Previously: Richard went to the hospital and everyone forgave each other.
Paris is Burning
Blinvy: I suppose I should introduce myself first: I’m Blinvy and some of you may recognize me from the comments section of a lot of the posts here. When I heard that people were needed to work on the Gilmore Girls recaps, I jumped at the chance to volunteer as tribute because I love this show. I’m a relatively new watcher; I watched a few episodes here and there during its first run, but back then, TV was a cruel mistress and if you missed stuff, or you couldn’t record it with a VCR, you were screwed. Or, like in my case, I just couldn’t get access to a TV during that time and no one in my household wanted to watch it. I heard about the revival on Netflix and was intrigued so I binged the entire series about a year ago and devoured the mini-series when it came out and have been a fan ever since. With that all said, let’s get on with it.
We begin the episode with that trademark banter between the Lorelais as they walk through town. (Quick side note to say that I adore Stars Hollow and wish for eternity that it and its residents actually existed and I could live there forever.) The girls are going through the alphabet and supposedly naming diseases but I don’t think Narcolepsy is a disease, so I instantly don’t get this game. Before I can think on that too much, Lorelai gets distracted by puppies and seriously, who wouldn’t? They’re adorable. Rory objects because her mom is a terrible pet owner. Luke agrees and tells the breeder not to let them take care of an animal because they can’t even feed themselves. Legit because they really can’t and are always eating out. It always baffled me how they could afford to eat out literally every single day, sometimes for multiple meals.
Marines: Something tells me Luke slides them a lot of free burgers and coffee.
Rory agrees with Luke that Lorelai shouldn’t adopt and starts recounting this horrifying story about a pet hamster named Skippy and look, I just have to have a bit of a rant here. I have a love/hate relationship with Lorelai. There are times she is a great character and an amazing mom and I adore Lauren Graham but there are times where I either want to throttle her or at the very least, do not find her quirky cute schtick charming. This is one of those times. So, this hamster bit her and she decides that she doesn’t want to go near it, not even to clean its cage. This hamster is sitting in its own filth and if that weren’t bad enough, she just stuffed in scented Kleenex until, according to Rory, you couldn’t even see the hamster, just wads of Kleenex that moved around sometimes. Thankfully, Skippy does not die a horrific death by asphyxiation/suffocation but instead is ditched back at the pet store. This story is recounted while Lauren Graham makes a cutesy “Whoopsie” face and I just can’t even.
Mari: I think when I’m at my lowest opinion of Lorelai, it usually is because she’s terribly immature. There’s a whole “she had to grow up quickly BUT DID SHE GROW UP?” thing here that makes her sometimes easy and sometimes difficult to root for.
Blinvy: I will agree to that assessment, as I do generally like Lorelai, even if she irritates me a lot. A lot.
Thankfully, Lorelai decides against the puppy. Rory tells her she made the right decision and I agree. #justiceforskippy
WHERE YOU LEAD!
We next see Max and Lorelai on a date where he’s cooked a nice meal for her but apparently, only wanted to eat the scraps while he cleaned up instead of during the actual meal. I sometimes just do not understand Lorelai at all. I know she’s supposed to be “delightfully quirky” but dial it back a bit. Not eating a meal someone cooked for you is pretty rude, not a cute personality quirk.
Just so you all actually believe me when I say, I do like Lorelai, they have a bit of banter about where he learned to make the dish he served and Max tells this story about a sweet old lady who taught it to him and looked at him like a son. Lorelai responds by telling him it’s a sweet story and then immediately asks if it was an ex who taught him and Max says yes. This is a cute moment that I like.
Now on to the hate where Lorelai starts pressuring Max about grading Rory’s paper and look, I get that a parent wants to talk up their kid but she went obnoxiously over the top with the “joke” and makes things really uncomfortable. I honestly felt bad for Max. Also, Lorelai does not have the emotional maturity to date her daughter’s teacher and this will only end badly for Rory.
Mari: This was absolutely cringe-worthy and it went on for so long I wanted to shake her. NO LORELAI. STOP.
