Review: Gilmore Girls – Season 1, Episode 6 “Rory’s Birthday Parties”

Happy birthday to Rory!

Happy birthday to Rory!

Happy 16th birthday (though weren’t you already 16 in the pilot episode?) dear Rory!

Guess we gotta milk your teenage years for as long as possible! 

Yay! Let’s all eat some cake and unwrap a hip iBook laptop!

I forgot these were a thing until I watched this episode.

We open on the weekly dinner where Judgy WASP Mom and Spacey Grandpa have decided it’s time for Rory and Lorelai to piss on things they would like to own after their deaths (aka label inanimate objects with sticky notes). The entirety of my inheritance after my grandmother died was a pepper shaker shaped like a tea kettle (my sister got the salt shaker) so I can totally relate to this plot point.

Then Judgy WASP Mom serves Very Significant Pudding, which Lorelai will interpret to mean more than just “the maids were busy so eat this shit I got from a plastic cup.” As thrilled with the pudding as Lorelai is, she wants her mom to let them out of the weekly trips to purgatory so they may celebrate Rory’s birthday the way all 16-year-old birthdays should be celebrated – with a drunken bacchanal. WASP Mom is all, no. So Rory gets two parties! This is probably because she’s turning 16 again since she’s been 16 since the pilot.

Judgy WASP Mom asks Lorelai to go shopping with her because she wants to pick out a hip, cool gift for Rory. This, combined with the Very Significant Pudding, convinces Lorelai that Judgy WASP Mom is “reaching out.” This would never happen because reaching out is gauche and the matriarch of a rich family is never wrong, just like how all those dudes who tanked the economy in 2008 weren’t wrong.

Lorelai and Judgy WASP Mom go to a department store and it goes about as well as one would expect a TV scene designing to illustrate the gap between “hip, cool daughter” and “out of touch mom” would go. Judgy WASP Mom wants to buy a pashmina or a Mont Blanc pen. Lorelai thinks a more enduring, useful gift for a 16-year-old is a pink vinyl purse shaped like guitar. Yeah, it’s fun, but that thing is going to end up in the Goodwill bag in about 8 months.

I hate to agree with Judgy WASP Mom here, but – a set of nice pearls would have been a great gift. Yes, it seems stodgy and boring. However – Rory attends a school for Rich Kids. This school probably has several bullshit formal events where one cannot just show up wearing the latest $12 special from Claire’s like some poor. She could also wear them during college to go on mock interviews. And she could wear them after college to attend a networking event clad in a classic black dress. Jesus, Lorelai, do I have to think of EVERYTHING???

Luckily (? I guess?) Judgy WASP Mom spends an entire $12 on a light-up bracelet. Good job, guys. Way to spend money on cheap shit Rory will never use after she turns 16 1/2 (again).

Of course, this great bonding moment can’t be a real – Judgy WASP Mom has invited Rory’s entire class to her birthday party. That means we get to spend more time with Future Rapist Tristan aka Spiky Hair. Fuck that guy right in his future frat boy face.

At the diner, where the only interesting plot line lives, Luke proposes to Lorelai as a “joke.” Fuck you, too, Luke. You’re a grown ass man, just tell her you like her. Rory is about to tell Lorelai that Judgy WASP Mom is a nightmare from the 4th circle of hell, but Lorelai is so happy because of the Very Significant Pudding and the Cheap Bracelet Shopping, that she keeps her mouth shut. Bad move, girl.

As an aside – the worst part of this birthday episode is that they keep playing just the beginning 30 seconds of this song over and over again.

At 4:03 a.m., Lorelai sneaks into Rory’s room to lay beside her and tell her, with surprising affection, about the moment of her birth. This is actually very sweet. I’m sure most everyone has experienced their mother telling them about their births, but I’ve never seen it done in an affectionate way like it was done here. Even in my own life, every birthday was an opportunity to hear about how extremely long, difficult, and hellishly painful my arrival into this world was. I assume this story of my hell birth has absolutely nothing to do with my personal terror of childbirth.

This picture has less blood and gore than actual childbirth (Image from deadspin.com)

In the morning, Rory discovers Luke has baked her a birthday coffee cake because he is the superior choice for her mother, not her weird Zach Braff teacher with no common sense.

At the party, Lorelai wears one of those dresses that are designed for women with normal boobs. I, she of the massive freak show boobs, can’t wear shit like this because a) the straps of the dress would break under the weight of my chest; b) you can’t wear a bra with something so skimpy; and c) the fabric above the seam is so small it wouldn’t cover my nipples. This was a big trend in the late 90s/early 2000s. I never got to participate because I was built wrong.

I'm so jealous.

I’m so jealous.

Rory is hating every second of the party because she doesn’t know or like anyone at the party. Then Judgy WASP Mom wants her to say some words to her guests and she loses her shit. Understandably. This upsets Judgy WASP Mom but she can fuck herself because even when Rory tries to apologize she pulls that thing moms do when they decide their hurt feelings are more important than your attempts to try to apologize. That “I did all this shit for you that you didn’t even want and you didn’t react exactly as expected so YOU are the terrible person here and now YOU need to crawl on your hands and knees begging for forgiveness – that I may or may not give to you because I HAVE BEEN WRONGED AND YOU MUST SUFFER FOR IT” thing. You know what I mean. Just me?

On the day of the party Rory goes to the college fair and discovers that Paris, the worst human, is also applying to Harvard. This would be upsetting if it weren’t so obvious that poor Paris doesn’t have anyone in her life that gives two shits about her. What’s worse – Judgy WASP Grandma who will fuck you up mentally and force you into therapy in your 30s, or not having anyone in your life who gives more than half a fuck about you?

At the party catered by Sookie, Rory opens an iBook and I remember that these were SO COOL for about a year. Then they just disappeared. This is all pre-iPhone and pre-Apple being fucking unstoppable with their gadgets. Sookie presents a cake decorated with Rory’s face, and the actor who plays Lane keeps the actor who plays Rory from catching on fire when she pulls the poorly thought out boa away from the candles. I love this because it just adds to the small fuck ups you can find when watching the early seasons of TV shows. Another possible fuck up in this episode? The two Starbucks cups sitting in the hallway during the Lorelai/WASP Mom fight. None of the guests at that party would have brought Starbucks. That’s a production error.

And then Judgy WASP Mom and Spacey Grandma show up. It’s the first time they’ve ever been to Lorelai’s house. Judgy WASP Mom feels left out so she wanders upstairs without asking, which is rude as fuck, but apparently it’s ok because she’s doing it? Whatever. She learns that Lorelai broke her leg while doing yoga and never mentioned it to her parents. It depresses WASP Mom but no sympathy!! HHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. FEEL THE HURT, JUDGY WASP MOM! FEEL IT!!!!! (But not Spacey Grandpa – he’s the best and his relationship with Rory is so goddamned sweet it gives me cavities.)

At the end of the night Lorelai witnesses Floppy Hair giving Rory a coin with a string through it as a birthday present. She can’t believe Rory wouldn’t tell her that she has an interest in a boy(‘s dick)! Guess Judgy WASP Mom isn’t the only one who doesn’t know her daughter!

Happy (2nd) 16th Birthday, Rory!

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