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I made good friends with a ten dollar bottle of tequila last night. You may think that is a bad thing… it is not. Me and my ten dollar tequila bottle had a great time, we sang, we danced, we burned more furniture, we got freaked out about how easy it is to burn said furniture—all in all we had a good time and I had no hangover in the morning.
But hey, enough about me. Let’s stop by Stars Hollow, shall we?
Season 1, Episode 13: “Concert Interruptus”
Oh, look, it’s another filler episode! But hey, at least this one’s plot has a little value.
What makes this filler episode more successful than the previous date episode is because it actually helps develop character relationships.
“But Jacqueline,” you say, “how can it be a filler episode if it informs the progress of the rest of the series?”
Well: A. This episode doesn’t cover in detail any of the overarching primary plot lines of the season. and B. a good third of the episode is a taping of The Bangles’ greatest hits concert. Legitimately, if you removed the performance parts the episode would be one third shorter and the plot would still be intact. You would, however, not get to hear The Bangles’ greatest hits.
The thing that makes this filler episode a success compared to Episode 12 is that it keeps focused on one plot line. The entire plot of this episode is “the girls are going to a Bangles concert, but who are they gonna take?” It’s a simple storyline that can easily be enhanced in various ways. Sherman-Palladino decides to flavor this particular episode by building the bridge of friendship between Paris and Rory. She also decides to add a little kick with the “don’t go to parties with strangers” message, but she didn’t add enough so the flavor wound up being lost.
Seeing the dynamic between Paris, the blonde one, and bad bangs (I cannot for the life of me remember their names) up close is great. Their group dynamic evolves from one of a queen bee and her subjects to something more complex. Paris is the queen only when it comes to academics. Her control of her group is truly a ruse perpetrated by the other members so that they can profit of her intellect. The blonde one and bad bangs aren’t Paris’ friends. They don’t like her for her personality, they like Paris for her status and smarts.
This is contrasted with Rory’s admiration for Paris’ dedication in this episode. In just a few interactions it is clear for the audience to see that Rory is a way better friend to Paris than the other two will ever be, and makes feel sorry that their possible friendship has been shoved to the side by competition and jealousy. By the end of this episode, we are left rooting and wishing for more Paris and Rory friendship building because they play so well together… and Paris deserves someone in her corner.
A filler episode done right can further define our understanding of secondary characters. It can be used to further enrich the story as a whole and leave an impact on the main plot lines. Too often filler episodes are used for as a means to get more viewers or to appease fan needs. While it is good to give the people what they want now and again it should sacrifice the flow and interweaving of a good story. Fan service is like instant ramen for a TV show: it’s good every once and a while, but eat it all the time and you’ll get scurvy.
Onto Season 1, Episode 14: “That Damn Donna Reed.”