Directing and writing credits:
Directed by Chris Long, written by Sheila R. Lawrence. This is Long's first episode of "GG," but he'll go on to direct some of my all-time favorites, like "The Bracebridge Dinner" and "Nag Hammadi Is Where They Found the Gnostic Gospel." He's probably best known for his work as a producing director on "The Americans" and was nominated for an Emmy in 2016. He was featured on an episode of Slate's TV Club Insider podcast after “A Roy Rogers In Franconia" aired, so check it out if you're a fan of the show.
Lawrence has also worked with the Palladinos as a writer and producer on "Bunheads" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." The Gilmore Guys did a pretty solid interview with her a few years ago that I recommend. Their style is little too long and meandering for my taste, but Kevin and Demi really do dive deep with each cast and crew member that they interview.
Most batshit crazy outfit:
Lorelai's lace-up baseball tee, bandana, and lightwash jeans are bad, but I kind of consider them standard at this point. Rory wears a bunch of sweaters that make her look 20 pounds heavier than she is, but again ... no surprises there. The most standout "wtf-ery" is definitely Rory's debutante ball dress. It feels weirdly incomplete, like someone finished making a corset and then just said, "let's jazz this up by tacking a big, poufy skirt onto it." And don't even get me started on those fucking gloves.
Don't forget the appliqué straps and weird embroidery!
Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
This conversation highlights some of Lorelai's shittiest parenting qualities:
Rory: It sucks. I know it sucks, just tell me it sucks.
Lorelai: It's great.
Rory: No it's not.
Lorelai: It's an A.
Rory: Don't lie.
Rory: You're my mom.
Lorelai: Is anything higher than an A-plus?
Rory: You have to say that.
Lorelai: It's an A-plus with a crown and a wand.
After this scene, my husband turned to me and said (in a tone mocking Lorelai), "I'm going to validate you into a dysfunctional adulthood." Want to know why Rory is such an obviously damaged person in AYitL? It's partially because of this hyperbolic flattery that Lorelai can't seem to shake.
Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
Lane is barely in this episode and Sookie is missing completely.
Best literary or pop culture references:
Lorelai: I swear, there is nothing in the world my mother is better at than getting someone to agree to something that in any other universe, they would never ever consider.
Lorelai: I am still convinced she had something to do with Lily Tomlin doing that movie with John Travolta.
The movie Lorelai's referring to is "Moment by Moment." I've seen it and can confirm that it's hilariously awful. John Travolta plays a greasy pill-pusher named Strip, which basically tells you everything you need to know. The director, Jane Wagner, is Lily Tomlin's wife and I'm not quite sure how she let this fiasco happen. (This movie was made in 1978, so Jane and Lily weren't married at the time it was filmed, but I think they were together.)
Back when the A.V. Club wasn't a piece of shit, "Moment by Moment" was featured on Nathan Rabin's "My World of Flops." I miss this series and the old A.V. Club so damn much.
Stars Hollow weirdness:
Miss Patty's lady boner for Christopher is slightly out of control.
Sharpest insult or one-liner:
Rory: He's got a new girlfriend, you know.
Lorelai: Poor girl's named after a Journey song, that's gotta be rough.
Like most good "GG" insults, I've stolen and tailored this one to suit my needs before.
Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Christopher finally buys Rory "The Compact Oxford English Dictionary." It's a good thing his credit card was declined the first time he tried to purchase it, because this new edition has the word "jiggy" in it 🙄.
Best song of the episode:
"Jubilee" by Grant Lee Buffalo. He sings this song as the Gilmores walk past him post-cotillion. The music in this episode kinda sucks, tbh. The song Christopher blasts in his Volvo is "Du Hast" by Rammstein, a band I put in the same category as System of a Down. I actually feel like it's out of character for Christopher to like them. He seems more like a U2 guy to me.
Richard is a colossal dickhead to Emily throughout this episode and it's miraculous that they didn't separate sooner in their relationship. I know they came of age in a different time (or whatever excuse you want to give), but the way he treats her is demeaning and unacceptable. Richard might act like he doesn't give a shit about her "social engagements," but he totally does! Status and appearance are important to these people, and Emily is the one responsible for maintaining those public ties.
What I love most about Emily is that she confronts Richard when he treats her poorly and doesn't just sit around complacently and stew in silence. She tells Richard he sounds "pompous and condescending" and reminds him that she's just as important as him. She tries to be a supportive and understanding partner, but she certainly is not a doormat for his insecurity-fueled slights.
