TV / Gilmore Girls

'Gilmore Girls' Season 1, Episode 19: Emily in Wonderland

. 7 min read . Written by Lindsay Pugh
'Gilmore Girls' Season 1, Episode 19: Emily in Wonderland

Directing and writing credits:
Written by John Stephens and Linda Loiselle Guzik, directed by Perry Lang. This is the first episode co-written by a team that isn't Amy and Dan and I have to say, the dialogue is pretty snappy and on point, but the story drags a bit. Individually, I don't have much of an opinion on either of these writers. John Stephens wrote "Forgiveness and Stuff" and has five additional "written by" credits through Season 4. He's also worked on The O.C. and Gossip Girl but isn't responsible for writing any of my favorite episodes. Along with "Emily in Wonderland," Linda Loiselle Guzik has two "written by" credits in Season 2, both for episodes I greatly dislike. "GG" is the most recent work on her IMDB profile, so I have no idea what she's doing now.

Perry Lang has only directed one episode of "GG," but he certainly made the rounds on the early 2000s teen shows: episodes of "Popular," "Charmed," "Dawson's Creek," "Alias," "One Tree Hill," and "Everwood" are all on his resume.

Most batshit crazy outfit:
I imagine Lorelai bought her sheer, graffitied, newspaper print blouse after watching a bunch of "Sex and the City" episodes and deeply identifying with Carrie Bradshaw. She probably thinks it makes her look edgy and cool, but it unfortunately makes her look suburban and sad. She pairs the blouse with a pair of black, flared trousers that have a vertical seam the entire way down the front, and one of her signature leather blazers. This isn't one of her worst looks, though. Thankfully, her makeup doesn't include frosted eyeshadow or lipstick and her accessories are sans crosses. Praise Jesus!

Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
From the writers' POV, I understand why it's essential to keep Lorelai guessing/in the dark about her feelings for Luke, but damn... it is sometimes annoying to watch. It's also awkward that Rachel would ask Lorelai to help convince Luke of her intentions when she clearly realizes that he either does or did have a thing for Lorelai.

Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
None. Lorelai (begrudgingly) helps Sookie out by giving Rune a job at the Inn and Rory listens to Lane's Henry problems and actually gives her pretty good advice.

Best literary or pop culture references:
LORELAI: I sat her down to listen to a Prince song once, and she looked like she was having a stroke.

Emily definitely would NOT understand Prince. Imagine her watching this music video:

Stars Hollow weirdness:
Kirk bitches at Lorelai in the movie theater because she's talking during the show, then his cell phone goes off after the movie has actually started.

Kirk: Do you mind?
(Lorelai turns around)
Lorelai: Kirk, the movie hasn't even started yet.
Kirk: I like to have silence in order to cleanse my mental palate and achieve calm before enjoying a motion picture.

I'm with you, Kirk... but also, turn off your phone, you asshat.

Sharpest insult or one-liner:
Lorelai: It would be like the first 15 minutes of Saving Private Ryan but at least those guys got to be in France.

I also love the opening Friday night dinner conversation when Rory mentions Kim's Antiques and Lorelai chimes in with, "Didn't that burn down?"

Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Lorelai references Boo Radley from "To Kill a Mockingbird," but we don't actually see Rory reading any books.

Best song of the episode:
Lane and Rory listen to "Child Psychology" by Black Box Recorder when they discuss Henry at the Gilmore house. They also have this great conversation:

Rory: I like this song. It makes me gloomy.
Lane: Gloom is good.
Rory: Really gloomy.
Lane: Like Joy Division Gloomy? Nick Cave gloomy? Robert Smith gloomy?
Rory: Johnny Cash gloomy.
Lane: So kind of like a San Quentin-y, it's a long road home and my horse just got shot but I've still got my girl by my side gloomy?
Rory: You read my mind.
Lane: I'm deep in a Charlie Parker gloomy.

Later, Lane says, "Now I'm a Lou Reed gloomy." I have stolen and reused this line more times than I can count.

Thoughts:
I like the idea of Emily visiting Stars Hollow and interacting with the townies, but aside from a quick glimpse at her budding friendship with Mrs. Kim, we don't get to see it happen. Why not show us a scene of Emily at Teriyaki Joe's? I would love to see that! Wearing trainers, flirting with Michel, and acting mildly shocked at Rory and Lorelai's Charlie's Angels plate collection isn't enough for me. I want more, dammit.

