Lorelai Invites Christopher to the Wedding

Lorelai invites Christopher (another woman’s boyfriend!) to Sookie and Jackson’s wedding, as her “plus one”. At last her interest is piqued when he casually accepts this invitation, and she asks him if maybe he should run this plan past Sherry.

Christopher tells her that Sherry is out of town (as if that has somehow negated her very existence), and that they haven’t been getting on very well lately. Before she left on a business trip – more evidence that it was Sherry’s business trip they were on before, not Christopher’s, by the way – they agreed that they would take this time apart as an opportunity to do some thinking about their relationship.

This is all Christopher’s narrative of course, we don’t know if all, or any, of this is true, or if Sherry would have a different version of events. However, Christopher says he had already decided that he is going to start looking for an apartment so he can move out. Even though Christopher and Sherry are not actually broken up yet and Christopher has not told Sherry he’s moving out, nor has he made any moves to do so, Lorelai is now perfectly satisfied about taking Christopher to the wedding.

Note that Christopher hands Lorelai his coat to put over her bare shoulders, and that she sits increasingly closer to him during this scene, as he tells her about Sherry. She keeps her leg crossed away from him though, as if not ready to be completely vulnerable to him. We also get another reminder that the wedding is on Sunday, in case we’ve forgotten about it.

Sookie and Jackson’s Rehearsal Dinner

LORELAI: But if you’re gonna be in the area Thursday night, you can come with us to the dinner.

CHRISTOPHER: But it’s Sookie’s rehearsal dinner.

LORELAI: Oh, she would love it. She’s cooking for a thousand. It’ll be fun.

Sookie and Jackson’s wedding rehearsal dinner is on Thursday, and Lorelai invites Christopher to it, since he already offered to take Lorelai and Rory out to dinner that night. The Gilmore girls are strangely un-curious about how and why Christopher is suddenly so available for outings with them, and neither bothers to ask where Sherry is, or why she isn’t coming too.

Note we get another day of the week reference to keep us on track. The wedding rehearsal is Thursday, the elections are Friday, the wedding is on Sunday. Got it?

Sookie’s Wedding

LORELAI: Oh, hey Mom, uh, Sookie wanted to know if you and Dad would like to come to her wedding … Yeah, it’s gonna be great. Small, low key, but fun. She’s catering it herself so the food’ll be fantastic, and you’d get to see me and Rory walk down the aisle in two of the least obnoxious bridesmaid dresses ever created.

EMILY: Well, that sounds very nice. When is it?

LORELAI: A week from Sunday.

Unlike so many episodes of Gilmore Girls, which exist in a sort of timeless vaccuum or even have a self-contradictory timeline, “I Can’t Get Started” has a very clear timeline, with Sookie and Jackson’s wedding on a Sunday, one week and two days from the first scene. There are several reminders of how time is passing, to keep us on track with the wedding schedule.

We were told in a previous episode that that the wedding is planned for the 14th of May, although in real life, the 14th May in 2002 was a Wednesday, not a Sunday.

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.

“I cut school!”

RORY: I cut school and I got on a bus and I don’t even know why I did it. I . . . I have no excuse. I was just standing outside of Chilton, and I don’t know, I must have had a stroke or something.

When Lorelai gets home from Hartford, she finds Rory already home and sitting on the porch waiting for her, in an echo of how she found Dean sitting miserably on the porch waiting for Rory at the end of “Back in the Saddle”.

Rory must have taken a bus straight back to Stars Hollow when she arrived in Hartford, rather than going to the college and risking missing Lorelai. It’s probably around 9.30 pm when Lorelai gets home, and who knows how long Rory has been waiting?

Lorelai goes from “worried mom” mode into “hurt mom” mode as soon as she makes sure that Rory is safe and that nothing terrible has happened to anyone else. She listens in shock as she hears Rory tell her that on a day that was very important to Lorelai, Rory decided on a whim to cut school and go to New York.

It isn’t Rory’s fault that there was an accident on the interstate, and the mistake with the bus schedule is fairly understandable. Any other Thursday, Rory could have got home hours late and pleaded some school activity keeping her, and Lorelai would have accepted it. But she had to pick the one Thursday to go to New York when her mother needed her to be there to help celebrate Lorelai’s achievement. It’s an act of monumental thoughtlessness and selfishness.

In an extra-cruel twist to Rory’s (self-inflicted) misfortunes, she is so tired and eager to get off the bus that she accidentally leaves the Go-Go’s album behind that she bought as a graduation present for Lorelai. There cannot be even one positive thing to come out of her trip to New York!

Rory is Delayed on the Bus

Rory has a nightmarish bus journey back to Hartford, which begins with the bus unable to even leave the terminus, as an accident has temporarily closed the interstate. We don’t get much of an idea as to how long that took, but in such cases, the interstate is usually closed for at least an hour or two (sometimes more than a day).

