Junior Leadership Program in Washington

RORY: But if I win then I have to be vice president next year. Plus, I’ll have to spend my summer in Washington for some junior leadership program, which means six straight weeks of me and Paris together in a dorm room.

The program that Rory and Paris will be attending in Washington DC during their summer vacation seems to be similar to the real life Global Young Leaders Conference, where high school students from the US and around the world learn communication, decision-making, and negotiation while interacting with real life leaders, diplomats, lobbyists, and journalists. There are also visits to embassies and cultural landmarks.

Unlike the six weeks Rory has in front of her, the real life program only lasts for ten days, students are housed in a hotel, not a dormitory, and it costs thousands of dollars to attend. Rory never even mentions paying, so perhaps Chilton are footing the bill, or Rory and Paris will be offered scholarships.

Rory Gets Her Cast Removed

When Rory got her cast put on, the doctor said she would need to keep it on for two weeks, but it’s actually been three weeks since the night of the car accident when she gets the cast removed.

Lorelai takes Rory to Dr Ronald Sue, a specialist in orthopaedic medicine – who has an office in Stars Hollow, quite unbelievably. It feels like in Season 1, the writers tried to create a small town in New England that might be a little quirky, or niche, or even slightly magical, but was still a place you could convince yourself might almost exist.

Now it’s only Season 2, but already they are throwing anything into Stars Hollow that suits the plot, so this little town of less than 10 000 people has multiple takeout options which all deliver, a 24-hour pharmacy, a hospital, and an orthopaedic specialist. It feels like very lazy world-building. In this case it seems especially pointless, because there’s no reason Lorelai couldn’t have picked Rory up from school and taken her to an appointment with Dr Sue in Hartford.

Christopher invites himself to the medical appointment, announcing to everyone with self-importance that he’s “the father”, as if Rory has just been born, or like anyone cares. He’s driven from Boston to watch a minor two-minute medical procedure, and now he … drives back again? That makes perfect sense. Is it a hint he isn’t actually in Boston at this point?

Rory wears a red and black tee shirt which says STRANGE 13 to her appointment, as a nice callback to her Emily the Strange sticker.

“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’s Fashion Advice

RORY: Take light layers. Wear your turquoise and tan dress that you just got that’s cool and it’ll look good without your gown on, and wear your turquoise vintagey sweater over it because it’ll look great with the dress and it’ll keep you warm if it’s cold in the auditorium.

LORELAI: You are a fashion genius.

RORY: Well, you’ve taught me everything I know.

Rory’s fashion advice to Lorelai is a callback to “Kiss and Tell” in Season 1, when a panicked Rory can’t decide what to wear for her first date with Dean until Lorelai picks out a top for her. Now it is Rory’s turn to help out her mother when she is too keyed up about graduating to select an outfit.

I’m not sure whether we’re meant to think Rory has become a full-blown fashion expert in the past 18 months, or just that either Gilmore girl is capable of getting the odd brain freeze, and needs the other to help out so they can get dressed. The shows seems to be leaning towards the former, because Rory was so stunned at the way her mother could instantly pick the right top.

Also note, Rory Gilmore’s fashion genius advice – wear layers, no headwear over curls. You got that for free.

Central Park and Washington Square Park

JESS: Just hanging out . . . in the park, mostly.

RORY: Central Park?

JESS: Washington Square Park.

Central Park, a 843 acre park in Upper Manhattan, New York, the fifth-largest park in the city. Opened in 1858, it is the most visited park in the US, and the most filmed location in the world.

Washington Square Park [pictured], a 10 acre park in the Greenwich Village district of Lower Manhattan, New York. One of the best known of the city’s public parks, it is a cultural icon and popular meeting place. It is notable for its arch, modelled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and its fountain. The ground was first made into a park in 1849.

Jess says that Washington Square Park is “cooler” than Central Park. Apart from its location in fashionable Greenwich Village, it has a history of street performers, and protests and demonstrations. It has been a focal point for students, artists, musicians, and writers in the Beat, folk, and hippie movements. Robert Louis Stevenson once met Mark Twain here. Buddy Holly spent time here helping guitarists with their technique, and Barack Obama held a rally here. It’s a popular spot for filming, and Amy Sherman-Palladino’s show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has filmed scenes here.

Washington Square Park, with its Beatnik and counter-cultural heritage, seems like the perfect place for Jess to hang out. I’m not sure if this is meant to suggest that he and Liz live in this area (if so, only with the kind of magical rent control that appears in TV shows like Friends!).

Jess obviously isn’t attending school, because he went back to New York right near the end of semester and its too late to start at a new school. This is breaking the law, but I guess he’s fallen through the cracks in the system as nobody knows where he really lives.

Mystery Breakfast Spot

LORELAI: We have arrived.

RORY: Arrived where? [looks up] Aw, you are without shame.

