Gilmore Girls 1.09 "Rory’s Dance"

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Gilmore Girls 1.09 “Rory’s Dance”
Original Air Date: December 20, 2000 (Recap date: November 19, 2007)
Photos & Discussion

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Image: TheWB.com

Gilmore Girls Episode Recap:

The Chilton Winter Formal is coming up. Rory doesn’t want to go. Lorelai wants to make sure Rory doesn’t want to go for the wrong reasons – that she is simply not just afraid. Rory says she has no dress. Lorelai is being supportive of Rory coming out of her shell.

Rory tells Lane she is afraid Dean will say no. Rory goes to ask Dean – she’s nervous and makes sure to tell him she’s not too eager to go. Dean says he’s never been to a dance before – he’s not a ‘joiner’. She looks disappointed – he sees that. He agrees – though is not super excited about the attire.

Lorelai is making Rory’s dress. It made a ‘pass’ at her and toppled Lorelai over. Sookie offers something from her bag-o’-pain-killers. Emily calls, fearing Rory is not going to the dance. Emily begs for pictures, so she is not so left out… *hint*. Lorelai invites her over to see Rory get ready.

Tristan buys his dance tickets – Paris tries to flirt with him (he realizes this and his ego is obvious). He goes to flirt with Rory in the line. He makes fun of her for buying a ticket – the guys are supposed to do that. Rory tells him she has a guy – but Tristan does not believe her, and tries to ask her to go.

“You’d have to be stupid to think that, given our history, I would ever, barring a piano or a safe falling on my head, wanna go anywhere with you, ever.”

Ouch. But, his ego will not let him admit she is telling the truth.

Paris calls Rory an idiot for being mean to Tristan. Paris says there is no way Rory could bring anyone better than Tristan, and will probably come down ‘sick’ the night of the dance. Rory says she does not need her change:

“Money makes people shallow.”

Rory comes out in her beautiful dress. Lorelai’s back is still out from her tango with the dress. Emily arrives and Rory comes out with bib and taco in hand. Sookie lets leak about Lorelai’s back spasm – Emily becomes concerned. Emily thinks Lorelai bought the dress. Emily insists that Dean come to the door for her – but Rory told him to honk and she’d go out. So, she insists they wait for him to figure it out.  After Rory goes, Emily goads Lorelai into moving, convinced she’s not fit to be alone. Lorelai loses that battle.

Rory seems quite nervous about the dance. She tosses between wanting to go and chickening out. Dean is good either way. After paying Rory a compliment, she’s satisfied to go.

Emily is seeking out the crystal candlesticks she bought Lorelai last Christmas – but Lorelai exchanged them for a monkey lamp.

“You traded my lovely gift for a semi-pornographic leering monkey lamp? How could you?”

Lorelai avoids direct questions with a cute pout and ‘my back hurts’.

Rory and Dean arrive at the dance. Louisa and Madeline come to ogle (flirt) Dean – whom Rory can’t quite yet call her boyfriend. He notices and doesn’t like it – for him or Rory. He goes to cuddle her. They hit the dance floor for a slow number, and Dean gives her a kiss. Tristan is looking on, all sad.

Emily is truly enjoying the ‘mom’ role to Lorelai. Wants to be as helpful and needed as she can.

Paris apparently came with her cousin to the dance. Said cousin is trying to hit on Rory. With that information, Rory is thrilled. Paris had a pity date!
Emily and Lorelai are bonding over movies and thoughts of Rory.

“You did a lovely job. With Rory and the dress.”

Lorelai is so pleased she tries the horrid banana on toast Emily brought her. Gross. So, Emily tries it. Disgust. And she made that for Lorelai each time she was sick! Poor Lorelai!

Dean suggests they go for coffee with what time left they have of the night – enough of the dance. While he gets the coats, Paris storms on Rory. She is afraid Rory told everyone about her cousin. But, in her anger, is so loud that she ends up telling them!

Tristan confronts Dean, who thankfully already knows that Tristan is an ass. So, when Tristan calls Rory a princess in need of a big strong protector, saying he ‘doesn’t like’ Rory, it’s really obvious that he does. He’s just asking for a fight. He starts insulting Dean – saying he drives a buggy and must get home for a barn raising.

Tristan blocks Rory’s path (perhaps to say how much better he is) and Dean shoves him. Tristan attacks him. Dean says Tristan does not want to fight him. Dean is, after all, quite a bit bigger. And then Dean tells Tristan not to come near Rory again.

Emily tucks Lorelai in and she says ‘thank you mommy’.

Dean and Rory are walking around the snowy Stars Hollow with coffee. Rory apologizes to Dean. But Dean insists Tristan has a thing for Rory. Rory then says she’s not sure about how she feels having her boyfriend defend her honor – boyfriend! Dean catches the phrase and Rory babbles trying to hide her confusion. But Rory then asks if he is her boyfriend. And she says she wants him to be.

They are walking by Miss Patty’s and notice that the door is ajar. They go in to look around at all the memorabilia. Rory drops her purse and Dean comments on its heft – she has everything from lipstick to a book in there! They sit down to read it together.

