Max in the Kitchen with the Gilmores

We are treated to a scene where Max cooks dinner for the Gilmores in Stars Hollow; he has already been shown to be an excellent cook earlier in the show. There are comic bits to demonstrate how quirkily undomesticated the Gilmore girls are – Lorelai cuts Max with a knife any time she tries to help cook, and neither Lorelai nor Rory can identify their own broiler (grill), even being alarmed to find it is “on fire”. Rory finds the smell of food cooking to be “weird”, in a good way.

Incidentally, we seem to have somehow skipped a day, Gilmore Girls style. Rory and Dean planned to watch The Holy Grail together that night, but instead she is having dinner and a movie with Lorelai and Max. We know it is the same day, because Rory is still wearing the exact same clothes.

We might also wonder what happened to Friday Night Dinner with the elder Gilmores, as it’s a Friday. The same thing happened in Christopher Returns (also written by Daniel Palladino) – when Christopher stayed over with Lorelai and Rory, Friday Night Dinner just disappeared without comment.

At least this time there’s a possible explanation: it’s summer, and Richard and Emily may be spending their vacation in the house they rented on Martha’s Vineyard.

“Tomorrow’s our anniversary”

RORY: Max is staying over.
DEAN: Really?
RORY: First time. And to kind of celebrate, he and my mom wanted to go on a double date.
DEAN: But tomorrow’s our anniversary.
RORY: No it’s not, it’s on the twenty-fourth.
DEAN: No, that was our old anniversary. We broke up, and got back together on the sixth. So using the twenty-fourth wouldn’t be an accurate account of how long we’ve been together.

This is the point where we learn Rory’s birth date, as Rory and Dean date their relationship from the day after her birthday, when Dean gave her a bracelet in Rory’s Birthday Parties. According to this scene, that happened on October 24, so Rory’s birthday is October 23.

(That means their anniversary dinner should have been on the 24th day of a month too, January 24, but although it actually happened in March, it doesn’t fit the timeline of events to be March 24.)

In real life, October 23 2000 was a Monday, not a Friday as in Gilmore Girls (so October 24 2000 was a Tuesday, not a Saturday).

We also learn that Rory and Dean were reunited on Friday May 6 2001 – we know it was a Friday, because Rory was at school, and the next day was a weekend. In real life, May 6 2001 was a Sunday. May 6 doesn’t fit the timeline we are given in the show, where Rory and Dean are shown getting back together around mid-May.

As Dean is preparing to celebrate their monthly anniversary on August 6, the next day, it must be August 5 in this scene. It is the same day as the previous scene Rory had with Lorelai (she is wearing the same clothes) which seemed to be a Friday. As Max is coming for the weekend, Friday seems to be correct. In real life, August 5 2001 was a Sunday.

Rory and Dean’s conversation tells us that Max and Lorelai’s wedding is planned for Saturday 20 August 2001 – two weeks and one day away.

(Rory and Dean decide they will celebrate their “anniversary” twice a month, on both the 6th and the 24th.)

“I built a house yesterday”

KIRK: I have to tell you, I’m a little worried about this gazebo holding up all those hoofers. They never did a trial run like I requested.
RORY: Oh, I think it’s okay. The studs are definitely sound, and the two by fours are a nice number two structural grade. Or better possibly. I built a house yesterday.

Again, for Rory to have built a house yesterday, on a Saturday, and it’s now Saturday night, shows that we have strangely had two Saturdays in a row.

“I had a really lousy night”

LORELAI: Hey Sookie. Is there any coffee left? I had a really lousy night.
SOOKIE: Oh sorry. Ya know, I’ve been so busy I didn’t even think about it.

This scene takes place on the day following the night where Lorelai had a fight with Emily – oddly, they both take place on Saturdays. We know this because the fight took place the day after Friday Night Dinner, and the engagement party is also on a Saturday. But instead of those things being a week apart, they happen within 24 hours of each other.

“Thirty-two years”

EMILY: And what about me confuses you Lorelai?
LORELAI: Well, so many things. I mean, for example, why can’t you keep a maid in this house? I mean, there must’ve been a thousand women who’ve gone through here in the thirty-two years that I’ve been alive, and not one of them could stick it out.

In fact, Lorelai had her birthday about two months ago, and is now thirty-three. It’s possible that at this stage Lorelai’s birthday had not been settled on, and it might have been imagined as later in the year.

Poor Max is left to stand uncomfortably by the door, unwelcome and completely unacknowledged by Lorelai and Emily while they have their fight. It’s an inauspicious meeting with his prospective mother-in-law, and demonstrates he is little more than a sideshow in Lorelai’s life.

“Six-thirty in the morning!”

LORELAI: What are you doing?
LUKE: Fixing your porch rail.
LORELAI: That’s right. You are. You’re fixing my porch rail … at six-thirty in the morning!
LUKE: It was the only time I could do it.

The diner opens at 6 am, so what is Luke doing at Lorelai’s at 6.30? Has he just left Rachel and the rest of the staff to cook and run the diner while he wanders off to do handyman work for Lorelai? Or does the diner open later on Sundays?

