Jess Returns to Stars Hollow

Luke goes upstairs to his apartment and finds Jess there. Luke’s first question is how Jess got in, because the only entrance is through the diner and up the stairs, and nobody saw Jess come up. Either he was able to time his arrival so that everyone was busy and distracted just as he got there, or he was able to gain entrance by climbing into an upstairs window somehow – neither of which sounds very plausible.

Jess tells Luke that although things are fine with his mother, and he’s not in any trouble, he wants to come back to Stars Hollow and live with Luke. Luke says that things will have to be different, and Jess agrees. Luke informs Jess that Rory and Dean are still together, and to leave them be. Learning that Rory is at Sookie’s wedding, Jess says he needs to take a walk. Rory came all the way to New York to see him, and it looks as if Jess has returned the favour by coming all the way to Stars Hollow to see her …

Note that Luke doesn’t seem to have received an invitation to Sookie and Jackson’s wedding. Perhaps Sookie has left him off the guest list in support of her bridesmaid, Lorelai, since he and Lorelai are still in an argument. Or perhaps he turned the invitation down, pleading work as an excuse, since he is running the diner as usual.

Senior Ditch Day

PARIS: Not that the person who actually wins will even know who Hubert Humphrey is, but hey, I bet they’ll organize one boffo senior ditch day.

Ditch Day, previously discussed.

Boffo, US slang meaning “very good”. It originated from the film trade magazine, Variety.

Note that Paris is wearing one of the 400 campaign buttons that Lorelai made for them, showing Rory’s and Paris’ faces, against what looks like the US flag (as if it’s a real presidential election, not just one for school).

Lorelai Invites Christopher to the Wedding

Lorelai invites Christopher (another woman’s boyfriend!) to Sookie and Jackson’s wedding, as her “plus one”. At last her interest is piqued when he casually accepts this invitation, and she asks him if maybe he should run this plan past Sherry.

Christopher tells her that Sherry is out of town (as if that has somehow negated her very existence), and that they haven’t been getting on very well lately. Before she left on a business trip – more evidence that it was Sherry’s business trip they were on before, not Christopher’s, by the way – they agreed that they would take this time apart as an opportunity to do some thinking about their relationship.

This is all Christopher’s narrative of course, we don’t know if all, or any, of this is true, or if Sherry would have a different version of events. However, Christopher says he had already decided that he is going to start looking for an apartment so he can move out. Even though Christopher and Sherry are not actually broken up yet and Christopher has not told Sherry he’s moving out, nor has he made any moves to do so, Lorelai is now perfectly satisfied about taking Christopher to the wedding.

Note that Christopher hands Lorelai his coat to put over her bare shoulders, and that she sits increasingly closer to him during this scene, as he tells her about Sherry. She keeps her leg crossed away from him though, as if not ready to be completely vulnerable to him. We also get another reminder that the wedding is on Sunday, in case we’ve forgotten about it.

Jackson Has to Wear a Kilt to the Wedding

Jackson is dismayed when his father hands him a kilt to wear to his wedding on the weekend. It’s a family tradition, and both Jackson’s father and grandfather were married in kilts, suggesting that the Belleville family have Scottish heritage. (Which made more sense when Jackson’s surname was Melville, which is a Scottish surname, while Belleville is French – although there is a historical relationship between France and Scotland, so it’s not unrealistic either).

I am not able to identify Jackson’s tartan – it looks most like a Buchanan Clan tartan, but I suspect it’s fictional.

Note that Jackson’s father is played by the real life father of Jackson Douglas, the actor who plays Jackson Belleville.

Sookie and Jackson’s Rehearsal Dinner

LORELAI: But if you’re gonna be in the area Thursday night, you can come with us to the dinner.

CHRISTOPHER: But it’s Sookie’s rehearsal dinner.

LORELAI: Oh, she would love it. She’s cooking for a thousand. It’ll be fun.

Sookie and Jackson’s wedding rehearsal dinner is on Thursday, and Lorelai invites Christopher to it, since he already offered to take Lorelai and Rory out to dinner that night. The Gilmore girls are strangely un-curious about how and why Christopher is suddenly so available for outings with them, and neither bothers to ask where Sherry is, or why she isn’t coming too.

Note we get another day of the week reference to keep us on track. The wedding rehearsal is Thursday, the elections are Friday, the wedding is on Sunday. Got it?

Sookie and Jackson’s Wedding

This episode is centred around Sookie and Jackson’s wedding day, and the first shot is the poster the couple are using for the celebration. It’s a huge blown up photo of Sookie and Jackson against a field of flowers (possibly a standard photography studio background?), with Sookie holding a wedding cake, and Jackson in a Hawaiian shirt holding a bunch of bananas. It’s typical sweet goofiness from this so-far adorable couple.

Note that the wedding date is prominently displayed as May 19 2002, changed from the earlier May 15. And May 19 really was a Sunday in 2002! This is the first time we’ve got a rock-solid date for anything that actually fits into a real world time frame.

If you keep an eye out, you will see other photos of Sookie and Jackson used on decorative throw pillows and what not in this episode – I imagine that Jackson’s cousin with the printing business was called in to do these, and he quite likely made the poster as well.

