LORELAI: Okay, look, nobody wants to say this any less than me, but I – maybe you don’t have a medical condition or a mental problem. Maybe, honey, you are falling for Jess.
In an echo of the end of “Back in the Saddle” when Dean bitterly admits that Rory likes Jess (more than him), Lorelai ends this episode having to be honest with herself and admitting that Rory must be falling for Jess.
There is no such awareness or honesty from Rory, though. She denies it, and says she loves Dean, and he will be her boyfriend forever. Jess is gone, and now all their problems are over. She refuses to talk about it any more, and only talks about her trip to New York as a “horrible, horrible day”. It’s very dishonest, especially to herself, when her day in New York with Jess was an absolutely magical experience until the bus debacle.
It will take just a little while longer for Rory to also realise that she is falling for Jess.
Rory must have taken a bus straight back to Stars Hollow when she arrived in Hartford, rather than going to the college and risking missing Lorelai. It’s probably around 9.30 pm when Lorelai gets home, and who knows how long Rory has been waiting?
Lorelai goes from “worried mom” mode into “hurt mom” mode as soon as she makes sure that Rory is safe and that nothing terrible has happened to anyone else. She listens in shock as she hears Rory tell her that on a day that was very important to Lorelai, Rory decided on a whim to cut school and go to New York.
It isn’t Rory’s fault that there was an accident on the interstate, and the mistake with the bus schedule is fairly understandable. Any other Thursday, Rory could have got home hours late and pleaded some school activity keeping her, and Lorelai would have accepted it. But she had to pick the one Thursday to go to New York when her mother needed her to be there to help celebrate Lorelai’s achievement. It’s an act of monumental thoughtlessness and selfishness.
In an extra-cruel twist to Rory’s (self-inflicted) misfortunes, she is so tired and eager to get off the bus that she accidentally leaves the Go-Go’s album behind that she bought as a graduation present for Lorelai. There cannot be even one positive thing to come out of her trip to New York!
Rory refers to “Concert Interruptus”, when she saw The Bangles on their reunion tour in New York, in February 2001. Jess is polite about it when he knows Rory thinks they’re great, although he can’t possibly think they match his idea of what’s “cool”.
This is the song which plays while Rory and Jess walk through the streets of New York to get a hotdog and then go to the subway. It’s a 1992 song by Yoko Ono, first released on Onobox, a comprehensive 6-disc collection of Yoko Ono’s work from 1968 to 1985. It included 20 previously unreleased songs, of which “O’Oh” is one.
The lyrics are about a couple enjoying the Fourth of July celebrations in Central Park together, so it’s a song about New York. Some of the lyrics are:
I never knew we could be so nice to each other
I never thought we’d be laughing together
I never knew life could be sweet and simple
I never thought that was possible
Not only does the song suit the setting they are in (although it’s May, not July, and a different park), but the lyrics are about how Rory feels about Jess. The surprise of finding that being with him is not only sweet, but simple – you can feel how easily the two of them get along, how effortlessly they laugh together.
Rory finally gets to meet Jess away from Stars Hollow, and he’s not surly, not bitter, not sarcastic – he’s sweet, he’s nice, he’s funny, in a way she never thought possible. She has taken any number of practical, physical, and emotional risks to come to New York to see him, and she gets the softest of landings, as Jess finally opens up to her, now that he’s received unexpected proof of how much Rory cares for him.
There is a real flipside feeling to the choice of song, because when Rory had her sweetest and most romantic experience with Dean (sitting in the car wreck on their anniversary), the song chosen to accompany it was by John Lennon. Now her sweetest and most romantic scene with Jess is accompanied by a Yoko Ono song. (Both songs have Oh in the title, also).
It is as if Jess and Dean are her Yin and Yang – Dean the Yang which complements her, and Jess the Yin which matches her. With Dean, there is an attraction of opposites; with Jess, an attraction of like minds, or twin souls.
RORY: Take light layers. Wear your turquoise and tan dress that you just got that’s cool and it’ll look good without your gown on, and wear your turquoise vintagey sweater over it because it’ll look great with the dress and it’ll keep you warm if it’s cold in the auditorium.