Blinvy: They end the scene going to bed while Lorelai cracks jokes about being in a teacher/student porn. It’s actually kind of cute and funny so you win this round, Lorelai.
She gets home and Rory is waiting on the couch to jokingly chastise her about staying out past curfew. It’s nice that these two can joke about something like this after the events two episodes ago. Rory comments on the fact that Lorelai looks happy and it’s very sweet.
The next day in class, Rory overhears Paris’ friends chatting about how hot Max is and wondering if he’s dating anyone while she awkwards in the background because she knows the truth. Paris gets really snarky about this. She leaves and her friends start gossiping about the fact that her parents are divorcing and how it’s getting ugly all while Rory is right there and totally listening in. It’s weird because they totally acknowledge that Rory is there, they know Paris doesn’t like Rory, and yet they continue to gossip about Paris’ crappy home life in front of her. I’m no fan of first season Paris but the girl needs new friends, stat.
Side question, why is a student’s parents’ divorce in the student paper? Why the heck does the entire school need to know about this? I don’t get it.
Mari: I thought it was the town newspaper, but I’m not sure if that works entirely either.
Blinvy: I guess that could work as an explanation if Paris’ family are a super big deal to the town? Still not sure a rich couple divorcing is newsworthy, unless they’re celebrities but I suppose it might be in a local paper…
We cut to Friday dinner. Richard is still absent, no doubt recovering from his heart attack from last episode. Emily is gloating and Lorelai wants to know why but she won’t spill. She relishes the knowledge she has over Lorelai when she asks Rory about Parents Day which is happening the following Wednesday. Lorelai has no clue because it was mentioned in the Chilton Newsletter, which she did not read. They then fight about who will take her and Lorelai insists she’ll be there. I know that in this scene, Emily comes off worse but I feel she is 100% justified later in this episode. Just wait for it.
It then moves to the next night where Lorelai is getting ready for a date with Max and Rory is trying to GTFO of there before he shows up. Unfortunately, Max shows up on time for his date, like a gentleman, which Lorelai complains about because of course she does. (M: Loudly, so that Max hears it all…) She forces Rory to answer the door because she isn’t ready and I find this wholly awful for Rory. This is again showing me that Lorelai should not be dating Rory’s teacher. In the best of cases, it’s probably not the best idea and will end badly but Lorelai is a trainwreck so this is going to be demonstrably worse.
Max tells Rory to call him by his first name which makes Rory uncomfortable and well, yeah. She’s not supposed to be put in this situation, guys. Max is her teacher and he should stay that way. But Max decides that they should make up non-Chilton names for each other and damn it, it’s kind of cute. I like Max. He calls her Rebecca and she calls him Norman. I hope this continues beyond this episode. I honestly can’t remember if it does or not. Rory then hightails it out of there and heads to Lane’s.
We then cut to Sookie and Jackson bickering about food at Luke’s because that’s what they do. Sookie wants her normal ingredients and Jackson is trying to push his weird hybrid monstrosities on her. Lorelai then pops in with skates which makes Rory happy because they are going on a skating date. Luke bugs her about them because they look old and rusted, then he sighs and asks her to hand them over so he can polish them and tighten the blades back up for her because he is amazing. Luke is, hands down, the best character on this show. I live for his snarkiness.
Rory suggests inviting Max to go skating with them, and this hurts my heart because I know this is going to end badly. Lorelai is nervous about this but Rory is clearly excited and suggests maybe doing something else together. This makes Lorelai even more nervous.
Later that night, Sookie asks Lorelai about Max and she’s clearly starting to freak out about the situation because Rory is getting invested in her relationship. Apparently, they’ve been dating for two months and Sookie calls her out on staying true to her pattern of freaking out around two months. Lorelai mentions Rory getting too attached, and Sookie again calls bullshit that it’s Rory she’s worried about hurting and not herself. Lorelai gets defensive and blasts Sookie for not having a relationship for a long time, which clearly hurts Sookie but before I can get too mad, Lorelai immediately backtracks and apologizes for being so awful. They quickly make up when Lorelai tells her she can sing Ricky Martin at her as penance.