“I’m sick”

RORY: I am sick, I’m ill, I’m cracked. This is not who I am. If I were to write this down in my diary and I would read it, I would be like, Who is this freak? This isn’t me. This isn’t my diary. I wouldn’t do this. I wouldn’t skip school when I have finals coming up to go see a guy that isn’t even my guy and end up missing my mother’s graduation, which I wanted to be at so badly. That’s someone else. That’s someone flighty and stupid and dumb and girly. And, I mean, I missed your graduation, which is the worst thing I could have possibly done. I mean, I hurt you and I had to spend hours on a stinky bus next to a guy that was spitting into a can, just thinking about all of the minutes that were going by that I wasn’t at your graduation and they were hurting you, and they should have been hurting you because it was so selfish of this person who wasn’t me to do what she did.

Rory’s snap decision to go to New York is something she can’t explain logically, so that she says she must have a physical or mental illness. Not only has she let her mother down badly one one of the most important days of her life, but she skipped a day of school in the lead up to final exams, and it was to see a boy who isn’t even her boyfriend (and her boyfriend wouldn’t be thrilled to hear about this, which he won’t, because Rory has got into the habit of not being truthful with Dean).

Rory’s tearful, extravagant apology and her description of how bad she feels and how much she has already suffered for her actions has the effect of negating any of Lorelai’s feelings, or allowing her to tell Rory how she feels – because however unhappy Lorelai feels about Rory not turning up, Rory feels a million times worse.

It would be quite manipulative if done on purpose, but I think it is done in all innocence and sincerity. However, it’s very unfair on Lorelai, who now has to put aside not only her own feelings, but all the positive feelings she has about graduating, and focus on Rory’s problems.

Rory’s behaviour must seem horribly familiar to Lorelai. A teenage girl acting reckless and boy crazy, making foolish, selfish choices, and behaving in an irresponsible manner? She’s starting to sound an awful lot like Lorelai when she was a smart private schoolgirl.

Note that Rory speaks here about writing in her diary as if she actually has one – she doesn’t say, “If I had a diary”, or “If I wrote this down in a diary”, she says, “If I were to write this down in my diary”. There’s a strong suggestion here that Rory has a diary which she writes in regularly, which seems completely in character for her. I’m guessing the entry for this day would be very painful to write.

Lorelai Graduates

The moment arrives, and it is Lorelai’s turn to graduate, after three years of studying business at community college. As her name is read out, we discover for the first time that her middle name is Victoria (oddly enough, the last time we saw the name in the show, it was on a gay bar – The Queen Victoria!).

A popular fan theory is that because Richard named Lorelai after his beloved mother, her middle name of Victoria was chosen by Emily, and was perhaps the name she wishes that Lorelai had. It does seem like Emily to choose a name from royalty.

Richard and Emily look at Lorelai graduating with such pride, and I think feeling glad that they have been included in this important event. They could have been snobbish about her graduating from a community college, or even embarrassed that she doesn’t graduate until her thirties. They could have done the bare minimum; shown up, sat at the back, and given a quick congratulations before going home.

Instead they hire a professional filmmaker to record the ceremony, order dozens of corsages so Lorelai can choose whichever one she likes best, and watch Lorelai graduate with expressions of love and pride. They know how hard she has worked, and the struggles she has been through to graduate, so being there for her big moment is very important.

The writer (Daniel Palladino) has left poor Rory stuck on a bus and unable to get there, but it was so that Lorelai could share this touching moment with Richard and Emily – she gets to graduate as a daughter, not a mother, the way she would have if she’d been sent to Vassar when she was a teenager.

It’s slightly unbelievable Richard and Emily are not more concerned about Rory’s absence from the ceremony, but perhaps they don’t want do anything to ruin Lorelai’s special evening.

Rory is Delayed on the Bus

Rory has a nightmarish bus journey back to Hartford, which begins with the bus unable to even leave the terminus, as an accident has temporarily closed the interstate. We don’t get much of an idea as to how long that took, but in such cases, the interstate is usually closed for at least an hour or two (sometimes more than a day).

Rory sends Lorelai a pager message to say that she’s been held up, and will try to get to the ceremony by seven, but might be later than that. This sounds as if the bus was delayed from starting for more than an hour. It’s annoying, but Rory can still make the graduation ceremony at this point, even if she misses the first part of it.

The problem is that she soon discovers to her dismay that the bus is making many stops on the way back to Hartford – she caught an express bus in the morning that went directly to New York, but this is a local bus service which picks up passengers and lets them off along the entire route, meaning travel time is much longer.

In real life, buses are often delayed or take longer routes, something Rory may not have known but probably should, since she catches an intercity bus every day to school. Reviews for the New York to Hartford bus service complain of lengthy delays, often taking four hours to arrive, so this is a believable situation. If Rory was delayed from starting by two hours, and the trip took four hours, she might not be getting into Hartford until somewhere between 8 and 9 pm.

Note that Rory’s backpack on the seat beside her looks remarkably flat and empty – did she throw all her school textbooks away while she was in New York???

Bush League

ZACH: This place stunk. It’s Bush League.

Bush League is American slang for something which is of an inferior standard; unsophisticated, unprofessional, mediocre.

The slang comes from baseball, where the small-town teams below the minor league became informally known as the “bush league”, because of their rural origins, and because they often played on rough fields bordered by bushes. The slang dates to the very early twentieth century.

Note that the role of the repellent Zach is portrayed by Seth MacFarlane, who Daniel Palladino (the writer of this episode) worked with on his animated television sitcom, Family Guy.