Lorelai Yells at Luke

LUKE: What about Jess – is he hurt?

LORELAI: No, Luke – Jess did the hurting. That little punk nephew of yours almost killed my kid tonight.

Lorelai confronts Luke about the accident Jess had in Rory’s car. It’s normal for Lorelai to be unreasonable and a bit childish when she’s angry (those Gilmore tantrums), but this time she really goes over the top. She’s had months of seething resentment towards Jess, and by extension, towards Luke, that has been bubbling away, and now it finally boils over in one explosive scene.

From beginning to end, Lorelai’s anger towards Luke is unfair and completely one-sided. She never even considers that Luke might be worried when he hears Jess has been in a car accident – immediately exaggerating by saying that Jess “almost killed” Rory, when all she had was a minor hairline fracture. Lorelai is obviously thinking of how things could been so much worse, but painting Jess as some sort of deranged killer is over the top.

Lorelai makes sure to tell Luke that Rory is “having X-rays and tests”, even though she’s only having them because Lorelai demanded them, and they’re completely unnecessary. She puts all the blame on Luke for taking Jess in, saying that his obligation wasn’t to his family, but to her and Rory and all of Stars Hollow.

Lorelai thinks Gilmores are the centre of the universe, but this is outrageous even for her, that Luke should have abandoned his own nephew in order to put Lorelai and Rory first. (It’s definitely a sign that Lorelai wants to be #1 in Luke’s heart, but she’s too angry to even see the implications of what she said).

This is the worst fight Lorelai and Luke have had so far, and it’s the culmination of their argument in “Nick and Nora, Sid and Nancy”. Their disagreements about Jess, and Lorelai’s mistrust of him, could only ever be papered over. When the crunch came, all of Lorelai’s true feelings came out, and they are extremely hurtful to Luke.

At the end, when Lorelai is left alone and finally lets her tears out as she watches Rory’s wrecked car get towed, her first instinct is to reach for her phone and call Christopher. Much of Lorelai’s exaggerated fear about Rory is based on the fact that Lorelai was in the car when Christopher crashed his Porsche as a teenager. Now she sees it from a parents’ point of view, and realises how terrifying it is to hear your child call you from hospital.

To a certain extent, Jess is paying for Christopher’s sins, and even more unfairly, Lorelai goes running to Christopher when Rory ends up in the same situation Lorelai did as a teenager.

Jess

RORY: Jess made sure that he called the ambulance and that I was okay before he even talked to the police and – .

This lets the viewer know why Jess isn’t with Rory at the hospital. He phoned for an ambulance and made sure Rory was safe before he had to talk to the police about his role in the accident, since he was the driver at the time. After that, he could have joined Rory at the hospital, but is probably (rightly) scared of how Lorelai is going to react to the news.

Minor Hairline Fracture

DOCTOR: She sustained a minor hairline fracture to her wrist.

LORELAI: So she broke her wrist? ….

DOCTOR: It’s a tiny fracture, absolutely nothing serious. I’m gonna put a cast on it. She’ll wear it for a couple weeks, that’s it.

There is essentially no difference between a fracture and a break – a hairline crack and having a bone shattered into pieces are both referred to as a fracture. The terms are interchangeable. Fractures usually take 6 to 8 weeks to heal, a hairline fracture may be on the shorter side of that, but only two weeks in a cast doesn’t seem plausible. However, it’s not long until the end of the season, which probably has a lot to do with the doctor’s treatment plan!

Lorelai insists that the doctor do some more X-rays, which he agrees to, but hairlines fractures don’t typically show up on X-rays, so it’s a waste of everybody’s time. It’s just to give Lorelai a chance to keep Rory busy while she goes off to do some yelling. Most parents wouldn’t leave their injured kid at a hospital in the middle of the night like that, but this is TV, not reality! Unfortunately for the plot, it makes Lorelai look incredibly selfish. I mean, more so than usual.

Terms of Endearment

LORELAI: Hey, do you remember in Terms of Endearment, that scene where Shirley MacLaine is in the hospital and freaks out because they won’t give her daughter a shot? She got that from me and she toned it down a little.

Terms of Endearment, a 1983 family comedy-drama film directed, written and produced by James L. Brooks, and adapted from the 1975 novel of the same name by Larry McMurty. The film covers thirty years of the relationship between Aurora Greenway, played by Shirley MacLaine, and her daughter Emma, played by Debra Winger.

Terms of Endearment received critical acclaim and was the #2 film of 1983. It received five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and a Best Actress Award for Shirley MacLaine.

