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The GILMORE GIRLS Rewatch Project: A Dance Marathon, A Trip To Yale And Four Thanksgivings

We've finally arrived at "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?"! (plus two other great episodes.)

The GILMORE GIRLS Rewatch Project: A Dance Marathon, A Trip To Yale And Four Thanksgivings

Follow along the whole rewatch here!

Last week, on Gilmore Girls...

We've arrived at Week 17 of our Gilmore Girls Rewatch Project, and that means we've reached one of the single greatest episodes of this show or any other: "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?" In fact, all three of these eps are all-timers, so let's hop to it, shall we?

But first! A reminder of our drinking game rules: 

The Gilmore Girls Drinking Game Rules

Drink once every time:

Lorelai or Rory drinks coffee.

Emily gets flustered by Lorelai's bizarre sense of humor.

Sookie is controlling about food.

Paris is controlling about anything.

Michel snubs a customer.

Luke is crotchety.

Taylor has an absurd scheme for Stars Hollow.

The girls acquire massive amounts of food and then fail to take even one bite.


Drink twice every time:

Kirk has a new job.

You see a town troubadour.

Emily gets a new maid.

You see a moment from the credits.

On to the episodes!

3.07 "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?"

It's the annual 24 Hour Dance Marathon For Charity To Buy A Tarp To Cover The Bridge in Stars Hollow Festival! You know, I love when we hear in later seasons that all of these seemingly random fests are annual, meaning that we simply didn't see the past few marathons when Lorelai came so close to besting repeat champion Kirk. It makes me feel like Stars Hollow is always bustling with activity, even when we're not here to witness it. Lorelai has been searching for a partner all over town, but when her latest conquest's wife sees a picture of her and decides that Lorelai is too pretty to partner with her husband (and seriously, Lorelai is SO PRETTY in this episode, she and Rory both are - the 40s hair and dresses and false eyelashes really suit them), Rory agrees, under duress, to be her dancemate.

The dance marathon is a big deal, and it seems as if everyone in town is participating in one way or another, all decked out in full USO attire.

Lane and Mrs. Kim are making eggless egg sandwiches on bone-dry bread (and passing out pamphlets warning that dancing leads to eternal damnation). Taylor and Miss Patty are emceeing and judging. Luke is providing coffee, also under duress, but once he sees how KNOCKOUT GORGEOUS Lorelai looks, he doesn't seem to mind so much. In fact, he sneaks Lorelai and Rory their very own thermos after they make these faces when they hear the coffee isn't ready upon their 6am arrival.

As Lane is serving the Jesus-approved but godforsaken sandwiches, who walks in but Dave Rygalski? He tells Lane he's missed her and she and I both die a little, and then Mrs. Kim walks over, entirely prepared to disapprove when Dave instantly disarms her with his wholesome charm. He compliments her on the eggless sandwiches and casually drops that his parents are at bible study, and Mrs. Kim is a goner. Lane can see what he's doing for her, and she melts. We all melt.

Sookie and Jackson are also there (Sookie looks gorgeous, herself), and Sookie confides to Lorelai that Jackson told her last night he wants "four in four" - four kids in four years. Lorelai wisely declares that this is insane, because IT IS, and Luke weighs in that having even one kid is insane. Sookie tells Jackson, who acts like the hugest crybaby about it. I can't even stand Jackson in this episode. He whines and pouts and yells and acts like Sookie's feelings about children are totally irrelevant. Apparently offscreen he calms down and behaves like a gentleman, but since we don't actually see it, I choose to continue being annoyed with him. 

I'm taking too long to get to the good part, aren't I? Sorry.

Dean is sitting in the stands to cheer on Rory and Lorelai, and Jess is sitting in the stands to stare at Rory in between making out with Tree Floozy. Rory is becoming increasingly jealous, although she pretends it's something other than jealousy she's feeling, and Dean can't help but notice, although he's doing his best to ignore it. In Hour 23 (with Kirk and his tiny partner still hanging in there like champs), the heel of Lorelai's shoe breaks, and she takes one of her emergency time-outs to ask Luke to fix it. As he glues it back on, he brings up Sookie and Jackson and says - and it's very clear here that he wants to make sure Lorelai knows this - that he wouldn't mind having kids with the right person. Lorelai, still looking like the most incredible babe I've ever seen, gives him some eyes, and I LOVE IT. Gif of the hotness downstairs. 