Somehow Lorelai has led Rory all the way to Sookie’s house without Rory having the slightest idea where they are going. This is even less believable than the time Lorelai took her right to the very gates of Harvard before Rory suspected where they were. How can Rory not remember where Sookie lives?

Once again, we see that Sookie seems to live a long walk from Lorelai’s house, yet somehow it is too close to get in the car and drive to it. Rory says they are in the opposite direction to the business district, and even wonders if they are walking to the next town, suggesting that Sookie lives on the outskirts of Stars Hollow. Yet the area doesn’t look any more rural than Lorelai and Rory’s street – which makes sense, because in real life, Sookie’s house was right next to Lorelai’s!

Lorelai cannot go to the diner for breakfast, because she and Luke are still in a fight over Jess. The show doesn’t make it clear whether Lorelai arranged in advance to have breakfast at Sookie’s, or if they have turned up unannounced first thing in the morning expecting to be fed (which would not be out of character). Either way, Sookie is delighted to have extra people to cook for.

“I wanna go to New York some day”

LANE: So, you’re from New York, huh?

SOPHIE: Yes, I am.

LANE: I wanna go to New York someday.

Previously, Lane said she wanted to live in Philadelphia, but that might have been just to have something to reply to Rory. Now she says she wants to go to New York – but it might be just to keep Sophie talking. It’s not actually possible to tell whether Lane has any ambitions to leave Stars Hollow at all.

Like Sophie, Carole King was born and raised in New York City, and like Sophie, she moved to the country. She moved to a ranch in Sun Valley, Idaho in the 1980s, only selling up a few years ago. Between New York and Idaho, she lived in L.A during the 1970s.

Sophie Bloom (Carole King)

Sophie Bloom is the owner of the new music store that opens in Stars Hollow, Sophie’s Music. The role is played by Carole King, who sings the show’s theme song, “Where You Lead (I Will Follow)”. She is a rather grouchy woman, even quite rude, which seems pretty typical for Stars Hollow customer service!

It does raise some interesting questions – Sophie must know of Carole King and her music, doesn’t she wonder why she and Carole King look and sound exactly the same? Or is it possible that Sophie Bloom is an identity that Carole King has taken on so that she can secretly live and work in Stars Hollow?

The Gilmore Group

EMILY: Your father is now the president and CEO of the Gilmore Group, an international insurance consulting firm.

LORELAI: Wow, that’s great. So, um, what’s the . . . like, how does . . . what’s his job? …

EMILY: Your father is an international insurance consultant … He consults on matters relating to international insurance.

Lorelai has no idea what an insurance consultant does, Emily doesn’t really know, and I’m not sure the writer (Allan Heinberg) knows either! I’m a bit in the dark too, because they usually work for an insurance company, and are basically sales agents. I presume an independent insurance consultant would help businesses choose from various insurance plan options, and sell insurance policies from a range of insurance carriers, rather than one. Don’t ask me how a single person can be a “group”.

Jess Leaves Town

BABETTE: Last night, not long after the accident happened, Luke walked him straight to the bus station, stuck the kid on a bus, sent him home to his mom.

MISS PATTY: I can’t believe Luke would send him off like that.

BABETTE: Well, I heard the kid wanted to go. I don’t know. All I know is that Jess is gone.

While watching the film with Lane and her parents, Rory overhears Babette and Miss Patty gossiping, and in this way learns that Jess left town the previous night, after the accident he had driving Rory’s car. Luke walked him straight to the bus station and sent him home to Liz.

We never got to see the conversation between Luke and Jess, so we have no idea why Luke did that, or in what mood he did it. Babette heard that Jess actually asked to leave, rather than Luke throwing him out. Did Luke take Lorelai’s advice and get rid of Jess, or did he regretfully give way to Jess’ request that he go home? We don’t know for sure, but town gossip hints the latter is more likely than the former.

In real life, the last bus to New York City leaves Hartford at 10.30 pm, so Jess would have left Stars Hollow around 11.10 pm, and got to Manhattan some time after 1 am. That might suggest the accident took place somewhere between 8.30 pm and 9.30 pm.

After all the town’s complaints about Jess, Babette and Miss Patty seem rather regretful that Jess has gone, saying that they don’t know what they will do for entertainment now (and Jess stole from Babette and pestered Miss Patty’s dance students, so they have personal reasons to wish him gone). It suggests that the town’s exaggerated hatred of Jess was mostly motivated by a desire to cause drama so they’d have something to focus on. Like old Louie Danes, Jess was a convenient sinkhole where they could throw all their negativity.

Lorelai keeps her face rigidly glued to the screen, trying not to betray anything by her expression, but she knows this can’t be good news for her friendship with Luke. Rory looks hurt and unhappy, and turns away from her mother, as if needing privacy for her grief (or possibly as if she is beginning to blame Lorelai for Jess’ departure). It feels as if Jess being gone will cause just as many issues for the Gilmore girls as Jess being there …