Lane Meets Dave Rygalski

DAVE: Excuse me, Lane?

LANE: That’s me.

DAVE: Okay, great, I’m Dave Rygalski.

LANE: Right, hi. You’re a guitarist.

In this scene, Lane meets Dave Rygalski, who answered her ad because he has a band that needs a drummer. He almost immediately becomes her love interest.

The character of Dave is based on the real life Dave Rygalski, the husband of Helen Pai, producer on Gilmore Girls, who the character of Lane is based on. The real Dave Rygalski has been a writer for Jay Leno and David Letterman, and also plays guitar, just like his fictional namesake. He has been in a few bands, and played some of the music for Lane’s band on Gilmore Girls.

On the show, Dave Rygalski is played by Adam Brody. At this stage, Brody had played Barry Williams in the TV film, Growing Up Brady, and been Greg Brady in an episode of The Amanda Show. Like several other actors on Gilmore Girls, he’d also been in Judging Amy, another show about mothers and daughters set in Connecticut – he played a guy called Barry Gilmore!

There has already been a character named Rygalski on Gilmore Girls – a bank manager in Hartford where Lorelai tried to get a loan was Mr Rygalski. Quite possibly this is Dave’s father.

It seems a bit unlikely that Lane is available to meet Dave on a Saturday night – as a Seventh Day Adventist, she has church on Saturday, and when Lane asked her mother for permission to go out on a Saturday night after church, Mrs Kim told her that after church she should be thinking about what she learned in church. However, perhaps has mother has softened slightly, or Lane is allowed out to see Rory.

Stalking Tom Waits

CAROL: I worship [Tom Waits]. I even mildly stalked him once … Last year, I heard he was staying at this hotel so I went there everyday and sat in the lobby, drinking massive amounts of coffee, waiting for him to walk by.

I can barely speculate which hotel Tom Waits could have been staying in the previous year. The only concert he had in 2001 was one in his home town of San Francisco, and he took a trip to Copenhagen in Denmark early in the year. He attended the ASCAP Awards at the Beverly Hilton in May, which might be what Carol is referring to (if so, she was in Los Angeles at the time for some reason – where the Palladinos live, probably not coincidentally).

Like Lorelai, Carol worships Tom Waits and drinks huge amounts of coffee. Her mild stalking of Waits at a hotel is replicated later by Lorelai, who stalks Bono at his hotel in exactly the same way.

Carol Springsteen

Rory meets Carol Springsteen, the middle daughter of the family who is a year older than Rory and Jennifer, when they run into each other on Rory’s trip back from the bathroom. Rory had earlier seen a photo of Carol and heard her name, but Darren said she was on her “own path” in life. Note that being the middle child is once again posited as being marked out for being “different” in Gilmore Girls.

Rory now discovers that being on her own path just means Carol isn’t attending university, like Jack is and Jennifer will be, but works at a variety of jobs, including waitressing and dressing up as a bunny for children’s parties. Rory says that Carol has a “cool” bedroom – despite not being academically inclined, Carol’s room is filled with serious-looking hardcover books.

It quickly becomes apparent that Carol is another version of Lorelai, who rebels against her upbringing and begins her working life as a teenager. Unlike Lorelai, she didn’t get pregnant in high school, and hasn’t moved out – Darren and Marie don’t really approve of her life choices, but they still support her financially, and she isn’t unhappy enough to run away from home.

Carol is portrayed by Tinsley Grimes (later Webster), who had most recently been on That 80s Show and had a small role in the film The Banger Sisters. Unlike her character here, Tinsley is highly educated. She has a BA in English from UCLA and a Masters of Education in Child Studies from Vanderbilt University. She is currently a medical student at the University of Pittsburgh, and plans to specialise in psychiatry.


JENNIFER: Follow up ?

DARREN: And then we’ll go round-robin.

