Kettle Drums

LORELAI: Let’s go to Al’s Pancake World for a change. He’s doing a salute to Jamaica again.

RORY: Okay, as long as Al doesn’t play the kettle drums all night.

Timpani, also known as kettledrums, a type of drum consisting of a membrane stretched over a large bowl, traditionally made of copper. They are an instrument which dates back to ancient times, but have been used in classical orchestras since the 16th century. In reggae music, which comes from Jamaica, the timpani can be used as a percussion instrument, although it isn’t the most common type of drum used.

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.

“That girl’s a freak”

[Jess and Shane walk past Rory]

SHANE: That girl’s a freak.

Shane manages to give Rory the same insult Lorelai said about Shane, which is either quite a coincidence, or Shane heard Lorelai and has been waiting for a chance to get her own back.

Jess has presumably just met Shane as she got off work at the beauty store. They are both wearing matching outfits – brown jackets over brown shirts – as if to underline that they go together. However, note that Jess doesn’t walk alongside Shane, he walks ahead of her. He couldn’t be making it clearer that he doesn’t see Shane as his equal, but as someone who’s “tagging along” with him. He is the leader and the dominant person in the relationship.

Also note that Jess only has eyes for Rory, and although they are currently on bad terms, he cannot stop himself from giving a faint smile as he walks past. Shane turns around to look at Rory, and I think her intuition is telling her that she is someone that Jess likes, or someone that could be a threat.

The show, like Lorelai, Rory and Jess, is not very kind to Shane, a girl who actually doesn’t do anything wrong except be pretty, blonde, and go out with Jess. Although the title of this episode is ostensibly about the two different plots – Lorelai has to give a talk to a “class” while Lane “dyes” her hair – it can be read another way. Rory is the girl with “class”, while Shane is the one who dyes her hair platinum blonde, meaning that she can’t be “classy” like Rory.

Golden Retriever

JESS: I’m not playing Golden Retriever, hoping one day she’ll turn around and fall in my arms. If she doesn’t wanna be with me, then fine.

The Golden Retriever is a dog breed which originated in Scotland in the late 19th century. They are known for their thick, golden coat, and their gentle, affectionate nature. They are extremely popular pets, because of their calm, biddable temperament, which makes them easy to train and eager to please. Jess must see Luke as being like a sweet, snuggly Golden Retriever, adoringly waiting for Lorelai to give him tasks to perform.

“I’m not gonna sit around”

JESS: Hey, the girls that I like don’t give a damn about me! And unlike some other people I know, I’m not gonna sit around hoping that they change their minds and suddenly notice me.

LUKE: What’s that supposed to mean?

JESS: You fixed any neighbor’s porches lately? Or you go on a picnic or you get rooked into giving a ridiculous speech at a high school?

Jess tells Luke that his cynical view of relationships has partly been formed by watching Luke pine for Lorelai. He seems to have become indignant at the way Lorelai talks Luke into things, and the way Luke offers her free handyman work around the house. Jess seems to have decided that whatever else he might be, he’s not some sap who’s going to make a fool of himself over a girl.

Jess mentions Luke fixing Lorelai’s porch, which happened before Jess moved to Stars Hollow. Either he’s fixed it again recently, or someone told Jess about Luke fixing the porch. I presume that it was Luke himself, because Rory didn’t seem to know about it – it was early in the morning, and she blamed Lorelai for the noise that Luke made, before going back to bed. I suppose Rory might have accepted Lorelai’s explanation afterwards, and later told Jess about Luke fixing the porch – she may have thought it was a funny story.

Luke Talks to Jess About Girls

Luke tries to give some Jess some guidance in regard to girls, and how they should be treated if you care about them. His lecture is thrown off the rails almost at once when Jess bluntly says that he doesn’t care about Shane. In fact, he can’t even remember her last name! If we needed any confirmation that Jess is just using Shane for physical pleasure and to make Rory jealous, here it is.

Hopefully Luke would have gone on to say that girls still deserve to be treated with decency and respect even when you don’t care about them, but he seems to be too shocked to continue further.

Ward Cleaver

LUKE: Uh, you and I have got to have a little talk.

JESS: Hey, if you’re gonna get all Ward Cleaver on me, I gotta go call Eddie and Lumpy and tell them I’m gonna be late.

Jess refers to the sitcom, Leave It to Beaver, previously discussed. Ward Cleaver was the father of Wally Cleaver and his little brother, Theodore “The Beaver” Cleaver. Ward’s role was to guide his sons with moral lectures. Eddie Haskell and “Lumpy” Rutherford were Wally’s friends. Eddie was sneaky and two-faced, and Lumpy was a bully. Even in a fictional scenario, Jess can seemingly only imagine himself with problematic friends.

We Owe You Nothing

When Luke gets home, he finds Jess reading this book.

We Owe You Nothing: Punk Planet – The Collected Interviews is edited by Daniel Sinker, and was published in 2001. It’s a collection of interviews from Punk Planet zine, which we already know Jess is a fan of, and a nice bit of continuity. There are interviews with people such as Jello Biafra, Kathleen Hanna, Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye from Fugazi, and Noam Chomsky.