1×06 Rory’s Birthday Parties
It’s Rory’s birthday and everyone wants to celebrate!
Well, almost everyone.
While the last episode dealt with the Gilmore girls and the boys chasing for their affection, this episode focuses on the family dynamics of the Gilmore Clan, grandparents included, after all, no better time than a birthday to bring it up!
The episode opens with the three Gilmore women at Friday night dinner (my favorite kind of opening!) where Emily announces that their lawyer, Joseph Stanford will be coming over tomorrow. Lorelai interrupts pointing out that he is “Crazy Sissy’s father to which Emily counters that Sissy used to be a good friend of Lorelai’s. (In case you were wondering why she was crazy, Sissy used to talk to her stuff toys.) Emily calls Lorelai impossible and then Henny Youngman. Really, I think you all should just watch the scene because I am not doing justice to how great this 20 second or less exchange in dialogue is. Richard joins the women in the dining room apologizing for tardiness. Rory successfully redirects the conversation back to why Joseph Stanford is coming over. Emily thinks it might be nice for Rory to go pick out what she’d like for the elder Gilmores to leave for her in their wills after dinner. All she has to do is “stick a post-it on it”. Lorelai is given permission to do so also. The maid brings out pudding, an unusual dessert to be served in the Gilmore household (the elder one, that is). We learn Lorelai worships pudding. All in all, it was a peaceful, non-confrontational Friday Night dinner. Maybe not all of these will be so bad after all.
As they are leaving, Emily asks if there are any special requests for dinner next week. Lorelai then asks Emily if they can postpone next week’s Friday night dinner to Saturday because it is Rory’s birthday. Friday nights are Emily’s night and she would like to have a “little party” for Rory next week and won’t budge.
Cut to the inn, Lorelai updates Sookie on the goings on of Friday night dinner including serving the pudding. To Lorelai, serving the pudding meant that Emily put aside her judgement (the judgmental conga line) about what she would usually consider hospital food and had made a mental note that Lorelai and Rory liked pudding meaning she actually listened. And true to Stars Hollow’s colorfulness, Jackson burst into the kitchen asking Lorelai to “open your mouth and close your eyes” to which Lorelai directs him towards Sookie to do so. He has been playing around with cross pollination and created a raspquat! Yay for more growth and development in secondary characters! Lorelai announces to Sookie and Jackson that Rory’s party will be on Saturday (presents mandatory!). Michel is invited too, but he doesn’t want to come. I would never pass up the opportunity to attend a Gilmore extravaganza.
Back at the Gilmore house, Lorelai see Rory on the phone (she is ordering pizza) and pretends to be the other side of the conversation. She made it about Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears (remember those days original watchers? J), making a now very very outdate reference, which I still appreciate and I do agree that “Justin is just so dreamy!” and I did want to cry when he got married and had a kid with Jessica Biel, but I digress. Rory hangs up and announces that the pizza is on its way. Lorelai grabs an apple. AN APPLE. I repeat, AN APPLE!
Those of you who have seen the series multiple times or even once probably know why I am pointing out this apple other than the Gilmore’s not being known for healthy eating. If you don’t know, you’ll find out in my Season 5 recap (if I ever make it) or you can just ask me. The healthy food choice is probably unintended (that other story line probably hasn’t been conceived yet) and the lack of veggies, fruits, or anything remotely healthy being present in the Gilmore household has not been established yet. Maybe they have apples for dipping in caramel, it is leafing season after all! As Lorelai is slicing said apple to eat, Emily calls and asks for Lorelai’s work schedule so she can come shopping with her. Emily wants Lorelai’s help in picking out a gift for Rory that she will really like. And a shopping date is made!
At Chilton, Tristin comes up to Rory and wishes her a happy birthday. She tells him it’s not her birthday and he lets her know that it will be soon. He pulls out a very fancy invitation to her birthday party this Friday. We get to learn that Rory’s birthday is October 8. The whole class is apparently invited.
Lorelai and Emily are at the mall shopping. Emily wants to buy Rory some pearls and $200 pen, turning down all of Lorelai’s suggestions. She is ready to give up when Lorelai told her to “think pudding” and suggest picking out something that she thinks Rory might like. Suddenly like it all made sense, Emily picks up some beaded bracelets that also light up. According to Emily’s high societal standards, $12 is not a present. Lorelai approves of the gift and reassures her mother Rory would really like that present.
And now for one of my favorite scenes! Lorelai enters the diner carrying a large garment bag. Luke notices her walk in and tells her Rory’s not here yet before she gets the chance to ask. She says she knows that so he will have to entertain her until she gets there. As she is setting her things down on the counter, Luke proposes! Ok, not really. That would have been way too easy. Turns out he was just looking for some way to shut her up and he sure found it. (No, but seriously, can these two get married?)
