LANE: I’m gonna get a soda, anybody want anything?
LORELAI: Yes, the night of my 14th birthday back so I can right the green-hot-pant-roller-disco outfit wrong.
A roller disco is a skating rink where the dancers wear roller skates to move to disco music (or any modern dance music). The concept originated in the 1970s and peaked around 1980, although they are still held now as retro entertainment.
Lorelai’s 14th birthday was in 1982, so she was already slightly behind the trends when she chose her roller disco outfit (it actually fits better with Amy Sherman-Palladino’s 14th birthday in 1980). It’s not clear whether her birthday was celebrated at a roller disco, or she just thought it would be a good outfit to wear to her party. Let’s hope the first one.
LOUISE: How long has it been [that Rory and Dean have been together]?
RORY: … About a month.
LOUISE: Oh, lifers.
It’s quite clearly been more than “about a month” since Rory and Dean got together. It’s been more than two months since they went to the school dance together, so Madeline and Louise must know it’s more than a month.
By Louise describing a couple in a one-month relationship as “lifers”, we can tell she’s never been in a relationship for more than a few weeks at most, and that she views (or affects to view) a long-term relationship in terms of a prison sentence.
After accidentally buying and wearing Luke’s ex-girlfriend’s sweater that he donated to the charity rummage sale, Lorelai learns from Sookie and Miss Patty that Luke had a “very serious girlfriend” called Rachel about five or six years ago (around 1995-1996), who broke his heart.
When Lorelai wonders how she could not have known about this relationship, or ever heard of Rachel before, the viewer can’t help but wonder too, as Lorelai has been in Stars Hollow since 1986.
Her friends explain that she was busy moving into her new house with her eleven year old daughter at the time, and that Rachel travelled a lot. As it doesn’t take that long to move into a new house, it makes you wonder how long this “very serious” partially long-distance relationship between Luke and Rachel lasted. Not very, by the sounds of it.
It’s a pretty lame explanation for why Lorelai’s never met or heard of Rachel before now, but at least tells us how long Lorelai and Rory have been in their home.
LANE: I was just wondering if I could go somewhere tomorrow with Rory and her mom.
MRS. KIM: Tomorrow is church.
As Seventh Day Adventists, the Kims attend church on Saturday, the same day as the concert. From this we know that Lane approaches her mother on Friday.
LORELAI: Okay, so rummage sale’s Sunday, today is Tuesday. At this rate, we are going to be sleeping in the yard by Thursday.
From this we know that the events of this episode take place over six days; it is now perhaps around mid-February.
SOOKIE: I asked him [Jackson] if he’d like to have dinner sometime.
LORELAI: I know – weeks ago.
For the first eleven episodes, dates in Gilmore Girls can be plotted on the calendar fairly easily. From now on, time becomes more amorphous and elastic, and sometimes even self-contradicts. At this point, a lot of estimating and even guessing will be needed to form any kind of workable timeline.
When Lorelai says the events of the previous episode happened weeks ago, we have no idea if she means two weeks, three weeks, or six weeks in the past. Most likely it is two or three weeks and we are now in early to mid-February – four or more weeks and she would probably say it was a month, or more than a month.
(It’s not possible for me to align the dates on the blog exactly with the vague calendar in Gilmore Girls at this point, or I will run out of time for events to occur in).
When Lorelai suddenly seems far less interested in Max, Sookie points out that Lorelai and Max have been dating for two months now – which is the usual time that Lorelai begins backing out of a relationship. Lorelai and Max began dating in mid-November 2000, so it must now be the middle of January 2001.
Sookie’s comment incidentally confirms that none of Lorelai’s relationships have lasted very long, which we inferred from her statement to Max that none of her dates ever went to her house or met Rory before. Near the end of the episode we learn that Rory never even knew their names, but that Lorelai referred to them by a brief description.