TV / Gilmore Girls

'Gilmore Girls' Season 2, Episode 17: Dead Uncles and Vegetables

. 8 min read . Written by Lindsay Pugh
'Gilmore Girls' Season 2, Episode 17: Dead Uncles and Vegetables

Directing and writing credits:
Directed by Jamie Babbit, written by Daniel Palladino. Fun fact: Babbit has directed more episodes of "GG" than ASP. You should remember her from "The Road Trip to Harvard" at the beginning of the season. She'll go on to direct some of my favorite episodes, like "Lorelai's Graduation Day" and "Ted Koppel's Big Night Out." Currently, she's working on a film with Drew Barrymore called "The Stand-In." I think Barrymore is a terrible actor (just try to watch "Santa Clarita Diet"), but I'll probably still give it a shot.

You should know Palladino well by now. This episode features a shitload of townies, so it's obviously written by him.

Most batshit crazy outfit:
Lorelai wears a shirt with a Buddha on it that says, "For good luck, rub my tummy." I don't understand why anyone would wear something that invites a stranger to touch them, but whatever. I guess this is pretty standard early 2000s Rue21 garbage.

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What if Kirk touched your tummy, Lorelai? Would that be chill?

Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
I was shockingly not annoyed by either of them. Rory tries to force Jess to become a better person and Lorelai helps Luke with all of his dead uncle chores.

Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
None! Lorelai successfully stops Sookie from going into massive credit card debt c/o an Emily Gilmore planned wedding.

Jackson: They’re measuring the entire town with tape measures.
Lorelai: Oh my God.
Jackson: Your mother got hers at Neiman Marcus. It’s platinum with gold leaf – it costs more than my car!

Best literary or pop culture references:
I'm pretty annoyed that none of my friends have ever invited me to a Bark Mitzvah. I feel cheated.

Lorelai: What do you mean they’re for your wedding?
Sookie: Oh, it’s this company’s sample place setting. Emily set me up with them. They did Celine Dion’s wedding, and Steven Spielberg’s daughter’s Jack Russell Terrier’s Bark Mitzvah.

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This is what came up when I googled "Bark Mitzvah. Mazel tov, Charley!

Stars Hollow weirdness:
This episode has Stars Hollow weirdness in spades! Taylor is pissed because "Van Halen hair," aka the OTHER town troubadour, has opened a fruit & vegetable stand across from the market and successfully poached his customers. How could anyone possibly turn down sexy squash and reasonably priced parsley?

Luke stresses over Louie's funeral preparations and is especially peeved that the Revolutionary War reenactors have refused to attend the service. It sounds like Louie was a crude, misogynistic bastard, so I can't say I blame them.

Sharpest insult or one-liner:
The scene where Lorelai makes coffee at Luke's is a good example of why I like her even though she's infuriating 70% of the time.

Luke: Not everybody likes it that strong.
Lorelai: Well, then I shall convert them. I am the Jehovah's coffee girl.

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"I am Cathy Coffee, mister, the bastard offspring of Mrs. Folger and Juan Valdez ☕️."

Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Nada. Jess, who is never without a book, is watching "I Dream of Jeannie" when Rory shows up at the apartment and browbeats him into helping Luke. This doesn't feel right. If Jess was going to get invested in one TV Land show, it would clearly be "Happy Days." The only good things about "I Dream of Jeannie" are the title sequence and Barbara Eden.

Best song of the episode:
The OG town troudabour sings, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," which reminds me of the gasoline fight from "Zoolander."

Thoughts:
More than anything, this episode makes me feel like a jerk for not attending my grandfather's funeral. He died last spring and I didn't go home because a) I was busy, b) my dad said he didn't care if I wasn't there, and c) he was a bastard. I wish I could spill the tea about why he sucked so hard, but someone from my family might read this and get upset. All I can really say is that he was a racist, misogynistic asshole who caused more damage to his children than a lifetime of therapy could fix.

Even though my dad said it wasn't a big deal for me to skip it, I should have gone to the funeral. He probably felt bad that I wasn't there but didn't want to guilt me into doing something I was vehemently against. If Luke had been in my position, he would have sucked it up, driven five hours, put on a nice suit, and done right by his dad. I am not Luke Danes, though. If we're being honest, I'm probably a cross between Lorelai Gilmore and Jess Mariano (with a dash of Emily). I have a lot of bad qualities and tend to approach people who've wronged me with a "fuck off forever" attitude. 2018 goal: be a little more like Luke Danes.

