Friday Night Dinners: A Gilmore Girls Digest, Vol. II
I did some math recently: If we’re going to get through all 154 episodes of Gilmore Girls by Thanksgiving, I need to watch about ten episodes a week. That’s two each on weekends (including Fridays) plus one each night Monday - Thursday.
That’s a lot of Gilmore Girls. Thankfully, I’m up for the challenge. This Volume contains all ten of this week’s episodes, plus the two I didn’t get to last week.
Episode 103: Kill Me Now
Lorelai: A crazy, evil spirit, obsessed with bra size, took over my body.
Rory: It happens.
Golf always brings out jealousy in people, doesn’t it? I’ve always said that. Or at least, I should have always said that. The whole members-only thing, the polite passive-aggressive competition, the little hats and plaid pants; golf just brings out the worst in people. Or at least, in this case, it brings out the worse in Lorelei.
When Emily suggests that Rory try some golf lessons with Richard at the club because she needs to pick a school sport, Lorelei just can’t handle it. At first, she teases Rory mercilessly, but when Rory actually enjoys herself, Lorelei is not fine with that. It’s supposed to be her and Rory against the overbearing, conservative parents that made her life miserable until she ran away. Then Richard actually calls the house to talk to Rory on the phone, something that he never did with his own daughter, and Lorelai loses it. Of course, rather than just say, “I know this isn’t your fault, but I’m really hurt by the way my own father seems to be bonding with you in a way he never did with me, and I don’t know what to do about it,” she pounces on Rory for borrowing her clothes.
To be fair, she gets there in the end, but I can also sympathize with Lorelei a little bit. She’s had a rough day at the inn, having to manage two entitled twin girls who are themselves marrying twins (and let’s face it, she has to work with Michel every day), and we get a little more of her backstory here. She ran away from the Gilmore life when she was sixteen when she felt smothered, and it’s always been her and Rory doing their own thing. The fact that Rory might actually want the kind of life her grandparents live, with the golf club membership and the wait staff and the fancy dining, is too much for her. It’s not exactly what Rory is saying, but Lorelei is starting to come to terms with the fact that Rory’s relationship with her grandparents will be very different from the one she had with her parents. And she’s not sure how she feels about it.
Episode 104: The Deer Hunters
It's dangerous in the car with all of the kamikaze deer running around. -Lorelai
You guys, it’s going to be okay: Max Medina is here. Even though we hate Max with a fiery passion because he’s not Luke, he’s still a good guy and a good teacher. How do we know? Because he gives Rory her first-ever D.
Look, Headmaster Charleston warned her when she started that she wouldn’t be able to coast by here, and she’s way behind already. But Rory has never gotten a D on anything in her life, and she freaks out. Making matters worse, Mr. Medina announces a major Shakespeare test coming up, which Paris makes more infuriating by quoting her favorite Bard lines in Rory’s ear.
So they study, and they study hard. A little too hard. On the night before the test, both Gilmores fall asleep at the table and wake up late. Lorelai can’t take her because she has a meeting, so Rory drives herself…and gets hit by a deer. No, she doesn’t hit a deer, she gets hit by a deer. Yes, there is a difference. She is at a complete stop, on the phone with Lane about a missing notebook, and out of nowhere a fawn rams into the side of the Jeep. Somehow completely forgetting that she has a test to worry about, Rory gets out and looks for the deer. Which makes her late, obvi.
So again, being the great teacher that he is (I’m so conflicted!) Max won’t let her take the test. Which prompts Rory’s outburst, which lands her in the Headmaster’s office, which….leads to Lorelei meeting Max. Ow ow. Of course, dating isn’t exactly on her mind; chewing out Headmaster Charleston (or, as she refers to him, Il Duce) is for the uptight school with impossible standards he runs. But once she has that off her chest, things begin looking up. On the way home, Lorelai has a frank conversation with Rory about it being fine if she wants to drop Chilton, which Rory refuses to do. They look for the deer, but they can’t find it, which means it’s probably unhurt. And when they get home, Lorelei has a message from Max that he convinced Charleston to let Rory do some make-up work, and that he really would like to see Lorelai again. Oh, Max, if only you knew what you were asking.
Episode 105: Cinnamon’s Wake
Lorelai: Life is a funny thing, huh?
Sookie: Yeah, I love that Jim Carrey.
