Lorelai Tries to Make Up With Luke

After half an hour of psyching herself up, Lorelai goes into the diner and tries to make up her fight with Luke. She has already written him a note to apologise, but Luke refuses to engage with her. He accepts her apology, he offers to get her a coffee and a doughnut, but there is no emotion there, and he barely looks at her (would his resolve crumble if he did?). Lorelai has really hurt Luke, and he cannot go back to how things were before.

Rory and Dean Eat Breakfast Together

Rory and Dean are eating breakfast at Luke’s before school, Lorelai unable to join them because she’s still in a fight with Luke. It’s a reminder that with Jess gone, Rory has just gone back to Dean as if everything is fine between them.

Just a few days before, Rory skipped school and caught a bus to New York to see Jess, the boy that Dean is jealous of, doesn’t trust one inch, and is sure that Rory likes more than him. Rory hasn’t told any of this to Dean – if Rory had been honest, she might not be having breakfast with Dean now! For someone who recently snuck off to see another guy, Rory is a pretty cool customer, grifting Dean out of his pancakes. She clearly feels extremely secure in her relationship.

I Can’t Get Started

This is the song that Sookie has chosen for her wedding, and is playing it for Lorelai, Rory, and Michel to hear.

“I Can’t Get Started” is a 1936 popular song, composed by Vernon Duke with lyrics by Ira Gershwin. It was introduced in the film Ziegfield Follies of 1936, performed by Bob Hope and Eve Arden. The 1937 version by jazz trumpeter Bunny Berigan went to #10 in the charts and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1975.

Sookie is playing Ella Fitzgerald’s version, which was included on her 1953 album, Sweet and Hot. It’s also on her 1973 live album, Newport Jazz Festival: Live at Carnegie Hall. This album also includes her song, “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”, which was previously used as an episode title on Gilmore Girls.

Lorelai protests that the lyrics are far too depressing for a wedding song, being about a relationship that will never get off the ground:

I’ve flown around the world in a plane
I’ve settled revolutions in Spain
The North Pole I have charted, but I can’t get
Started with you

Around the golf course I’m under par
And all the movies want me to star
I’ve got a house, a show place, but I get no
Place with you

You’re so supreme, lyrics I write of you
Scheme, just for a sight of you
Dream, both day and night of you
And what good does it do?

In 1929 I sold short
In England I’m presented at court
But you’ve got me downhearted, cause I can’t get
Started with you

You’re so supreme, lyrics I write of you
Scheme, just for a sight of you
Dream, both day and night of you
And what good does it do?

It’s been chosen as the title of the episode, so we know that the season will end with at least one romantic whump!

Sookie and Jackson’s Wedding

This episode is centred around Sookie and Jackson’s wedding day, and the first shot is the poster the couple are using for the celebration. It’s a huge blown up photo of Sookie and Jackson against a field of flowers (possibly a standard photography studio background?), with Sookie holding a wedding cake, and Jackson in a Hawaiian shirt holding a bunch of bananas. It’s typical sweet goofiness from this so-far adorable couple.

Note that the wedding date is prominently displayed as May 19 2002, changed from the earlier May 15. And May 19 really was a Sunday in 2002! This is the first time we’ve got a rock-solid date for anything that actually fits into a real world time frame.

If you keep an eye out, you will see other photos of Sookie and Jackson used on decorative throw pillows and what not in this episode – I imagine that Jackson’s cousin with the printing business was called in to do these, and he quite likely made the poster as well.

“You are falling for Jess”

LORELAI: Okay, look, nobody wants to say this any less than me, but I – maybe you don’t have a medical condition or a mental problem. Maybe, honey, you are falling for Jess.

In an echo of the end of “Back in the Saddle” when Dean bitterly admits that Rory likes Jess (more than him), Lorelai ends this episode having to be honest with herself and admitting that Rory must be falling for Jess.

There is no such awareness or honesty from Rory, though. She denies it, and says she loves Dean, and he will be her boyfriend forever. Jess is gone, and now all their problems are over. She refuses to talk about it any more, and only talks about her trip to New York as a “horrible, horrible day”. It’s very dishonest, especially to herself, when her day in New York with Jess was an absolutely magical experience until the bus debacle.

It will take just a little while longer for Rory to also realise that she is falling for Jess.

“I’m sick”

RORY: I am sick, I’m ill, I’m cracked. This is not who I am. If I were to write this down in my diary and I would read it, I would be like, Who is this freak? This isn’t me. This isn’t my diary. I wouldn’t do this. I wouldn’t skip school when I have finals coming up to go see a guy that isn’t even my guy and end up missing my mother’s graduation, which I wanted to be at so badly. That’s someone else. That’s someone flighty and stupid and dumb and girly. And, I mean, I missed your graduation, which is the worst thing I could have possibly done. I mean, I hurt you and I had to spend hours on a stinky bus next to a guy that was spitting into a can, just thinking about all of the minutes that were going by that I wasn’t at your graduation and they were hurting you, and they should have been hurting you because it was so selfish of this person who wasn’t me to do what she did.