Rory sends Lorelai a pager message to say that she’s been held up, and will try to get to the ceremony by seven, but might be later than that. This sounds as if the bus was delayed from starting for more than an hour. It’s annoying, but Rory can still make the graduation ceremony at this point, even if she misses the first part of it.

The problem is that she soon discovers to her dismay that the bus is making many stops on the way back to Hartford – she caught an express bus in the morning that went directly to New York, but this is a local bus service which picks up passengers and lets them off along the entire route, meaning travel time is much longer.

In real life, buses are often delayed or take longer routes, something Rory may not have known but probably should, since she catches an intercity bus every day to school. Reviews for the New York to Hartford bus service complain of lengthy delays, often taking four hours to arrive, so this is a believable situation. If Rory was delayed from starting by two hours, and the trip took four hours, she might not be getting into Hartford until somewhere between 8 and 9 pm.

Note that Rory’s backpack on the seat beside her looks remarkably flat and empty – did she throw all her school textbooks away while she was in New York???

Boonesville

[Rory and Jess are walking toward her bus]

RORY: I think this one’s mine.

JESS: Yup, the sign says Boonesville.

The “boondocks” or the “boonies” is American slang for a distant or remote rural location, especially one with few amenities. “Boonesville” is obviously a town in the boondocks.

The word boondocks comes from the Tagalog word bundok, meaning “mountain”. It was coined by U.S. Marines fighting against Filipino guerrillas after the Spanish-American War (1899–1902), for the rough hill country there. Later, American troops in the Philippines during World War II shortened it, and after the war it began to be used more widely.

Although we can’t be certain what time it is when Rory goes to the bus terminal with Jess, the express bus she took in the morning takes two and a half hours to get to New York, so to arrive in Hartford by 5.30 pm in order to be at the graduation ceremony by 6 pm, she cannot plan to leave any later than 3 pm.

Assuming Rory met Jess in Washington Square Park some time after midday, they have had time to eat lunch and catch the subway to a record store before coming to the bus terminal (which should have only taken 15 minutes to Times Square on the subway). They could have easily spent two, or two and a half hours together in New York.

Rory probably thinks she has timed everything perfectly – oh, how wrong she is!

Hummel

RORY: And a couple years ago Mom drove us in to shop, and she couldn’t find a good parking place and all of the parking lots were a total rip-off, so she kept making U-turns and cutting off taxis and we were being screamed at in so many different languages that we just turned around and drove home and bought a Hummel at the curio store in Stars Hollow.

Hummel figurines, often just called Hummels, are a series of porcelain figurines based on the drawings of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, a German nun from the Franciscan Order. These sketches began to appear in Germany and Switzerland during the 1930s, mostly pastoral scenes of children.

Porcelain-maker Franz Goebel acquired the rights to turn the sketches into figurines, the first line produced in 1935. Introduced at the Leipzig Trade Fair, they quickly found American distributors. The popularity of Hummels grew after World War II as American soldiers stationed in West Germany began sending them home as gifts.

Nostalgia was a big factor in the figurines becoming popular, and they were commonly purchased during European travel as souvenirs. During the 1970s, prices began to skyrocket, and the M.I. Hummel Club was founded in 1977. Today a genuine Hummel would cost over $100 for a small piece, to more than $1000 for a larger and more elaborate one.

Lorelai bought a Hummel in 2000, presumably before the show opens in September of that year. Although I can see how Lorelai would appreciate the kitschy appeal of these collectables, I cannot recall actually seeing a Hummel on display in their house.

Rory Finds Jess

[Jess is reading on a bench as Rory walks up behind him]

RORY: Hi.

JESS: How ya doing?

After all the effort Rory has made to come to New York, apparently on a whim, she seemingly just walks in a side gate of Washington Square Park and finds Jess straight away (Rory is looking pretty fresh for someone who’s been on a bus for hours and just had a long walk). He’s sitting helpfully on a prominent park bench right at the entrance. It is now presumably somewhere between midday and 12.30 pm.

I know Jess was very lucky, phoning Rory when Lorelai was drunk and had the stereo on loudly so they could talk in private, but it’s nothing to Rory’s luck in finding Jess! All she had to go on was that he often hung out in Washington Square Park, and without making any plans to meet at a particular day, place, or time, it looks as if she turns up and Jess is right there. I mean, even if Jess was in the park, it’s ten acres – it could take hours to search for him. And lucky he hadn’t gone to the toilet or to lunch just as she arrived!

It would have been more believable if Rory and Jess had some sort of agreement to meet in New York, but that would have made Rory much more sneaky, treacherous, and selfish. It has to seem completely spontaneous, so that the relationship between Rory and Jess can remain innocent.

None of the scenes in this episode were actually filmed in New York – they were all shot at the Warner Bros lot in California. This scene takes place in New York Park, Burbank. There is no side gate such as the one Rory walks through, and if she approached Washington Square Park straight down Fifth Avenue, she would come to the main entrance, with the famous archway. Needless to say, it doesn’t look like Washington Square Park, and the real park is far more crowded, especially on a sunny spring afternoon around lunchtime.