Lorelai Talks to Dean

Lorelai gets home from work and finds Dean washing Rory’s car while he waits for her to come home from school (he forgot that she had to stay late again). Lorelai takes Dean into the kitchen, and suggests that he give Rory a bit more space, advice which he promises to take. This is the second relationship Lorelai meddles in, within a single afternoon, and yet another scene of Lorelai looking inappropriately flirty with Dean, rather than maternal.

Business Fair Pitches

Louise – a lipstick tracking device (rejected as not unisex enough)

Madeline – locker robot to help with homework and carry stuff (rejected as too complex)

Paris – flashy locker first aid kits

Richard says that he loves Paris’ idea, and Rory, as group leader, immediately accepts it as the product they are running with. We never get to hear Brad and Chip’s ideas, which seems rather unfair. Neither of them protest though. Probably because they’re too frightened of Paris.

“I’m incredibly disappointed in you”

EMILY: So, tell me Richard, is this how it’s going to be from now on? … I just want to know what to expect from you. Because the bouncing from one thing to another, the moping and silence in your den for days, all of that I accepted … but your turning your back on Rory! … You adore that little girl, she means everything to you, remember? … Are you that lost? I’m incredibly disappointed in you Richard!

Rory asks her grandfather to be the group adviser for the Economics project, as Lorelai suggested, but Richard declines, saying he’s busy (restoring his antique car), and that Rory has given him very short notice. Really, because Rory said they had three weeks to prepare, and it seemed as if she asked Richard the very next day? Is three weeks short notice?

Emily is upset when she discovers Richard turned down the opportunity to help Rory, especially in her education – something which Richard values highly, and wants Rory to succeed at. Richard has been unhappy and rudderless since he retired, and now he has turned on his back on a chance to do something positive for someone he loves.

Emily lets him know in no uncertain terms how disappointed she is in in, and this appears to be the catalyst for Richard changing his mind and agreeing to be the adviser for Rory’s group.

No Parent Available to Mentor the Group

Their group has to find a parent with experience in business to act as an adviser and mentor for the business fair. Chip’s father has scheduling issues. Paris’ father is in Hong Kong for a month, but could possibly video conference – an idea Rory says no to. Madeline says her father is travelling; she doesn’t mention her stepfather, so I’m not sure if she still has one, or if she now refers to him as her dad? Her stepfather was in Japan last time he was mentioned.

Louise’s father is in court for the next six weeks on a mysterious charge. Oddly enough, when Paris’ dad was involved in some shady activity, it was a major, major scandal, she was a laughing stock at school, and her parents separated for a time. But now Louise’s father is in legal trouble, and nobody cares at all. Louise hasn’t even bothered finding out what he did!

Paris and her Problems

Paris freaks out when she gets an A- on her Chemistry lab report on electrochemistry. Her parents, who were getting divorced in “Paris is Burning” after a terrible scandal her father was involved in, are back together again once Paris explained to her dad how much money a divorce would cost him. Apparently it was Mr Geller who wanted the divorce, even though he was the one causing scandal, because Mrs Geller doesn’t seem to need convincing.

The terrible scandal, which was implied to involve something sexual and illegal, is never mentioned again, and doesn’t seem to have had any consequences. Mr and Mrs Geller are now fighting with each other, and redecorating. Paris’ mother redecorated when they were first getting a divorce – maybe her husband didn’t like it, and it’s now being re-redecorated back it how it was before.

With all the fighting and redecorating, Paris hasn’t been able to focus on her studies as well as usual. This seems like a re-tread of the “Concert Interruptus” plotline, where Paris and her gang had to study at Rory’s house because of Paris’ issues with fighting parents and redecorating.

Luke’s Apartment Renovations

We open with the diner in disarray, because Luke’s apartment that he bought in the previous episode is still under construction. In real life, it usually takes months for the sale of a property to go through so you can begin work on it, but this is television, and Luke is already in the middle of renovations.

Jess, wearing a construction helmet, chivalrously brings Rory an umbrella to shield her from the mess. Although Luke gets cranky about Jess making fun of the situation, the umbrella saves Rory from being hit by debris just a minute or so later.

This is the first official sighting of Tom the Contractor, although it is the same actor (Biff Yeager) who played Tom who was the foreman at Rebuilding Together in Hartford where Rory did volunteer work. They have the same name and personality, and obviously look the same, so it seems perfectly possible that they are actually the same character. This is never confirmed, however.

It’s not clear how much time has passed since the previous episode, but Luke complains to Tom about the renovation taking another week, and in 2002 Easter was at the end of March, so perhaps three weeks have gone by and it’s now early April (Thursday 4th April). I won’t be able to keep blog entries in step with events in the show, or I will run out of time. Time gets very stretchy in the last few episodes of the season!

