Lane Meets Dave Rygalski

DAVE: Excuse me, Lane?

LANE: That’s me.

DAVE: Okay, great, I’m Dave Rygalski.

LANE: Right, hi. You’re a guitarist.

In this scene, Lane meets Dave Rygalski, who answered her ad because he has a band that needs a drummer. He almost immediately becomes her love interest.

The character of Dave is based on the real life Dave Rygalski, the husband of Helen Pai, producer on Gilmore Girls, who the character of Lane is based on. The real Dave Rygalski has been a writer for Jay Leno and David Letterman, and also plays guitar, just like his fictional namesake. He has been in a few bands, and played some of the music for Lane’s band on Gilmore Girls.

On the show, Dave Rygalski is played by Adam Brody. At this stage, Brody had played Barry Williams in the TV film, Growing Up Brady, and been Greg Brady in an episode of The Amanda Show. Like several other actors on Gilmore Girls, he’d also been in Judging Amy, another show about mothers and daughters set in Connecticut – he played a guy called Barry Gilmore!

There has already been a character named Rygalski on Gilmore Girls – a bank manager in Hartford where Lorelai tried to get a loan was Mr Rygalski. Quite possibly this is Dave’s father.

It seems a bit unlikely that Lane is available to meet Dave on a Saturday night – as a Seventh Day Adventist, she has church on Saturday, and when Lane asked her mother for permission to go out on a Saturday night after church, Mrs Kim told her that after church she should be thinking about what she learned in church. However, perhaps has mother has softened slightly, or Lane is allowed out to see Rory.

Town Meeting

After having lunch in Westport with the Springsteens, Lorelai and Rory attend a town meeting in Stars Hollow – we know it’s the evening of the same day, because they are wearing the same clothes, and Lane asks how lunch went.

Town meetings were always held on a Thursday (it seemed to be the second Thursday of the month). Now they are going to one on a Saturday – not the day of the week that anyone would pick for a meeting, either, because people often go out on weekends, or even go away. It’s a bit disappointing, because they seemed to be slowly building a nice little world in Gilmore Girls that was reasonably consistent, and now they’re holding a meeting on a Saturday because it suits the plot, and for no other reason.

I would like to believe this is a special meeting that Taylor has called for the soda shop issue (cunningly arranged for a weekend so hardly anyone can attend), except that when Lorelai and Rory arrive late, the meeting has just finished going through their routine banking business.

“I didn’t mold her”

DARREN: She’s a very impressive young lady … You molded her well.

LORELAI: Oh, no, I didn’t mold her. Rory popped out that way.

Lorelai has been very careful during the meeting with Darren to portray herself as a naive and uneducated small town girl, to make it seem as if Rory has attained everything without any family help. She doesn’t let Darren know she’s from a wealthy family, and went to private school until she got pregnant. She doesn’t tell him she’s an avid reader who loves musical theatre and classic films. She most certainly doesn’t share with him that going to Harvard was her dream, and that she’s been pushing Harvard onto Rory since she was a toddler.

Everything she does at the Springsteens is designed to convince Darren that Rory has had to struggle to succeed and needs special assistance to get into Harvard; that she’s from a “non-traditional” background that will increase diversity. It’s not really honest or transparent, but she hasn’t told any actual lies (except of omission), and she really wants Rory to get into Harvard.

She’s okay with anything I do”

CAROL: So, tell me something, Harvard hair – how bad do you wanna please your parents?

RORY: My mom, and really bad, but it’s not hard to please my mom. She’s okay with anything I do. As long as I’m happy, she’s good.

Not really true – there’s plenty of times Lorelai hasn’t been okay with what Rory wants to do. She didn’t permit Rory to give up Chilton after she met Dean, she was furious when Rory told Emily about their financial problems, and she doesn’t approve of Rory’s attraction to Jess. In the future, Rory will discover that when it comes to her university education, Lorelai will not be “okay” with all of Rory’s decisions, and that Rory just being “happy” is not enough to satisfy her.

More accurately, Lorelai and Rory have plenty of fights and disagreements, some more serious than others, but they always find a way to resolve things, eventually.

Note that Rory repudiates Christopher as her father here – she is quick to say she only has one parent, her mother. She is seriously angry with him for what he did to Lorelai, and to her, and it is a rift which is never really healed. Rory will never go back to being the young girl who yearns for her father and gets excited at the thought of him making one of his all too rare visits.

Harry Potter

RORY: I’ve dreamt of going to Harvard since I was a little girl.

CAROL: Yeah, a lot of four year olds dream of that. It comes right after meeting Harry Potter.