Unfortunately, they fall asleep! Miss Patty wakes them up when she comes in.
Rory takes off at a run, not even putting on her shoes. She tells Dean not to come with her.

At the same time, Emily has woken up to find Rory not at home. She and Lorelai go into a panic. Miss Patty calls just then. Emily wants to know in ‘what state’ they were found sleeping. Emily assumes that they slept together – perhaps not unfounded after Lorelai became pregnant at the same age. Emily calls Lorelai stupid for letting Rory ruin her life.

“She’s doing the same thing you did. She’s going to get pregnant.”

Lorelai refuses to hear that Rory is going to ruin her life. She says Rory is not her. Emily asks what kind of mother Lorelai is to allow this to happen... Lorelai counters by asking what kind of mother Emily was. Emily says Lorelai will lose Rory the same way she lost Lorelai.

“Even if I hadn’t gotten pregnant, you still would have lost me. I had nothing in that house. I had no life. I had no air. You strangled me.”

Emily is fed up hearing that she was controlling – she gave Lorelai only the best opportunities.

“If I was so controlling, how come I couldn’t control you getting pregnant and throwing your life away.”

“Get out. You will not come into my house and tell me I threw my life away. Look around mom, this is a life!”

Lorelai is just saying if she had not gotten pregnant, she would not have Rory, when Rory comes in. Rory stops to listen while Lorelai says how trustworthy Rory is and tells Emily to leave if she thinks otherwise.

So, Emily leaves and Rory comes to the kitchen. She’s starts to say thank you to Lorelai but Lorelai immediately starts yelling. Lorelai was terrified. And insists Rory go on the pill. While Lorelai may tell Emily she trusts Rory, she’s telling Rory quite another thing. And Rory is upset about that. And accuses Lorelai of being irrational. Rory says Lorelai is mad because Emily was there and saw Rory’s mistake and it made things worse. But that Lorelai knows it’s a mistake. She goes to her room and slams the door.

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Discussion Questions:

  • Why does Tristan treat Rory the way he does, if he likes her?
  • Why is Emily so quick to judge Lorelai’s parenting skills?
  • Was Dean chivalrous or a brute in his fight with Tristan?
  • Why is Lorelai mad at Rory? Is it because she fears her own mistakes repeating? That Emily accused her of being a mad mom? Or something else?

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14 thoughts on “Gilmore Girls 1.09 "Rory’s Dance"

  • November 19, 2007 at 2:26 pm
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    i dont understand the saran wrap joke????

    Reply
  • November 19, 2007 at 2:37 pm
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    One of my favourite episodes. Lots of funny stuff and plenty of emotion. I love the part where Emily is telling off Lorelai for trading in the crystal candle sticks for a monkey lamp and she just says “My back hurts” and gives her the lip…. which is what I always used to do.. so I laugh hard at that.

    I think Tristan treats Rory the way he does because he’s young and clueless. To him, getting girls has always been just a game, and early on trying to get Rory was just another attempted Conquest.

    Emily is the judgemental express as Lorelai put it. Ofcourse she’s going to judge Lorelai’s parenting skills, especially after the whole running away thing.

    I think dean is more chivalrous than brute… considering tristan is the one who got in his way and tristan pushed more than dean did anyway.

    And Lorelai is mad at Rory for a mixture of all those reasons I suppose. The fact Emily was there didnt help, she would have been scared that something happened to her, afraid she’d make the same mistakes and she was understandably paniced.

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  • November 19, 2007 at 2:40 pm
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    what is the song playing when rory and dean first slow dance??

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  • November 19, 2007 at 3:05 pm
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    Jennifer – there is a scene in the movie ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ where Kathy Bates goes to the door wearing saran wrap to entice her husband.

    Reply
  • November 19, 2007 at 3:11 pm
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    as with tucker, this is also one of my favorite episodes. I agree with what tucker said but also I like the fact that Emily and Lor have one of rare times when the caring the two have for each other comes through. The irony is that through the series they both would have liked to have a good relationship but each thinks the other doesn’t want it. They just can’t communicate it. Another favorite is the 1940’s style USO show. When both Richard and Emily find that the huntsburgers treated Rory poorly at their home and also with Mitchum at the paper. They both show their intense love for their family and particularly Rory. I especially like Emily taking Mitchum’s wife (Shera ?) apart verbally cutting her to pieces!!

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  • November 19, 2007 at 6:36 pm
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    I’m so loving it everytime that Tristan is hitting on Rory. They could really make a way a lot cuter than Rory being w/ that homley Dean. JUst too bad that the script on Rory’s love life went “twisted”!

