Another Confusing Timeline

As with so many episodes written by Daniel Palladino, I cannot follow the timeline of this episode very easily. It opens early in the morning, and we know it’s a school day, because Rory is dressed in her Chilton uniform. Yes, she has to get a bus to school, and they can’t go to the diner, so it makes perfect sense for them to walk a long way for a friend to cook them breakfast! They really should have just made their own breakfast, for practical reasons.

However, the next few scenes have Rory dressed in her normal clothes and Lorelai isn’t at work, so that it seems to be the weekend. That implies they had breakfast at Sookie’s on a Friday morning, but the previous episode ended on Friday night. And they can’t have skipped a week, because Rory was meant to have her cast removed in two weeks, so it would have been gone by that time.

I think just as “PS I Lo … ” has two Thursdays in a row, there are two Fridays in a row as we transition from “Help Wanted” and “Lorelai’s Graduation Day”.

The timeline issue could have been fixed by simply making their breakfast on Saturday morning, which makes sense because they always eat out for breakfast on Saturday, and they would have plenty of time to walk to Sookie’s (and Lane would have the free time to practice drumming on pots and pans). It would even make it slightly more plausible that Jackson was sitting around in his PJs and not at work.

Possibly the problem isn’t the fault of the writer this time, but of the costume department, for putting Rory in a school uniform she shouldn’t have been wearing. The only way I can make sense of this is for Rory to have run out of clean clothes and forced to wear her uniform on a weekend – or she has some school activity that Saturday, like a debate, and is already dressed for it.

“He’s not much of a morning person”

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.

Note that Jackson is wearing his pyjamas with his own photos on them, a callback to “Secrets and Loans” when they caught Jackson in his pyjamas previously, and they learned his cousin has a printing business putting photos on items.

“You are not your uncle”

LUKE: What Taylor said about me being like Louie, a loner, never being married and stuff. I mean, I am getting crankier as I get older, he’s not so far off.

LORELAI: You are not your uncle. I mean, would Louie ever build someone a chuppah, or help fix things around someone’s house without being asked, or make a special coffee cake with balloons for a girl’s sixteenth birthday?

The point of the episode is for Luke to begin questioning whether he is on the same path as Louie – a bit of a cranky loner, unmarried and childless, with only a lonely death ahead of him that will come as a welcome relief to those around him.

Lorelai, who has always been one of the first to criticise him for his loner tendencies, reassures Luke that he is not Louie. Unlike Louie, Luke has a kind heart, and has done many things to help Lorelai and Rory, as well as taking in Jess without asking for anything in return. I think it’s fair to say that Louie would never have bothered so much over an uncle’s funeral as Luke dutifully does for him, either.

Lorelai and Luke have this conversation in front of a wreath of spring flowers, Lorelai wearing a jacket with a pattern of deep red roses, symbolising love, and a pink tee-shirt under it. There’s something slightly romantic or even wedding-like about the look of the scene. It’s certainly not funereal.

Mr Peanut

PARIS: This was the big night you had planned – a rendezvous with Mr. Peanut?

Mr Peanut is the advertising mascot for Planters Peanut Company, depicted as a peanut in the shell dressed as a gentleman, in top hat and monocle. Planters was founded in 1906 in Pennsylvania; Mr Peanut was created in 1916 after a schoolboy named Antonio Gentile won a design contest, with alterations made by artist Andrew S. Wallach.

Rory opens the door to Paris dressed in pyjamas decorated with Mr Peanut-like figures. (Rory’s pyjamas often have food themes; Lorelai said her “cutest” pyjamas had cupcakes on them).

“I’m a saint”

DEAN: I’m a saint, but I’m not mad.

RORY: Thank you.

While locking lips with Rory against a tree, Dean suggests that since Lorelai is away, he should come over. It’s possibly code for “let’s get sexy” (and Rory and Dean are more than a year over the age of consent in Connecticut), but to his surprise, Rory explains that she has plans to spend some time alone. She is afraid that Dean will be angry with her – she’s very scared of his temper.

Although disappointed and confused (the idea of a girl deciding to spend time alone for one night is beyond his ken), Dean kindly allows Rory the chance to do laundry in peace, as long as she “makes up for it” by spending all the next day with him. And then declares himself a saint for this outstanding act of munificence. Saint Dean, the patron saint of understanding boyfriends.

