Gilmore Girls, Episodes 1.12, 1.13,1.9, 1.14, & 1.15
“Double Date,” “Concert Interruptus”, “That Damn Donna Reed,” & “Christopher Returns”
Original Air Dates: Jan. 18, 2001; Feb. 15 & 22, 2001; and Mar. 1, 2001
Emma: Major development time on Gilmore Girls and I’m jumping to the last of our four episodes this week as it’s the juiciest (although my favorite of the bunch is the Bangles featuring “Concert Interruptus”). Rory’s dad Christopher comes to town for the first time and feathers are ruffled. We’re getting more of an idea of the whole how Lorelai came to Stars Hollows and it turns out that Christopher has never been here before and the town loses their shit when he does. Considering their lack of chill when it comes to special occasions this is also not a surprise especially as the Gilmore ladies are highly regarded in this close knit community. So as soon as Christopher’s credit card is declined in the book store it was clear that Lorelai would find out from someone who is not Rory.
Christopher also causes major ripples at the other Gilmore house and not because Emily and Richard don’t like him (quite the opposite) but as a result of years of things that have been left unsaid and this perfect boiling point of unloading. Christopher’s parents Straub (what?) and Francine haven’t seen Rory in years and clearly have no desire to get to know their granddaughter or the reason why their son didn’t go to Princeton. They are super shitty to both Lorelai and Rory so I totally applaud Lorelai’s George Bush comments (his face really is too tiny for his head) as an impetuous way to get an immediate rise from them. It quickly descends here despite Emily’s best attempts to keep things WASP levels of civil, but sometimes things need to be said and this is one such occasion.
Even though she gets asked to leave the room, Rory is going to be more than aware that the shittiness is indirectly because of her, but thankfully in one of the episodes most touching scenes Emily makes sure that Rory knows that her existence is not part of the failure list. It is also important that Emily is honest about what an ass Straub (seriously this name) was being. While Emily has this lovely and honest moment with her granddaughter, Lorelai has a difficult conversation with her father.
Richard has defended the honor of his family kicking out Christopher’s parents for what they have said but this doesn’t lead to a happy all the hugs moment with his daughter. Lorelai thanks him for this and he points out that she doesn’t need to be protected and what comes next hit me just as hard emotionally as the very real arguments between Lorelai and her mother. He lets her know the devastating after effect of her leaving, that Emily couldn’t get out of bed for a month and how they didn’t deserve the years of being treated like lepers.
Up to this point it’s been clear that Lorelai left because she had to, but they didn’t kick her out and this is very much a story of two sides. I can completely understand and support why she left because that environment was probably incredibly toxic especially as they encouraged the “proper procedure” of Lorelai sacrificing potential future happiness by marrying Christopher back then. But still Richard’s words have a lot of emotional weight and these scars run so deep.
So Lorelai retreats to her room and as a result of everything that has gone on and because it’s Christopher they end up sleeping with each other in a very forbidden teenage love kinda way, but with slightly less awkward. Only slightly mind. Emotional vomit everywhere.
Was Christopher what you expected? And how do you feel about this whole evening at the Gilmore residence?
I knew we’d be seeing him at some point, but for some reason I thought it wouldn’t be for a while. I figured the writers would exhaust everything they have, then bring in Rory’s dad somewhere around season four. But here he is, right smack dab in the middle of the first season.
I assumed that Christopher would be a huge, terrible jerk, and he’s not. He’s adorable, first of all. David Sutcliffe is so perfect looking. He’s cute and unthreatening and he and Lauren Graham look great together. They’re the picture-perfect couple. And you can kind of see why Emily would’ve been okay with the two of them marrying at sixteen. He’s got good breeding. He fits the mold.
But he’s not this slick, perfect guy either. He’s got his own issues and he’s still maturing. I’m not exactly sure why he didn’t go to Princeton (unless he just didn’t get in). I mean, Lorelai never needed him to take care of Rory. They didn’t stay together. Why didn’t he just get his education and become something other than an oft-failed businessman? That side of Christopher I just don’t get. But oh well. The important piece is that he hasn’t been around for Rory, for the most part.