This episode isn't one of my favorites because it's light on jokes and nothing really happens. It does give us a good look at the type of person Luke is, though (before the writers ruin him in Season 6). Luke drives himself crazy trying to carry out Louie's wishes because it's what his dad would have wanted. He transports Louie's body from Florida to Stars Hollow, figures out a way to make all of his crap fit into the coffin, and even manages to get the war reenactors to show up at the funeral with a little help from LG.

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"Dig a big hole and just dump the casket in unlatched. If stuff falls out, fine. Just pile on enough dirt and make sure nothing’s showing!"

As Luke scrambles to prepare for the funeral, he has to deal with a bunch of nonsense that tests his patience. First, his family decides they're too busy to pay their respects to Louie. There's a rugby semifinal to attend and Petey the parrot is sick, so they have sound excuses. Then, the Revolutionary War reenactors decide to protest Louie's funeral since they all hated him. After the town meeting, Luke confronts them:

Luke: This man was my uncle, okay, and a war veteran. He deserves a veteran’s funeral, but hey, if you guys are too lazy to show up, then ...
Taylor: He’s the lazy one. Never once did he participate in a town function. In fact, when we reenactors gathered, he’d throw things at us.
Sy: And not soft things, hard things.
Bert: Rocks, and small tools.
Luke: Okay, I’ve heard enough.
Sy: And he got meaner as he got older. Never married, never had kids.
Bert: A real loner.
Luke: To hell with you guys, who needs you! I might just throw rocks and small tools at you myself next time I see ya!
Taylor: A defensive hothead, just like Louie!
Bert: They’re practically clones.

These motherfuckers. So now, not only is Luke worried about the funeral preparations, he's worried about whether the entire town sees him the same way as his uncle. When he dies, will anyone care? Will someone be around to carry out his wishes?

Of course, everyone shows up at the end because they love and care about Luke. He might be a grouchy loner, but he is not his uncle. In a particularly nice exchange, Lorelai gently reminds him of the qualities that set him apart:

Luke: That ain’t me, is it?
Lorelai: What are you talking about?
Luke: What Taylor said about me being like Louie, a loner, never being married and stuff. I mean, I am getting crankier as I get older, he’s not so far off.
Lorelai: You are not your uncle. I mean, would Louie ever build someone a chuppah, or help fix things around someone’s house without being asked, or make a special coffee cake with balloons for a girl’s sixteenth birthday?
Luke: Rory told you about that?
Lorelai: Yes. And would Louie have taken in his sister’s kid without hesitating and without asking for anything in return?

Luke can be annoying, frustrating, and short-sighted, but he cares deeply about the important people in his life and always tries to do what he thinks is right. He's a good egg and this episode does a nice job showcasing some of his best qualities.

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Random observations:

  • Sookie wears a comb headband in this episode. Remember those things? Gigi Hadid wore one in the Prabal Gurung Fall-Winter 2018 show, so they're apparently making a comeback.
  • I love when Lorelai dumps all seven sugars into Kirk's coffee in order to call him out on his bullshit.
  • Luke's pies of the day are lemon meringue, apple, and blueberry. Meg and I have discussed it, and there's no way he makes his desserts in-house:

Meagan-and-Lindsay-Lukes-Desserts-2

  • Whenever I need to be authoritative at work, I always channel a combination of Emily Gilmore and Miranda Priestly. "Is that a fingerprint? My God, that’s a fingerprint! Who touched this? Let me see your hands!" EG doesn't give a fuck if people think she's demanding. She wants the best and does whatever it takes to get it.
  • Lorelai's diner talk is mostly embarrassing, but "a hot blonde with sand" is something I might add to my lexicon.
  • Luke says "it doesn't get fruitier" than twinkle lights. How very gender normative.
  • I find the juxtaposition between Kirk's dog and Sy's wife offensive and not particularly funny. The war reenactors can all get fucked. I hate any episode where they're involved.
  • Does anyone else watch "Love"? I binged the final season over the weekend and was so happy to see Dave Gruber Allen (and Esther Povitsky). I totally forgot he was in that show.
  • Say what you will about Emily, but girlfriend can pick up on sexual chemistry. She called the Luke and Lorelai relationship at the beginning of Season One and never stopped doubting that it would come to fruition. I hope she and Richard secretly placed a bet on it.
  • Not even a high person would order a "Lucky Duck Cluck," aka "foie gras with chicken and green shamrock frosting."