RORY: Have you guys heard from Paris? … She’s been gone for five days.
Paris had her very public meltdown on a Friday, so if she’s been missing for five days, it would be Wednesday. Or Friday, if Rory isn’t counting the weekend. However, it actually appears to be Thursday, which isn’t five days from Friday, no matter how you count it. Yes, Daniel Palladino is not so hot on timelines.
In real life, Billy Joel did not appear on Charlie Rose in 2003. He has been a guest on the show several times, and the one previous to the episode was in October 2001.
Lorelai suggests that Billy Joel “might cry or something” because he suffers from severe depression, and attempted suicide in 1970. In 2002, the year before this episode of Gilmore Girls, he entered a rehab centre and psychiatric hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut for treatment. This show is very insensitive about mental health issues.
Charlie Rose was on Wednesday nights at this time, letting us know the day of the week.
RICHARD: Thank you for a lovely evening, and I’ll see the two of you on Friday.
The speech contest took place on Friday, so shouldn’t they be leaving for Friday Night Dinner right now? Or is the speech contest replacing the dinner, perhaps because Emily is still nursing her three friends with strokes? In which case, Richard means “see you next Friday”.
PARIS: Hey, I was trying to give the kid some human contact. He’s been talking to nothing but a cow for a year and a half. BRAD: There was a person inside that cow, I’ve told you that!
The role of Milky White the cow in the 2002 Broadway production of Into the Woods was played by actor and singer Chad Kimball [pictured], who was also the understudy for Adam Wylie’s role of Jack. He has been in a few other Broadway shows, and several regional theatre productions.
Paris says Brad was in Into the Woods for a year and a half, but it was only about a year – perhaps she is counting rehearsal periods. However, Brad seems to have been missing from Chilton for around eleven months.
TEACHER: Oh, I almost forgot to welcome back Brad Langford. He returns to us fresh from Broadway where he’s just completed a successful run of Into the Woods. Welcome back, Brad.
Into the Woods, 1987 musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. It won three Tony Awards, and has been produced many times since.
There was a revival of the musical in Los Angeles in February and March 2002, with the same cast that later ran on Broadway. The 2002 Broadway revival began previews on April 13, 2002 and opened April 30, 2002 at the Broadhurst Theatre, closing on December 29 after a run of 18 previews and 279 regular performances.
Adam Wylie, who plays Brad Langford, really was in the cast of Into the Woods, performing the role of Jack. This doesn’t quite fit into the timeline of the show, because Brad last returned to Chilton after a school transfer in late April 2002 – when he would have already been in Los Angeles for two months, and the musical’s main run was just about to begin.
However, it does explain why we haven’t seen him since then. Apparently he wasn’t frightened off by Paris after all – he was having a successful acting career. He has really come along since his first appearance on Gilmore Girls, when he said he couldn’t act in a school play because he got so nervous he threw up. Quite a transformation.
I’m not sure how Brad can take a year off school to do Broadway, and then simply come back to his senior class like nothing happened. Perhaps there was a private tutor attached to the Broadway production??? Also, Into the Woods finished at the end of January and it’s now the end of March – what was he doing for the past two months?
The teachers comment doesn’t really make any sense, because the senior class would have taken their SATs a year before, in their junior year. There would be no point in taking a college-admissions exam when college acceptances are just about to come out.
The SATs are held in March, as a confirmation of when this episode takes place.
In this episode, the title refers to the big envelope that Rory is hoping to receive from Harvard, accepting her as a student. This episode is all about waiting for college acceptances, and the drama associated with that.
Acceptances from Harvard arrive in late March, so we know when this episode takes place.
JESS: I got tickets to the Distillers … For tonight. I would’ve been here sooner, but I had to wait in line. So we should probably get going. I mean, we don’t wanna miss anything, right?
The Distillers, punk rock band, formed in Los Angeles in 1998 by Australian-born vocalist and guitarist Brody Dalle. Their self-titled debut album came out in 2000, and their most recent album was 2002’s Sing Sing Death House, which reached #29 on the US indie charts. Its single “City of Angels” went to #13 on the UK rock charts.
In real life, the Distillers did not perform at a concert in Connecticut in February/March of 2003. They played The Big Day Out at the Green in Glasgow, Scotland on March 24 2003, which seems to be their first gig for that year. However, on February 14 2002, the Distillers played at Toad’s Place, a nightclub in New Haven, Connecticut, which may be part of the inspiration for this scene.
The timeline for this seems questionable. Jess went to Rory’s place at 7.30 pm, where Lorelai gave him a talking to. He then apparently drove to Hartford or New Haven, in order to line up and buy concert tickets. He somehow has time to then drive back to Stars Hollow, and catch Rory just as she is leaving the hockey game, which would have finished no later than 9 pm.
Now he and Rory are going to drive to Hartford or New Haven again, getting there around 10 pm to watch the concert. This doesn’t seem to be possible, especially as Rory is shown getting home when Lorelai is still up and having a late night meal in the kitchen.
I suppose if the Distillers were the last act on the bill, and played a very short set of 30-40 minutes or so, then perhaps Jess and Rory could have got out around midnight and made it back to Stars Hollow by 1 am, and Lorelai could still be awake and having a midnight snack then. It seems like a lot of driving around and a lot of money spent for such a short time, though.
The alternative explanation is that Jess had in fact already bought the tickets and arrived at Rory’s house ready to surprise her when Lorelai jumped down his throat. In that case, his story about waiting in line is just that – a story. However, that doesn’t explain where he went afterwards, unless he just sat in the car park and waited for Rory to come out. I find this whole plotline pretty confusing.
When Rory comes home from the concert, she doesn’t tell Lorelai where she has been, or anything much about her night. Can Lorelai not smell smoke on her, or notice any other sign that she has been at a concert? (Cigarette bans in clubs and places of entertainment would not be passed in Connecticut until May 2003).
There is no sign that Rory enjoyed her night out with Jess. When we see her alone in her room, she lies on her bed with a pensive and enigmatic look on her face which gradually becomes sadder and sadder. Her expression doesn’t say “I’ve had a great night out at a cool concert with my boyfriend”, it says, “My ex-boyfriend has found someone new and my boyfriend isn’t living up to my expectations”.
In fact, all the signs point to Rory not being over her break up with Dean, and not being exactly happy with Jess.
KIRK: So it’s back to the desert for the Minutemen, perhaps for another forty years. Of course, by then, I’ll be seventy years old. A lot of the rest of you will probably be dead. Taylor, you’ll be dead. Babette, Miss Patty . . . that man there in the hat.
From this we learn that Kirk is thirty years old, and born in either 1972 or 1973, depending on whether he has already had his birthday for 2003, or will be turning 31 later in the year. Sean Gunn who plays Kirk was born in 1974.
Kirk’s prediction that many of the older people of Stars Hollow will probably by dead in forty years seems like a slight echo of the story of the Israelites, where an entire generation had to pass away before they could reach the Promised Land.
The monthly meeting included a luncheon, but this DAR luncheon is presumably something separate from, and far more elaborate than, the monthly meeting luncheons. Lorelai books the DAR luncheon for the 15th March, which was a Saturday in 2003. (There may be some joke here about the Ides of March – the 15th of March – the day on which Julius Caesar was assassinated).