Christopher’s Request

CHRISTOPHER: Now it’s totally your call and I don’t want to step on any plans you’ve already made, but I know Rory has a break in school coming up, and I was wondering if you’d be cool with her coming to visit for a couple of days.

Christopher finally shows some interest in his daughter, inviting her to spend a couple of days of her Christmas break with him in Boston. The fact that he mentions Sherrie had fixed up the spare room for her suggests that it might be his girlfriend encouraging him to make contact with Rory.

Although Lorelai said she’d always left the door to Rory open for Christopher, she doesn’t sound thrilled with this plan. She never seems to have considered it might mean leaving the door to Rory open for another woman as well.

Note the picture on the wall of the ominous all-seeing eye and the word OBEY on it – does Christopher feel as if he is under Sherrie’s surveillance, that he is doing her bidding? Is the phone call something she instructed him to do? It’s a hint that Christopher may be finding his first committed domestic relationship rather confining.

(I’m not sure, but I think the artwork might be by Shepard Fairey, a graphic artist and founder of OBEY Clothing who emerged from the skateboarding scene in the mid-1980s. He would later become well known for his picture of Barack Obama together with the word HOPE).

“A lady never kisses and tells”

DEAN: So, did you and Paris actually kiss or was that like a stage thing?
RORY: A lady never kisses and tells.

Very clever, because Rory is not telling Dean about her kiss with Tristan. (A slight callback to Kiss and Tell, the episode where Rory and Dean first kiss, and everyone knows about it).

It was quite obvious that Paris and Rory didn’t kiss, Paris didn’t even pretend to kiss Rory. I’m actually not convinced they could have got a good mark for the project. Two members of their group dropped out at the last minute, they didn’t offer a unique perspective on the play, Paris as Romeo sounds irritated more than anything else, and there’s no tragically romantic kiss. As it was fifty percent of their grade, that doesn’t sound good for their overall result.

Minnie’s

LORELAI: Well, he took me to this darling little place called Minnie’s. Very hip, very chic, very small portions.

It’s amusing that a restaurant called Minnie’s would be a darling little place serving very small portions!

Paul underfeeding Lorelai was an immediate deal-breaker. The fact she was always first in to get the burrito should have been a clue to him.

“Only one free of ex-girlfriends”

PARIS: Fine, you have four other acts to choose from. Take your pick.
TRISTIN: Yeah, well Summer’s in Act 1, Beth and Jessica are in Act 2, Kate’s in Act 3, and uh, Claire, Kathy, and Mary are in Act 4. So this is the only one free of ex-girlfriends.

Technically yes, but Tristan has been on a date with Paris and kissed her goodnight, and he kissed Rory at Madeline’s party. Louise and Madeline have expressed plenty of interest, and as they are meant to date a new boy every week, it’s not very believable that Tristan wouldn’t have been their boyfriend at some stage, at least briefly.

Note that this is another example of a Beth as an ex-girlfriend – Dean has an ex-girlfriend of this name back in Chicago, who went on to date his cousin. It seems odd to me that Tristan teased Rory by calling her Mary, when he already had an ex-girlfriend named Mary – unless he went out with her after that.

The Monkees

RORY: Hey.
MADELINE: Hey.
LOUISE: We’re the Monkees.

The opening words to the theme song of The Monkees television show, a sitcom running from 1966 to 1968, starring the American pop group, The Monkees, as four young men trying to make it as a rock and roll band. The verse says:

Hey hey, we’re The Monkees

And people say we monkey around

But we’re too busy singing

To get anybody down

The show utilised a number of innovative new wave film techniques to the sitcom format, and won two Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series. Even after its run ended, it continued its popularity thanks to reruns, in particular a massive resurgence after 1986, when it was shown on MTV.

Note that this is essentially the same joke used in regard to Fat Albert in Like Mother, Like Daughter.

Jane

While waiting for the group project meeting to start, Madeline reads Jane magazine (1997-2007). This was a women’s fashion magazine founded by Jane Pratt, aimed at the 18-34 market, and designed for those young women who had grown up with Sassy (1988-1996), a feminist magazine for teenage girls which had Pratt as the first editor. Jane’s reputation was for being witty, quirky, trashy, and occasionally thoughtful, with a readership who saw themselves as “wild and crazy” party girls.

It folded because it’s young readership were now getting more interested in digital platforms, such as Jezebel. Jane Pratt went on to found the infamous xoJane online magazine (2011-2016).