Lorelai Accuses Jess

After catching Jess coming out of Rory’s bedroom, and Rory’s bracelet coincidentally turning up under her bed when she’d already looked there numerous times, Lorelai puts one and one together and draws the obvious conclusion that Jess had Rory’s bracelet and had secretly returned it.

She immediately accuses Jess of stealing Rory’s bracelet and keeping it out of jealousy towards Dean, not caring that he was upsetting Rory in the process. Lorelai doesn’t bother trying to get all the facts, because Jess didn’t deliberately steal Rory’s bracelet, but held onto it after she lost it. He didn’t know it was from Dean, and was not trying to cause trouble between Rory and her boyfriend by keeping the bracelet.

She makes the mistake of attacking Jess as if she is a teenager herself, calling him a “little jerk”, rather than behaving like a concerned parent. This mother-daughter relationship where Lorelai tries to be both a mom and a best friend often goes wrong when she tries to be a friend when she should be a mother, and vice versa.

Lorelai has a temper and tends to go off halfcocked, especially when it comes to safeguarding Rory. Jess has no hesitation in talking back to her, and this episode will leave Lorelai with deep distrust and a simmering resentment against Jess which will explode later in the season.

Jess Realises What He’s Taken

While Lorelai checks the car to see if the bracelet is there, we see Jess outside, staring at the bracelet with a look of unhappy disillusionment. All this time he has been cherishing it as a memento of Rory, something which has actually touched her skin. He must feel such a fool when he discovers he’s been unwittingly sighing over something Dean made for her, and probably concerned when he realises that losing it has upset Rory and caused her to worry about Dean’s reaction.

Jess is actually wearing the bracelet on his wrist, so he has made no effort to conceal that he has it, and both Rory and Lorelai have seen it without realising its significance. Jess wears several leather bracelets, so it doesn’t stand out, although he has been careful to wear Rory’s bracelet on a different wrist from the others. Talk about hiding in plain sight!

Autumn in New York

DEAN: You go look at the astronomy section, we’ll go see Lord of the Rings, and on the way home we’ll rent Autumn in New York and mock it for the rest of the afternoon.

Autumn in New York is a 2000 romantic drama directed by Joan Chen, and starring Richard Gere as a middle-aged womaniser who falls in love with a sweet young woman who is terminally ill, played by Winona Ryder.

The film received negative reviews, being judged as sappy with no chemistry between the two romantic leads, although Chen’s direction did receive some praise. It was nonetheless a success at the box office. The film was released on DVD in January 2001.

Although I think Rory would mock the film roundly, it has enough parallels with her relationship with Jess to also be uncomfortable viewing for her. The main characters share a love of poetry, just as she and Jess share an interest in literature, and there are references to Rory’s favourite poets, Emily Dickinson, Dorothy Parker, and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

There is a major plot point in the film where the young woman takes her lover’s watch as a keepsake, telling him she will return it when he no longer notices it is gone. This is quite similar to Jess taking Rory’s bracelet, and returning it – except he will return it when Rory notices it is missing.

Dean has proposed what sounds like an exhaustingly lengthy afternoon: hours looking at books, a three hour movie at the cinema, and then a 90 minute video “for the rest of the afternoon”. Just how long is this afternoon? It’s early spring, it gets dark early!

Dean’s plan apparently comes to nothing when he notices that Rory isn’t wearing her bracelet. Instead of simply telling him the truth, that she didn’t notice it had fallen off, she tells him a silly lie about having a rash on her wrist, possibly caused by her Spanish mid-terms (!), and needing to temporarily remove the bracelet.

Even though this version of events wouldn’t stop Rory watching movies, she instead spends the afternoon searching the entire town for her bracelet. Again, it would have made more sense for her to have been honest, said that she lost the bracelet somewhere (for all she and Dean know, it fell off that very day), and needs to look for it.

It’s never said how she managed to cancel all her plans to spend the day with Dean to look for her bracelet without confessing it was lost, or raising his suspicions.

Rain Gutters

Lorelai needing her rain gutters cleaned was mentioned in “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” – she was hoping that the “Collins kid” might clean them for her. Luke remembers this, and suggests Jess could clean her gutters instead. Lorelai puts him off by saying she’s already got people lined up for the job.

Rory puts her head down sadly or sullenly when Lorelai balks at Jess coming to their house. Note that Rory is holding the ice creams hugged close to her chest, so her body heat will melt them even faster. I’m pretty sure that’s not ice cream in those cups marked “ice cream”.