Note the touch of red Dean is wearing under his jacket, as if there is actually an underlying anger there.

Yankees, Mets

LORELAI: I mean, I could answer the door wrapped in cellophane but unless I was wearing a Yankees cap . . . ugh, he wouldn’t even notice.
LUKE: Geez.
LORELAI: Oh, don’t be embarrassed Snuffy, I’m just teasing. It’d be a Mets cap.

The New York Yankees and the New York Mets are the only two major league baseball teams in New York City – The Yankees are based in The Bronx, and the Mets in Queens.

Lorelai really is teasing – Luke always wears a Yankees cap, because Scott Patterson played for The New York Yankees. They are by far the more successful team as well, being quite possibly the most successful US professional sports team of all time.

[Picture shows a vintage navy blue Yankees cap, similar to Luke’s].

“Nobody asked me if I wanted to move to Stars Hollow”

LUKE: Jess, come on.
JESS: Hey, nobody asked me if I wanted to move to Stars Hollow, but I’m here. Pick whatever place you want and I’ll be there too.

A reminder and confirmation that Jess had no say in the decision to send him to Luke, and that his mother didn’t even ask whether he wanted to go or not. Now Luke is telling him that they have to move, and he is going to be uprooted again, with no say in it. He seems prepared to submit to this change too, with the resignation of someone who has no choice in the matter.

Note that Jess is wearing the “emotional” red, covered up with the dark blue of sadness, as if his anger is hidden under a cloak of depression.

“It should’ve been you!”

EMILY: Christopher gets his life together with that woman.
LORELAI: So, that’s good.
EMILY: It should’ve been you!

Emily is extremely upset when Rory doesn’t come to Friday Night Dinner because she’s having a night out with Sherry. She immediately fears that Sherry will “take Rory away” from them, and is terrified that Christopher and Sherry will obtain weekend custody of Rory. She’s slightly on the old side to be a tug-of-love child at seventeen, and I’m pretty sure you have to pay child support to get even part-time custody of your child, which Christopher has never done.

Emily says she is heartbroken, because she always pictured Lorelai and Christopher being together, so that Rory could finally have two parents. Christopher was never ready to commit and was no kind of provider, but now it looks as if he was capable of settling down and working at a steady job, he just needed to find the right woman.

Completely and cruelly unfairly, Emily now blames Christopher’s general uselessness on Lorelai, saying that if she’d really tried, she could have influenced him to become a better man. Really? At the age of only sixteen, frightened, pregnant, and alone, she should have been responsible for Christopher’s life as well? Lorelai had a baby to care for and support, she didn’t need to take care of Christopher as well (and Rory would have suffered horribly if she did).

Emily is no better than Straub, laying all the responsibility for Christopher’s failure at Lorelai’s feet. It’s a horrible thing to say to her daughter.

Lorelai does admit that she has feelings for Christopher and isn’t happy about Sherry either, but she is trying to focus on doing what’s right, and being happy for Christopher. This unselfishness is roundly condemned by Emily, who goes upstairs to cry on her bed. (Later we find out she did eventually come down to dinner, but sulked all the way through it).

The episode’s title comes from Emily’s outburst to Lorelai, that, “It should’ve been you!”. Note that Emily’s outfit is mostly sad black, with touches of angry red. Lorelai is in grey, trying to remain neutral.

Lorelai and Rory Fight About Jess

EMILY: It’s not nothing. You’ve both been sitting here all night, not saying a word and not even looking at each other. Are you in a fight?
LORELAI: I’m not.
RORY: Please.
LORELAI: Please what? You are the one who’s been freezing me out all week.
RORY: I just haven’t had anything to say.

At Friday Night Dinner, we learn that Lorelai and Rory haven’t been speaking since they argued about Rory’s relationship with Jess. It’s a pattern they tend to get into when they are angry with each other, freezing each other out and refusing to talk things over.

It’s notable that in the scenes we see of them arguing together, Rory never once says what you expect from a girl in her situation: that Jess is only a friend who shares one of her hobbies, and that him buying her basket was just one of his pranks. She reminds Lorelai that she didn’t like Dean at first either, as if she is already thinking of Jess as a replacement for Dean.

Note that Rory is in angry red, and Lorelai in sad black for this scene, a common costume choice for fight scenes on the show.