Review: Gilmore Girls – Season 3, Episode 17 “A Tale of Poes and Fire”

I just started watching Difficult People on Hulu. Julie Klausner’s character says; “I’m so funny when I write mean things about TV shows. How come no one’s hired me to write for one?”

Too. Fucking. Real.

Yes, why WON’T someone hire me to write for their TV shows when I’m calling characters assholes/fuckers on the regular? SUCH A MYSTERY!!! I JUST DON’T GET IT YOU GUYS.

Rory has been accepted to Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. She and Lorelai have taken over a table at Luke’s to make “pro/con” lists for each school. Strange behavior for a girl who has wanted to go to Harvard since she could say the word. Could this mean that – GASP – Rory may not be going to Harvard after all??????

Kirk wanders in with a box of shirts featuring “topical headlines” based on the happenings of Stars Hollow. The shirt says “Babette Ate Oatmeal.” STORY TIME!!

So – I was sitting in LAX a few months ago waiting to board a flight. Sitting across from me was a mother and her two young daughters. The eldest daughter was about 13 and she was wearing a black t-shirt emblazoned with the words “babette ate oatmeal.” I had heard about these shirts being in the show but I didn’t realize they were real. It took everything I had not to lean across the aisle and be like, “IS THAT A GILMORE GIRLS T-SHIRT? WHERE DID YOU GET IT? WHY YES I AM A CHILDLESS WOMAN IN MY MID THIRTIES STRIKING UP A CONVERSATION WITH AN UNRELATED MINOR, WHY DO YOU ASK????”

Luke enters the scene and Lorelai tells him that “our” Rory was accepted to all three Super Schools. Luke hugs her and it’s kind of adorable because he’s so awkward. Then he tells Lorelai that he received a letter from Wal-Mart about Broody getting employee of the month. Wal-Mart doesn’t write letters. They wouldn’t waste the postage to send them. Also – getting a letter in the mail because someone you know has been chosen employee of the month is not a thing. It’s never been a thing. It’s a device to get Luke involved in Broody’s Wal-Mart storyline and it’s not a particularly good one. (WHY won’t people hire me to write TV again? Not because I’m a jerk. That can’t be it.)

Lorelai goes to the Inn where this is happening:

Literally me every single day of my life. CATS 5EVA!!

Literally me every single day of my life. CATS 5EVA!!

The Edgar Allen Poe society is in town for an annual conference and Lorelai references several Poe stories which garners her no love from the attendees. Bullshit! These people are deeply entrenched in Poe fandom! They would lose their SHIT if someone made an unexpected inside Poe reference. Fandom isn’t just for comic book nerds and people who love Star Wars. ANYTHING can have a fandom. When I was in college, I sat next to a girl who was really really really into puppets. She made puppets, she knew the history of puppets, she traveled the country putting on Christian-themed puppet shows for kids. She loved it so much she wanted to turn it into her career. Puppets were her fandom. I have no idea what she’s doing today, but I really hope she’s still involved with puppets. They seemed to make her so happy.

Probably not the kind of puppet that girl would approve of.  

At Wal-Mart, Luke interrupts the “We Don’t Pay Our Employees a Living Wage – Here Are All The Public Services (Like Food Stamps and Section 8 Housing) That We Actively Encourage You to Apply For. It Offsets Our Operating Costs and Allows Us to Make More Money!!!” meeting. The Wal-Mart guy presents Broody with an award and he’s his normal charming self. Luke rags on him for winning, but you can tell he’s proud. He should be. It’s good to see Broody doing something other than making people want to punch him in the face. Broody storms off, giving the manager a chance to tell Luke that Broody is dedicated and he always takes open shifts and he usually works well beyond his typical 40 hours. Broody shouldn’t be working 40 hours because Wal-Mart hates to give people that many hours because then they’d be required to give them benefits because he’s working in the diner and going to school.

In town, the Edgar Allen Poe Society is putting on about 78 versions of “The Raven.” They should have just played this:

Floppy and Britney Spears circa 1999 are there, and so is Luke and Pretty Lawyer. Both women are glaring at the Gilmores, because WOMEN CAN’T BE FRIENDS AND MUST FIGHT OVER ALL THE MEN LIKE THEY’RE A FUCKING FINITE RESOURCE. It’s like we’re all Imperator Furiosa struggling to find the Green Place but the Green Place is a dude.

After the million Poes scream “nevermore” at the top of their lungs for 17 hours (whoever blows their vocal chords first wins!!), the show is over. Luke talks to Lorelai about Broody’s mysterious 40+ hour work weeks and Lorelai does not point out that Luke has a George Clooney haircut. That was a thing back then – all men had Clooney cuts. Roving bands of women swarmed the streets looking for men without The Clooney. If they found a man without this cut, they’d hold him down and style it themselves. Those were dark times.

At 4 a.m. Lorelai gets a call from some guy named Tobin or Tub Man or Torrid. He tells her the Inn is on fire.

When Lorelai arrives at the Inn, everyone is already outside and safe. The fire department won’t let them back in for at least 24 hours, so they have to scramble and try to find a place to put all these people. Side note – that’s a lot of people for a tiny little inn in Nowhere, CT.

