Rory Shows Emily the Potting Shed

(Rory opens the door and walks in. Emily looks in from the doorway.)
RORY: I know it’s looks small, but it’s really pretty. Come on. See, we had our bed right over there, and Mom put up this really pretty curtain around the tub so that it looked like a real bathroom. And we would just sit outside at night when the Inn would have parties, and we’d just listen to music and feed the ducks and . . . (Emily walks away) Grandma? Grandma wait, what’s the matter?

This is the potting shed next to the duck pond at the Independence Inn that Lorelai and Rory lived in when they first moved to Stars Hollow, as they had no money for accommodation (like the Holy Family, there was “no room at the inn”, and they were put in an outbuilding, so Baby Rory was just like Baby Jesus).

The shed is sturdy but rustic, and is stocked with gardening tools and plants, like any potting shed: it isn’t clear if those things were there while Lorelai and Rory lived there. Their bed is no longer there (they must have shared a single bed together), but the bath has been left, including the curtain that Lorelai put around it to serve as a bathroom wall. Lorelai mentioned that it has rosebud wallpaper, but the is shed painted white inside and doesn’t look as though it’s got the kind of walls that you could easily wallpaper.

It looks impractical for bringing up a baby, and we learn later that they moved to Stars Hollow in the autumn, so it would have been very cold as well (we don’t know what they used for heating). We don’t know how long they lived in this temporary accomodation, but long enough for Rory, who was only a baby when they came to Stars Hollow, to have some memories of it, and long enough that the weather became warm enough for them to sit outside at night. I would guess at least a year, and possibly two. Who looked after baby Rory while Lorelai was working is unknown.

This is the first time that Emily has ever seen the potting shed, and she is clearly distraught to discover the conditions her daughter and granddaughter lived in. Lorelai told Sookie that her parents visited them a few times at the inn while Rory was a baby, but they never saw where they slept at night. Lorelai was probably clever at keeping them away from the shed, but their lack of curiosity is surprising. Perhaps they were scared to push it in case Lorelai ran even further away.

In this case, it is Emily who runs away, too upset to spend any more with time with Rory or even say a proper goodbye to her. This incident serves as a device to keep Emily at a distance from Stars Hollow. Emily was having a good time with Rory, and was fitting in well with the townspeople, finding that she had things in common with Mrs. Kim and Michel. By showing her in the potting shed, it explains why Emily doesn’t visit Stars Hollow more often in the future.

Where they lived between the potting shed when Rory was a baby/toddler, and moving into their own house when Rory was eleven, is a complete mystery and never mentioned. Perhaps Lorelai saved up enough money to rent a cheap apartment for them, but renting would make it hard to save for a house. They could have lived in a friend’s house (with Sookie?), but if so, nobody ever refers to it.

In real life, it wouldn’t be legal for anyone to live in the potting shed under Connecticut zoning laws, but I’m not sure that would stop Lorelai anyway – rules were made for non-Gilmores!

Boo Radley

LORELAI: You want him [Rune] to live here?
SOOKIE: No! Well, what about the old potting shed?
LORELAI: The old potting shed? That’s where Rory and I lived when she was a baby. It has memories and little rosebud wallpaper. I don’t want Boo Radley touching my rosebud wallpaper.

Arthur “Boo” Radley is a character in To Kill a Mockingbird, the 1960 novel by American author Harper Lee. He is a recluse who has been isolated from the townspeople since he was a teenager, and many rumours surround him. Boo Radley was apparently based on a real life neighbour of Harper Lee when she was a child. In the 1962 film version, he is portrayed by Robert Duvall [pictured].

Lorelai is saying that Rune is the town weirdo, like Boo Radley. The fact that she sees him this way shows that on some level, she is starting to accept him as a resident of Stars Hollow. (She can’t help it – she loves Stars Hollow, and on some level, everyone who lives there, even Rune).

It’s notable that after this Lorelai appears kind and friendly to Rune, a man she dislikes, who has been nothing but insulting to her, and is spreading rumours that imply she is his ex-girlfriend. Is she just being loyal to Sookie, or is there some fellow feeling with Rune, the black sheep of his family who has come to Stars Hollow with almost nothing? She gives Rune the same start she was given – an entry-level job at the inn, and some very basic free accommodation.

This is also the first we hear of Lorelai and Rory living in the potting shed at the Independence Inn, which will be important later in the episode.

“Old abandoned inn”

LORELAI: What is that?
RACHEL: It’s an old abandoned inn I ran across when I was exploring the other day.
LORELAI: This is the Dragonfly. I totally forgot about this place.
RACHEL: Well, it doesn’t look like it’s been operational in years.

Apparently when a business hasn’t been open for many years, you just forget that the building it was in exists … even when your goal is to open your own inn one day. Good thing Rachel came to Stars Hollow to remind Lorelai it’s still there! It’s amazing how many coincidences surround this woman.

Emily’s Phone Call to Christopher

While they are all in the diner for lunch, Christopher receives a call on his cell phone from Emily Gilmore. It seems awfully suspicious that Emily just happens to call Christopher when he is in Stars Hollow, and even more of a coincidence when it turns out that Emily knows his parents are in Connecticut at the same time.

Knowing Emily’s passion for meddling in Lorelai’s affairs, it seems likely that Christopher’s trip back east was engineered by Emily in the hopes that he would get closer to Rory, and maybe to Lorelai, and would bring Christopher’s parents, the Haydens, back into the fold as well.

It is Emily’s desire that Lorelai and Christopher form a family together with Rory, with the blessing of Straub and Francine Hayden, who haven’t bothered to see their granddaughter since she was a baby. This definitely looks like one of Emily’s master plans, and Richard’s comment about Christopher’s new business back in the Pilot show that the elder Gilmores had been in regular contact with Christopher for some time (and perhaps had always been).