“Tomorrow night”

LORELAI: All right, we’ll see you tomorrow night.
EMILY: Seven o’clock.

After Lorelai and Rory thank Emily for taking good care of her granddaughter, they inexplicably agree to meet the following night at 7 pm for Friday Night Dinner.

Rory ran away to her grandparents’ house on Thursday evening, and stayed all night there. The following afternoon Lorelai arrived to pick Rory up after school, which was surely Friday (and it would have made more sense for Lorelai to arrive for Friday Night Dinner as usual, knowing Rory would already be there).

But no, it is somehow Thursday again, and they have to wait another day for Friday. Time runs strangely in Gilmore Land …

Up With People

LORELAI: Okay, then just meet me in town around four, and we’ll get some Indian food, and spoil our dinner. What do you say to that?
RORY: Whatever.
LORELAI: Hey, love the enthusiasm. Hey, does Up With People know about you?

Up With People is an educational organisation founded in 1965, intended to inspire young people to make a difference. After training, each UWP group is sent on a tour of various communities to participate in service projects, learn about different cultures, and perform peppy musical stage show productions. They have been criticised for their right-wing politics and cult-like behaviour.

In a later season we learn that Lorelai actually can’t stand Indian food, although Rory loves it. It’s not clear if Lorelai offering to get Indian food is a continuity issue, or if Lorelai is making a huge concession for Rory in order to cheer her up. It’s notable that Lorelai plans to eat a second dinner though – possibly because she intends to eat as little Indian food as possible.

Rory Shows Emily the Potting Shed

(Rory opens the door and walks in. Emily looks in from the doorway.)
RORY: I know it’s looks small, but it’s really pretty. Come on. See, we had our bed right over there, and Mom put up this really pretty curtain around the tub so that it looked like a real bathroom. And we would just sit outside at night when the Inn would have parties, and we’d just listen to music and feed the ducks and . . . (Emily walks away) Grandma? Grandma wait, what’s the matter?

This is the potting shed next to the duck pond at the Independence Inn that Lorelai and Rory lived in when they first moved to Stars Hollow, as they had no money for accommodation (like the Holy Family, there was “no room at the inn”, and they were put in an outbuilding, so Baby Rory was just like Baby Jesus).

The shed is sturdy but rustic, and is stocked with gardening tools and plants, like any potting shed: it isn’t clear if those things were there while Lorelai and Rory lived there. Their bed is no longer there (they must have shared a single bed together), but the bath has been left, including the curtain that Lorelai put around it to serve as a bathroom wall. Lorelai mentioned that it has rosebud wallpaper, but the shed is painted white inside and doesn’t look as though it’s got the kind of walls that you could easily wallpaper.

It looks impractical for bringing up a baby, and we learn later that they moved to Stars Hollow in the autumn, so it would have been very cold as well (we don’t know what they used for heating). We don’t know how long they lived in this temporary accomodation, but long enough for Rory, who was only a baby when they came to Stars Hollow, to have some memories of it, and long enough that the weather became warm enough for them to sit outside at night. I would guess at least a year, and possibly two. Who looked after baby Rory while Lorelai was working is unknown.

This is the first time that Emily has ever seen the potting shed, and she is clearly distraught to discover the conditions her daughter and granddaughter lived in. Lorelai told Sookie that her parents visited them a few times at the inn while Rory was a baby, but they never saw where they slept at night. Lorelai was probably clever at keeping them away from the shed, but their lack of curiosity is surprising. Perhaps they were scared to push it in case Lorelai ran even further away.

In this case, it is Emily who runs away, too upset to spend any more time with Rory or even say a proper goodbye to her. This incident serves as a device to keep Emily at a distance from Stars Hollow. Emily was having a good time with Rory, and was fitting in well with the townspeople, finding that she had things in common with Mrs. Kim and Michel. By showing her in the potting shed, it explains why Emily doesn’t visit Stars Hollow more often in the future.

Where they lived between the potting shed when Rory was a baby/toddler, and moving into their own house when Rory was eleven, is a complete mystery and never mentioned. Perhaps Lorelai saved up enough money to rent a cheap apartment for them, but renting would make it hard to save for a house. They could have lived in a friend’s house (with Sookie?), but if so, nobody ever refers to it.

In real life, it wouldn’t be legal for anyone to live in the potting shed under Connecticut zoning laws, but I’m not sure that would stop Lorelai anyway – rules were made for non-Gilmores!

Emily and Michel Meet

(They introduce themselves and shake hands)
EMILY: Enchantée. D’où venez vous?
MICHEL: Paris.
EMILY: J’adore Paris. Nous y allons chaque printemps.

Emily says, “Pleased to meet you. Where are you from?”, and Michel says he’s from Paris. Emily says, “I love Paris. We go there every spring”.

In fact, Richard and Emily go to Europe every second year in the fall, and specifically refused to go to Paris in the spring, questioning whether there was anything to see at that time of year.

Emily and Michel instantly hit it off, with Emily pronouncing him a “charming man”, and Michel telling Lorelai, “I just love your mother”. It makes sense that the two people who most enjoy  torturing Lorelai would like each other.