Madeline is reading the November 2001 issue with Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro on the front cover. This issue actually had a double front cover, and you can see Madeline holding up the one with Shirley Manson, P. Diddy, and Alicia Keys on it. The magazine that month had interviews with other music stars, including Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, Sheryl Crow, and Tommy Lee.

Women’s Basketball

LUKE: I asked [Sookie] how your plans were going with the new inn, and she very awkwardly changed the subject to women’s basketball … She’s never shown much interest in sports before … What’s going on with that?
LORELAI: Oh well, you know, women’s basketball is getting super popular. That’s good, I think. The tall girls need an outlet.

Rune thought Lorelai was too tall, even referring to her as a basketball player. Here Lorelai is quick to imply she’s not a “tall girl” who needs the “outlet” of playing basketball. (She’s about an inch shorter than average for a female basketball player).

Luke says that women’s basketball is in season and maybe Lorelai and Sookie could go to a game together. I think he must mean the women’s college basketball tournament (NCAA Division 1), which opens in November, as the professional league, the Women’s National Basketball Association, has a season running from May to September.

To Kill a Mockingbird

RORY: You did it [the chalk outline]. The whole town knows you did it. They had a meeting about it.
JESS: You actually went to that bizarro town meeting? Those things are so To Kill a Mockingbird.

To Kill a Mockingbird, the 1960 novel by American author Harper Lee, previously mentioned. The novel is set in the fictional Alabama town of Maycomb during the Great Depression, and focuses on small town prejudices, traditions, and taboos. The book made an immediate sensation on publication, won the Pulitzer Prize, and became a bestseller. One of America’s most beloved novels (and a great favourite worldwide), it is often set as a text in high schools.

Note that Jess uses the word “bizarro”, just as Lorelai has done.

Lorelai’s Fight with Sookie

Lorelai is so disturbed by Mia’s news about selling the Independence that she begins backtracking on her plans to open her own inn, to Sookie’s dismay. Logically, it doesn’t make much sense – if Mia is going to sell, Lorelai and Sookie should be fast-tracking their plans, not shelving them. Mia even said they should make their move sooner rather than later.

A lot of Lorelai’s angst about the Independence being sold is the thought of her home being changed. Her special relationship with Mia would be severed, and the new owners of the inn could very well be faceless corporate types that turn it into a chain (always treated as some sort of ultimate horror on the Gilmore Girls).

For Sookie, who isn’t so emotionally invested in the Independence, the news is positive. Mia won’t be upset about them starting their own inn, and even if the Independence changes, they have their own lives to lead. She’d prefer the inn didn’t lose all its charm, but she’s sensible enough to realise that they can’t control what happens, and to focus on their own plans.

This difference in how they feel is enough for Lorelai to begin passively-aggressively attacking Sookie, and to shoot down any suggestions she has on how to improve things. Sookie wonders why they don’t buy the Independence, and Lorelai says they can’t afford it – even though she never asked Mia what she would sell the inn for.

Sookie asks if they should look for another inn to buy, and Lorelai says she doesn’t have time to look for a new location (because if someone doesn’t just randomly show you an inn, it’s too much hard work? Did either of them even check the real estate guides for the area?).

Finally, Lorelai begins criticising Sookie as a potential business partner. She is unreliable, not punctual, and keeps changing the menu, which would send them broke. Sookie is naturally devastated, but Lorelai’s criticisms seem like valid concerns. Even Sookie doesn’t have any comeback except to say Lorelai already knew all these things before. She doesn’t make any promises to change or improve, or suggest other ways she is going to support Lorelai to offset her flaws. In fact, Sookie’s flakiness is actually a problem when they do become business partners.

Notice that Lorelai tries to back out of their business deal by saying the “timing isn’t good” – the same weak excuse Rory made to Lorelai when she tried to wriggle out of going to Chilton.

Rory Poses For Her Portrait

EMILY: Lorelai, your daughter’s being impossible. She won’t pose in an appropriate manner.
RORY: I’m trying to, Grandma. It’s just awkward.

Rory goes to her grandmother’s house after school to pose for her portrait, but it turns out this means sitting on a “throne” (a needlework armchair) in a red velvet dress with a hungry honking swan, and her arm raised in an odd pose. The living room portrait is quite normal, so it’s strange that Emily suddenly wants this bizarre “swan princess” picture of Rory. It might explain why Lorelai’s own portrait was never completed. Rory is already looking quite grumpy, just as Lorelai got fed up with being painted.

Lorelai is able to quickly convince Emily that a picture of Rory sitting and reading would be natural and appropriate, saving the day.