Lorelai tells him that he has to be nice to her or else she won’t invite him to Rory’s birthday party. He shyly tells her that he doesn’t have to ask him to come, but she would really like him to come. Of course, Rory walks into the diner and their moment is over. Lorelai heads over to the table and shows Rory the party dresses that Emily bought for them to wear on Friday. Lorelai tells Rory about her afternoon shopping with her grandmother. After realizing that the two were finally getting along, Rory decides not to share with her mother how her Grandma went behind her back and invited all of her Chilton classmates. When Lorelai inquires what is bother her, she just says it is because she got an A- on her French test.
At exactly 4:03 am that Friday morning, Lorelai crawls into bed with Rory whispering “Happy birthday, little girl”. Rory wakes up and scoots over to make some room for her mother. Lorelai goes on to tell her that she is growing up fast and asks what she was thinking of her life so far. Rory thinks it is pretty good and just has the complaint of humidity (I am so with you there. Day 6 of >90% humidity where I am at!). Lorelai tells her that she thinks she’s a cool kid and best friend a girl could have. She then proceeds to tell her the story of the night she was born which you can watch Lauren Graham reenact many moons later with Andy Cohen!
That morning at Luke’s, Luke has special table ready for Rory including of balloons that say “Happy Birthday Rory” and a coffee cake! Isn’t he the sweetest? Rory turns to Lane, who is with her, and shares how she is dreading the birthday party her grandma is going to throw for her tonight because all the Chilton kids think she is a freak since Emily invited them. Dean walks into the diner to buy some coffee and notices it is Rory’s birthday. He mouths “happy birthday” to her as he leaves. Rory mood instantly turns around.
It is party time at the Gilmore household. Emily is busy instructing the caterers when Lorelai and Rory arrive. Emily notices Lorelai’s dress looks different than the one she bought. Looks like Lorelai took it upon herself to make a few alterations, much to Emily’s chagrin. Knowing her mother, Lorelai comments on the candles, “nice candles, six inches apart?” something Emily was just fussing about. When the party is in full swing, Lorelai is doing some polite mingling as she brings drinks over to the birthday girl who is sitting on the chair next to a couch alone. Emily quickly comes over and takes Rory away to meet to some people. As Lorelai is drinking her Shirley Temple Black, a high school classmate of hers approaches her. Apparently Mitzi hasn’t seen Lorelai since her seventh month of pregnancy and has no limits when asking questions. She brings up Christopher a million times asking if they hear from him, where is he, etc. I am fascinated by this scene because it displays how Lorelai was most likely treated when people learned she was pregnant and also shows how she may have ended up had she stayed apart of high society: divorced, snob, and definitely not herself.
Rory approaches her grandfather who is engaging in some shop talk with some colleagues all of whom hand her envelopes which I assume are filled with money. I think I need Emily Gilmore to arrange a party for me stat, please! As the group of men leave to collectively make a phone call (I guess, like girls go to the bathroom together), Emily pulls Rory in the direction of the library where the Chilton kids are hanging out. The kids gawk at her as she nervously looks around the room and then turns around to leave. She runs into Paris first, then Tristin who Richard believes is her friend and approves once he finds out who his grandfather is. Tristin wants to take a walk with Rory and Rory points out that he doesn’t really like her and just wants to prove that she’ll go out him. You tell him, sistah! Paris watches the whole exchange and boy does she not look happy. Emily thinks it time for Rory to make a speech to her guests and that is when Rory loses it. She tells her grandmother that this is not her party or her guests and she has nothing to say to them so Emily should give the speech and storms off in a huff. Emily then proceeds to chide Lorelai for not teaching her daughter any manners because you know it is always Lorelai’s fault according to Emily.
Lorelai finds Rory is hiding in her old room, which is consist of fancy decor and includes both fireplace and a balcony, and a Duran Duran poster above her bed. As Lorelai puts it, it is like time has stood still in this room. Rory is sorry that she went off on Emily and finally tells her mom about how she invited all those Chilton kids without asking her. Lorelai wonders why she didn’t say anything before to her. She tells her that she didn’t want to disrupt the unusual peace between the older mother and daughter pair. As Lorelai is sharing memories of her last birthday in that house where she was pregnant, Emily finds them to get them to return to the party.
When they are saying their goodbyes, Rory tries to talk to Emily, but she resists, continuing the after party cleaning up process. Rory quickly gets out that she would like them to come to her party tomorrow at the house. At first Emily tells Rory that they already have plans and won’t be able to make it. Lorelai takes a stab at asking her mother to come as well, which turns into fight. Lorelai explains to Emily how inviting all those Chilton kids upset Rory and that she is doing exactly the same thing she used to do to her. Emily assumed that they were her friends and you know what they say when people assume things… that they shouldn’t. Nice save Lorelai. Emily gets defensive saying she spent a fortune on the party for Rory, essentially alluding to Rory being ungrateful. Lorelai goes on to point out that Rory needs her to accept her apology and come to her party tomorrow, and that Emily doesn’t care what Rory actually needs adding fuel to the fire. Lorelai continues saying that Emily doesn’t know what she wants, because she doesn’t know her granddaughter, just like she never knew her. Emily claims that Lorelai isn’t as mysterious as she thinks and she does know her. Lorelai finally gives up.