But while Dean holds the weary Rory up in Lorelai's absence, she begins to behave even more thoughtlessly. She's really awful here, guys. I give her a pass: she's 17, and she hasn't slept in 24 hours, she's slap-happy from dancing for a full day on only eggless egg salad, and did I mention that she's 17? It's not a great age for being considerate to boys. She is so blatantly obsessing over Jess to Deanand then she and Jess start yelling at each other as if Dean and Tree Floozy aren't even there. Dean finally, FINALLY mans up, and dumps Rory in front of everyone. It's not a nice way to do it, but she certainly deserves it.

She runs off to the bridge, and Jess meets her there. I really like this scene between them - any time Jess drops the act, I'm into it. Watch it below, because I fear my words won't do it justice.

"I have to go take care of something then." Pretty great. (Though granted, not for Tree Floozy.)

Finally, Lorelai returns from her break to discover that Kirk has won the competition once again. As she starts to wail and gnash, she sees Rory crying her way across the dance floor. The episode ends with Kirk's victory lap and Rory sobbing in her mother's arms.

How many times do I have to drink?

9.

How many cups of coffee do the Gilmore girls drink?

4.

Flirtation quota:

Lane and Paris both get their own little sections here, as Dave is so incredibly sweet to Lane and her mom, and Jamie arrives at Chilton to tell Paris he hasn't been able to stop thinking about her since their date in D.C. Rory's two besties are finally getting their own gentlemen admirers, and those hot, smart ladies completely deserve it.

As for Rory and Lorelai? Only gifs can adequately express the planet-erupting impact of their flirtations this week:

Best/most dated pop culture reference:

I love this whole exchange regarding Lorelai's original dance partner, Stanley. Lorelai: "Apparently, Miss Patty showed his wife a picture of me, and she thinks I look like Elizabeth Taylor, which makes her Debbie Reynolds, and Stanley Eddie Fisher." Rory: "That's crazy!" Lorelai: "Especially if you’ve seen Stanley. He’s no Eddie Fisher, trust me. Fisher Stevens, maybe."

Sookie's best dish of the episode:

We hear that this whole baby discussion started while Sookie was cooking coq au vin. 

Also? BEAUTIFUL.

Lorelai's craziest outfit:

No sartorial madness this week, since she spends most of the episode in the prettiest dress I've ever seen, so let's just take another minute to reflect on how lovely she is. 

Kirk insanity:

Every year that Kirk wins, he takes an exhausted victory lap around the dance floor to the theme song from Rocky. Also, I repeat: 

Michel madness:

No Michel this week, which is too bad because we all know Michel loves to dance. Why hasn't Lorelai ever asked him to be her partner? He's in such great shape, too. I'm confident he has the stamina for it. (dirty!)

Best Gilmore Gal witticism:

Lorelai, worried that Jackson's going to kill her over this four-in-four thing: "Sookie, he’s a produce man. They’ll never find the body, but the squash will be especially chatty that year."

Random observation:

So why is this episode so good? Of course, there's all the swoony boy stuff: Luke and Jess and Dave and Jamie all proving themselves to be duly in love with the remarkable women of Gilmore Girls. But beyond that, it's really just a perfect episode of television, striking a singular balance between quirky fun and emotional depth. The ep boasts fantastic costumes and makeup and set design, it's filmed almost entirely in one location and it's the perfect Stars Hollow townie scenario, filled with moments of hilarity from Babette and Morey, Miss Patty, Taylor, Mrs. Kim, Kirk and Andrew, all alongside our principal players. Dean finally stands up for himself, and it feels good to witness it. Also it's the first episode directed by XanaduDirty DancingFerris Bueller and Newsies choreographer Kenny Ortega! He clearly proved his mettle with this episode and went on to direct a dozen more.

And finally, this: 

"They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?" is pretty clearly the Internet's favorite episode of Gilmore Girls, as well, because there are straight up hundreds of gifs available. I could do this all day, but alas, we must move on. 

