LORELAI: Hey Sookie. Is there any coffee left? I had a really lousy night.
SOOKIE: Oh sorry. Ya know, I’ve been so busy I didn’t even think about it.
This scene takes place on the day following the night where Lorelai had a fight with Emily – oddly, they both take place on Saturdays. We know this because the fight took place the day after Friday Night Dinner, and the engagement party is also on a Saturday. But instead of those things being a week apart, they happen within 24 hours of each other.
MICHEL: Go back to the cooking room.
SOOKIE: Not until you eat these and tell me what you think!
MICHEL: Sookie! I only eat fifteen hundred calories a day. If I eat that, I cannot have my Boca Burger later.
Boca Burger is a vegetarian burger patty made from soy protein and wheat gluten, first manufactured in 1979. Boca Burger products have been owned by Kraft Foods since 2000.
We learn here that Michel eats only 1500 calories a day. One Boca Burger has around 70 calories, while macaroon has over 400 calories and a chocolate praline cookie over 300. Clearly if Michel eats both cookies, as Sookie wants him to, he’s going to have to give up more than a Boca Burger – he will have eaten around half of his daily calorie intake on just two cookies!
Maybe he’s including the bread and salad to accompany the patty, although even that would only be around 400 calories. Or maybe he is calculating the calories of just one bite from each cookie, since he would only need a taste of each to decide which one he prefers.
1500 calories a day is about the lowest amount of food recommended for a man, and it probably wouldn’t be recommended long term, especially for someone who’s already a healthy weight. Even men on calorie restriction diets usually eat around 1800 calories a day, and still lose weight doing so. We never actually see Michel lose much weight on his strict diet, so maybe he’s having a few cheat days.
Lorelai seems to eat as much as she wants while remaining slim, while poor old Michel apparently starves himself just to maintain a normal weight.
EMILY: And what about me confuses you Lorelai?
LORELAI: Well, so many things. I mean, for example, why can’t you keep a maid in this house? I mean, there must’ve been a thousand women who’ve gone through here in the thirty-two years that I’ve been alive, and not one of them could stick it out.
In fact, Lorelai had her birthday about two months ago, and is now thirty-three. It’s possible that at this stage Lorelai’s birthday had not been settled on, and it might have been imagined as later in the year.
Poor Max is left to stand uncomfortably by the door, unwelcome and completely unacknowledged by Lorelai and Emily while they have their fight. It’s an inauspicious meeting with his prospective mother-in-law, and demonstrates he is little more than a sideshow in Lorelai’s life.
RORY: I called the Sunnyside home. Do they need any volunteers? And believe it or not, they don’t, but they do need an accordion player for their Friday night polka party.
Sunnyside Nursing Centers are a chain of aged care nursing and rehabilitation homes in the United States. In real life, there is more than one Sunnyside nursing home in the Wallingford area, where Stars Hollow appears to be located, although none of them are actually called The Sunnyside Home (that may just be what people in Stars Hollow call it, rather than its actual name).
Apart from trying the Fireflies and Sunnyside, Rory also calls the Stars Hollow library, which apparently only has twelve books (surely an exaggeration), and the Chilton tutoring program, who are just taking names at present.
Rory seems to have amassed an enormous amount of brochures for various organisations within a few hours, late in the day. How she managed to do this is something of a mystery
RORY: I called the Fireflies. Do they need troop leaders? Yes. Good, I’ll be a troop leader. Great. The only catch is, it’s summer. Camping season. I need wilderness skills. Why did you never take me camping?
LORELAI: Camping? Are you kidding? I couldn’t get you to step on wet grass until you were three.
The Fireflies are a fictional organisation, perhaps based on the Camp Fire Girls, founded in 1910 as a sister organisation to the Boy Scouts of America. In 1975 it became for both boys and girls, and is now just called Camp Fire. It teaches camping and wilderness skills, just like the Fireflies, and Lauren Graham was a member when she was young. In real life, there are no Camp Fire groups in Connecticut.
The 1997 black comedy film Wag the Dog , with screenplay by Amy Sherman-Palladino’s favourite playwright, David Mamet, uses The Firefly Girls as a replacement for the Camp Fire Girls. This could be an homage (and a slightly naughty one, as in the film the young Firefly Girl receives inappropriate advances from the President in the Oval Office).
If Rory would not step on wet grass until she was three, no doubt that’s from Lorelai’s example – she notoriously hates nature and the great outdoors..
RORY: What is that?
LORELAI: A hammer.
RORY: It has feathers on it.
LORELAI: So the rhinestones and bows won’t feel lonely.
This is the hammer referred to in the title, Hammers and Veils. Of course Rory can’t go off to help the needy like anyone else – she has to do it in an especially quirky, girly manner that immediately marks her as special and the centre of attention. It’s the Gilmore way.
Rory wouldn’t even buy purple legal pads for school because they’d make her look unprofessional at Chilton, but somehow she’s happy to take a gold-painted, pink feathered hammer to volunteer work which she is doing through Chilton, and for which the hammer would surely be useless. Maybe she’s more relaxed now that she’s one of the top students in her class.
Typically for the show, Rory is running ten minutes late for her volunteer job in this scene.
LORELAI: Okay, well, um, the … Max and I have been serious for quite a while now, and he asked me to marry him, and I said yes. I’m getting married.
EMILY: Well, I think that’s very nice. I certainly hope we’ll be in town for it, but if not I promise we’ll send a nice gift. Now excuse me, I’m going to check on the roast.
Emily is very hurt that Lorelai has waited this long to tell her that she is engaged, literally leaving her to last. Rather than tell Lorelai how she feels and have a discussion about it, Emily disguises her hurt by behaving as if Lorelai’s engagement means nothing to her, shocking and upsetting her daughter in the process.
Lorelai says that she and Max have been serious for “quite a while”, although in fact they only started dating after their January break up about six weeks ago, and their engagement only happened because the alternative was to break up – Lorelai’s original preferred option.