Daughters of the American Revolution

VIVIAN LEWIS: Well you know, the Daughters of the American Revolution Debutante Ball is next week.

The Daughters of the American Revolution, previously discussed.

The Daughters of the American Revolution really do hold debutante balls. They are often held on patriotic dates, and as this episode takes place in September, the ball might be held around the date of Constitution Day, which is September 17. In 2001, it was a Monday, but the ball could be held the following Saturday. This is also around the date of the Fall Equinox, giving the ball a Harvest Festival feel, as if the young girls are ready to be “gathered” or “picked”.

In real life, the DAR chapter for Hartford is called the Ruth Wylls Chapter. It was founded in 1892, making it one of the oldest chapters. It has over 50 members.

We already know that Emily is a member of the DAR, which means that she is a direct descendant of someone involved in the American Revolution, meaning Lorelai and Rory are eligible to join too. In real life, the easiest way to join the DAR is to have a blood relative who’s already a member, as your ancestry is proven. This becomes a plot point later in the show.

The Brothers Karamazov

When Rory is interviewing Max, this book is on the desk between them, in a pile of other books that includes Anna Karenina, previously discussed.

The Brothers Karamazov is a 1880 novel by Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky about the sons of a buffoon named Fyodor Karamazov; he has three sons from two marriages, and it is rumoured that his servant is actually an illegitimate son. Fyodor takes no interest in his sons, who are raised apart from each other and their father. A passionate philosophical novel, it delves deeply into questions of God, free will, morality, faith doubt, and reason, involving a plot about patricide. It is acclaimed as one of the great works of modern literature, and has influenced many great authors and thinkers. It was Einstein’s favourite novel, Freud considered it the greatest work of literature, while Franz Kafka felt indebted to it as a influence on his own work.

We know that Russian literature is the first component of the English Literature course in the sophomore year at Chilton, and this must be on the curriculum. On Rory’s first day at Chilton, the teacher talked about how they had studied Dostoevsky the week before. We can feel pretty confident that Rory would have read this novel in her efforts to catch up with her schoolmates, and it may have helped give her an interest in the works of Kafka.

Tuesday night in Stars Hollow

RORY: Because it’s Tuesday night in Stars Hollow. There’s nowhere to bail to. The 24-hour mini-mart just closed twenty minutes ago.
JESS: So we’ll walk around or sit on a bench and stare at our shoes.

A confirmation that it is now Tuesday, and the previous day was Monday, which doesn’t actually make much sense. Also, we’ve gone from Stars Hollow being the small town that never sleeps and gets up super early, to having a 24-hour mini mart that closes at 7 pm.

Is the 24-hour mini mart a joke, just referring to Doose’s Market? Because Taylor only seems to fear competition from supermarkets in neighbouring towns, so presumably there is nowhere else to shop in Stars Hollow.

By the way, one of the most befuddling essays I’ve read on Gilmore Girls is one categorically stating that a grocery store like Doose’s Market couldn’t possibly survive in a town of only 9000 odd people, with graphs and pie charts and so on to prove its economic unfeasibility. This is despite the fact that Washington Depot, the real life original inspiration for Stars Hollow, only has about 3000 people, yet has managed to maintain a successful grocery store (Washington Depot Food Market) much like Doose’s for decades.

Rory’s First Article

TEACHER: I mean, when you’ve got a reporter who can take an incredibly mundane and seemingly unimportant subject like the re-paving of the faculty parking lot and turn it into a bittersweet piece on how everybody and everything eventually becomes obsolete, then you’ve really got something. Miss Gilmore, I was touched.

This is truly one of the most unbelievable things to happen in regard to Rory’s career as a reporter. The idea that one thousand words on the re-paving of the faculty parking lot, made into a bittersweet piece on how time claims us all, is utterly ludicrous.

It sounds completely hokey and self-indulgent, and a type of journalism more reminiscent of The Simpsons‘ news anchorman Kent Brockman than The New York Times. In real life, Rory would have had her article cut by at least 75%, and a big red pen put through her waffling think piece on re-paving.

And when did Rory hand her article in? It seemed at the last meeting that articles were due at the next day’s meeting (i.e. this meeting). Yet the teacher has already received it from Paris and read it. Possibly Rory was careful to hand it in early, or give it to the teacher herself, to make sure there weren’t any other Paris-caused mix-ups. Or else when Paris said it needed to be “on her desk”, she meant her regular school desk, not her editorial desk. Which seems very confusing.

“A thousand words on my desk on Tuesday”

Tuesday is the next day, despite the school year in the United States usually starting on the Tuesday after Labor Day. Labor Day doesn’t seem to exist in this episode. I don’t know why Paris doesn’t simply say “on my desk tomorrow”, which has a more urgent feeling. Perhaps she’s hoping to confuse Rory again, so that she hands it in a week late.

Also, there is no way that the school magazine would publish a thousand word article about a repaved parking lot. Rory’s article would be more likely to be around 200-250 words.

Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts are an international organisation for young people with an emphasis on practical outdoor activities, founded in the UK in 1907 by Sir Robert Baden-Powell. The Boy Scouts of America were founded in 1910, after Chicago publisher W.D. Boyce encountered a helpful Boy Scout while visiting England. It currently has over a million members.

We discover in this episode that Taylor Doose is the scout leader in Stars Hollow. It’s another perplexing incident in regard to time of day – it can’t be any later than about 7:20 am when Lorelai finishes breakfast and goes to the counter, because she still has to drive Rory to school in Hartford, which starts at 8.05 am, and Rory is getting very agitated about being late, because it’s the first day of the school year.

Yet Taylor has just finished a two hour outdoor survival training session with the Boy Scouts. It seems bizarre to organise this before the school day begins, on the first day of the school year, no less. He also takes the boys to breakfast at Luke’s Diner (which doesn’t seem like a very outdoorsy thing to do), and they choose food such as burgers and fries, grilled cheese, and doughnuts. I guess learning about healthy breakfasts comes later in the boys’ training. You just have to put all this down to the charming eccentricity of Stars Hollow.

“This coming weekend”

EMILY: And why would you go out of town now so soon before your wedding? Didn’t your fiancé mind?
LORELAI: Oh, well …
EMILY: I mean, you act as if this coming weekend is just going to be business as usual and not the most important day of your life.

As it’s Friday Night Dinner, Lorelai and Max were actually meant to be getting married the very next day – Lorelai leaves it until almost the last minute to tell her mother the wedding is off.

Glaucoma

EMILY: Focus the picture Lorelai … It’s hurting my eyes … It’s like I have glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases in which the vision becomes clouded due to damage to the optic nerve. Vision loss and blindness can ensue if not treated.

We discover that Lorelai has had her camera for six years, so since 1995, and still can’t focus it.

“It never does”

RORY: Feels like we’ve been gone a long time.
LORELAI: You know what’s weird? Every time I leave town, even for just a little while, I always expect everything to look different.
RORY: And it never does.
LORELAI: It never does.

Lorelai and Rory were in Portsmouth for Monday and Tuesday night, so today is Wednesday and they’ve been gone for two or three days.

Their dialogue is a comment on the unchanging timelessness of Stars Hollow, providing a stable base for Lorelai and Rory.