Idol Chatter

The most recent Gilmore Girls opened with Rory and Lane helping Mrs. Kim carry a large, golden Buddha into her house/antique shop. “Take down the crucifixes!” she hollered at Lane. This was all in preparation for Lane and Zach’s traditional Buddhist home wedding.

What? Is the Chinese food at Jack’s Pancake World polluting their brains? The Korean Kims are decidedly Christian, much to Lane’s frequent chagrin and occasional pride. But as we soon learn, Lane’s grandmother is coming to town and Mrs. Kim has never told her mother of her conversion. As Lane stuffs the crucifixes under the same loose floorboards that hide her Elvis Costello CDs, she marvels that at least two generations of Kim women have lives totally hidden from their hyper-critical, dogmatic mothers. When the eldest Kim arrives, dressed in a Mao-collared peasant dress, she fusses over Lane, speed-yells in Korean, and when Lane and Rory leave, mother and daughter lay down a towel and begin wildly prostrating in front of the Buddha.

Shocking stuff for those of us who have watched Mrs. Kim send Lane to Korean Bible camp, preach about values, and melt down when her daughter had male roommates. This thread continues when, after the short Buddhist ceremony (in which Lane and Zach wear elaborate traditional garb), grandma leaves abruptly in a cab and everyone else runs to the church for a second, Christian wedding. Minus the cringe-inducing moment just before the ceremony in which Mrs. Kim gravely warns a lace-covered Lane that she’ll “have to do it,” it’s a sweet ceremony with a dove-and-rainbow banner hung behind the pastor.

Later, when Mrs. Kim apologizes for the double wedding, Lane says, sincerely, that it actually made the day more special. Back in his “silky” Buddhist wedding gown, Zach says, “This is so comfortable, no wonder Buddhists are so peaceful.” Then Lane’s notoriously fun-proof mom promises to go home and put in earplugs (hinting at a generational healing; don’t-ask-don’t-tell is a step from hiding under the floorboards), beginning the real, booze- and rock-fueled reception; Lorelei removes the long skirt on Lane’s dress to reveal a tulle mini. Zach whoops, “My wife has legs!”

So does this continually well-written, funny, fast-talking show, with its respect, mockery, and deft narration of a surprisingly wide and subtle variety of realities and belief systems.

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