Yet Another Confusing Timeline

This is an episode written by Daniel Palladino, so it’s time for … another confusing timeline! This one is a bit more complex than simply having no Friday Night Dinner on a Friday, or Rory wearing her school uniform on a Saturday morning, so bear with me, as I know many fans have real trouble wrapping their heads around this one.

The talk at the high school is on a Thursday at 4 pm, so it’s an after-school event (it’s amazing how many important events schools hold out of hours and on weekends in the Gilmore Girls universe). Luke tries to cancel over the phone, and Lorelai tells him that the careers talk is being held the next day, so we know that it’s Wednesday at this point.

We then cut to Rory and Lane walking down the street together, so school is over for the day. Rory is in her school uniform, and Lane is wearing tan trousers and a denim jacket over a striped red sweater. They go into Stars Hollow Beauty Supply to buy the bleach and purple dye for Lane’s hair, and are served by Shane, wearing a brown lace-up blouse with a pattern of roses on it.

We then cut to Lorelai and Luke; Lorelai is helping Luke get dressed up for the careers talk at the school, so we know it is now Thursday, and presumably some time around 3.30 pm. Jess is already home from school, and he has Shane stashed in the closet, so whatever time she starts work at the beauty store, it hasn’t begun yet.

We then cut to Rory preparing to bleach Lane’s hair (for some reason they are doing it at Lane’s house, where she fears her mother coming home and finding them, instead of doing it at Rory’s house). Rory has changed out of her uniform into jeans and an orange sweater, and Lane is now wearing blue jeans and a striped green sweater.

Rory and Lane must have bought the hair dye from Shane on Wednesday afternoon, because it’s now Thursday afternoon, they are wearing different clothes, and Shane isn’t at work yet.

When Lane panics about her purple hair, she sends Rory back to the beauty store to buy black dye. Rory is wearing a denim jacket over her orange sweater, and Shane is now at work, out of the closet, and wearing a different brown blouse – this one does up with a drawstring and has a wide scoop neckline.

Then we see Stars Hollow after the talk at the school, so it’s presumably some time after 5 pm. Rory and Lane are now wearing different outfits – Rory is in blue jeans and a denim jacket, with a turquoise tee shirt, and Lane is wearing a dark red V-neck sweater with blue jeans. But let us assume that they changed their clothes because they smelled of bleach and dye or something, and also assume that Rory keeps a change of clothing at Lane’s house or brought one with her, because there’s been no time for her to go home and get changed.

Then Jess and Shane walk past them – Shane is still wearing the brown blouse from work, now with a brown jacket over it. So Shane was at Jess’ place around 3.30 pm, where she hid in his closet. She then went to work at the beauty store, selling Rory the black hair dye. Then by around 5 pm, she’s finished at the store, having put in a full hour’s work for the day.

I guess this sort of makes sense – if it’s an after-school job, she might only work there from 4-5.30 pm, but who is working at the store the rest of the time, and why couldn’t they work that extra 90 minutes per day? Another possibility is that Shane has already left school, works full-time at the beauty store, and simply sneaked out of work to see Jess, closing the store for half an hour or so.

This timeline almost fits, except for the fact there’s simply not enough time for all these events to take place. Rory doesn’t get out of school until 4.05 pm, and has a 40 minute bus ride home, yet somehow she is bleaching Lane’s hair around 3.30 pm, and has already had time to change out of her uniform. And Lane gets her hair bleached, dyed, then dyed again, all in the space of, at most, two hours (rather than days). But these quibbles are pretty much par for the course on Gilmore Girls, and nothing out of the ordinary for its usual wacky timeline.

So there you have it, this is how Shane managed to be hidden in the closet, and at work to sell Rory the black hair dye. It requires an awful lot of suspension of belief, and the usual rubber-band timeline, but the viewer can just manage to comprehend it. Of course, it wouldn’t be possible in the real world, but by Gilmore Girls standards, it’s almost coherent. Almost.

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