A round-robin tournament is one in which each contestant meets with every other contestant, usually in turn. It’s usually the fairest way of deciding an overall winner, but can be very lengthy. They are common in team sports – Darren’s love of sports might have prompted this idea. The word robin in this context is a corruption of the French word ruban, meaning “ribbon”.

Oddly, Marie (played by Anita Finlay, who, like her onscreen husband and children, had also been on Judging Amy) is never shown taking part in the quizzes or being expected to, as if her role is simply to bring out iced tea and say Darren is brilliant. It doesn’t seem very likely – surely Marie is also a college graduate? Perhaps we just never see her have her turn, and she takes her part during the round-robin tournament.

Lorelai looks very unhappy to be roped into the round-robin tournament. Jennifer looks like Christmas has come early, and Jack looks like he’s forcing himself to smile. I get the feeling he’s not quite as into the competitive quizzes as Jennifer. He doesn’t seem to be as good at them.

Jack and Jennifer

DARREN: Jack’s pre-med at Princeton and Jennifer is bound for Harvard, like you Rory.

Jack is in a pre-medical program, an educational track that undergraduate students pursue before they go to medical school and study to become doctors. Their undergraduate studies typically focus on subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, neuroscience, and behavioural sciences. He is attending the same university that Christopher was supposed to attend.

Jennifer can’t really be bound for Harvard at this point – notifications to applications haven’t been sent out yet. She has already applied, or will apply very soon, and Darren is obviously confident she will get in. He seems very confident Rory will as well, unless he’s just being polite – he hasn’t even seen her transcript yet.

Jack and Jennifer are played by Matt Newton and Jeanette Brox – they had both been in Judging Amy and Family Law, although not in the same episodes. Granville Van Deusen, who plays their father Darren, was also in Judging Amy, and like Jeanette, had been in General Hospital spin-off, Port Charles.

Princeton University and Ivy League College Consultant

PARIS: My panelists are Jim Romaine, admissions officer at Princeton University, and Ivy League college consultant, Rose Samuels.

Princeton University, previously discussed. Paris’ boyfriend attends Princeton – I don’t know whether that had any bearing on Paris getting their admissions officer on their panel. I wouldn’t put it past Paris, though.

Jim Romaine and Rose Samuels are of course fictional characters, played by Philip Pavel and Karen Bankhead respectively.

In real life, an admissions officer at Princeton University, Stephen LeMenager, had just been removed (in August 2002) after gaining unauthorised access to student’s files on a Yale admissions website the previous April. The investigation and subsequent scandal may have been what put the idea of using Princeton in this episode – they could have had a representative from any Ivy League university, after all.

Ivy League college consultants, also called independent education counsellors, work with students and their parents to decide which schools a student should apply to. They also guide them through the application and essay-writing processes. Top tier college consultants can cost a small fortune, so this is yet another area where being very wealthy can help you on your path to college.

The Beatles at Shea Stadium

PARIS: I was working with the losers in the AV club to project it on a giant video screen. And all Mr. Hunter said was, “Paris, this isn’t The Beatles at Shea Stadium.” Nice anachronism, huh? Like they had video screens in ’63. His references are as topical as his suits.

The Beatles at Shea Stadium, previously discussed.

The Beatles actually performed there in 1965, not 1963. They must have realised that they made a mistake, because on Netflix, there is re-recorded audio correcting the error to 1965 instead.

“I even cleaned the table”

LORELAI: This is an uncontaminated area. I even cleaned the table using something other than the sleeve of my sweater and spit.

Although there are several jokes in the show about Lorelai’s poor housekeeping skills, their home never looks dirty, or even very messy – cosy clutter and a light layer of dust is about the worse we ever see. (It’s hard to make a television set, which is not lived in, really look like a dirty house).

It does make sense that Lorelai is not keen on housework – besides being a single parent working full-time (and until recently, studying part-time), which is reason enough. She worked as a maid for several years, and her job is to run the inn and keep it looking nice now, so it’s believable that she wouldn’t feel like taking care of the house as well when she gets home from work.