In what may be one of the best-named episodes of the series, Babette and Morey’s cat, Cinnamon, dies. But not before Dean shows up again, creeping on Rory by following her onto a bus. What a stalker. But Rory actually thinks its cute. CUTE! Damn you, Dean. How many more lives do you have to ruin before you go away?
Anyway. Lorelai co-ops Sookie into baking for the Chilton bake sale, where she runs into Max again, who asks her out. She is a little hesitant about it at first (he is Rory’s teacher, after all), but eventually relents to a predetermined “chance meeting” in a coffee shop. At said meeting, Max makes up some BS story about his “uncle” who went to “war” and waited for a “girl” so long that she was married by the time he came back. Lorelai even asks if its true and he totally dodges the question. It so isn’t. They agree to go out again, this time to dinner.
It’s clear that Lorelai is falling for Max, while Rory is falling for Dean. But neither one has told the other about their respective crushes, which winds up blowing up in Lorelai’s face at the titular Cinnamon’s wake, where it seems like everyone in town has turned out. For a cat. Dean brings some sodas by, and Lorelai presses Rory about him, but Lorelai has some of her own ‘splaining to do when Max shows up to pick her up for their date. Rory wonders why her English teacher is on their front step. Lorelai tells her what’s going, essentially asking Rory’s permission to date her teacher. Eventually, because she is a good daughter and wants her mom to be happy, she relents.
In the gnome garden, Dean confesses that he thought Rory was into him, but that he’ll back off if she’s not. She misses her chance and changes her life trajectory by saying yes, she actually is interested. Now we’re stuck with him.
Episode 106: Rory’s Birthday Parties
It must be very exhausting to be you. -Emily, to Lorelai
It’s Rory’s sixteenth birthday on Friday, and Lorelai tries to get her out of dinner with Emily and Richard. Of course Emily objects, as she’s not about to lose her “Vulcan death grip” on Friday nights. In fact, Emily suggests they throw their own birthday party for Rory, which she then invites all of Rory’s classmates to. Including Tristan. And Paris.
Then, Luke proposes to Lorelai. Okay, calm down: he’s kidding. Sort of. Lorelai asks him for something to distract her, and he says, “Will you marry me?” In typical Luke/Lorelai fashion, they both play it off as a big joke rather than confessing their true feelings for one another. They are so infuriating.
At the party, Rory has anything but a good time. Richard discusses business with his co-workers, Paris is Paris, and Tristan leers at her all night. In a rare loss of patience, Rory blows up at Emily about this really being her party, in front of many of the guests. Ruh-roh. Emily is not happy, and when Rory tries to apologize and asks Emily to come to the party at the Gilmore house, she gets the cold shoulder. In typical Emily/Lorelai fashion, Emily blames Lorelai for Rory’s rudeness. There are so many dysfunctional relationships here! The next day at a college fair, Paris and Rory find out they both want to go to Harvard. Paris seems to be softening to Rory just a bit when she discovers Rory is not dating Tristan, compliments her on the party. Could the two one day be friends? Only time will tell. Wink, wink.
Then the second party comes, and lo and behold, who decides to show up but Emily and Richard. It is the first time they have been to Lorelei’s house since she moved in. Emily loves Sookie’s cooking (who wouldn’t?) and Richard begins inspecting the soundness of the chimney. Emily catches Lorelai giving Luke a big hug for bringing ice, and later, in Lorelei’s room, grills her about the man who looks at her like she’s a “Porterhouse steak.” There are a lot of memories in Lorelei’s room that Emily has not been a part of, like the time she broke her leg, and Emily realizes as she and Richard drive off that she really doesn’t know her daughter at all.
Then, ugh, Dean comes in. Lorelai sees him giving Rory a present in the backyard in what is supposed to be secret, and realizes she may not really know her daughter at all. Stunning reversal. Did not see that coming.
Episode 107: Kiss and Tell
Luke: You’re not going to kill the bag boy.
Lorelai: Why not?
Luke: It’s double coupon day, you’ll bring down the town.
Okay, seriously: who does Dean think he is? Let’s talk about Dean for a minute. He is the worst of all Rory’s boyfriends. Many of this reasoning cannot be given away right now, but it will become clear later. But let’s examine Dean’s many flaws in this episode alone. He kisses Rory in the middle of Doose’s Market, without even asking. He gets invited over to Willy Wonka movie night (aww, Stars Hollow has a video store, remember those?), and when he walks into Rory’s room, he just starts going through her things. Then, when asked for a suggestion for the next movie night, he suggests Boogie Nights. BOOGIE NIGHTS. For Family Movie Night! Serious, what is wrong with him? Does he think watching a movie about the heyday of the porn industry is flirting? I can’t believe Lorelai doesn’t kick him out right then and there.