LORELAI: You are a fashion genius.
RORY: Well, you’ve taught me everything I know.
Rory’s fashion advice to Lorelai is a callback to “Kiss and Tell” in Season 1, when a panicked Rory can’t decide what to wear for her first date with Dean until Lorelai picks out a top for her. Now it is Rory’s turn to help out her mother when she is too keyed up about graduating to select an outfit.
I’m not sure whether we’re meant to think Rory has become a full-blown fashion expert in the past 18 months, or just that either Gilmore girl is capable of getting the odd brain freeze, and needs the other to help out so they can get dressed. The shows seems to be leaning towards the former, because Rory was so stunned at the way her mother could instantly pick the right top.
Also note, Rory Gilmore’s fashion genius advice – wear layers, no headwear over curls. You got that for free.
This 1979 song is playing while Lorelai celebrates her exams being over with margaritas. It’s by new wave band the B-52s, from their debut album The B-52’s.The kitschy lyrics and hook-laden harmonies helped give the band a fanbase, and they released several chart-topping singles. The album received mostly positive reviews from critics, who noted that it cleverly recycled early funk and Chicago blues into an eminently danceable party album. The album went to #59 in the US, was most popular in Australia at #7, and is regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time.
This is a callback to “The Deer Hunters”, when Lorelai wore a B-52s tee shirt to the parent-teacher meeting. She told Max Medina she wasn’t really a big fan, it was just something to wear because she spilled coffee on her blouse. Now we see she is enough of a fan to own this album, and to put it on when she’s in a celebratory party mood.
By the way, the song’s title doesn’t refer to a particular number of girls, but is a tribute to those women, both famous and obscure, who rocked the beehive hairdo, otherwise known as the B-52, or just “the 52” (and are therefore “52 girls”). It is this hairstyle that the band is named after.
LORELAI: Hey, what’s with Narcoleptic Nate over there?
[Jackson, who is leaning against the counter with his eyes closed, moans]
SOOKIE: He’s not much of a morning person.
Slightly unbelievably, Jackson, a market gardener, isn’t much good in the mornings, and needs at least an hour of sitting around semi-comatose in his pyjamas before he wakes up. Shouldn’t he be getting up at dawn every day for work? I feel as if market gardeners are, by the nature of their profession, early risers, especially in spring. You can’t just wander in at 9.15 am with a cup of coffee, saying, “Wow traffic was really bad this morning, huh?” to the tomatoes.
EMILY: How did this [Rory’s fractured wrist] happen?
An amusing callback to the previous episode, when Lorelai was trying to think of excuses she could use on her parents to explain why Rory was wearing a cast. All she had come up with was, “Really big bees”. Notice that Rory has a cute bee sticker decoration on her cast, the possible inspiration for this ridiculous lie (or the lie inspired the sticker?).
Before leaving for Hartford, Lorelai grabs a burger from a take-out place that is just a window in a wall, called KC’s Annex. It’s next to an art gallery that I don’t think we ever hear about. The burger is disgusting, according to Lorelai, and she is going to starve to death if Luke doesn’t get back soon (even though Stars Hollow has more food options than is economically plausible!).
This looks like the same take-out window where Lorelai bought fiesta burgers for herself and Max when they were on a date in Stars Hollow. (The menu is identical, and they both have a green window frame in a red brick wall). It might be where Lorelai and Rory buy their hotdogs, fries, and thickshakes that they bring to town meetings, as they aren’t from Luke’s.
It seems the food from KC’s is fine, as long as you know Luke’s is available as a regular option. The idea of being stuck eating nothing but KC’s is a horrible one. Lorelai drives past Luke’s, which is still closed, just as a reminder of what she is missing.
The song which plays when the rabbi doll is moved so Rory can get pizza money.
Hava Nagila is a modern Jewish folk song traditionally sung at Jewish celebrations. It was composed in 1918 to celebrate the Balfour Declaration and the British victory over the Ottomans in 1917; there are competing claims over who wrote the simple lyrics, but the tune is a traditional Hasidic religious song. Hava Nagila translates as “Let us rejoice”, and the song is all about being happy.