Harry Potter, the schoolboy wizard who is the protagonist of the popular Harry Potter book and film series, the novels written by English author J.K. Rowling, previously mentioned. In the films, he is played by English actor Daniel Radcliffe.

Rory was four years old in 1988-1989, and the first Harry Potter book was published in 1997, so Rory could hardly have been interested in him as a toddler anyway. Presumably Carol is thinking of her young clients in the present day.

There’s a little mistake in the writing here. Rory never actually tells Carol that she’s been dreaming of Harvard since she was four – only that she was a little girl. We know she was four because Lorelai told Max in Season 1, but somehow Carol knows about it too.

“I’m not on the conveyor belt”

CAROL: My brother and sister got stuck on that conveyor belt. I, however, escaped somewhere around the eleventh grade, thank God … Oh, hey, but no offense. I mean, that’s just me. If you like being on the conveyor belt, then good for you.

RORY: I’m not on the conveyor belt.

Rory is definitely on the conveyor belt. Lorelai has been psychologically grooming her for Harvard since she was a toddler, and enrolled her at a private prep school that is a feeder school for Harvard.

Carol says she “escaped” the conveyor belt around eleventh grade, when she was sixteen or seventeen (about the same age Lorelai got pregnant and had to leave school). It’s not clear whether Carol means that she left school around that age to start working, or if she means she refused to begin applying to colleges, and made it clear she wasn’t going to attend university.

Stalking Tom Waits

CAROL: I worship [Tom Waits]. I even mildly stalked him once … Last year, I heard he was staying at this hotel so I went there everyday and sat in the lobby, drinking massive amounts of coffee, waiting for him to walk by.

I can barely speculate which hotel Tom Waits could have been staying in the previous year. The only concert he had in 2001 was one in his home town of San Francisco, and he took a trip to Copenhagen in Denmark early in the year. He attended the ASCAP Awards at the Beverly Hilton in May, which might be what Carol is referring to (if so, she was in Los Angeles at the time for some reason – where the Palladinos live, probably not coincidentally).

Like Lorelai, Carol worships Tom Waits and drinks huge amounts of coffee. Her mild stalking of Waits at a hotel is replicated later by Lorelai, who stalks Bono at his hotel in exactly the same way.

Round-robin

JENNIFER: Follow up ?

DARREN: And then we’ll go round-robin.

A round-robin tournament is one in which each contestant meets with every other contestant, usually in turn. It’s usually the fairest way of deciding an overall winner, but can be very lengthy. They are common in team sports – Darren’s love of sports might have prompted this idea. The word robin in this context is a corruption of the French word ruban, meaning “ribbon”.

Oddly, Marie (played by Anita Finlay, who, like her onscreen husband and children, had also been on Judging Amy) is never shown taking part in the quizzes or being expected to, as if her role is simply to bring out iced tea and say Darren is brilliant. It doesn’t seem very likely – surely Marie is also a college graduate? Perhaps we just never see her have her turn, and she takes her part during the round-robin tournament.

Lorelai looks very unhappy to be roped into the round-robin tournament. Jennifer looks like Christmas has come early, and Jack looks like he’s forcing himself to smile. I get the feeling he’s not quite as into the competitive quizzes as Jennifer. He doesn’t seem to be as good at them.

“One fell swoop”

DARREN: One fell swoop, interesting phrase … Origin?

JACK: It was coined in Macbeth and derives from Middle English.

At one fell swoop means “suddenly, in a single action”. The fell part is an archaic word dating to the 13th century meaning “fierce, savage, cruel, ruthless”; it’s the root of the word felon and has gone out of use except for this one instance.

The phrase was first used, and most probably invented, by William Shakespeare, in his play Macbeth, previously discussed. In the play, it is said by Macduff when he hears that all his family and household have been killed:

All my pretty ones?
Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
At one fell swoop?

The “kite” that Macduff refers to is the bird of prey, commonly used as a hunting bird in Tudor England. You can see that the “fell swoop” is the swoop of the kite as it quickly descends to catch its prey.

Somehow “at one fell swoop” went from meaning something terrible happening all at once, to just anything happening all at once. Darren uses it to mean good thing happening all at once, but I am unable to disassociate it from its original context, and to me it still suggests some fearsome unexpected blow from above. Maybe I read too much Shakespeare!

Jack’s answer is actually pretty inadequate, or even misleading. It’s not certain that Shakespeare coined it, although it’s likely – he should have said that it first appeared in Macbeth, and that Shakespeare has been credited with coining it. The phrase itself is not Middle English, and presumably he means that the word fell in this example goes back to Middle English.