TV / Gilmore Girls

'Gilmore Girls' Season 3, Episode 11: I Solemnly Swear

. 11 min read . Written by Lindsay Pugh
'Gilmore Girls' Season 3, Episode 11: I Solemnly Swear

Directing and writing credits:
"I Solemnly Swear" is directed by Carla Reinke, written by John Stephens. This is Reinke's directorial debut, although she has been involved as an assistant director on the show since Season 1. She's also worked on movies like "The 'Burbs" and "Death Becomes Her." This might be an asshole comment to make, but I wonder why she never moved past the position of assistant director. This episode of "GG" is her only solo directing credit on IMDB.

Stephens has written several other episodes:

"Forgiveness and Stuff" | Season 1, Episode 10: Luke makes Lorelai a Santa burger that is equal parts cute and disgusting.
"Emily in Wonderland" | Season 1, Episode 19: Emily visits Stars Hollow and eats lunch at Teriyaki Joe's.
"Run Away, Little Boy" | Season 2, Episode 9: Rory and Paris have the most disappointing stage kiss I've ever seen.
"I Can't Get Started" | Season 2, Episode 22: Christopher gets another woman pregnant "by accident." Seriously, how the fuck does this happen to a wealthy white man twice?

Most batshit crazy outfit:
These bitches and their impractical cold weather wear! You're not fooling anyone with that massively zipped-down vest, Lorelai. That shit is not keeping you warm.

Rory-and-Lorelai-Stupid-Scarf-I-Solemnly-Swear-Gilmore-Girls-1
Someone needs to give them scarf-tying lessons.

Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
How many times do you think these assholes have ordered, and promptly trashed, takeout from Al's international grab bag night?

Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
Sookie acts unbearably stupid about the Joe Mastoni situation and how Lorelai refrains from slapping her in the face, I'll never know. I'm not sure why telling Joe, "Sorry if you got the wrong impression, but I'm married," is so damn difficult. If he's a good guy, he'll understand; if he's a dick, then it's confirmation that you dodged a bullet.

(I'm not actually sure if "dodged a bullet" is accurate since she's now married to Jackson.)

Sadly, Lane is absent from this episode. She's probably busy pretending to enjoy Mrs. Kim's latest soy culinary creation.

Best literary or pop culture references:
I'm a sucker for a Joan Didion name drop. When looking over votes for commencement speaker, Paris and Rory have this exchange:

Paris: Are the ones for Princess Diana’s butler jokes or real?
Rory: I’d say jokes.
Paris: What about the ones for Dr. Phil?
Rory: I think real.
Paris: I knew that suggestion box was a bad idea. Watch Choate get Joan Didion while we’re being read "Eloise at the Plaza."

Fun fact: one of my cats is named Eloise because she's an annoying little bitch but I suck at disciplining her because she is cute.

Eloise-the-cat
She's a solid feline companion when she's not revenge-pissing on the floor.

Stars Hollow weirdness:
Where the heck are the townies? They're largely absent, but we do learn that Luke sold Kirk a lettuce sandwich after running out of food thanks to Jess's subpar organizational skills.

Sharpest insult or one-liner:
I could listen to Paris mock the dumbasses at Chilton for hours. Why did no one ever make that into a spin-off show? She says this after explaining to Rory how she sorted out the situation with the Wadsworth Mansion:

"Well, there was no way I was letting the class gift be a stupid tree just so Ginger Spice can have her Barbie dream prom."

Sure, Paris might be a little inconsiderate and harsh, but in a way that I almost always find delightful.

Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
"Eloise" and "The Great Gatsby" are mentioned, but Rory doesn't read dick in this episode. All of the "Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge" listicles are a lie. If they only counted books that Rory either a) is seen reading or b) makes an insider reference to, there would be maybe fifty books on the list. Tl;dr - I'm unimpressed. When I was in high school and had zero responsiblities (although more than Rory since I actually hard a part-time job) I sometimes read as many as five books in one week.

Best song of the episode:
Sookie plays "Bad Moon Rising" by Creedence Clearwater Revival (yuck) for Jackson after accidentally flirting with Joe. She also makes him the following:

  • lamb chops with Sicilian olives, rosemary, and garlic
  • a warm potato and chorizo salad
  • beef jerky
  • fried marshmallow pie

And what does Jackson do for Sookie after he gets her pregnant after lying about his vasectomy?

NOTHING. THAT MOTHERFUCKER DOES NOTHING.

Thoughts:
The episode opens as Lorelai and Rory walk through the elder Gilmores' door for Friday night dinner. Emily doesn't even notice the girls because she's busy loudly bitching to her lawyer on the phone. Gerta, one of her former maids, is suing for wrongful termination and Emily is absolutely livid. Emily fired her because she walked too loud ("Every time she went to the pantry, I thought she was marching on Poland"), so ... I don't know what she was expecting.

What's next, Emily? Firing someone because you dislike the color of their skin or sexual preferences? I don't like to think of Emily Gilmore as a ridiculous old cunt because she's tremendously fun to watch, but she's one step away from blatant discrimination and seems completely oblivious about it. I hope all of her former maids unite and form a class action lawsuit against her. WORKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE ✊🏻. Offering a high salary doesn't give you the right to treat your employees like shit and fire them over the tiniest grievance.

Emily-Gilmore-Pissed-I-Solemnly-Swear-Gilmore-Girls
Who do you think is a worse boss: Emily Gilmore or Miranda Priestly?

The next day at the inn, Sookie and Jackson fight over Brussels sprouts and pea tendrils. I truly don't understand how any of their relationships - personal or professional - work. Couldn't Jackson call Sookie and say, "Hey, the Brussels sprouts don't look good right now ... is there something you'd prefer I bring instead?" But no, he doesn't do that because he is a terrible husband and would rather make decisions for Sookie instead of asking her what she actually wants. Jackson is scum.

Later, Michel makes fun of Sookie and Lorelai for taking a learning center course about how to run an inn. Michel's snobbery is no surprise, and neither is the fact that Jackson once took a class at the same place about how to write a diary. And this is the man Sookie wants to have kids with? Let that sink in for a moment.

Nearly all of Rory's scenes this episode revolve around dumb, boring drama at Chilton. I'd rather suffer through another episode with Clara than listen to Francie yammer on about the blood drive. All you need to know is that Francie's prom coup in the previous episode had no effect on Paris's plans. Gf is a shrewd negotiator and was able to talk the Wadsworth Mansion people down to half their original asking price. She says, "Most of those biddies couldn’t negotiate an icy sidewalk much less a contract." I salute you, Paris, and I think you would have had real potential as a corporate lawyer.

I wish Rory was more like Regina George and Blair Waldorf. Instead of opposing the blood drive, she should have thrown a Nairtini at Francie. I know I mention it all the time, but I legitimately can't believe a group of writers thought a single person would be invested in this lame, student council storyline.

Over rejected international grab bag night take out, Lorelai learns, by way of her answering machine, that she needs to give a deposition for Emily's lawsuit. Do you recognize the voice of Emily's lawyer, Bob Merriman? It's Seth MacFarlane (again). Lorelai doesn't want to get involved or lie (because she has such a strong moral compass - please), but Emily insists it's necessary in the name of family loyalty. Lorelai grumbles and huffs like it's the most monumental ask in the world, and she and Rory head to Luke's to waste money on a second dinner.

At the learning center, Sookie and Lorelai quickly realize that the class on how to run an inn is a waste of time (duh). They're stuck in a depressing, horribly lit room, with some man droning on and on about the value of a good paint job. This scene gave me flashbacks to all of the American Management Association classes my job forced me to take. I'm sure they're not all bad and that some people really find them valuable, but I personally don't enjoy sitting in a freezing, windowless room while someone talks at me for eight hours per day.

Cootie-Catcher-I-Solemnly-Swear-Gilmore-Girls
I'm going to make one of these next time I'm bored af somewhere.

Thankfully, Sookie and Lorelai make the best of the situation with help from a cootie catcher. This exchange made me lol:

Lorelai: Pick a color.
Sookie: Pink!
Lorelai: ‘Cause you’re a girl.
Sookie: Exactly.
Lorelai: P–i–n–k. Pick a number.
Sookie: Five.
Lorelai: [opens the flap] You will marry Shaun Cassidy and cheat with David.
Sookie: Well, good for me.

After sneaking out of class early and beelining for cookies that sadly taste like feet, Sookie runs into Joe Mastoni! Joe Mastoni from the Deerhill Lodge! I'm sure Joe is a nice guy, but his enthusiasm is terrifying. Why is he so happy? Is that smile a permanent fixture on his face? Did he do a bunch of cocaine before his class about how to open your own coffee shop? When his heart explodes, will there be a muffled pop? (I hope there's a pop.) If I were Lorelai, I would have crawled under the table and hid instead of making forced banter with Alex Lesman, Joe's much calmer friend. The Internet tells me that Alex Lesman is played by Billy Burke, who is best known as Charlie Swan from the "Twilight" saga. Despite having seen at least a few of those movies, I can't place him.