3.08 "Let The Games Begin"

Rory and Jess are awkwardly trying to kick off their relationship under the watchful eyes of Lorelai and Luke. Luke is SO excited about those two getting together, and while Lorelai is obviously less so, she's trying to be supportive. "Rory's seventeen. It's probably about time for a Jess." She knows what's up, and Luke is pretty cute about making sure that Jess doesn't get Rory into any trouble, letting him know that he'll always be watching. As they're upstairs in his apartment, finally thawing the ice and about to kiss, Luke proves his point by storming in before their lips land. Snogblocker!

At Friday night dinner, Richard takes Rory aside and invites her to Yale for his Whiffenpoofs reunion. Lorelai is incensed that Rory's being manipulated into visiting Yale, but Rory tells her that she's joining him of her own accord. At first the four Gilmores have a lovely time together, as the elder two take an unbelievably precious walk down memory lane (we learn that Richard was a lothario and Emily a homewrecker), but it soon becomes clear that Richard does, indeed, have an ulterior motive. He springs an appointment with the admissions officer on Rory, and all three Gilmore gals are mad. Lorelai's furious for all the usual reasons. Rory's furious that Richard surprised her instead of giving her ample time to prepare. Emily's furious that Richard ruined a perfectly good day with their daughter and granddaughter. Lorelai and Rory leave Yale in a taxi for Stars Hollow after a particularly brutal argument between Lorelai and Richard - although Lorelai takes a second to flinch when Emily points out the proximity of Yale to Stars Hollow.

They head to Luke's afterwards, and Rory and Jess both leave the diner under different pretenses. Luke assures Lorelai that he's all over this situation, until Lorelai points out that Rory and Jess are certainly making out somewhere at that very moment. Luke is stymied - and Lorelai's not wrong. 

Jess is pretty cute after what looks like an entirely great kiss: "Well, whatever else happens between us, at least we know that part works." Rory admits that it was wonderful, but then runs off - straight to Dean's, where she climbs up the tree and knocks on his window like a lunatic. She apologizes very sincerely, but it still bothers me (although I think it's a realistic way for a 17-year-old girl to behave). She wants his forgiveness right away when he needs and deserves space. She can't stand the idea that Dean's mad at her, even though moments ago she was making out with Jess. Dean continues to impress me by standing his ground, and when she tells him she hopes that one day he won't hate her anymore, he replies, "I hope so too," and closes the window. Go Dean!

After Rory promises a needy Lorelai that she'll give her all the details tomorrow - and I like that Lorelai wants Rory to know that even though she prefers Dean to Jess, she doesn't want Rory to feel like she has to keep Jess a secret - they both get in their separate beds, and in separate rooms, each start browsing Yale brochures. 

How many times do I have to drink?

12.

How many cups of coffee do the Gilmore girls drink?

6.

Flirtation quota:

Well, Richard and Emily are awfully cute as they reflect back on their Yale days: "I did not steal your grandfather, I simply gave him a choice." "When you showed up at my fraternity party in that blue dress, I had no choice." aww

And I kind of love how shy and uncomfortable Rory and Jess are around each other at first:

Best/most dated pop culture reference:

Once she learns that Emily "stole" Richard from Pennilyn Lott, his first fiancee, Lorelai calls her "the Helena Bonham Carter of the society set."

Sookie's best dish of the episode/Michel madness:

No Sookie. No Michel. 

Lorelai's craziest outfit:

Of course she wears her most obnoxious shirt to Yale to show her parents who's boss. 

Kirk insanity:

After behaving in an insufferably smug manner about his big dance marathon trophy, someone steals it. Or as Kirk puts it, "Someone took her!"

Best Gilmore Gal witticism:

When Rory's trying to ascertain whether Lorelai's going to be nice to Jess now that they're dating, she asks: "Now, let’s say he’s in the house and there’s a fire, and you can either save him or your shoes - which is it?" Lorelai: "That depends - did he start the fire?" hah!

Random observation:

I think Richard was in the wrong, but mostly for the reasons Rory listed - of course she would have agreed to it if he'd asked her to do it, and she would have been prepared and would have prepared Lorelai, as well. (And I'm proud of Rory for standing up for herself the way she did.) And Richard says some terrible things to Lorelai during this fight - but Lorelai is being far too stubborn about Yale. She's so clearly bucking against it simply because it's what her parents wanted for her, and that's an unreasonable and immature way to behave when it comes to her daughter's future. And, oh, that scene with Rory and Richard on the bench, as he fondly reflects on the time little Lorelai stole his Yale diploma and pretended it was hers - I just wish he'd been upfront so the entire day could have been that sweet, instead of ending with everyone angry and hurt. And, as always, Edward Herrmann is magnificent in this episode. He elevates every episode he's in.