Chilton. Tristan is being an ass and gossiping about how Paris’ dad has a second family in Paris. Max calls Rory over and compliments her paper on Dickenson but he clearly wants to ask about something else and my stomach does a flippy thing because clearly neither he or Lorelai should be doing this to Rory. THIS IS GOING TO END SO BADLY!!
Lorelai and Rory are cleaning out their fridge and Rory starts filling her mother in on the Paris incident. She says they’re putting all the sordid details into the paper and again, not a season 1 Paris fan but I want to give this girl such a big hug right now. Why is everyone so awful? Rory actually feels bad for her though and tells her mom that Paris’ friends were actually nice to her. Lorelai jokes about her being the new Heather and I laughed.
Rory then asks her mom how reading the book Max lent her is going and Lorelai says she’s too busy to read it right now. She asks Rory to take it back to him and Rory tells her to bring it with her to Parent Teacher night. Lorelai freaks and says she actually can’t make it, despite promising Rory that she would be there because she’s busy with work. Yeah, so Emily’s snarky attitude earlier about Lorelai not making time and being too busy and offering to go in her place? Doesn’t seem that bitchy to me anymore. In fact, Emily was really pumped about it and excited to go and this is where I hate Lorelai’s character. She’s supposed to be this awesome mom but she couldn’t give two craps about what is going on at Rory’s school or to make time for her daughter, the only reason she insisted on going was to upstage her mother. That’s a horrible reason and now she is backing out of the arrangement. Going to this was never about Rory’s well-being or happiness, it was absolutely a way to irritate her mother.
Mari: I think what makes it worse is that Lorelai doesn’t actually have a work thing, I’m sure. She’s lying to her daughter in order to get out of a seeing her boyfriend. Later, she’ll say it’s all for Rory, but if it is, she’s going about it in the immature and selfish way so.
Then Lorelai starts insisting that Rory take the book back to Max while Rory keeps telling her to give it back the next time she sees him, until Rory clues in and asks why Lorelai is breaking up with him. She lets slip that Max asked if she was going to Parents night and mentioned they hadn’t talked and Lorelai has the gall to be mad that he did that. Look, she is absolutely correct but she lost the right to the moral high ground the second she started trying to pressure her daughter into returning a book to the man so she wouldn’t have to face him, thus subtly breaking up with him. That’s really fucking shitty. Rory tells Lorelai to deal with it herself and give Max the book back herself.
Lorelai actually shows up to Parents’ Day which I guess is supposed to redeem her but she doesn’t really seem that stoked. She at least promises to deal with Max herself. They walk past Paris who has the worst mom in the world. She is trying to ditch her daughter on Parents’ Day and then makes fun of her for having zits. I feel bad for her but then the whole scene is used to make Lorelai seem like the better parent and it irritates me. I mean, Lorelai is better than this woman but they had to make her so awful so that you’d forget that one scene earlier, Lorelai was trying to use her daughter to break up with her boyfriend, who also happens to be her teacher.
They go to English Lit together, which is Max’s class and this will prove to be awkward, I’m sure. Lorelai tells Rory to go on ahead so that she can talk to Max by herself. Yes, in school during Parents’ Day is the best time to talk about your relationship. She tries to return the book to him and he realizes something is amiss with her. They argue about whether or not they should break up and whoops, they end up kissing.
Paris sees this and of course, she’s going to start spreading rumours because then she won’t be the subject of rumors anymore. It’s a bitch move but I completely understand her motivation. Paris gloats to Rory about seeing them kissing and Rory storms out on Lorelai.
Rory yells at Lorelai for kissing Max at school when a bunch of people are around when she thought they were breaking up. She’s clearly upset and I’m sad but also…
Lorelai apologizes for kissing Max at school and says that this is why she didn’t want to date him in the first place. Rory calls her out on that logic because it’s dumb and she then asks if she likes him so much, why is she dumping him? Lorelai tries to explain that she makes rules to protect them and Rory tells her that they were fine rules when she was a kid but she’s not a kid anymore. She says it’s time for the rules to change and Lorelai says that she will change them when she thinks she needs to. Rory agrees and leaves with this zinger.
