Bobby Brady

RORY: The food is for the dancers.

SHANE: Who are you, Bobby Brady? Get a life.

Bobby Brady, portrayed by Mike Lookinland on the TV show, the youngest boy on The Brady Bunch, previously discussed.

Also, how ridiculous is it that the refreshments are only for the dance contestants, and not the spectators? They have to sit in the bleachers for sixteen hours or more with nothing to eat or drink? I’m with Shane – butt out, Rory!

Jess and Mrs Kim

MRS. KIM: Who are you?

JESS: Jess . . . ma’am.

Jess is the town bad boy with a smart mouth for everyone. Only Mrs Kim can bring him instantly into line and force him to speak respectfully, and she does it with three words and a stern look. You can’t help thinking that if Jess had had a grandmother or aunt like Mrs Kim, he would be a very different kid.

It seems as if the fake egg sandwiches are the only food provided at the 24 hour dance marathon, which is pretty terrible. And there’s no refrigeration, so this seems like another salmonella outbreak waiting to happen on the show.

The Runaround

RORY: How much longer?

LORELAI: I don’t know. I just know that every year I block this part out.

After already dancing for more than fourteen hours, the dancers are then forced to race each other around the gym for an undetermined period, with the last five couples to complete the lap when the music stops being eliminated from the competition. The “runaround”, as it is known, is taken directly from the film They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, in which “elimination derbies” are held to maintain the spectators flagging interest. The consequences are fatal for one of the characters in the film.

Lorelai says she blocks this part out every year. Apparently Rory has blocked it out too, even though she’s only ever watched, as she has no knowledge of it. It seems they’ve only ever had a runaround after Rory has either gone home or fallen asleep in the bleachers.

The Rules

Taylor explains all the rules of the dance marathon just before it starts – important information for the episode ahead.

The marathon starts at 6 am on Saturday, and finishes 24 hours later at 6 am on Sunday.

Any couple without a number will be disqualified.

All couples must be touching at all times.

All couples must remain moving at all times.

The only time couples may stop touching or moving is when Taylor blows an air horn, which allows for a ten-minute rest, snack, drink, bathroom break etc period.

In case of emergency, a contestant may use their yellow card to leave the floor for ten minutes. Their partner must remain on the floor and keep moving throughout this emergency break.

First aid is available at Miss Patty’s.

If you feel unwell or dizzy etc, move to the side so that your medical episode does not impede other dancers.

You can see on the scoreboard behind Taylor that 156 couples signed up for the marathon. That sounds pretty successful!

Jamie and Paris

PARIS: Well, we went for coffee, and he talked about how he had a great time on our date, and how he finds me fascinating, and how he thought about me all the time.

In this episode, Paris gets her first boyfriend, Jamie. She is typically in disbelief as to why Jamie would choose her over “idiot” college girls who are prettier and more (sexually) experienced, but Jamie is never shown to be anything other than adoring of Paris.

Having a boyfriend seems to make Paris instantly more relaxed about her academic life. She turns up late to class the next morning after seeing Jamie, even though they supposedly only had coffee after school (must have been some coffee!), and is happy to postpone the work they were supposed to do on the weekend for the school newspaper. Because of this, Rory is able to be her mother’s partner for the dance marathon in this episode.

Riverdance

RORY: Who’s Stanley Appleman?

LORELAI: Oh, he’s brand new in town. He works over at the hardware store, and the best part is, he used to be part of the touring company . . . of Riverdance.

Riverdance, theatrical show that consists mainly of traditional Irish music and dance. With a score composed by Bill Whelan, it originated as an interval act during the Eurovision Song Contest 1994. Shortly afterwards, it was expanded into a stage show, which opened in Dublin in 1995. Since then, the show has visited over 450 venues worldwide and been seen by over 25 million people, making it one of the most successful dance productions in the world.

Riverdance comes to Hartford every year. Did Stanley join the company while it was in Connecticut, or did he like the area so much he decided to stay there? How do you go from touring with Riverdance to working in hardware in a small town?

Tommy Tune

LORELAI: And Ho-Ho’s fading, so I’m trying to buck him up, saying “Come on, Ho-Ho. Stay with me Ho-Ho,” and then all of a sudden he starts yelling, “Stop calling me Ho-Ho, it’s making me hungry!”

LUKE: Oh, hey, look, there goes Tommy Tune.

Thomas “Tommy” Tune (born 1939), actor, dancer, singer, theatre director, producer, and choreographer. Over the course of his career, he has won ten Tony Awards, the National Medal of Arts, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Luke tries to distract Lorelai from her story with his quip about a famous dancer, as if Lorelai might be interested in him as a partner. Lorelai seems to be very interested in getting a tall partner, and Tommy Tune is over six foot six.

Dance Marathon

In this episode, Stars Hollow is holding a dance marathon to raise money. Dance marathons began in the 1920s and were at their peak in the 1930s, with people vying to win the cash prize at the end, that could be for as much as a year’s salary. Today they are generally held as charity fundraisers, and only last for twelve to twenty-four hours, not the thousands of hours they went on for in times past, which sounds like absolute torture (and they were often rigged as well).

We learn that the dance marathon is an annual event, that Lorelai has been close to winning it for four years in a row, since 1998, and that the previous year she only lost at the eleventh hour. It’s possible the one in 2001 took place around the same time as Mia’s visit (she may have come back for it). The one in 2000 presumably took place after Lorelai’s date with Max.

According to the banner in the town square, this is the 50th annual dance marathon in Stars Hollow, so the first one was held in 1952. In fact, this is around the time dance marathons began to decline in popularity. Could Stars Hollow have really been thirty years behind the trends?

They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?

The episode’s title is a reference to the 1969 psychological drama film, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, directed by Sydney Pollack and based on the 1935 novel of the same name by Horace McCoy.

Set during the Depression, the film focuses on a group of people desperate to win a dance marathon where they are ruthlessly exploited, and stars Jane Fonda, Michael Sarrazin, and Susannah York. The title comes from the fact that horses are shot once they break their legs to put them out of their misery. The film was a commercial success, and is regarded as one of the best films of its era. It has aged well, and is still finding admirers.

As in the film, this episode is about a dance marathon – although it isn’t nearly as dramatic as the one in the film.