericho.