So hello — Today’s "Gilmore Girls" recap brought to you by Saul Sugarman, a columnist for San Francisco Examiner. I actually discovered Lindsay’s website while researching a column and became addicted to the recaps. I got impatient waiting for the next one to drop, so I offered her this one on season 5, episode 20: “How Many Kropogs to Cape Cod?” This marks Rory’s first journalism internship and brought back some topical memories.
Directing and writing credits:
This episode is directed by Jamie Babbitt, written by Bill Prady and Rebecca Kirshner. Lindsay already pointed out Babbitt’s “But I’m a Cheerleader” (1999) and I’ve never seen it, which is something my friends vilify me for as a card-carrying gay man. But I love all of Babbitt’s other late 1990s-early oughts directing credits: “Undressed” on MTV and “Popular” on WB, AKA Ryan Murphy’s high-school lovechild before "Glee" made him famous. And who could forget “Miss Match”? Alicia Silverstone’s illustrious career from "Clueless" to "Batman and Robin"; She became an early adopter of movie stars that moved to television, and she actually earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role as an accidental matchmaker.
Here are all of Babbitt’s previous directing credits:
“Girls in Bikinis, Boys Doin’ the Twist” - Paris and Rory kiss while casually ignoring The Shins.
"The Road Trip to Harvard" - Lorelai and Rory fat shame a cat.
"Dead Uncles and Vegetables" - Lorelai embraces old school diner talk and annoys everyone by saying shit like, "Adam and Eve on a raft and wreck 'em!"
"Lorelai's Graduation Day" - Rory forgets how bus schedules operate even though she’s taken one every day for three years to school in Hartford.
"Take the Deviled Eggs..." - The great town mystery: What was the loner protesting? “Stop the noodle scooz!”
"That'll Do, Pig" - Emily cuts a green bean into six pieces.
“Lorelai Out of Water” - We sadly learn that Hug-A-World is infested— Lindsay thinks it’s bugs, I think it’s rats.
"The Big One" - “Pack your chastity belt, Gilmore. You’re goin’ to Harvard!”
"Say Goodnight, Gracie" - Sookie and Lorelai gleefully cheer on Fran going to an early grave so they can buy a dilapidated building.
"Those Are Strings, Pinocchio" - You know, I’m pretty sure the students who gave my high school graduation speech talked about getting lunch off campus during open period. Somehow I still think Rory’s “the woman who gave me my life’s blood” speech is worse.
"Ted Koppel's Big Night Out" - “You wouldn't be curious about pink marshmallow coconut balls? Who makes these? How did the decision to dye the coconut pink occur? Why are they shaped like a chest? Is there any dessert on the fact of the planet that could stimulate this much debate?”
Most batshit crazy outfit:
I’m going to give this to Rory’s internship ensembles. Although I applaud her for wanting to not try too hard, on day one I’d say she looks more like a funeral home secretary. I do like the simple hair choice, but then of course she pairs it with heels. While I love a good heel, Rory acts like this is her first time in a newsroom when girl knows she’s going to need to run around.
On day two, her button-up sweater fits nicely, but I hate that weird sparkle neckline shirt that it’s paired with. And has anyone else noticed that the sweater is actually cerulean? Go with me on this one:
What is it about this color and lumpy blue sweater that screams “first time in a newsroom” to Andy Sachs and Rory Gilmore? Who knew they both shopped the clearance bin at Casual Corner. At least Rory skipped the hideous skirt convention.
Special shout out to Logan and his magic lapels. Good gawd, Emily and Richard could not fall over hard enough for a suit that looked straight out of Men’s Wearhouse.
Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
That time Lorelai asked Rory to buy the same garment three times. I realize Lorelai thinks she’s doing a bit but we all know she actually did put Rory through this. All I hear from Lorelai in this exchange is, “Look at me, I’m 35 and still think this behavior is adorable!”
Rory: I am not returning the blue sweater again, so don’t think about asking.
Lorelai: But I want it, I need it.
Rory: I’ve already returned the Capri pants twice. I’ve tried to return a couple of your other items that were all sales final, which makes me look retail simple. And this is not the first, but the second time I will have returned the blue sweater.
Lorelai: Ooh, the Capri pants. Have you taken those back yet?
Lorelai, you are a grown-ass adult and your kid’s in college. Are you really that surprised she decides to take a break when this is how you act?
Rory has an awful moment with getting a work picture ID but I’ll get into that later.
Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
Lane appears absent, although there’s reference to Rory being a good friend. She goes to bed early and gets up to see a 3 a.m. gig Lane has, on the same day Rory’s internship begins.
Sookie only shows up at the end of the episode, and Lorelai seems like a good friend here.
The only mean moment is when Rory threatens to tie Paris to a chair and put “Hotel Rwanda” on repeat because she won’t stop singing “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves. Fun fact: NPR tells me that song made up to $1 million per year during the 2000s. Think the WB sprung for royalties for Paris’s rendition? I’m honestly guessing no. If you ever watch reruns of OG Charmed, the license for “How Soon is Now” by The Smiths expired, and now all eight seasons on Netflix use just instrumental music for its intro.
Best literary or pop culture references:
Right after Rory’s threat, Paris retorts, “Oh no reverend, has the town banned dancing and singing?” Referring to a movie I recognize but never saw, "Footloose" (1984): Kevin Bacon tries to overturn a ban on dancing in a small West Virginia town.
Stars Hollow weirdness:
Taylor is still trying to make the Stars Hollow Museum happen and winds up trapped under a fake horse for more than two hours. I’ve performed many a stupid physical comedy in life and also told nearly no one, so I actually find Taylor relatable in this moment. I realize everyone reading this and especially Lindsay wishes me dead now for relating to Taylor.
Sookie has a three-person kitchen staff working in her home to keep up with the stampede of customers planning to try the food once the American Travel magazine article comes out. I guess Lorelai calling Emily Pol Pot will have people lining up for Sookie’s “perfectly fine” risotto.
Sharpest insult or one-liner:
Emily at dinner was sort of the best. She lathers compliments onto Logan and suggest he and Rory procreate at a nice summer villa they plan to buy, which, creepy. But it’s the actual sharp she replies to Lorelai’s retort that always gets me. Like, “Yes, Lorelai, I am paying attention to your underhanded jokes.”
Lorelai: Mom, did you get a job at the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce?
Then moments later, after Lorelai freaks out, Emily revisits her bit about not knowing her daughter’s drink. I’ll admit Lorelai actually switches between vodka and gin martinis, and garnishes, throughout the run of the series. But it is still almost always a martini.
Richard: You might want that cup of coffee, clear your head a bit before you drive home.
Emily: Or maybe you’ve just had one too many sidecars.
Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
While being the biggest kiss-ass in the world, Rory picks up any book on topics Logan’s dad covered as a writer. This includes “Written in Blood: The Story of the Haitian People, 1492-1995” by Robert Debs Heinl, Nancy Gordon Heinl, and Michael Heinl. Another looks like the Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine by Christopher Foulkes. There are a number of other books I can’t make out — and I’m going to point out yet again how often books are near Rory that she never actually reads. Good for her that she looks book smart, but I’d like to see her actually debate wine or Haiti like she read even one of the books in her pile.
“My interests are teasingly diverse,” Rory tells her professor, to which I say:
My Netflix playback quality is never stellar, so I invite Lindsay to fill in the blanks here on book titles that Rory is allegedly “reading.”
Editor's note: The other identifiable books are all related to foreign policy: David Farber's "Taken Hostage: The Iran Hostage Crisis and America's First Encounter with Radical Islam," David Victor Harris' "The Crisis: The President, the Prophet & the Shah-1979 & the Coming of Militant Islam," Lawrence E. Walsh's "Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-up," Kenneth M. Pollack's "The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America," and David Patrick Houghton's "Us Foreign Policy and the Iran Hostage Crisis," and Michel-Rolph Trouillot's "Haiti: State Against Nation: The Origins and Legacy of Duvalierism." Rory is also reading Spinoza's "Ethics" for her philosophy class with Professor Bell.
Best song of the episode:
Other than Paris’s “Walking on Sunshine,” I think it was just guitar strings and piano music at Friday night dinner.
Everyone annoys me this episode. Paris starts out by declaring she and Rory are happy because they both have boyfriends, then Rory asks hers what she should wear at her first newspaper internship with his father. The aforementioned weirdness with Taylor happens: he’s rearranging mannequins in a museum no one is attending, then Luke leans into him again about selling the place so he and Lorelai have 30 more rooms to bone in and make babies.
