PARIS: I’m being punished. I had sex, so now I don’t get to go to Harvard.
Gilmore Girls really does seem to enjoy punishing girls and women for having sex. The consequences can be dire, and this is perhaps the first big example of that (after Lorelai getting pregnant with Rory, which happens before the show opens).
LORELAI: Three more salads – who needs three more salads? RORY: One was enough.
Rory says that the one salad on Luke’s original menu was plenty. However, when Emily ordered lunch at Luke’s in “Haunted Leg”, she chose between the Cobb salad and the Caesar salad, so there were at least two salads on the menu only a few months ago. Perhaps Rory never noticed the second salad option.
Note that Nicole’s love of salad means that she’s one of those women who eat healthily, unlike Lorelai and Rory, making her really uncool and probably a terrible person. In the world of Gilmore Girls, at least.
It was something of a theme of Gilmore Girls that Stars Hollow was a magical snow globe town in winter. Possibly a sly nod to the fact that the town is on a set, a closed artificial environment, like a snow globe.
RORY: Francie, so good of you to stop by. I know how busy you are. Gum? [hands her a piece]
FRANCIE: What’s your damage, Gilmore?
A reference to the movie Heathers, previously discussed. In the film, “What is your damage?” was a way to sarcastically ask what sort of mood someone was in. It’s from the 18th century slang “What’s the damage?”, meaning how much does something cost.
[Lorelai and Rory are on the couch watching television]
RORY: I like these women.
LORELAI: I love these women.
During the cold open, Lorelai and Rory watch Grey Gardens, a 1975 documentary by Albert and David Maysles. The film depicts the everyday lives of two reclusive, upper-class women, a mother and daughter both named Edith Beale, who lived in poverty at Grey Gardens, a derelict mansion in the wealthy Georgica Pond neighbourhood of East Hampton, New York.
Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale (1895–1977), known as “Big Edie”, and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale (1917–2002), known as “Little Edie”, were the aunt and the first cousin, respectively, of former US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The two women lived together at the Grey Gardens estate for more than fifty years with limited funds in increasing squalor and isolation.
Throughout the fall of 1971 and into 1972, their living conditions—their house was infested by fleas, inhabited by numerous cats and raccoons, deprived of running water, and filled with garbage and decay—were exposed as the result of an article in the National Enquirer and a cover story in New York Magazine after a series of inspections by the Health Department.
With the Beale women facing eviction and the razing of their house, in the summer of 1972 Jacqueline Onassis and her sister Lee Radziwill provided the necessary funds to stabilize and repair the dilapidated house so that it would meet village codes.
Albert and David Maysles became interested in their story and received permission to film a documentary about the women, which was released in 1976 to wide critical acclaim. Their direct cinema technique left the women to tell their own stories.
The film was controversial from the start, with some feeling that the Beales were being exploited, and that because they were paid for taking part, the documentary was ethically compromised.
“Big Edie” died in 1977 and “Little Edie” sold the house in 1979, dying in Florida in 2002. The fashion designer Liz Lange now owns the house, which has been extensively remodelled and landscaped.
Lorelai and Rory both enjoy eccentric biographies, and stories about mother-daughter relationships, so this film is a natural fit for them. It’s clear they can see a little of themselves in “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” – like the Beales, the Gilmores share the same name. Other similarities are that their home is similarly described as needing work (“The Crapshack”), and they live a life of of genteel squalor, doing exactly as they please. Most importantly, like the Beales, the Gilmore girls are intensely codependent.
It’s hard not to think that Gilmore Girls was influenced to some extent by Grey Gardens – their names even have the same initials!
This episode introduces the character of the Town Loner, a mysterious and eccentric hermit who is thought to live “in the hills” around the town. This has a bit of a “cabin in the woods” vibe, and the show has something of a fascination with eccentric loners, who are depicted as both dangerous and wise.
The Town Loner comes out of isolation to stage a protest in the church tower, but the words that he yells are seemingly meaningless babble, and the banner that he unfurls is backwards, so the words cannot be read. Lorelai (brilliantly?) interprets this as a statement on man’s inability to communicate.
The Town Loner is played by Daniel Palladino, in an uncredited cameo.
LORELAI: Sorry about the whole Peyton thing. When I asked you for his number, I didn’t think … Think about what would happen if things didn’t work out with us. I mean, I know his mom is your friend, and I shouldn’t have even gotten mixed up in this whole thing if I wasn’t prepared to remember that what I do will affect you, and to me it’s just a Bowie concert, but to you, it’s not. I was a little thoughtless and I’m sorry, but you have to understand that I was not lying when I said we had a bad time.
Lorelai has listened to her father, and decides she needs to apologise to Emily for putting her social life in jeopardy. She acknowledges that she didn’t think about the consequences might be if she and Peyton didn’t get along, or consider how that might affect Emily. She goes to some lengths to explain to Emily how awful the date with Peyton was, and then says that, even so, she will still go on the date with Peyton if Emily wants her to.
Lorelai is clearly hoping her mother will take mercy on her plight … I ask again, has she actually met her mother before? Naturally, Emily graciously thanks Lorelai for her apology, and tells her to wear blue on her date with Peyton. There’s a real theme of women wearing blue in order to look pretty on this show.