Jess Meets Dean

RORY: Um Dean, I don’t think you two have met. This is Jess. This is Dean.
JESS: Boyfriend?
RORY: Of course.
JESS: Sorry, you didn’t say.

Naturally Jess knows that Dean is Rory’s boyfriend – he must have seen them walking around town together and smooching outside the market numerous times. He probably targeted a prank at the market because he knows Dean works there.

Jess does enjoy letting Dean know that in the two months since he and Rory met, she never bothered to mention Dean’s name or said she had a boyfriend. If Dean doesn’t treat this as a red flag, then he’s not very bright.

Holden Caulfield

RORY: All [Luke] does is stick up for you and all you do is make his life harder. I guess that’s what you have to do when you’re trying to be Holden Caulfield, but I think it stinks.

Holden Caulfield is the seventeen-year-old protagonist of J.D. Salinger’s 1951 novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Since the book’s publication, he has become an icon for teenage rebellion and angst.

To Kill a Mockingbird

RORY: You did it [the chalk outline]. The whole town knows you did it. They had a meeting about it.
JESS: You actually went to that bizarro town meeting? Those things are so To Kill a Mockingbird.

To Kill a Mockingbird, the 1960 novel by American author Harper Lee, previously mentioned. The novel is set in the fictional Alabama town of Maycomb during the Great Depression, and focuses on small town prejudices, traditions, and taboos. The book made an immediate sensation on publication, won the Pulitzer Prize, and became a bestseller. One of America’s most beloved novels (and a great favourite worldwide), it is often set as a text in high schools.

Note that Jess uses the word “bizarro”, just as Lorelai has done.

Blue Book Laws

JESS: I’m not really familiar with the blue book laws in this town, so you can be talking about a lot of things. Dropping a gum wrapper, strolling arm in arm with a member of the opposite sex on a Sunday.

Jess seems to have confused two different things and put them together (perhaps deliberately).

Blue laws are laws designed to restrict activities on a Sunday, such as banning certain retail activities eg buying alcohol. In Puritan times, they were very strict when Connecticut was a colony, which might be what Jess is implying – that Stars Hollow is still stuck in the colonial past. Examples of such old timey strictness include not allowing people to run anywhere, or to walk in their gardens on a Sunday. It’s not common, but some towns in the US do have their own blue laws, even today.

Project Blue Book was the code name for the study of UFOs by the US Air Force from 1952 to 1969. Did Jess make a simple error, a Freudian slip of the tongue, or is he saying that he feels like an “alien” being studied by the townsfolk of Stars Hollow?

(I have actually seen people make this same error in regard to “blue book laws”, so I don’t discount the idea that the writer, Daniel Palladino, may have had the same misunderstanding).

Rory Confronts Jess

RORY: And now Luke’s a pariah and it’s all because of you! What a shock, you don’t care about any of this.
JESS: I didn’t say that.
RORY: Go. I’m tired of talking to you.

The day after the town meeting which seems to have arranged specifically for everyone to dump on Jess, Rory talks to Jess about it. But instead of expressing sympathy for how unfairly the town has treated Jess, she attacks Jess for making Luke’s life more difficult.

Jess does seem to listen to her, but appears mostly interested in whether Rory was secretly amused by his pranks. If his plan was to get attention, then it worked spectacularly. The town had a meeting about him, and Rory has been forced to take notice of his behaviour. His plan is working!

Rory’s advice to Jess is basically the same as Lorelai’s on the evening of the dinner party: he’s got a good thing going with Luke, and he shouldn’t mess it up. Somehow, Jess is far more receptive to hearing it from Rory.

Rory’s “Go. I’m tired of talking to you”, is pure Emily Gilmore. It’s the usual way she ends an argument with Lorelai.

Lorelai’s Fight with Sookie

Lorelai is so disturbed by Mia’s news about selling the Independence that she begins backtracking on her plans to open her own inn, to Sookie’s dismay. Logically, it doesn’t make much sense – if Mia is going to sell, Lorelai and Sookie should be fast-tracking their plans, not shelving them. Mia even said they should make their move sooner rather than later.

A lot of Lorelai’s angst about the Independence being sold is the thought of her home being changed. Her special relationship with Mia would be severed, and the new owners of the inn could very well be faceless corporate types that turn it into a chain (always treated as some sort of ultimate horror on the Gilmore Girls).

For Sookie, who isn’t so emotionally invested in the Independence, the news is positive. Mia won’t be upset about them starting their own inn, and even if the Independence changes, they have their own lives to lead. She’d prefer the inn didn’t lose all its charm, but she’s sensible enough to realise that they can’t control what happens, and to focus on their own plans.

This difference in how they feel is enough for Lorelai to begin passively-aggressively attacking Sookie, and to shoot down any suggestions she has on how to improve things. Sookie wonders why they don’t buy the Independence, and Lorelai says they can’t afford it – even though she never asked Mia what she would sell the inn for.

Sookie asks if they should look for another inn to buy, and Lorelai says she doesn’t have time to look for a new location (because if someone doesn’t just randomly show you an inn, it’s too much hard work? Did either of them even check the real estate guides for the area?).

Finally, Lorelai begins criticising Sookie as a potential business partner. She is unreliable, not punctual, and keeps changing the menu, which would send them broke. Sookie is naturally devastated, but Lorelai’s criticisms seem like valid concerns. Even Sookie doesn’t have any comeback except to say Lorelai already knew all these things before. She doesn’t make any promises to change or improve, or suggest other ways she is going to support Lorelai to offset her flaws. In fact, Sookie’s flakiness is actually a problem when they do become business partners.

Notice that Lorelai tries to back out of their business deal by saying the “timing isn’t good” – the same weak excuse Rory made to Lorelai when she tried to wriggle out of going to Chilton.

Mia is Ready to Sell

Lorelai finally gets the courage to tell Mia that she and Sookie have a dream of opening their own inn. Mia is very supportive, but also reveals that she receives many lucrative offers to buy the Independence, and the sooner they can strike out on their own, the better, as far as she is concerned.

Lorelai is dismayed to hear this, as buying the Dragonfly seems out of reach while Fran refuses to sell.

In this episode, Lorelai’s plans are upset by two independent-minded old ladies who own inns – one won’t sell her inn to Lorelai, while the other seems likely to sell her inn from under Lorelai.

“He’s been scraping that outline off the cement for two days”

RORY: Hey, I’m gonna go check on Dean. He’s been scraping that outline off the cement for two days now.

You might think that chalk would wash straight off pavement, but actually water only removes most of the chalk. Little particles get into all the tiny crevices and pores in the cement that require vigorous scrubbing. Yes, Taylor is that fussy! 99.5% clean is not good enough!

He also seems to be making Dean clean the pavement in the dark and after the store is closed, which surely can’t be legal, and certainly isn’t practical. I can’t help thinking this episode did not endear Jess to Dean even before jealousy entered the picture.

Field Trip

MIA: Well, I must say that was quite exciting.
LORELAI: A little disturbing. I think the whole town needs a field trip.

A field trip is an excursion by a group of people away from their normal environment, most usually used in the context of education (what might be called a school trip or school tour in other countries).

Lorelai seems to be saying the whole town needs to get out of town, so they can learn how other people live. It’s the closest she gets to saying they should try to see things from Jess’ point of view, and she does seem to be bothered by how the town reacted to him.