Along with Season 2's "Richard in Stars Hollow," "Emily in Wonderland" gives us a glimpse into past/repressed grievances between Lorelai and her parents. The scene where Emily confronts Lorelai in Rory's newly decorated room is the strongest of the episode. This is the culmination of their exchange:

Emily: I saw it. I saw that horrible little pit you so proudly ran to. I saw what you chose over your own family. You would've lived in the gutter, in the street, in a cardboard box, anywhere as long as you didn't have to be near us, isn't that true?
Lorelai: Mom.
Emily: Isn't that true Lorelai?
Lorelai: Mom, I was very young and I was very unhappy and I needed to be some place that wasn't here.
Emily: Excuse me.

Some of the sharpest written dialogue of the show is between Lorelai and her parents when shit hits the fan. Emily loves Lorelai and Rory and is happy to have them both in her life, but she still hasn't found a way to put the past behind her. Lorelai abandoned her parents once before and they're constantly afraid that it will happen again. Lorelai finds it hard to trust Emily's motives. Whenever her mom does something kind, Lorelai automatically assumes that it's part of some master ploy to manipulate her. They never take each other at their word and are always suspicious of ulterior motives. It's sometimes painful to watch, but definitely the most interesting relationship to watch develop throughout the series.

It's also nice to see both Rory and Lorelai act like good friends to other women in this episode. Rory patiently listens to Lane's Henry woes and gives her good advice and a confidence boost ("Lane, you are a tiny perfect Korean girl that his parents would love and approve of"). Rory can often be completely self-absorbed and ignorant to Lane's struggles, so it's refreshing to see her seem to care for once.

Lorelai also helps Rachel with Luke, despite the weirdness of the situation. Rachel is aware that Luke and Lorelai have chemistry (as evidenced by the cute photo she took of them at the Firelight Festival, along with previous comments), but she still feels comfortable enough with Lorelai to talk about her problems and ask for assistance:

Rachel: Hey, I know this is not so not cool to ask. But if the situation comes up and it's not too weird, a little word of encouragement from you might help a lot.
Lorelai: Oh, yeah, sure. If it comes up.
Rachel: Thanks.

Lorelai isn't enthused with this request, but she likes Rachel and wants Luke to be happy, so she follows through next time she's at the diner:

Lorelai: I just know that you've been carrying a torch for her for a really long time.
Luke: I have not been carrying a torch for her.
Lorelai: Well, you wanted this to happen.
Luke: How do you know what I wanted to happen?
Lorelai: Didn't you?
Luke: Yeah, I guess.
Lorelai: Okay. So here it is, right in front of you. Just take it. Take the plunge. She could be ready. Just jump in and believe her. Unless, you know, there's some other reason you don't want to.

Lorelai does Rachel a solid, but also gives Luke an out if he's ready to admit to his feelings for her. It's a tiny bit selfish, but mostly (and especially for Lorelai) an act of kindness. For once, she puts her friendships above her own personal gain and it's good to be reminded that she's not always a narcissistic douchecanoe.

Random observations:

  • Lane: So he doesn't like me, he's not gonna call. It's not the end of the world. I'll live. I'll go one. There's always college. Unless my parents get their way, and then it's, "I take thee Jesus to be my lawful wedded husband."
    Rory: Lane, with all due respect to your fiancé, Henry will call.
    This is Rory's best witticism to date.
  • I love that Emily is a fan of Mrs. Kim. I would totally watch a spin-off where those two characters are bffs, like an Abbi and Ilana of a different era.
  • Out of all the places to eat in Stars Hollow, Emily chooses Teriyaki Joe's. I guess it's probably better than Al's Pancake World. If I were in SH for the day, I'd probably go for Sandeep's because I love Indian food and am not buying into the whole, "Luke's coffee/food is legendary" bullshit.
  • Spotted in Luke's store room: Hormel chili, Grey Poupon mustard, and a variety of Torani syrups.
  • "Queen of Outer Space" is probably not worth the $1 admission fee at BWR.
  • Emily's attempt to decorate Rory's bedroom is subpar. She sticks a Hello Kitty crown on one of the lamps, piles random fluffy shit on the bed, gaudily frames some boy band posters, and puts a few sunflowers in a vase. This is a D- effort at best. And what is the creepy thing in the corner?! It looks like a lifesize nutcracker and I am not a fan.
  • Lorelai has the hots for Steven Tyler? Yeah, ok... I guess I buy it.