I love the end of this episode, when Lorelai shows up unannounced and explains to Emily that she's "just here to hang." The moments when Lorelai is able to empathize with Emily and extend kindness are few and far between, but some of the best of the series. Other favorites are when they steal robes together in "There's the Rub" and when Lorelai buys Emily a DVD player in "Dear Emily and Richard." Lorelai and her mom might have a contentious relationship, but they love and support each other when it matters most.
I also like the way Lorelai handles Rory's decision to participate in the debutante ball. She doesn't hold back her criticism of this deeply patriarchal ritual, but she supports Rory nonetheless. This is the conversation they have:
Rory: I'm doing this.
Rory: Because you should've seen the look on Grandma's face when she asked me. It's just really really important to her.
Lorelai: But ...
Rory: Now if it's that important to her, and it's not that important to me, then why shouldn't I do it?
Lorelai: Rory, do you now what a coming out party says?
Rory: It says I'm a woman now.
Lorelai: No. It says, 'Hi, I'm Rory. I'm of good breeding and marriageable age, and I will now parade around in front of young men of similarly good breeding and marriageable age so they can all take a good long look at me.'
Rory: You're exaggerating.
Lorelai: No, it's like animals being up for bid at the county fair, except sheep don't wear hoop skirts.
Rory: Look, I promised, but you don't have to be apart of it if you don't want to.
Lorelai: No, no, if you wanna do it, I'll help. It's just weird. This is all the stuff I ran away from. I just assumed you'd be running with me.
If my (hypothetical) daughter wanted to partake in some misogynistic, fan dance bullshit, I'm not sure I would realistically be able to lend my support, but I'm proud of Lorelai for rising to the occasion. She voices her opinion and tries to change Rory's mind, but decides to help her when she realizes it's a lost cause.
I know I shouldn't, but I do judge Rory for succumbing to Emily's pressure. I find it difficult to believe that a young woman who grew up reading Simone de Beauvoir and Eudora Welty would willingly participate in such an openly sexist tradition. Kristen Richardson and Sandy Honig wrote an article about debutante balls for Rookie Mag that kind of broadened my perspective but didn't even tangentially touch on the disgusting privilege of the entire tradition. COMPLEX cites the debutante ball as one of the whitest things to happen on "Gilmore Girls" and I have to agree. Kristen Yoonsoo Kim and Frazier Tharpe say,
"You know you're watching a hella white show when there is a freakin' debutante ball involved (looking at you, The O.C. and Gossip Girl). Despite all of Lorelai's resistance against her family's white privilege ass background, Rory agrees to "come out" — white dress, elbow gloves, the whole damn thing — while surrounded by other white girls who whole-heartedly believe debutante balls are a make-or-break in society type of function. Also, there's a fan dance in this episode and you can't help but laugh at the elite silliness of it all."
It's episodes like this that make me feel guilty for spending time rewatching and writing about this show when there's better, more diverse and worthwhile TV out there.
- I like Jess's Metallica t-shirt, but the Gilmores have the audacity to call it "gross." Like those bitches know anything about fashion.
- Just as I'm skeptical of Christopher's Rammstein fandom, I question Dean's obsession with Neil Young. He seems more like the type of dude who would idolize Bruce Springsteen.
- Emily actually carries a shopping bag from Bloomingdales, which is surprising. When the Gilmores go shopping, they usually carry nondescript bags, which makes me wonder if this was paid advertising.
- This exchange always makes me laugh because Lauren Graham's delivery is spot-on:
Christopher: Fine. May I have this dance?
Lorelai: I don't know. Do you have a trust fund? Always make sure.
- Shakey's is a chain based primarily in CA, so I always think it's weird when they mention it in "GG." Maybe the writers consider it an in-joke.
- I agree with Emily ... this cotillion looks cheap as fuck. "Look at these flowers. Baby's breath. What is this, County General?"
- Samantha Shelton, aka Libby, the Midori Sour deb, also plays Walker in "Bridesmaids Revisited."
- What's with the outdoor bakery cart in Stars Hollow? Is this run by Weston's Bakery? I want more details.
- Proof that Christopher is a fuck boy: he flirts with Lorelai the entire time he's in Stars Hollow, but doesn't tell her about Sherri until she kisses him at the end of the episode.
- Emily's gardening outfit at the end of the episode is so good. I recently started watching "Grace and Frankie" and think that Grace and Emily would be friends (and in my dreams, a lesbian couple) IRL. At the very least, they would admire each other's wardrobes.