This episode does such a good job of showing how deep the histories and rifts are on all sides. Chris’s parents resent Lorelai and Rory (and to some extent their son). Richard and Emily see Straub (ugh) and Francine as the kind of family they always wanted their daughter to marry into, though Chris’s parents do not feel the same way about the Gilmores (which I also love, because the Gilmores, while they see themselves as part of the upper crust, are just an insurance man and his wife. They can’t have as much money as a lot of folks in their circle).
The history between Christopher and Lorelai is great, too. These people are obviously attracted to each other, and you get the sense that they’ll always be The One for each other. It’s great and true and messy.
And Richard and Lorelai. wow. He has always come off as the bumbling and aloof father, but here we get to see how deeply Lorelai hurt him (by hurting her mother), and how much she really doesn’t know/hasn’t been close to her father.
Caught in the middle of all of it, is poor Rory, who is a complete dear.
Well, I know how you feel about Chris’s parents’ names, but how do you feel about Rory’s dad himself?
Emma: First of all I think you are so right about the Gilmores not being quite as wealthy as their friends and they seem more new money than long legacy (unless I’ve missed something). They can afford fancy vacations but only travel to Paris every other year. And always in the fall (this whole convo made me laugh so much) and while they have a place they rent on Martha’s Vineyard they really should have bought somewhere but that is serious $$$. I also did love how happy they were when a place came up even if it was due to a death and I can very much believe that these places get snapped up this quickly. They are so giddy.
With Christopher I get why Rory is so excited to see him and why Lorelai is so wary. Not only with protecting her heart but protecting Rory from her dad who seems very flaky. Which is more the reasons why he didn’t go to Princeton, but Lorelai is the perfect person for his parents to blame in this situation. I get that he’s trying and does want to be involved in Rory’s life but I was only lukewarm to him as a character and in part I blame the recent Luke flirtations for this.
I love the way Lorelai explains her feelings for Christopher as it’s such a simple and powerful thing – first love that resulted in a Rory. It’s messy as hell too and I can see why she rejects his proposal. They also do a good job of leaving the door more than open.
Back to Luke and between the chick escape and the painting plans he really is the lead in every Lorelai story. There is of course the initial mix up with the reason why Lorelai called him over and she is mortified that he might have thought it was something else. Mortified because she hasn’t yet confronted what might be occurring here. But everyone else can see the signs all over every flirtatious and banter filled conversation. Emily does not seem to approve either, which bummed me out as I’d hope she would be able to see beyond his diner owning status (a very good status tbh).
Sookie explains why he might have thought it was a booty call although I’m with Lorelai on this one and the phrase booty call feels very early aughts. Sookie also fills in the gaps for Lorelai after Luke loses all chill at seeing Lorelai in the hoodie he dropped off for the rummage sale. He’s not mad because it is ugly (which it is) but because it belonged to his ex and the woman who broke his heart.
In a somewhat contrived explanation Lorelai wonders why she’s never heard about Rachel with Sookie explaining it was when she was newish to town and Rory was 11. Like Rory at 11 was a handful. Anyway Stars Hollow was too small for Rachel ad Luke didn’t want to leave so end of Luke and Rachel. As with Christopher I have a feeling Rachel will come back to town at some point and probably just as Luke and Lorelai are getting closer to kissing.
I don’t mind that nothing has happened with Luke and I’m enjoying the slow build, but also I would like smooches soon. I am a complicated shipper.
How are you with this relationship? And also once again Lorelai’s dating issues are far more interesting that Rory’s and I am very much in the urgh Dean camp at the moment.
Julie: I think you touched on something here. I’m not sure if the Gilmores are new money. (I’m pretty sure at least Richard isn’t. You’ll meet his mother later.) But Emily might be? I’m on season seven already and I don’t think we know much about her background other than that she went to Smith…or Brown…?
Anyway, they kind of act like new money when they look down on other people. This has just been my experience, but when I used to teach in a very wealthy area, I found that the “old” money people were a lot more chill than the “new” money. I’m sure that’s not always the case though. I get the sense that Richard and Emily are always trying to be more upwardly mobile and the fact that Lorelai went and got knocked up and didn’t get married, killed a little bit of that dream for them. There’s a lot of restlessness in Emily and Richard, and I just think, when is enough enough? You have a great granddaughter, your daughter is happy and doing well for herself. Be proud of how well she’s done. This would solve, like, 85% of your manufactured problems.
