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.

Lane’s Purple Hair

Lane’s purple hair is very obviously a cheap wig – it doesn’t fit properly and looks a different style to her real hair. The whole hair dyeing plot in this episode is not possible in real life. You can’t bleach black hair blonde, then dye it purple all in the matter of a couple of hours (it would take days). It also isn’t possible that Mrs Kim wouldn’t have smelled the bleach and hair dye while working in the antiques store on the ground floor.

However, none of this really matters much, as after a very short celebration of her bold new look, Lane has a crisis of confidence, and insists that Rory dye her hair black, so that her mother won’t find out what she did. This is, of course, only adds to the implausibility of the episode.

Pink, Kelly Osborne, Gwen Stefani

LANE: Pink? Or is that too Pink the singer and Kelly Osbourne and Gwen Stefani . . . man, there’s a lot of cheese associated with the color pink. Okay, pink’s out.

Pink, stylised as P!nk, the professional name of Alecia Moore (born 1979), singer, songwriter, actor, and dancer [pictured]. Originally a member of the girl group Choice, she signed with record label LaFace in 1995. Her 2000 debut album Can’t Take Me Home went double platinum, and included the Top Ten hits “There You Go”, and “Most Girls”. Her 2001 album Mizzundaztood sold 13 million copies and yielded the international hits, “Get the Party Started”, “Don’t Let Me Get Me”, and “Just Like a Pill”.

Kelly Osbourne (born 1984), English singer, actress, fashion designer, model, and television personality, the daughter of Ozzy Osbourne, lead singer for heavy metal band Black Sabbath, and his wife Sharon Osbourne. Kelly, and the rest of her family, had recently come to prominence with their award-winning reality TV show The Osbournes, which first aired on MTV in March 2002, and lasted until 2005. The show covered the family’s domestic life in Beverley Hills.

Gwen Stefani (born 1969), singer, songwriter, rapper, fashion designer, and actress. She is a co-founder, lead vocalist, and the primary songwriter of the band No Doubt, previously discussed.

At various times, each of these celebrities have sported pink hair.

Elizabeth Arden

PARIS: All right, I’ll push it through … But the next genius who comes up with the brilliant plan to put Elizabeth Arden in the chemistry class can bite my ass.

Elizabeth Arden Inc., major cosmetics, skin care, and fragrance company founded by Canadian-American businesswoman Elizabeth Arden in 1910, first as the Red Door salon on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The brand has been owned by Revlon since 2016 and is headquartered in Miami, Florida.

I’m not sure why students would ask for Elizabeth Arden in the chemistry class – maybe for the hand cream? Or for perfume, to cover the chemical smell?

Pageboy Haircut

LORELAI: I know, but this goes against every rule I have in the Gilmore Survival Guide. Number one – no running with scissors. Number two – no pageboy haircuts. Number three – never ever have lunch alone with a mother.

A pageboy haircut has straight hair hanging below the ears before it turns under, usually with a fringe at the front. The name is from the haircut believed to have been given to medieval page boys, or young servant boys.

The pageboy haircut was popularised for women by New York hairdresser M. Lewis in the early 1950s, gaining peak popularity in the mid-1970s and 1980s. Two famous women with pageboy haircuts were Toni Tenille, from Captain & Tenille, and Diana, Princess of Wales – the style was often called the “Lady Di” in the UK.

The pageboy haircut was popular for young boys in the 1900s, popularised by child actors such as Jackie Coogan. It became part of adult male fashion in the 1960s, thanks to British rock bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, then copied by American punk, garage, and new wave bands such as The Velvet Underground, The Ramones, and Blondie.

“I was having way too much fun”

DEAN: Yeah, I’m back – and I’m glad to find you not blonde.

RORY: Yeah, I was just having way too much fun, so . . .

Rory refers to the Clairol hair lightener advertising slogan, “Is it true …blondes have more fun?”. It was written by advertising director Shirley Polykoff – a blonde – in 1956, and was considered rather risque at the time.

Rory bleakly jokes that she didn’t dye her hair blonde, because she was already having too much fun (of course she’s actually having a terrible time). Ironically, it is Jess’ girlfriend who is the blonde, and having a lot more fun than Rory.

With his usual ability to turn up unannounced wherever Rory happens to be, Dean has returned home from Chicago three hours early. Although this would have put a serious dent in her plans to be with Jess at the festival, she may be more glad to see him than not, considering that Jess is with someone else, and she’s just had a huge fight with her mother.

Note that even while hugging Dean, Rory is looking over his shoulder at Jess, her face hurt and angry.


KIRK: Well, get rid of it … Uh, but don’t throw it in the trash. Apparently, that would be an EPA violation.

The EPA, Environmental Protection Agency. Independent agency of the US federal government tasked with matters of environmental protection. It began operation in 1970, under orders from President Richard Nixon, and is headquartered in Washington DC.

The fact that Kirk’s beauty products cannot be thrown out without violating orders from the EPA suggests that they are made from potentially hazardous chemicals. Probably a good thing that nobody at the inn used them!

Connie Chung

LUKE: I’ll be home early, anything besides the Q-Tips?

LORELAI: Um, cotton balls, world peace, Connie Chung’s original face back.

Constance “Connie” Chung (born 1946), journalist who has been an anchor and reporter with many major news networks. In June 2002 she began hosting her own show on CNN, called Connie Chung Tonight. Although it had moderate ratings, it was cancelled the following year when the Iraq War broke out, and Chung was needed as a reporter.

Presumably Lorelai has been watching the show over the summer in her lonely hours, and dislikes the amount of cosmetic interventions Connie Chung has had done since she last noticed her. There were numerous references in the show to Lorelai not approving of cosmetic surgery – which in retrospect seem rather ironic after watching Lauren Graham in A Year in the Life.