After Sookie and Joe reminisce about stupid shit and make plans to hang out, everyone parts way. How Lorelai and Alex refrained from either walking away or killing themselves, I'll never know. The entire conversation reminded me of what it's like when someone tells you about their dream. P.S. No one wants to hear about your dreams. Put that shit in a dream journal and shut your mouth.

Back at Chilton, the entire tone of the show somehow changes. Rory receives a paper airplane at lunch that says, "We need to meet. Write down a time and place." The camera focuses on Rory while she follows the plane's instructions, then tilts up when Paris appears in the frame after a slight commotion. When Paris sits, the camera tilts down and the paper airplane is gone. I wish I could find a clip, because it is seriously strange. Even stranger is the fact that Rory's chosen location is a parking garage.

Parking-Garage-I-Solemnly-Swear-Gilmore-Girls
If someone showed you this still, would you ever guess that it's from an episode of "GG"?

Is this still at Chilton? I'm confused. Why does a small private school in Connecticut need a parking garage? And why would Rory want to meet there? Francie waits for Rory in the shadows and when she arrives, flicks on a lighter like we're in some kind of 1950s film noir with detectives and shit. I must admit, it would have been pretty satisfying if Rory pulled a gun out of her backpack and shot Francie dead. But instead, we are forced to watch these two shake hands and make a truce.

In a bizarre twist, the whole meeting turns out to be a total ruse. Francie only wants to get Rory alone so she can hire a photographer (?) to take pictures of them, then give the evidence to Paris to prove that Rory is ... treasonous, I guess? Even though Paris recognizes that Francie is trying to manipulate her, she's still furious. Why? Because Rory mentioned Paris's boyfriend to Francie and apparently, that information was supposed to be kept secret. Who the fuck thought of this plot line? I want to know so that I can make sure this episode is their last credit on IMDB.

And of course, the confrontation between Rory and Paris goes down during fencing class ... because I guess we're channeling the opening scene from "The Parent Trap" now. I guess this is what rich private school kids do in gym class in lieu of dodgeball.

Paris-and-Rory-Confrontation-I-Solemnly-Swear-Gilmore-Girls-1
"I can’t believe I ever considered you my best friend!"

The Sookie and Joe Mastoni storyline comes to a screeching halt whenever he shows up at the inn and makes this embarrassing confession:

Joe: Very true. You know, I’m really glad we ran into each other. It’s not often you get a second chance.
Sookie: What do you mean?
Joe: I can’t tell you how many times I kicked myself for not asking you out that summer. It just seemed like every time I got close, we’d end up talking about the best way to make calves liver or something.
Sookie: Sautéed with caramelized onions.
Joe: Exactly. Then when I saw you at the Learning Center, it was like fate was saying, "Here you go, man. Try not to screw it up again." I guess things just had to happen in their own time.

In other words, Joe thinks Sookie is so pathetic that after all these years, she has no romantic partner in her life and is interested in him, a dude she barely even knows. Men are so fucking presumptuous. Instead of telling Joe that she's married and he is an asshole, she freaks out and has to ask Lorelai for advice about how to let him down gently. After she tells him about her husband and awkwardly tries to offer him money, Joe says he understands and leaves. Then, as previously bitched about, Sookie prepares a huge feast for Jackson and apologizes for accidentally flirting. These motherfucking people ...

The episode ends with Alex calling Lorelai and asking her out on a date. Why do people like Lorelai? Why do people like this show? Why are we wasting our time on this drivel? These are questions that keep me up at night.

Random observations:

  • It turns out Michel and I both have the same (fictional) self-help book: "Why Don’t People Think You Know What The Hell You’re Doing?"
  • Brooke is Emily's new maid. She doesn't make noise when she walks, so Emily is satisfied with her (for now).
  • I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I'm really into the soap dispensers in the Chilton bathrooms. They look like inverted teardrops and I find the bright green soap very aesthetically pleasing. Although Paris, who travels with her own soap, clearly disagrees with me.
  • The Mudhouse is a cute name for a coffee shop and I must admit, I also like Sludge! Maybe Sludge only sells pots of french press coffee? That could be the gimmick.
  • I guess it's kind of romantic that Joe has been pining for Sookie after all of these years, but I just find it creepy and pathetic. People change and just because you had a connection with someone forever ago, that doesn't mean it's going to hold up over time.
  • When Sookie exclaims, "I'm a whore!" after telling Jackson about Joe, I screamed, "That's internalized misogyny" at my TV.