Lorelai tells Sookie to make everyone breakfast, which of course means fucking Luke over by taking over his diner without asking. There’s no way the guests at the Inn will be paying for this breakfast and with his kitchen tied up, he won’t be able to make food for actual paying customers. Nice.

Rory is entertaining the kids with a puppet show, and I swear to all that is holy that I didn’t know that before I shared my puppet anecdote above. Maybe I’m a TV psychic?

I do have a knack for predicting story but that’s not exactly rare. The entertainment industry teaches us how to consume their product. There are screenwriting books that teach you how to write based on timing – all great screenplays follow a specific structure and if you have X type of event happen on Y page, chances are higher that people will respond favorably to your story. Even without studying screenwriting or story in general, If you spend a lifetime watching television and movies you can get to the point where you can see the rest of the story coming. Usually it’s not something as specific as puppets, but there have been times where I can watch a TV show and literally predict dialogue down to the word (Rescue Me and Sons of Anarchy are two shows I was particularly good at doing that with.) That’s why something like Mad Men is so great – who the fuck knew where that was going? I couldn’t guess what was going to happen – I thought Ginsberg was going to go nuts but instead of cutting off his nipple, I thought he was going to go over to Don’s apartment and kill Megan. I’m glad I was wrong about that (though Megan was a useless character).

Miss Patty, Babette, and Michele are running the emergency headquarters of the Inn. Since everything is booked (how many Inns does this region need?) townsfolk will need to take in guests. For some reason this is ok with everyone except Michele. I’m with Michele – I don’t want strangers wandering around my house. Plus, I’d have to clean before they came over and that would just stress me out. I clean normally but “company” is a special level of clean that can only be achieved by scrubbing with toothbrushes and various sponges.

Rory goes to school and asks Madeline and Louise if they’ve seen Paris. They haven’t. She’s been absent for 5 days.

She finds Paris lying in bed watching TV. Paris is too depressed to go to school. I was listening to The Gilmore Guys podcast for last episode, and they were talking about how hard it is to believe that Paris didn’t get in to Harvard. I agree. She’s a legacy with impeccable grades and extra curriculars. Yes, her interview is slightly unhinged here, but it’s not like unhinged people haven’t gone to Harvard. Remember Ted Kacynski? He went to Harvard. Bill O’Reilly went to Harvard. Conan O’Brien went to Harvard and he spends his days doing this:


(Full disclosure – I adore Conan. I really do.)

With this interview, we have a legitimate reason of why Paris didn’t get in – and it wasn’t “because she took a dick.” Thank god.

Lorelai has some kid staying at her place and he has great taste in reading material:

Screen shot 2015-08-05 at 11.05.37 PM

That is this:

LOL. Nightwing had a mullet.

As the girls are making up Rory’s bed for the displaced inn guests, Lorelai sees that Rory’s Yale “pro” list is much longer than any other list. Rory says “everyone thinks its supposed to be Harvard!!” and Lorelai says, “I don’t.” Uh…since when? She freaked out when she found out that Rory had even applied to Yale. All of a sudden she’s pro Yale?

Rory goes to Lane’s and two homeless guests show up on Lorelai’s porch. Now Lorelai is out a bed…and then she leaves all those strangers alone in her house? That’s uncomfortable. But not as uncomfortable as Rory deciding Lorelai can spend the night at Luke’s!!! NO BOUNDARIES. These people have NO BOUNDARIES!

Broody shows up at Lane’s window, interrupting the conversation about how that guy from the wedding is in love with Lane and totally cockblockng Argyle Dave. Rory asks if Broody is going to school and he’s all, “Yeeeeeaaaaaahhh. DUH.” Uh huh. I believe you, Broody. (No I don’t.)

Over at Luke’s, Luke is clad in a thin shirt and a pair of sweatpants and it’s pretty sexy. I’m surprised Lorelai wasn’t all like “SHOULDERS.” I would have been. Pretty Hair calls Luke and he neglects to tell her that Lorelai is spending the night because Pretty Hair is jealous of Lorelai. Gee, could it be because Luke is 100% in love with Lorelai? Nah!

As Lorelai lays down, she has deja vu over the alarm clock. I had a friend once tell me that deja vu is the universe’s way of telling you that you’re in the right place. I always liked that.

Lorelai tells Luke about her dream from the season 3 opener, which he seems totally into. Aww. I’m glad that fake out came back.

The fire chief calls and tells Lorelai that she can go back into the Inn. Lorelai is excited – until she walks in. It’s ruined. The fire caused so much damage that there’s no way they can accommodate customers until repairs are made. I would just like to take a moment to highlight the looks on both Lauren Graham and Melissa McCarthy’s faces – they both fucking nailed this scene.

Screen shot 2015-08-05 at 11.40.10 PM

At home, Rory finds that Lorelai has changed all her Harvard memorabilia to Yale memorabilia. Where did she find all that stuff at 3 a.m.? Also –

Screen shot 2015-08-05 at 11.42.31 PM


2 thoughts on “Review: Gilmore Girls – Season 3, Episode 17 “A Tale of Poes and Fire”

  1. Jen, your whole riff on screenwriting and predictability here is spot on. That’s why it’s so much fun to find a show where you CAN’T figure out what’s going to happen next. Have you seen the two seasons of “Fargo” on FX?

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