Yep, it’s an episode of Gilmore Girls written by Daniel Palladino, so it’s time for another segment of “How to Make Sense of This Timeline”.
To recap. The episode begins with a Friday Night Dinner on February 7th, where Emily asks Rory to invite her boyfriend Jess to the next Friday Night Dinner, which would be February 14th. Sounds simple, right? Wrong.
The next scene appears to be the Sunday after the Friday Night Dinner, where Lorelai and Rory watch movies on the one day of the week they have to spend together. They discuss their future plans, which are that Rory is going on a date with Jess on the following Saturday afternoon, followed by studying in the evening, while Lorelai has a date with Alex at the same time.
Next, we cross straight to Rory and Jess’ Saturday afternoon date, which appears to be hanging around the town square together yet again. So … where did Friday go? That is, the Friday Night Dinner which was the day before this date?
The only way you can make sense of this is that Emily said next Friday, but she actually meant the next Friday to that, February 21st. As Friday the 14th is Valentine’s Day, it is possible that Emily gave them the night off from Friday Night Dinner so they could go out with their respective boyfriends. (There is precedent for Emily making allowances for romantic dates).
Therefore, the next Friday Night Dinner to February 7th would be February 21st, and this is the dinner Emily invites Jess to.
LORELAI: Oh God, I hope they [Richard and Emily] go [on vacation] over Christmas. That would be as holly jolly as it gets.
A reference to “A Holly Jolly Christmas”, a 1962 Christmas song written by Johnny Marks. First recorded by the Quinto Sisters, it was featured in the 1964 animated Christmas television special Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
It was sung by Burl Ives, who was also the narrator, and released on the soundtrack album. Burl Ives re-recorded it for his own Christmas album, and released it as a single. Of enduring popularity, the Burl Ives version continues to chart on the current charts, and has peaked at #4 in the years since 1998.
This episode, one of the more complex in structure, has a series of flashbacks within it. In the first flashback, we see a teenaged Lorelai and Christopher coming to the Gilmore home after school. They are wearing the same uniform, although I don’t think the show ever mentions them attending the same school. We know it is December, because they have finished their midterm exams, and are discussing the upcoming Christmas vacation.
With no adult supervision (Richard and Emily are out, and the maid has been fired, of course), Christopher – naturally – heads straight to the liquor cabinet and pours them drinks. Getting Lorelai drunk seems to be part of his technique.
Christopher reveals that his plan (more of a dream, actually), is to take a year off after graduation and go backpacking around Europe. He asks Lorelai to come with him, and she agrees – just as she and Rory are planning to go backpacking around Europe as soon as Rory graduates. During the conversation, it is clear that Christopher and Lorelai are close friends, not boyfriend and girlfriend, and that Christopher would like something more. By the end of the scene, they are kissing, although it is unclear whether this is the first time or not.
The young Lorelai and Christopher are played by Chelsea Brummet and Phillip Van Dyke. Brummet would later become a regular on kid’s sketch comedy show, All That, and Van Dyke had previously been on several TV shows, including Hey Arnold, and The Amanda Show. His acting career finished in 2003.
RORY: I got the flags and . . . he changed his mind again. LANE: He’s worse than my mother at the Glory of Easter T-shirt stand.
Glory of Easter, an annual evangelical drama which begun in 1984 and went on until 2012. It took place at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California [pictured, now a Catholic church], suggesting that the Kim family went to it at least once, where Mrs Kim could not decide between all the tee-shirts available for sale.
I think this is the first time we’ve seen Lane working at the Independence Inn to help prepare for a function. Perhaps Mrs Kim is allowing her more freedom, or perhaps now she’s eighteen she can be employed at the inn without any worry about labour laws. In either case, this is another possible income stream for Lane.
EMILY: Aunt Maureen would never hike up her skirt in public. LORELAI: She would after half a gallon of eggnog. EMILY: Richard, who was the one who got drunk at our Christmas party and hiked up her skirt in front of the Town & Country photographer?
Town & Country, formerly the Home Journal and The National Press, is a monthly lifestyle magazine. Founded in 1846, it is the oldest continually published general interest magazine in the US. Its current name dates to 1901, and it was about this date that its focus changed from poetry and literature to the social activities of the upper classes.
Aunt Maureen, another member of the sometimes eccentric Gilmore clan – unless she is Emily’s aunt. It seems that Richard and Emily’s Christmas parties were so notable that they were covered by Town & Country! Presumably this was in their heyday in the 1970s or 1980s, before Lorelai had Rory.
MRS. KIM: He’s not Korean. [cut to front hallway] DAVE: Lane? Hey, Lane? Is everything all right? LANE: You’re not Korean.
Just as Mrs Kim has blindsided Lane, so she too receives a shock when Lane says she wants to go to the prom with Dave. It’s clear that Mrs Kim quite likes Dave, but has never considered him as someone her daughter might date – Lane and Dave have been so very careful not to let anyone know they are seeing each other. Mrs Kim has always imagined Lane dating a Korean boy, and can’t yet get past that.
Lane is naturally devastated. The red roses in the scene seem to offer hope for the future.
RORY: Okay, skip to the end, I can’t take it. How did it turn out?
PARIS: He told me he loved me … I never thought I’d hear a boy tell me he loved me … He invited me back up for Easter break.
After spending Christmas together, Jamie tells Paris that he loves her, and invites her to spend Easter in Philadelphia with his family. Paris is thrilled and disbelieving, but she never says that she loves Jamie, or indicates that she reciprocated with her own love confession. It may be that Paris is more in love with love, and the idea of having a nice boyfriend, than she is with Jamie himself, or that she simply doesn’t trust her own feelings.
PARIS: The place smelled like cinnamon all the time, and there was a fire in the fireplace, and a ton of presents. I mean, hundreds of presents. I’m looking at this mound of gifts, and I’m thinking, ‘Eight days of Hanukkah . . . who was the skinflint who thought up that deal?’
RORY: Don’t the eight days symbolize something?
PARIS: Yes, they symbolize eight days of ripping off the little kids who can’t have a Hanukkah bush.
The eight days of Hanukkah honour the eight days that one small portion of oil miraculously lasted during the cleansing and reconsecrating of the Jewish Temple after it had been defiled. It is traditional to light candles, pray, and sing songs during Hanukkah, as well as eating foods fried in oil. Gift-giving isn’t a traditional part of Hanukkah, although children are often given money, special gold coins, or chocolate coins.
PARIS: One year, I asked my mother if we could get a Hanukkah bush. She made me watch Shoah the rest of the week.
A Hanukkah bush is a bush or tree (real or artificial) that some Jewish families in North America display in their homes for the duration of Hanukkah. It may, for all intents and purposes, be a Christmas tree with Jewish-themed ornaments.
It is a bone of contention between Jews as to whether it is a distinctly Jewish symbol, or whether it is simply a variation of a Christmas tree. Many rabbis discourage them. The phrase “Hanukkah bush” is not serious, and generally meant to be a tongue in cheek way to say that a Jewish family is following some pleasant secular Christmas traditions without celebrating Christmas itself.
The documentary film Shoah, previously discussed. Paris’ mother obviously takes a fairly hard line approach to Hanukkah bushes.
PARIS: Everything was red and silver and there was eggnog … It’s disgusting … But disgusting in a really great way.
Eggnog is a rich, sweet drink, traditionally made with milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, and whipped egg whites (which gives it a frothy texture, and its name). Distilled spirits such as brandy, rum, whisky or bourbon are often a key ingredient. Throughout North America and some European countries, eggnog is traditionally consumed over the Christmas season.