Admittedly, I remember acting like Rory at my first journalism jobs. From college through my late 20s, I loved musty rooms with boxes of old newspapers, dirty coffee machines, aging refrigerators, and sticky notes on yogurts that read “this belongs to Karen.” And I’m not being sarcastic. Seeing Rory take a selfie near a water cooler and lose it when getting a work ID feels sadly relatable, even though we all know this isn’t her first photo ID.
I remember once being sent to write “a story” about Barack Obama touching down on the tarmac (literally the story was “Air Force One has landed” for a local news wire) and the White House people wouldn’t let us keep the paper pass or anything else related to the day as a keepsake. I got away with a safety pin and remember keeping it for years afterward.
Still, her overzealous attitude for this internship is clearly unnecessary and grating to watch. Printing a thousand pages on Mitchum and grilling her boyfriend every chance she gets. In fairness, I don’t fault Mitchum’s behavior at this point for basically ignoring Rory. He is on his first day trying to outfit a newspaper his company just bought, and he doesn’t have time to manage Rory acting like a shrinking violet.
Later at Friday night dinner, Logan kisses ass by bringing Richard and Emily cigars and chocolates, and the grandparents promptly treat Lorelai like crap by repeatedly forgetting her drink, insulting her fashion sense, and acting like Ivy League inside jokes are totally fun to trade for a whole hour before dinner even for people who never attended. They could have at least refilled her martini.
Lorelai shouldn’t have been at dinner anyway. Obviously, the writers needed some weak plot point to patch up her latest silent treatment toward Emily, so they picked some incredible need Lorelai manifested to meet Logan on better terms than when she walked in on him macking on her daughter at her parents’ vow renewal. I mean, that’s fair Lorelai, but you could have easily just picked some nice restaurant in Hartford on a different day to meet Logan, and then gone to the clothing store yourself instead of sending Rory to do your errands.
The biggest stickler for most people this episode is at dinner when Logan steals Emily’s antique sewing box. I am in full agreement with Logan haters—at least in this moment—but is it only me that finds Emily and Richard’s behavior equally egregious? Never mind they are trying to marry off their granddaughter at age 20, but this is all so racially disturbing. Witness:
Emily: Picture her blue eyes and his blonde hair on a little baby.
Emily totally glosses over the possibility Logan stole the sewing box because she’s thrilled an Aryan match is in the works. It really is in retrospect I find this all disturbing. The grandparents are often painted as the villains, but I can’t help but look at patterns in Amy Sherman-Palladino TV shows, in particular "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," which also deals heavily with white, wealthy parents’ approval of white men marrying their only daughter.
Rory finds her step at work later by remembering Mitchum likes decaf coffee in the afternoons — Foreshadowing for next episode that doesn’t make the most sense to me. Having done my share of journalism internships, they often are this unstructured. That Mitchum is grading her entire career future by first-job behavior is a little ludicrous.
- I looked up “Kropog” — Logan’s reference to an apparently fictional Maxwell T. Kropog, who in this episode was used as an inside-joke for people at Yale who measure distance by the length of his body. While there isn’t a Kropog, there is an Oliver R. Smoot, an MIT student and fraternity student that classmates started using as a unit of measurement because he was the shortest pledge. Gilmore Girls seldom misses a beat with discrimination, even sizism in the Ivy League.
- Hearing Paris say “Hammer Time” and Taylor pronounce “50 Cent” is about as bad as you think it is.
- I know everyone thinks Logan got Beatrice the maid fired, but I’m guessing her putting fragrant lilies in the dining room probably didn’t help matters.
- I looked up some median home prices for Martha’s Vineyard or Cape Cod, and my impression is the former was only a bit more expensive. Basically for the sort of pad Emily and Richard would want, they’re probably looking at $1.5 million-$7 million. Read into that what you will, but these people have oddly frugal tendencies sometimes. They’ve only ever rented on the vineyard, and once almost lost a rental after squabbling over grounds fees.
- The column I was working on when I discovered Woman In Revolt was called “High Noon at the Oasis.” The SF Oasis is a drag club that opened on New Years some years back, so a debut story at the time was called “Midnight at the Oasis." I wanted to somehow keep the 12:00 timestamp in the title now that the club faced COVID struggles, and remembered the GG episode "Eight O'Clock at the Oasis."
- Don’t tell me the production team at GG doesn’t know what cerulean is, because April makes an ad nauseam speech on it in a future episode.