3.09 "A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving"

It's Thanksgiving! Lorelai and Rory are already planning to squeeze in three celebrations when Emily drops by the inn and masterfully manipulates Lorelai - who's been avoiding her parents since the Yale incident - into attending her party. That's right - FOUR Thanksgivings. How will the Gilmore gals ever eat that much food? If that is a question you asked yourself while watching, I welcome you to your very first episode of Gilmore Girls. "This is what we've been training for our whole lives," Lorelai tells Rory.

While shopping for supplies, Lorelai runs into Dean at Doose's. It's awkward at first, but she's really sweet to him, telling him how much she appreciates what a great boyfriend he was to Rory, and that she wants to remain pals. "Just because you and Rory broke up doesn’t mean we did." Dean's really pleased to hear it, and the whole exchange warms my heart. 

On to the Thanksgivings! 

Thanksgiving One: at Kim's Antiques. Dave Rygalski - a proper Christian boy who just happens to play hymn guitar accompaniment when he's not studying, as far as the approving Mrs. Kim knows - is there to slowly (sloooowly) set the foundation for a relationship with Lane that they won't have to hide from Mrs. Kim. The girls eat tofurkey and sing songs, while Dave sneaks in the first few chords of "The Man Who Sold The World." Afterward, Lane chases him to "return" "his" bible that he "accidentally" left behind (a bible with the inscription "This bible belongs to God, but is being used by Dave Rygalski." Oh, how Mrs. Kim loves him), and she expects him to be annoyed with the charade. Dave isn't annoyed. Dave is wonderful. And Lane? Lane has her first kiss!!

DAVE RYGALSKI!!!

Thanksgiving Two: at Sookie and Jackson's house. Sookie is VERY unhappy to discover that Jackson is about to deep-fry the turkey. Sookie maintains that one does not deep-fry a turkey - that's for donuts and fries and fish. But all of the random rednecks Jackson has for some reason assembled for the occasion don't agree. (These rednecks include Badger from Breaking Bad, by the way! His first IMDB credit.) They're chanting his name as he storms out, all triumphant, and Lorelai's not wrong when she says "It's like Thunderdome in here."

When Lorelai and Rory stop back by later, Sookie has learned to deal with the deep-fried turkey - and deep-fried vegetables, and deep-fried mashed potatoes and butter and pickles and salt and napkin, as well as her broken salad bowl that she brought back from Belgium - by partaking of a liquid Thanksgiving. 

Drunk Sookie is my spirit animal.

Thanksgiving Three: at Luke's. This is the best Thanksgiving. At first Lorelai and Rory try to bow out of Luke's celebration after they're roped into Emily's, but when Luke shows the tiniest, cutest bit of disappointment, they immediately change their minds. They're so touched! He makes everyone wait for their arrival, which is so precious, and Lorelai and Rory get the table of honor next to Luke and Jess. Lorelai tells Luke his dinner is the main event, and even though she says the same thing later to Richard, I'm more inclined to believe her here. 

Rory's being quite reserved around Jess, afraid of flaunting their kisses in front of Stars Hollow and everybody (namely Dean). Jess, while certainly less concerned, seems cool enough with her decision - but Lorelai and Babette both give Rory crap for the lame little pecks she's giving Jess. Rory's just not sure how to deal with this whole second boyfriend thing, but she'll figure it out. 

Thanksgiving Four: at Richard and Emily's. This is the worst Thanksgiving. (Although John Aniston, father to Jennifer and Days of Our Life's Victor Kiriakis, is there!) Richard's being a little chilly, but Emily's making up for it and everything seems like it's going to be fine when an unsuspecting guest asks Rory where she applied other than Harvard. Lorelai is shocked (stupidly so) to discover that Rory wasn't arrogant enough to ONLY apply to Harvard, and of course she completely wigs out like an utter child when Rory admits that she also applied to Yale, among other schools. Lorelai throws a fit in front of everyone and storms out, and at first Emily tries to smooth things over with her until she tears up and says, "You can’t even let Rory have one piece of our lives, even if it’s her choice. You hate us that much." It's really sad, and I am so exhausted with Lorelai here. GET OVER IT. 