In the film, Aurora and Emma have a difficult but very close relationship. Emma is diagnosed with a terminal illness, and Aurora stays by Emma’s side throughout her treatment and hospitalisation, proving to be a fierce advocate on her behalf. There is a memorable scene where Aurora screams at a nurse, insisting that her daughter receive a shot (of pain relief) immediately when she felt they were being too slow to administer it.

Note that Lorelai does the same thing Emily did at the hospital when Richard was admitted, even using a movie reference to get her point across.

Shrimp Balls

LORELAI: Tell me, was it the China Ball, the China Doll, or the China Wall that had the really good shrimp balls?

Shrimp balls, a Chinese dish where shrimp (prawns) are pounded into a paste, mixed with binding agents, and deep fried. They are served as appetisers, with dipping sauce.

Amazingly, Stars Hollow has three Chinese restaurants! It seems to be getting more and more options for ordering food as the show goes on. Lorelai and Rory must be keeping them all in business.

Car Song

This song plays while Jess and Rory are in the car, driving back from buying ice cream cones (because Luke’s only serves ice cream in bowls, which doesn’t count).

“Car Song” is a 1995 song by Britpop group Elastica, written by Justine Frischmann, the band’s lead singer. From their self-titled debut album, it was only released as a single in North America and Australia in 1996, and went to #106 in Australia, while it charted on the US Alternative Songs Chart at at #33, and #14 on the Canadian Alternative Rock Chart. The song was well-reviewed, described as sexy and charming.

The song is about having sex in a car, to make it clear where Jess and Rory’s minds are going, and the subtext of them being in a car together. Although there’s no suggestion that they actually had sex in the car offscreen, or even kissed, their car trip is a symbolic lovemaking experience as it is so emotionally intimate. Compare it to the first time Rory was in the car with Dean, when she couldn’t even tell him how she felt, after dating for months.

Here we go again
I’m riding in your car
Let me count to ten
‘Cause it’s gone way too far
Up my street to nowhere
You know what detours are
Here we go again
And it’s gone way too far

The lyrics are a good description of what’s going on – they’ve taken a detour on a street to nowhere (driving aimlessly), and going around in circles (“here we go again”). And although they’ve gone nowhere much, they have “gone way too far” – because they should never have got in the car to begin with.

“As you wish”

JESS: Of course, I could turn right and then we’d just be driving around in circles for awhile.

RORY: Turn right.

JESS: As you wish.

Jess quotes from The Princess Bride, a 1987 fantasy romance film directed by Rob Reiner, adapated from the 1973 novel of the same name by William Goldman. It tells the story of a farmhand named Westley, played by Cary Elwes, accompanied by companions met along the way, who must rescue his true love, Princess Buttercup, played by Robin Wright, from marriage to the odious Prince Humperdinck, played by Chris Sarandon.

The film has a framing device, which is that the story is a book being read to a little boy sick in bed, played by Fred Savage, by his grandfather, played by Peter Falk. It’s been described as a postmodern fairy tale, and the satirical interjections by the grandfather, and the dialogue between he and and the boy, provide many humorous moments.

Despite good reviews, The Princess Bride was only a modest success at the box office, but became a cult classic after its release on home video. Eminently quotable, the film is considered both one of the funniest, and one of the most romantic films of all time.

In the film, Princess Buttercup begins by ordering Westley around a lot, to which he always responds, “As you wish”, before complying. The narration from the grandfather says, “That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying As you wish, what he meant was, I love you. And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back”.

Jess is, very clearly and boldly, telling Rory that he loves her, and believes that she loves him back, even if she doesn’t realise it yet.

Overseas Correspondent

JESS: You’re gonna be an overseas correspondent? … You’re gonna crawl around in trenches and stand on top of buildings and have bombs going off in the background and some wars raging all around you?

RORY: What, you don’t think I can do it?

JESS: No, I do. Just sounds a little too …. Just sounds a little too rough for you.

Jess is the first person to suggest that Rory doesn’t have what it takes to be a foreign correspondent or war correspondent, like her hero, Christiane Amanpour. He’s not trying to put Rory down, and he specifically says that she is capable of it, he genuinely doesn’t think it’s a good fit for her, or be something she’d enjoy.

Of course, he’s right – Rory has led a very sheltered life in the safe haven of Stars Hollow, and according to Lorelai, hates the outdoors so much she wouldn’t walk on wet grass until she was three. And Rory actually met a journalist who travelled to dangerous international locations, Rachel, and she doesn’t seem to have bothered even talking to Rachel about it.