Divergent Dating Lives

When Lorelai gets back from Hartford and returning Sookie’s car, she finds Rory is already home from the party and is crying on the sofa while eating from two enormous tubs of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Lorelai immediately phones the delivery service and orders a pizza – luckily the pizza place is still taking orders this late at night. (Stars Hollow – where businesses open at 6 am and are still running past midnight; it’s the small town that never sleeps).

It is now Lorelai’s turn to comfort Rory, just as her daughter comforted her when she broke up with Max a couple of months ago. Lorelai cannot tell Rory that she is back with Max, as her daughter is too distraught about her relationship ending.

Lorelai and Rory started out with their dating lives running in parallel, but they are now divergent (although they both got kissed in Hartford on the same night). Rory and Dean have broken up while Lorelai and Max got back together. Just as Lorelai began dating Max once she saw that Rory was happy with Dean, she got back with Max once she saw how miserable Rory was without Dean.

Tristan and Rory Kiss

TRISTAN: You are very odd, you know that?
RORY: Thank you.
TRISTAN: You’re welcome. [he kisses her. Rory pulls away crying] I’m sorry, what did I do? Did I bite your lip or something?
RORY: No, it’s not you. It’s just – I have to go. [runs out crying.]

It’s notable that Rory said “thank you” to Dean after he first kissed her, and now she says “thank you” just before Tristan kisses her. It is being kissed by Tristan which reminds Rory of her feelings for Dean, and this is what opens the floodgates so that she is ready to cry and mourn for their relationship.

The Crystal Lake

This 2000 song by indie rock band Grandaddy plays in the background while Rory and Tristan talk in the piano room, and eventually kiss. The song was a single from their album The Sophtware Slump, previously discussed, and went to #38 in the UK.

The Crystal Lake is about someone who leaves a small town full of hopes for the future, but is disillusioned by city life. In the same way, Rory thought that by getting out of Stars Hollow for the night she could run away from her problems, only to discover that the party in Hartford only brought her problems into sharper relief. The song makes specific reference to the emptiness of parties, and this one has left Rory feeling worse than ever.

The Art of Eating

This is the book that Rory reads at Madeline’s party; she mentions to Tristan that the party gave her a chance to catch up on her reading.

The Art of Eating is a book of essays by M.F.K. Fisher, first published in 1954. Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher was one of America’s greatest food writers, and wrote 37 books on food in her lifetime, which combine food literature, travel, and memoir.

The Art of Eating collects five of her most famous books into one volume: How to Cook a Wolf (1942), Consider the Oyster (1941), Serve it Forth (1937), The Gastronomical Me (1943), and Alphabet for Gourmets (1949). The books includes portraits of quirky family and friends, travel notes from Fisher’s time in France, and tips on surviving World War II, interspersed with recipes.

Although it might seem strange that the junk food loving Rory would read a book on gourmet food, M.F.K. Fisher has a wonderful and witty prose style that any aspiring writer could admire. Her life of travel and adventure is something Rory would love to have, and throughout the series both Rory and Lorelai showed a great interest in biography and memoir of all kinds. It is also reminiscent of Lorelai’s fascination with the Food Network after breaking up with Max.

(Another odd link between Rory and the author is that Fisher and her first husband celebrated their three-month wedding anniversary by going out to a good restaurant. It strangely seems to fit with Rory’s situation, as she and Dean just celebrated their three-month anniversary at a bistro. Perhaps the fact that it was Fisher’s first husband is also relevant – Dean is just her first boyfriend).

“Fifteen years”

HENRY: Sorry I’ve been monopolising Lane all night.
RORY: Oh no, that’s okay. I’ve had her for fifteen years. I’m actually a little sick of her.

That would mean that Rory and Lane have known each other since they were one year old, but Rory didn’t move to Stars Hollow until she was nearly two. This might show again that the original intention was for Lorelai and Rory to move to Stars Hollow in 1985, when Rory was only a few months old.