As far as Luke goes, I call shenanigans on Lorelai not knowing that Luke was dating a Rachel. That said, I wonder how long Luke has had the diner and how long he and Lorelai have been palling around. If it has been several years already, which I’m sure it is, that is one SLOW build of a relationship. Very slow. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve yelled, “Kiss her!” at my Kindle. Maybe I’m still yelling it now in season six. I’ll never tell. 🙂
You mentioned Dean, so I guess we should go there. He’s so…meh. The whole “a woman’s place is in the house” thing doesn’t completely jibe for me, and it feels like it comes out of nowhere. It feels very manufactured for this one specific episode. Though maybe it speaks to deeper issues within their relationship. Regardless, Rory is too young to even be having this conversation with a dude and Dean is too young to be having these opinions.
Speaking of love lives, what do you think of Sookie and Jackson?
Emma: I definitely get what you mean regarding the status thing and I think it can vary. Sometimes new money folks are far less flashy especially if they have come from nothing, but it can also swing the other way. There is definitely this aspect of keeping up appearances and doing things the ‘right’ way so Lorelai’s journey is very against this type. It was so shitty when her job (which is a good one) is looked down upon because it’s in the service industry. At least her credit card doesn’t get declined (low blow on Christopher who was an innocent in this whole exchange, but still).
With Luke it feels very much like they’ve been doing this for a long time which I guess is one reason why there is trepidation and even a hard time at acknowledging actual feelings. But I definitely yelled “kiss him” several times. Especially when they were hiding behind the counter in such close proximity. I like that Luke is peeling away his layers by revealing things about his dad and why he has kept the diner the way it is. I also love that he is the town’s resident grumpy dude because this town really does need that.
That whole Donna Reed storyline did feel very contrived and also had me saying huh a whole lot. Rory’s dressing up all 50s (and I’m sorry Lorelai but that dress is far better than your red pants/red jacket combo – also made me think of that Felicity outfit horror) and then making a big old fuss about making dinner ended with a bit of a whimper really.
I get that the point was Dean realising that this isn’t want he wants, but I also thought Rory was doing it to point out just how BS this unrealistic ideal is, but I didn’t really get that in the end as it seemed like she enjoyed the whole charade. I would have preferred more Lorelai and Rory replacing the dialogue while watching old episodes of The Donna Reed Show. It’s cool that Rory found out about Donna Reed’s behind the scenes work on her show, but really shit that it was uncredited. Because the 1950s/1960s).
Also choosing salad (especially a salad that looks THIS terrible) over pizza is a sign that Dean is not the dude for Rory.Dean also has terrible friends and even if Todd is someone Dean hangs out with because of school. I will excuse Lane’s terrible taste in dudes here because he does have a Travis from Clueless vibe in his look even if he is the most boring guy when he starts talking. As with the pizza/salad thing I also find it hard to trust someone who has no opinions about music. I do love that Lane has all the opinions about music and a CD collection to rival my own even if I thankfully didn’t have to hide mine under the floorboards. Lane is great and deserves way better. I find the stuff with her mom and how it conflicts with Rory’s relationship with her mother to be done in an interesting way.
Mrs Kim could easily be this stereotypical strict parent and it certainly walks a fine line, but there is more to her than fearmongering and I found her conversation with Lorelai to be rather sympathetic. She’s just being the overprotective mom and really both Lorelai and Mrs Kim want the same for their children, they’re just coming at it from very different experiences. I also appreciate the mom code and Lorelai’s insistence at sticking to it. And of course there is no way Lane was ever going to that concert.
Ah yes so Sookie and Jackson are adorable even if I still want to burn his denim dungarees. The double date with Rune is fun to watch because Rune is the utter worst and is so incredibly rude about the incredible gorgeous and perfectly tall Lorelai Gilmore. Thankfully Jackson picks Sookie over his terrible cousin and these two are very much ON. It’s cute and relatively drama free right now.
We’ve covered the guys, now what did you make of the potential Paris/Rory friendship?
Julie: I agree about Mrs. Kim, and sometimes I do wonder if she veers into stereotype territory. I guess I don’t find it that problematic, because she is a complete character in a lot of ways. She’s just really, really strict, and I do enjoy the specific ways she strict — with diet and the whole Seventh Day Adventist religion (which we in the US recently got an education on thanks to Dr. Ben Carson).