Nope, this is instead how they react to Dean: When she gets kissed, Rory says “Thank you,” and runs away. Unfortunately not far enough. She wants to tell Lorelai when she gets home, but there’s a problem with the fridge and it’s not the right time. She tells Lane instead, and oops, Lorelai then finds out from Mrs. Kim. She goes fishing for the story from Rory, stalks Dean for a bit, and then flat-out asks. It’s Lorelei’s idea to ask Dean to movie night without Rory’s permission, and Rory freaks out. Things wind up going okay, but when Rory leaves the room, Lorelai lays into Dean a little bit, like any good mom. The whole town is watching him, she says. And everyone loves Rory.
Then, Dean has the presumption, first of all, to say, “Can I talk now?” which, excuse me sir, you are in a Gilmore household. The women do the talking here. And he threatens that he “isn’t going anywhere.” He likes Rory and by God he is going to date Rory if he wants to.
Trust me, dear reader. We do not like Dean.
Okay, it’s getting late and there’s still seven more to go. Let’s do this quickly.
Episode 108: Love and War and Snow
Hey, do you wanna talk? I'm not Rory, but we do use the same blow dryer. - Lorelai, to Lane
It’s snowing, which means things grind to a halt in Stars Hollow. And Lorelai loves the snow. Like, straight-up loves it. It’s all she seems to talk about this entire episode. Rory is stuck at her grandparents, which she just made it to before the bad weather started. Max’s car dies in Stars Hollow and she runs into him. They go out. Luke sees them. He gets sad. Rory makes Emily and Richard frozen pizza, which they like. Max sleeps on the couch, which freaks Rory out when she comes home, but she sees that they are a good couple. That doesn’t stop her from looking wistfully at pictures of her mom and dad together.
Episode 109: Rory’s Dance
Emily: You don't go running out of the door whenever a man honks.
Lorelai: Mom, it's fine.
Emily: It certainly is not fine. It's not a drive-through She's not fried chicken.
Whoa man. A lot happens here. It’s Rory’s first dance, so of course she has to go with Dean. Emily comes over to watch her get ready, and finds out Lorelai hurt her back and can’t move. Emily meets Dean for the first time when he picks Rory up, and he can’t even wear a tie. This dude.
At the dance, Dean and Rory have a good time until Dean gets into a shoving match with Tristan. He literally shouts, “I’ll kill you, dude!” So classy. Nice one, Dean. At home, Emily insists on staying with Lorelai until she can move. They have a few bonding moments over how well Lorelai did with Rory.
Despite his blatant show of testosterone, Rory asks Dean if they are in a relationship. They apparently are. They sneak into Patty’s and fall asleep, only to wake up the next day. Bad news bears, you guys. Emily wakes up frantic that Rory isn’t home and blames Lorelai for her parenting. All the relationship building last night is gone. She says Rory is going to get pregnant, but Lorelai insists she trusts her. Then when Rory actually shows up, Lorelai freaks out on her, insisting she go on the pill. Rory is upset that Lorelai is taking her poor relationship with Emily out on her. Of course, all of this is really Dean’s fault.
Episode 110: Forgiveness and Stuff
I know I always dreamed that some day a boy would give me a weird, Czechoslovakian novel. -Lane
Lorelai and Rory are not speaking. Emily and Lorelai aren’t in a good place either, and in fact Lorelai is “dis-invited” to the annual Christmas dinner when she gives the slightest protest. Rory goes, and during it, Richard has a heart attack. Lorelai is at Luke’s when she gets the call, and he closes the diner in order to drive her there. At the hospital, a lot of things come out. Lorelai realizes she can’t take her parents for granted, or her relationship with Rory. And Emily and Luke have a brief sharing moment over the passing of his father. Emily asks him what’s up with him and Lorelai, and he says they’re just friends. Emily calls them both idiots. Richard turns out to be okay, and everything is fine again. He just can’t have any more red meat.