Henry

LANE: I have a major problem … Henry, the guy I’ve been dancing with? … Okay so he’s really good in school, he’s going to be a doctor – pediatrician to be exact – his parents are extremely involved in their local church. He himself helps out with Sunday school. He speaks Korean fluently, he respects his parents, and he’s also really cute, very funny, and surprisingly interesting.
RORY: Lane I’m sorry, but I’m totally failing to see the problem here.
LANE: I’m falling for a guy my parents would approve of! They’d love him, they’d go crazy! There’d be dancing in the Kim house! Dancing!

When Lane meets Henry (Eddie Shin) and is genuinely attracted to him, she is horrified to discover that a smart Korean-American future doctor really isn’t such a bad proposition after all. We see now that Lane would never have been happy with any boy her parents set her up with, as what she really wants is someone her parents wouldn’t approve of. Who knows how many nice boys Lane has rejected simply because they were foist on her by her parents?

By the way, this exchange shows that the Kims are not complete religious bigots: Henry isn’t a Seventh Day Adventist as he assists at Sunday school, but Lane’s parents would still approve of him. They obviously don’t insist that their daughter marry someone of the same religion, and just being a Christian is enough.

From Red to Blue

This 1996 song by English alternative folk singer Billy Bragg plays in the background while Henry and Lane slow dance, and Rory sits in another room to read, where she witnesses Tristan and Summer have another fight.

From Red to Blue is the first track from Bragg’s album William Bloke. It’s another song about a relationship break up, but this time between two friends. Although the “red” and “blue” in the song describe British political parties, they might indicate on the show that Rory’s focus from sublimated anger is turning to sadness.

Avon Lady

MAX: I mean I don’t see you for months and then all of a sudden –
LORELAI: Ding-dong, Avon lady.

Avon is an American cosmetics company founded in 1886, a direct selling multi-level marketing company which is one of the largest in the world. It uses door-to-door salespeople to advertise its products, otherwise known as Avon Ladies.

Avon’s television commercials in the 1950s and ’60s featured a doorbell going “Ding-dong”, and then the catchphrase, “Avon calling”; it’s one of the longest-running and most successful advertisements ever. Lorelai humorously likens her visit to Max with an Avon lady calling.

Everyday I Write the Book

This 1983 romantic pop song written by British singer-songwriter Elvis Costello plays in the background while Rory watches Tristan watch Summer with some sympathy for his plight; it’s the song that Henry first asks Lane to dance to, promising it will be a “short one” (the song is just under 4 minutes long).

The song is from the Elvis Costello and The Attractions album Punch the Clock, and was their first hit single in the US, getting to #33. It was slightly higher in the UK at #28. One of the most popular of Costello’s songs, it has several times been included on “best of” compilation albums.

The song, which is about a break up, compares the stages of a relationship with chapters in a book, a synonym that Rory would surely understand and approve of.

Madame Curie and Jennifer Lopez

PARIS: Yeah well, I doubt highly that Madam Curie was voted most likely to dress like Jennifer Lopez.

Marie Curie, born Maria Skłodowska (1867-1934) [pictured] was a Polish-born French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel prize, the first person and only woman to win it twice, and the only person to win it in two different sciences. The Curie family, including Marie, her husband Pierre, daughter Irène Joliot-Curie, son-in-law Frédéric Joliot-Curie, and son-in-law Henri Labouisse, has won more Nobel Prizes than any other family. She was the first woman to become a Professor at the University of Paris, and the first woman to be entombed at The Panthéon in Paris on her own merits.

Jennifer Lopez (born 1969) is an American actress, singer, dancer, and fashion designer. She began her career in 1991 as a dancer on television before branching into acting in 1993 (although she’d made her film debut as a teenager in a low-budget film). Her first starring role was in Selena (1997); she went on to star in other films in the 1990s, becoming the highest-paid Latina actress in Hollywood. She ventured into the music industry in 1999, with her debut album On the 6, which had two Top Ten singles. In January 2001, a few weeks before the events of this episode, she brought out her second album, J.Lo, around the same time as the release of her romantic comedy, The Wedding Planner, becoming the first woman to have a #1 album and #1 film in the same week.

We learn here that Paris’ ambition is to work in medical research toward the better understanding and treatment of cancer. It apparently doesn’t work out that way. Oddly enough, Liza Weil, who plays Paris, would later play a character who dies from cancer on medical drama Grey’s Anatomy.