I do like Lorelai’s “relationship” with Mrs. Kim. It must have been difficult for Lorelai to make parent friends while Rory was growing up. When my son started school, I was one of the “young” parents and I was in my mid-thirties by that time. When Rory was starting kindergarten, Lorelai was only twenty-one. I do love that she takes the parenting code seriously, and that she respects Mrs. Kim’s authority over her daughter’s wishes even if she doesn’t agree with Mrs. Kim’s parenting (and sees how it can backfire, based on her own experience as a teenager).
I wonder where Lane’s dad is. I assume he’s dead, but it’s never stated (that I remember). Why isn’t Mrs. Kim out dating? I’d love to see that episode. I’d love to see her on a date with Rune.
Rune is terrible, also what is that name? We get Straub and Rune in these four episodes. It was funny to see one man not charmed by Lorelai. I’m assuming she doesn’t get that reaction a lot.
I like Sookie and Jackson together and I’m glad the writers didn’t drag this romance out forever, like they’re doing with Lorelai and Luke. We need at least one couple who is happy and in a real relationship. Rory and Dean can’t be the only ones!
As far as Paris and Rory go, I love them. I love Paris. She’s the best and the worst. Rory is good for her and Paris is good for Rory. They provide each other with great competition, and they’re both at the same level socially. Their other Chilton friends, whose names I can’t remember offhand, are fun and cool and pretty nice to Rory, but they’re way out of her league. And I don’t think Rory even wants to be in their league. Nor does Paris.
In some ways, at least in these early episodes, I think Paris is the great love of Rory’s life. What say you?
Emma: I think if they didn’t have these moments with Lorelai then Mrs Kim would be a lot more of an issue in how they’ve written her and as you mention she is a fully realized character and not just someone who is there to yell at Lane.
Like you I love Paris and Rory and even though you have seen further I am also willing to say that Paris is the great love of Rory’s life especially as the start of their relationship bears all the hallmarks of a classic Harry/Sally antagonistic streak. Paris is still experiencing a bit of a shitty home life because of the divorce and I suspect because her mother is terrible. When pondering what her mom would do if she had gone off in the city she posited that her mother would send someone to come get her rather than do it herself. Lorelai is of course a very hands on mother and this whole experience is incredibly illuminating for Paris and she calls this the best night of her life and I completely believe her.
Instead of mocking Rory and Lorelai for their home or the fact that Lorelai was 16 when she had Rory, Louise and Madeline (I now know their names but can’t tell you which one is which) instead think Lorelai is the coolest. Even when she comes and drags them out of Brandon Roth’s party they still seem to think she is pretty cool and I was worried they would throw back Lorelai’s own wild teen days in her face. I am glad they did not.
I also really liked the fact that Lorelai saw this as an opportunity for Rory to make friends out of her frenemies with pizza, Pop Tart platters (is this show sponsored by Pop Tarts?) and a trip to New York. Instant cool mom hall of fame.
Also I am still in shock that the actual Bangles played because I just assumed we would see them go into the concert and then the after. But hey revivals are big business after all.
This is the point where Paris is now seeing Rory as someone who isn’t trying to steal her clever girl crown or the guy she is crushing on and Paris you can do SO much better than Tristan. But I also get why she likes him because history is important and so was that kiss clearly (even if she knows it was for a dare and my heart breaks for Paris even more at this). Paris ends up splitting the debate portion with Rory and this is a big deal and sign that they are now friends. This is the Rory relationship I am looking forward to seeing more of. So much more than any of those boys she will end up dating.
Anything else you would like to add?
Regarding the Pop Tarts, it’s great that the show acknowledges how ridiculous it is that Rory and Lorelai eat all that garbage, but still maintain their figures (and their complexions, and their teeth). It’s completely implausible, though. Those ladies have terrible diets.
The show does a great job of illustrating how Lorelai’s parenting has been affected by her own teenage years. She knows that the Mrs. Kim tactic doesn’t work. She knows she has to let Rory make mistakes sometimes, but I love that she did stop the girls from hanging out with Superman. She’s kind of the perfect mom, really. Tough, but fair. And fun.
But those low-rise, boot cut jeans, though.Emma: The clothes are so bad and I can’t believe we all wore stuff like this and didn’t realize. I think Rory gets off a little easier, but oh boy most of Lorelai’s outfits give me so many horror filled flashbacks. The cut and style is just so eh and don’t get me started on her silk shirts.