Friday night dinner. They promise each other not to bring up their fight in front of Emily but as soon as they enter, Emily asks Rory to go upstairs so that she can talk to Lorelai. Emily then starts to chastise her about making out with Max at school because of course she heard about it. Look, I know that Emily is supposed to be the bad guy here but I’m sorry, I’m on her side here. Lorelai was absolutely stupid for doing that at Rory’s school, dating him or not. It was highly inappropriate and is going to cause lots of stress and hurt and mocking for Rory.
Mari: I’ve been harsh on Lorelai, too, but this is still rough for me. It’s not about content as much as it’s about delivery from Emily. She takes every chance she can to lord over Lorelai and to chastise her. It’s never a conversation with Emily, and that might be both their fault, but it is both their faults.
Blinvy: I can agree with this because Emily’s tone was incredibly harsh and it was a hard scene to watch but I really think that sometimes, Lorelai needs the harsh reality check where no one is holding her hand and telling her how great she is. I think one of their big issues is that Emily strives for appearances and perfection and acceptance to be happy and Lorelai rejects the notion of perfection and thinks it’s an act and feels happier not seeking it. These values are super important to them and neither one wants to budge and thus, comes the conflict. Emily wants to fit in, Lorelai feels like she doesn’t fit in and doesn’t want to try. I don’t think either is wrong in their beliefs but in this instance, I think Emily is more right than Lorelai even if her concern is for her image. It was a horrible idea for Lorelai to date Max in the first place and it was incredibly immature of her to make out with him in the middle of the school day because that had a negative effect on Rory who Lorelai claims she was protecting but ultimately failed at in this episode.
Emily knows how quickly sordid gossip travels around rich circles and she doesn’t want Rory to be humiliated. She asks Lorelai what made her do it and Lorelai starts talking about what a great and amazing guy Max is. Emily tells her that she’s too emotional and never thinks and I have to agree again. Dating Max in the first place was not a good idea, breaking up with Max at school during a crowded day was not a good idea and kissing Max on the same day was most certainly not a good idea, despite the fact that I like Max. Lorelai realizes that she likes him a lot and leaves, teary eyed.
At school, Paris and her friends have clearly made up and things have gone back to normal for her so of course, she’s awful again. She tells her friends that she wishes her mom would date a teacher because it would make mid-terms a lot easier. Rory has had enough and asks to talk to Paris alone. Rory confronts her about gossiping after being the subject of gossip herself. She also tells her that she hurt Max in all this and he’s a good teacher who encourages her. Paris confesses that it’s been a hard time for her and she just wanted people to stop talking about her. They kind of makeup and have a dance about talking to each other but probably not.
Lorelai finds Max in a coffee shop. They talk about Parents’ Day and why Lorelai freaked out on him. Basically, Rory never called any of her boyfriends by their first names but she did with Max and that freaked her out because she was scared that Rory would get hurt and that she would get hurt. She apologizes for treating Max so horribly and brings up Skippy again. Max tells her that the Headmaster had pulled him into the office to talk about his conduct. He says that he agrees that it was inappropriate and that he is jeopardizing his job. He says that they do need to take a break and Lorelai is upset. They say good bye to each other and I’d feel bad but…
Rory gets home to find her mom completely broken apart because of the breakup and consoles her. We fade to a close on Lorelai crying and again, I’d feel bad but she did bring this whole situation on herself. A lot of the things Lorelai gets hurt over are usually due to her own stupid actions, it’s kind of her thing. She’s a mess and while I didn’t particularly like her in this episode, I do understand where she’s coming from. She’s scared of being rejected so she rejects first, I get that but wow, does she have a lot of growing up to do.
This was fun but so hard, they talk so much, you guys. It’s hard to know what to talk about and what not to. While it’s hard to recap, I absolutely love the style of banter on this show and the way they all talk, it’s part of the charm and it’s really hard to do it proper justice here. If you haven’t already, watch this show now.
Next time on Gilmore Girls: The Lorelais both go on double dates in S01 E12 – Double Date.