Rory’s snap decision to go to New York is something she can’t explain logically, so that she says she must have a physical or mental illness. Not only has she let her mother down badly one one of the most important days of her life, but she skipped a day of school in the lead up to final exams, and it was to see a boy who isn’t even her boyfriend (and her boyfriend wouldn’t be thrilled to hear about this, which he won’t, because Rory has got into the habit of not being truthful with Dean).

Rory’s tearful, extravagant apology and her description of how bad she feels and how much she has already suffered for her actions has the effect of negating any of Lorelai’s feelings, or allowing her to tell Rory how she feels – because however unhappy Lorelai feels about Rory not turning up, Rory feels a million times worse.

It would be quite manipulative if done on purpose, but I think it is done in all innocence and sincerity. However, it’s very unfair on Lorelai, who now has to put aside not only her own feelings, but all the positive feelings she has about graduating, and focus on Rory’s problems.

Rory’s behaviour must seem horribly familiar to Lorelai. A teenage girl acting reckless and boy crazy, making foolish, selfish choices, and behaving in an irresponsible manner? She’s starting to sound an awful lot like Lorelai when she was a smart private schoolgirl.

Note that Rory speaks here about writing in her diary as if she actually has one – she doesn’t say, “If I had a diary”, or “If I wrote this down in a diary”, she says, “If I were to write this down in my diary”. There’s a strong suggestion here that Rory has a diary which she writes in regularly, which seems completely in character for her. I’m guessing the entry for this day would be very painful to write.

Rory’s List of Punishments

Grounded for 7 months (which is until the Christmas holidays)

No TV

No stereo

No phone

No reading of books or magazines

Has to do all the housework, including laundry and dishes

Gets a beating

No oxygen, no breathing

Lorelai gets complete control of the TV remote and the stereo as long as she wants

Lorelai gets to choose every single meal

Lorelai gets a special present every month

Has to replace the Go-Go’s album she left on the bus

Sent to bed without any supper

A bad night’s sleep

Rory has spent her time on the bus writing up a list of strict punishments for herself for going to New York and missing Lorelai’s graduation. When she gets home and sees Lorelai, she adds even more punishments, until they become so ridiculous that in the end, Rory appears to escape having any punishment at all – except one extremely horrible bus trip, and the knowledge that she has badly hurt and disappointed her mother (not to mention betraying her boyfriend Dean, not that she seems too concerned about that at present). I can perfectly believe that Rory had a very bad sleep that night.

Lorelai Graduates

The moment arrives, and it is Lorelai’s turn to graduate, after three years of studying business at community college. As her name is read out, we discover for the first time that her middle name is Victoria (oddly enough, the last time we saw the name in the show, it was on a gay bar – The Queen Victoria!).

A popular fan theory is that because Richard named Lorelai after his beloved mother, her middle name of Victoria was chosen by Emily, and was perhaps the name she wishes that Lorelai had. It does seem like Emily to choose a name from royalty.

Richard and Emily look at Lorelai graduating with such pride, and I think feeling glad that they have been included in this important event. They could have been snobbish about her graduating from a community college, or even embarrassed that she doesn’t graduate until her thirties. They could have done the bare minimum; shown up, sat at the back, and given a quick congratulations before going home.

Instead they hire a professional filmmaker to record the ceremony, order dozens of corsages so Lorelai can choose whichever one she likes best, and watch Lorelai graduate with expressions of love and pride. They know how hard she has worked, and the struggles she has been through to graduate, so being there for her big moment is very important.

The writer (Daniel Palladino) has left poor Rory stuck on a bus and unable to get there, but it was so that Lorelai could share this touching moment with Richard and Emily – she gets to graduate as a daughter, not a mother, the way she would have if she’d been sent to Vassar when she was a teenager.

It’s slightly unbelievable Richard and Emily are not more concerned about Rory’s absence from the ceremony, but perhaps they don’t want do anything to ruin Lorelai’s special evening.

“You didn’t say goodbye”

JESS: I mean, you ditched school and everything. That’s so not you. Why’d you do it?

RORY: Because you didn’t say goodbye.

JESS: Oh. Bye, Rory.

RORY: Bye, Jess.

Only at the very end of their time together does Jess ask Rory why she’s come to see him in New York – out of the blue, and skipping school to do so, which Jess recognises as out of character behaviour for the academically minded Rory.

Rory tells him it’s s because he never said goodbye to her before leaving Stars Hollow, as if she just wants closure. Jess says, “Bye, Rory”, to give her what she asked for, and she says, “Bye, Jess”, but the look she gives him through the bus window is so wistful that it seems as if she really wants him to say, “Hello”, to come back into her life. The bashful smile from Jess suggests he can tell that.

Note that Jess never said goodbye to Rory on the phone either, ending their conversation with “See ya”, as if he expected their relationship to continue at some point. That seems to be enough encouragement for Rory to come to New York, as if taking “see ya” as an invitation to come see Jess.