She admits later, as she and Rory walk back to Luke's for coffee, that she knows she's being unreasonable, so at least that's something. But jeezy chreezy, there's unreasonable, and then there's Lorelai.

At Luke's, Lorelai does a little light flirting while Rory follows Jess outside to give him a REAL kiss. She lays a pretty hot one on him then runs off, as is The Rory Gilmore Way, when Jess turns around to discover Dean, looking stricken. But not for long - Dean follows Jess and tries to pick a fight with him, which Jess wisely avoids because he knows Rory would hate it. I give Jess full credit here, but I also don't blame Dean, who's had to put up with Jess' taunting for months. "This is my town. I’m not hiding. And I don’t have be remotely calm around you anymore, and I like that feeling. I like it a lot. Happy Thanksgiving, Jess." 

I hate to say it, but I kind of love Stone Cold Dean. 

How many times do I have to drink?

12.

How many cups of coffee do the Gilmore girls drink?

4.

Flirtation quota:

Rory and Jess are still in that early-relationship cuteness, but I most love Luke and Lorelai here. He just really, really wants her at his Thanksgiving celebration, and she adores him for it.

Best/most dated pop culture reference:

The girls open the episode by watching the documentary Grey Gardens. I think their insights are pretty telling. 

Lorelai: "Something beautiful about them though. They’re cool, they’re free."

Rory: "Yeah, and they’re memorable. Most people are very forgettable. And they’re happy."

Lorelai: "They had their cats."

Rory: "And their raccoons."

Lorelai: "And their pretty house."

Rory: "And each other."

Lorelai: "Add a few years and they’re us."

Rory: "Yeah...yeah."

Lorelai: "Yeah."

Sookie's best dish of the episode:

Guys, we've been in a real Sookie Deliciousness draught. It's freaking THANKSGIVING and she doesn't cook anything. Is she depressed? Should we get her some help?

Lorelai's craziest outfit:

I super hate the shirt she wears to all the Thanksgivings. It's this brown, sheer, sparkly, embroidered, one-button thing, and the sleeves are tight until the elbows when they open up into breezy forearm wings. UGH.

Kirk insanity:

Aww, Kirk got a new cat. His name is Kirk. (Cat Kirk. As opposed to Human Kirk. So it doesn't get confusing.) Cat Kirk hates Human Kirk. Cat Kirk derives greater power from water. Cat Kirk likes Human Kirk to announce his presence before entering a room. Cat Kirk has covered 60% of Human Kirk's body in scratches. Cat Kirk drives Human Kirk to sleep in the safety of the gazebo. 

Michel madness:

He most gleefully witnesses Sookie's meltdown ("like butter on a skillet") as she has to leave the Independence Inn's kitchen in her assistant's hands for Thanksgiving. 

Best Gilmore Gal witticism:

Rory, going over the Thanksgiving grocery checklist with Lorelai: "Tums?" Lorelai: "You mean amateur pills?"

Random observation:

Oh, I've already made it. GET OVER IT, LORELAI. I mean, I know she will soon, but her behavior at Emily and Richard's is just appalling. Do you actually want to make your daughter feel guilty for applying to several Ivy League schools to cover her bases? She already felt like she had to keep it from you because she knew you'd flip your lid over it. And honestly, Emily said it best: do you really hate your parents that much? 

-- 

So there we have it! Three fantastic episodes this week, my friends. Next week we've got "That'll Do, Pig," "I Solemnly Swear" and "Lorelai Out of Water," so meet me back here next Wednesday morning!

And I leave you with a question, dear FYA readers: Dave Rygalski or Seth Cohen? DAVE RYGALSKI OR SETH COHEN??? And another: am I the only one who likes Dean better this week, now that he's not being such a wimp?

Meredith Borders's photo About the Author: Meredith is the managing editor of Badass Digest, Fantastic Fest, The Alamo Drafthouse and Birth.Movies.Death. She's shorter than you might think.
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