Episode 111: Paris is Burning
Hey, you will not stand there and sing Ricky Martin songs to me. - Lorelai, to Sookie
Lorelai and Max are in a good place, so she worries and starts to pull away. About right on time, according to Sookie’s “Lorelai dating schedule.” Lorelai doesn’t return Max’s calls, and Rory asks why she is avoiding him. She isn’t sure. She doesn’t like the way Rory is getting attached. But then she goes to parent night, and any goodwill between Paris and Rory evaporates when Paris catches Lorelai and Max kissing in his classroom. Pretty soon it’s all over the school, which means Emily hears about it. Rory confronts Paris, whose own business has been all over the school recently, and in a vulnerable place, Rory suggests maybe they could talk about it.
Then, Sookie asks Jackson out to dinner. All is right int the world again.
Just when Lorelai is warming back up to Max, he suggests they take some time apart. He feels like he is jeopardizing his position at Chilton for her, and not thinking clearly. Good call, at that.
Episode 112: Double Date
I have to know where you are at all times, especially when you have my shoes on. - Lorelai
Lane wants to date Todd, Dean’s friend, and asks Rory to set them up on a double date. Dean won’t even letting Rory talk to him because he’s too preoccupied trying to stick his tongue down her throat. Gross, Dean. But eventually they set it up. Meanwhile, Lorelai convinces Sookie to make good on their date, but Jackson’s cousin is in town, so Sookie promises a double date for them also.
Rune, Lorelei’s date, is the worst. He is almost worse than Dean, but Dean is still worse simply because he is around longer. On the date, Rune insults Lorelei’s height, big ears, and nose more than once. Meanwhile, Todd is not working out for Lane because he has the IQ of a Dean. Er, sorry, a tree. Lorelai and Sookie take their dates to Luke, where they can be relaxed. Lorelai escapes Rune by chatting with Luke, who is himself just about to ask him out…until Mrs. Kim barges in, wondering where Lane is. Turns out the girls lied about being out with boys. Lane is grounded, Lorelai and Mrs. Kim clash on parenting tactics, and Luke misses his second opportunity to ask Lorelai out.
Episode 113: Concert Interruptus
Lane: I'm gonna get a soda. Anybody want anything?
Lorelai: Yes. The night of my fourteenth birthday back, so I could right the green-hot-pant-roller-disco-outfit wrong. Ugh.
Rory is assigned to Paris’ debate group for a class project with Madeleine and Louise. They have nowhere to study so they go to Rory’s. Sookie has tickets to the Bangles in NYC and Lorelai talks Rory into inviting the girls along. At the concert, Madeleine and Louise flirt with some guys and decide to sneak out to a party. Lorelai is not thrilled and pulls the out of the apartment. Paris and Rory, though, are getting closer. Paris admits it may be the best night of her life.
Also in this episode: we learn that Luke once had…a secret lover. Duh duh duuuuuhh! Well, not exactly secret, but Lorelai didn’t know about her. And she is Totally. Jealous.
Episode 114: That Damn Donna Reed
Luke: So she's a super-intelligent chick with great physical and deductive skills.
Luke: This is not a chick I wanna find.
Dean opens his big mouth and gets in a fight with Rory over Donna Reed, the quintessential 1950s housewife. He thinks it’s “nice” that women do that for men. Oh, Dean. Dean, Dean, Dean.
Lorelai wants to paint Luke’s store with him (it needs a fresh coat), and he relents. They pick colors and then she goes home and finds that Rory’s school project, a bird she is supposed to keep alive, is gone. She calls Luke to help her find it. Rory is housesitting for Babette and Morey. She asks Dean over, dresses like Donna Reed, and cooks for him. She is just playing into his misogynistic fantasies! Why. Why Rory why?
Luke and Lorelai find the bird, Dean and Rory find Luke and Lorelai. The two of them wonder why each is over at the other’s house (….?) and Lorelai teases Rory about her get-up. THEN, at dinner, the entire escapade gets accidentally revealed and Emily pounces on why, of all people, Luke was the one Lorelai called for help. (To be fair, so does Sookie, but in a completely benign way). Emily asks Lorelai if she has feelings for Luke and she reveals, finally, FINALLY that yes, she may. Emily thanks her for her honesty, and then says: “Now we can discuss what on earth you could possibly be thinking.”
Just as Lorelai is trying to sort allllll of this out, who runs into town unannounced on his motorcycle but…Christopher! Who is Christopher?
Oh, just you wait, dear reader. Just you wait.
NEXT WEEK: Christopher Returns and NINE more episodes of Gilmore Girls in the weekly digest!