As the episode comes to an end, Emily is stricken to realise that Lorelai is right – she doesn’t really know her daughter very well at all. She leaves the party so devastated that we begin to realise just how much Emily and Richard have missed out on because Lorelai left home.
In turn, Lorelai is seen looking through the window while Dean gives his birthday gift to Rory – a leather bracelet that he made himself – as Rory smiles adoringly at him. Rory has never talked to Lorelai about her blossoming romance with Dean, and Lorelai looks sad because she is being left out of her daughter’s life, as a parallel to Emily’s unhappiness and loss. Like Emily, she has to admit that she doesn’t know everything about her daughter’s life, although like Emily, she can recognise when a guy is attracted to her little girl.
We learn that Lorelai took a yoga class in 1997, probably at Miss Patty’s, and broke her leg doing a headstand. Emily is shocked to discover that, and as broken legs take several months to heal, it’s another reminder of how long Emily and Richard went between visits. Lorelai’s accident must have have taken place after Easter, and with enough time to be completely healed by Christmas.
EMILY: You smiled. You’re pleased that the ice man looked at you like a Porterhouse steak.
A Porterhouse steak is cut from the rear end of sirloin of beef (called a short loin in the US), and contain a large tenderloin of steak. They are the most highly prized of all the steak cuts.
Emily immediately picks up on the attraction between Lorelai and Luke, and is the first person in the show to openly verbalise it. Lorelai doesn’t think her mother knows her, but Emily at least recognises when a man is attracted to her daughter. That Emily knows all about lap dances and can talk about her daughter giving one shows a raunchy side to her character we have not seen before – it’s eyebrow-raising.
The adult guests at Rory’s birthday party swap stories of Rory as a child. Babette and Morey remember her thinking a toadstool ring was a fairy ring, and waiting for the fairy to arrive. Lorelai says that Rory was “about ten” at the time, but later we learn that Lorelai and Rory didn’t move next door to Babette and Morey until Rory was eleven.
Although eleven is about ten, it’s pretty old to still believe in fairies. This charmingly naive fairy-lover is hard to tally with the intellectually precocious child-Rory we keep hearing about, but does show that the brainy Rory has an imaginative side.
We also learn that Rory took ballet lessons from Miss Patty, and that although she worked hard at her dancing, she wasn’t very good. Only Miss Patty seems to think she had any talent and is disappointed that she stopped. This reminds us of Amy Sherman-Palladino, who trained in ballet. Unlike Rory, she could have turned professional, and Miss Patty’s sadness is a parallel to Amy’s mother’s disappointment when she decided to pursue writing rather than ballet as a career.
This 1967 ballad by Louis Armstrong plays while everyone is downstairs at Rory’s second party, trading Rory stories, and then continues as Lorelai and Emily talk upstairs. Written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss, it was not at first a hit in the US because the record company didn’t promote it, but went to #1 in the UK and was successful around the world.
When it was re-released in 1988 after featuring in the film Good Morning, Vietnam, it went to #32 in the US, and was #7 on the adult contemporary charts. It has become a pop standard, with many cover versions, and often used in film and television soundtracks.
Rory tells Richard he can do a quiz in Cosmopolitan which will tell him whether he is a summer or a fall. Rory is referring to a popular theory of colour analysis, whereby matching those colours which fit a person’s skin tones are divided into the four seasons.
Although colour analysis had been part of fashion and beauty since the 19th century, the theory of linking them with the four seasons came in around the mid-twentieth century. It became prominent in the 1970s, and was most popular during the 1980s.
Rory apologises that the Cosmopolitan she gives Richard isn’t The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal is an American newspaper based in New York with a focus on business. In print since 1889, it has won numerous Pulitzer Prizes and has the highest circulation of any newspaper in the US. It is named after Wall Street in the financial district of Manhattan.
Rory gives her grandfather a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine to read at her birthday party, remembering how he read the newspaper and shared it with her at their first Friday Night Dinner. Richard recognises it as a thoughtful gesture, and dutifully reads the magazine.
Sookie asks Lorelai when her parents last visited, and it is confirmed that this is the first time Richard and Emily have been to Lorelai’s house in Stars Hollow. They visited a few times at the Independence Inn when Rory was a baby, but not otherwise.