The episode ends with Rory back in the dining hall at Chilton, peacefully reading and listening to her Walkman. She hasn’t been made to socialise after all, and the headmaster has been forced to back down and realise that Gilmore girls have to follow their own rules.
Another girl asks if she can sit with Rory, and she takes her own book out and starts reading in silence. Rory smiles at this confirmation she is not the only person at Chilton who likes to read at lunchtime, and now she isn’t a weird loner any more. She has a lunch friend, just as Mrs Verdinas insisted she find.
According to the credits, this girl is named Lisa. She’s played by Connecticut actress Madeline Zima, who already had quite a lengthy CV at this stage, and was most famous for playing Grace Sheffield in The Nanny.
Lisa was one of the other girls who was going to be inducted by the Puffs at the same time as Rory and Paris, although she is never introduced to the viewer and never speaks to Rory that we see (they might have spoken off-screen). She is the girl wearing blue and yellow checked pyjama pants with a grey tee shirt and a blue cardigan.
Possibly Lisa was also told to find some friends, rather than sit and read at lunchtime – although if so, couldn’t Headmaster Charleston or Mrs Verdinas have simply introduced Rory and Lisa to each other, suggesting that they have something in common? You know, like a normal school? Lisa was never shown eating lunch with the Puffs, so presumably she was recruited some other way, or that occurred after Rory and Paris joined the table, and was therefore offscreen.
Do not expect to ever see Lisa again, or hear her mentioned. Did she and Rory ever speak to each other and become real friends? Did they show each other the books they were reading? Did they have anything else in common? These questions are never answered.
In an episode that doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense, it finishes with a character that remains an enigma.
EDIT: This article was heavily edited with the kind assistance of Sarah M, who was able to identify Lisa as one of the girls at the Puffs induction ceremony, something I was unable to do.
6 thoughts on “Rory at Lunchtime”
Lisa was another one of the girls who was being inducted into the Puffs so my guess is Charleston did notice her and try to make her socialize as well. That’s why the end is so cute that Rory and Lisa get to go back to being quiet at lunch
That’s what I thought, but I can’t actually identify her amongst the girls being inducted (not only is is dark and they’re in pyjamas, she’s never introduced, nor ever shown having lunch with the Puffs). Full disclosure: I have poor facial recognition! Would you be able to tell me which of the girls she is in the scenes in the headmaster’s office, and then I can edit this post?
She is actress Madeline Zima from A Cinderella Story. She is credited as being “Lisa” in the episode. When they surprise Rory out of bed she is the one in the blue cardigan and grey shirt between Francie and the girl in the red leather coat and Paris is hiding behind her. She’s also the one that bumps into the lockers and makes noise. You then see she has blue and yellow plaid pants on. She is standing to the right of Paris in the headmaster’s office during the ceremony and then sitting directly next to Rory on the couch while he lectures them. She has wavy brunette hair that’s about the same length as Rory’s.
Thank you so much for that help, Sarah. I’ve gone through and watched the episode numerous times until I could identify Lisa. I apologise for how long it’s taken to complete this; I have been making a mad dash to get a few episodes ready for the start of 2022.