The next day, Rory is going to a college fair at Chilton to get yet another Harvard brochure. She runs into Paris who apparently also wants to go to Harvard because ten generations of Gellers have gone there. The cutting ice between the two thaws a smidge when Paris asks Rory if she is dating Tristan. Rory tells her no and that she doesn’t even like him a little. Before she leaves, Paris turns around and say, “nice party.” Could these two be becoming friends or somewhere in the friend-ish realm?
Cut to the birthday party in full swing, Rory, wearing a pink feathered boa and birthday tiara, opens a present from Lorelai to reveal a blue iBook! Fun fact: This episode was filmed on Alexis Bledel’s actual birthday, September 16! Then Sookie brings out a cake with Rory’s face on it (those were so in back then! I always wanted a cake with my face on it.) Rory blows out the candles and Lorelai makes a sweet toast to daughter, “without who [she] have no reason to get up in the morning.” As Rory is getting the cake, the doorbell rings multiple time and Lorelai yells. “It’s a party! Get your ass in here!” to reveal her parents standing in the hallway connecting the foyer, kitchen and living room. Rory’s face lights up when she sees her grandparents and rushes over to give them a hug. Rory shows Emily that she is wearing the bracelets she gave her yesterday and then introduces both of them the crowd. Miss Patty even tries to hit on Richard. Lorelai goes into the kitchen to get her parents the drinks they requested. She reveals to Sookie that her parents have never been to the house before. Their conversation is interrupted when Emily comes into the kitchen raving about the delicious hors d’oueveres. Emily wants Sookie to cater her next party and then give her number to all of her friends.
After giving his drink to her father, Lorelai is informed by Sookie that they are out of ice. As she is getting ready to go get some ice, our favorite knight in shining plaid walks into the house carrying two giant bags of ice. Lorelai embraces Luke in a big hug. Emily see the exchange. When they pull apart, (do I need to point out the dopey grin on Luke’s face and Lorelai’s giddy look.) Lorelai introduced Emily to her friend Luke. In the meantime, Richard is outside sitting on the couch. (I want a couch on my porch!) Rory brings him some reading material to help him pass his time. Inside Babette is sharing a Rory story from when she was 10 and would wait for fairies at tree stump. Miss Patty is still crushed that Rory quit ballet lessons even though she wasn’t very good. Lorelai see Emily go upstairs. When Lorelai gets to her room, she sees Emily pick up a quilt. She tells her that she made it out of Rory’s old baby clothes. Emily wants to know about man with the ice and how long she has been seeing him. Lorelai tells her she is not seeing him. He just keeps her in coffee. Emily thinks he likes her and she knows by the way he looks at Lorelai, which is like she is about to give him a lap dance. Lorelai denies it with a chuckle and a giant smile on her face. Emily points out she is please that he looks at her like a “Porterhouse steak” because she is smiling.
Walking over to the dresser, Emily finds a picture of Lorelai wearing a cast. Lorelai tells her the story of how she broke her leg when she was taking a yoga class. Emily realized aloud that she never knew Lorelai broke her leg. She assures her mother it was no big deal and that if she had really been sick she would have known about it. After complaining about how messy her room is, Lorelai tells her mother it was nice that she came and it meant a lot to Rory. Richard was clearly enjoying the magazine Rory gave to him to read because he didn’t seem to want to put it down until he finished the quiz. He’s apparently an Autumn. Before the grandparents leave, Richard hands Rory an envelope for Fez (he had done the same the night before at the party too). In the car, Emily sadly admits to Richard, that Lorelai is right, she doesn’t know her daughter at all.
Lorelai and Sookie are discussing the success of the party while cleaning up. Through the kitchen window, Lorelai sees Dean giving Rory a birthday present outside. She watches her daughter pull out a handmade bracelet (leather strap and medallion). Dean ties it around her wrists, holds her hand, and the two smile at each other. I guess they are doing whole boy thing now.
Something I have put off discussing throughout my episode recap is Rory’s age. It is assumed that Rory is turning 16 years old. However, in the pilot and previous other episodes, Lorelai has alluded that Rory has been 16. Rory driving herself to school in The Deer Hunter would also imply that Rory also had her driver’s license, but I am not about to go digging through Connecticut driving laws from 2000. In fact, you can google “Rory’s birthday” and it will tell you that she is born on October 8, 1984. (Yes, I did that.) This could be a continuity error being that the show was still young or it could be Lorelai was simply rounding up. Amy Sherman-Palladino probably could have said something along the lines of it’s her show and let’s make it a birthday party episode! But notice that nowhere it is mention that it is Rory’s 16th birthday. The only indication I could find was the number of candles on her birthday cake. Looking closely at the birthday cake, there are 4 rows of 4 candles on the cake.
Oh, one last thing! Despite claiming that Emily bought Lorelai and Rory new dresses, Lorelai wore the dress Rory is wearing in Kill Me Now. I guess mother and daughter really do share clothes!
What are your thoughts about Rory’s Birthday Parties and how excited are you for November 25? Have you seen the tease for the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life? Watch it NOW! Share your comments below!
Photos courtesy of The WB/CW.