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).

Stamford

We learn from his phone message that as well as teaching at Chilton, Max teaches a night class twice a week in Stamford, a city in Connecticut about an hour and a half drive south from Hartford, on the coast.

The fact that Max sees the sign to Stars Hollow on the way suggests again that it around the Wallingford area, as you would drive past Wallingford going from Hartford to Stamford using Interstate 91. It isn’t actually a turnpike though as it is toll-free at that point: the Connecticut Turnpike (I-95) goes further on from Stamford toward New Haven.

Max possibly teaches in the English department at the Stamford campus of the University of Connecticut, a public university. We learn a bit later that one of the nights he teaches class is on Fridays, so with Lorelai attending classes twice a week and Max teaching classes twice a week, it’s going to be hard for them to find a free day in the week to date.

9/12 Weeks

RORY: We weren’t making out. It was just one kiss.
LORELAI: Yeah, well by the time that gets to Miss Patty’s it’s a scene from 9 1/2 Weeks.

9 1/2 Weeks is a 1986 erotic drama film directed by Adrian Lyne, based on the 1978 memoir of the same name by Austrian-American author Ingeborg Day. It stars Kim Basinger and Mickey O’Rourke as an art gallery assistant and a Wall Street broker who have a brief, intense sadomasochistic affair.

The movie was a box office bomb in the US, but hugely successful overseas in its unedited version, especially in France, Italy, and Latin America. Video and DVD brought it a large fanbase and a cult following.

The two main characters in the film first meet in a grocery store, reminiscent of Rory and Dean’s first kiss in the Stars Hollow market.

Spoiled twins

Mrs. Shales (Meagen Fay) tells Lorelai that her daughters, twins Jackie and Jessica (Kelly and Ashley Cohen), were spoiled by their father. As a result, she can barely stand the sight of them, and is sick and tired of their quarrelling.

This provides an example to Lorelai of what could go wrong with her relationship with Rory: she could become spoiled by her wealthy grandparents to the point that it affects her relationship with Lorelai. It helps feed Lorelai’s fears during the episode.

Cute Luke

Lorelai asks Rory if she thinks Luke is cute, indicating him as a possible love interest. Rory puts a stop to this idea, as she fears that if Lorelai and Luke dated, then broke up, they would never be able to get food and coffee from him again. Without Rory’s blessing, any attraction Lorelai feels toward Luke has to be put on the back-burner. Future episodes prove Rory’s concerns to be not unfounded.

Miss Patty’s Place

DEAN: Well, maybe you could show me where this Miss Patty’s place is.
RORY: Yeah, I guess so. I really don’t have anything important to . . . let’s go.

Miss Patty’s School of Ballet, seemingly always known as Miss Patty’s Place, is a very significant location for Dean and Rory’s future relationship. And it was the first place in Stars Hollow they ever went to together.

Friday Night Dinner

Along with her parents’ agreement to give her money to pay for Rory’s tuition at Chilton, Lorelai must in turn agree to have dinner with them every Friday, thus setting in place the pattern of the entire show. She also has to call them once a week to give an update on Rory’s schooling and her own life – this weekly phone call is not mentioned again, and although Lorelai seems to particularly hate talking to her mother on the phone, we never hear Emily (Kelly Bishop) complain that she has missed a phone call. We must assume that either Lorelai dutifully complied each week, or that Emily almost immediately accepted that she would not follow through. Neither sounds quite likely, knowing their personalities. Maybe Lorelai made Rory do the phone call.

The choice of Friday night for the family dinner fulfils at least three functions:

  1. Friday was the very next day of the week, so Emily was making sure that the dinners began straight away with no chance for Lorelai to change her mind or wriggle out of it
  2. Friday night is a popular night for social events, thus ensuring that plot-wise there was always the potential for conflict over the Friday Night Dinner and other responsibilities
  3. It brings to mind the Jewish Shabbat, with the holy day beginning at sunset on Friday evening, usually celebrated with a family dinner. This gives the Gilmores’ Friday Night Dinner a feeling of ritual and ceremony, and underscores the marking of cycles of time that each dinner symbolises. (I don’t believe this is a stretch, as Amy Sherman-Palladino is of Jewish heritage).