    Reply
  • November 19, 2007 at 7:05 pm
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    Lauren did good emotion with her face epression with seriously and very mad this episode.
    Number 1.Um..Tristen think if Rory like him or flirt.
    Number 2.Cuz Emily is a judgemental about dont think so if Lorelai is good mother to Rory and cuz Lorelai is so young for parenting skills.
    Number 3.I think Dean is really chivalrous than brute,cuz Tristen was push Dean and he is brute.
    Number 4.Cuz Lorelai just afraid maybe if Rory will get pregnant with Dean,but Lorelai dont want if Rory make same mistakes with her for reasons

    Reply
  • November 20, 2007 at 7:40 am
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    Two poignant moments for Emily & Lorelei when she was on the couch and told her she made Rory’s dress and Emily said she had done a good job on both raising Rory & the dress AND when she covered Lorelei and brushed the hair from her cheek and Lorelei said “thank you mommy”. The expression on Emily’s face at that moment was joyous and priceless.

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  • November 20, 2007 at 1:06 pm
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    Emily and Lorelai are great in this episode.
    In her heart, I really don’t think Lorelai thinks Rory will get pregnant, but the shear terror of waking up finding Rory not there, which has never happened. And, she is disoriented from having her back hurting, pain will make you more emotional… Most of all, Emily being there judging and criticizing her and Rory.
    I often wonder, if Rory and Dean would have been home at midnight, would Emily and Lorelai had such a bad relationship. Because, they were making such great progress in the other scenes. Emily trying to care Lorelai, and Lorelai accepting her Mom’s concern, and the most fundamental act of kindness, covering her daughter up with a blanket, and taking her finger to remove hair from her face. Then, Lorelai half asleep but still noticing, saying, “Thank you, Mommy”. And, Emily giving the ultimate compliment about how well she did making the dress and Rory. With those breakthroughs, it is too sad, it ended the way it did. This whole episode, is filled with great stuff.

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  • September 3, 2017 at 1:14 am
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    OK, this has a lot of interesting things in it. Three that particularly stood out on a rewatch – Lane’s friendship, Lorelai/Emily and the fight between Dean and Tristan.

    Lane’s friendship – this episode is a lovely reminder of how generous a friend Lane is. She’s fully supportive of Rory and helps her work up the courage to ask Dean to the dance.

    Lorelai/Emily – I watched that scene again where Emily mothers Lorelai and tells her she’s made a beautiful dress and she’s similarly a successful mother to Rory. It is so sweet and I loved Emily in it. Then, of course, it all goes wrong when Rory and Dean stay out. This left me wondering whether Lorelai and Emily would have made their relationship work had Lorelai not become pregnant. This scene suggest that Rory is the biggest barrier between them as Emily sees Lorelai as a better mother than she was and that is painful to accept.

    Finally, that fight. There’s been a lot of analysis of it, but I’m back here again having now seen the fights in the later seasons. In the main – I think Tristan is the brute. He pops up, is extremely unpleasant, does his best to pick a row with Dean and tries to physically block Dean. It is in response to this that Dean pushes him – the first physical contact between them. However, I picked up something else on a rewatch – Dean is perfectly clear that he would win a physical fight. He tells Tristan so and, making comparisons between them, I agree it is a given. That’s one aspect that applies here (and in That Fight in season three) that I don’t think anyone has said much about. When Dean gets into a physical fight he does so believing he will win. I don’t think that’s the case of any of the people he gets into fights with (Jess comments on Dean’s size in several episodes in seasons 2 and 3). Given that Dean does physically dominate, I think him pushing Tristan, whilst provoked, is a move for dominance and ending the dispute rather than a form of self-defence. In other words, I believe Dean deliberately moves the exchange to a physical fight where he knows he has the advantage. That said, he may also think that this is the inevitable ending given that he’s not about to walk away and leave Rory.

    On to the actual questions:

    – Why does Tristan treat Rory the way he does, if he likes her?

    The short answer is because romantically he’s an immature idiot. From this episode it’s clear that he doesn’t have to work to get interest in general. Paris is keen and then there’s the girl he actually brought to the dance. I think it isn’t until their conversation in the ticket line that he considers the situation from Rory’s viewpoint at all. Up until then – Tristan wants her, so Tristan assumes he will get her.

    – Why is Emily so quick to judge Lorelai’s parenting skills?

    Because it’s the big thing between them (as I say above). Was Lorelai right to say Emily was a bad parent to her, suffocating her? It’s a statement that has more merit if Lorelai herself shows she knows how to successfully parent. For Emily – who I felt sorry for in parts of this episode – it must be a constant point of self-doubt.

    – Was Dean chivalrous or a brute in his fight with Tristan?

    I’m going with neither. Tristan was mainly the bad guy, but I don’t think Dean was defending Rory, I feel that he was asserting himself. Plus, as I say above, he never felt physically threatened by Tristan.

    – Why is Lorelai mad at Rory? Is it because she fears her own mistakes repeating? That Emily accused her of being a mad mom? Or something else?

    I think it’s mainly the aftermath of her panic and relief. She’s just woken up, probably still in some pain from her back, and discovered Rory is gone. She’s had Emily going ballistic, attacking her and her parenting and, a key point for a coffee-addict – all before a cup of coffee (as a fellow coffee addict, would find this hard!). I don’t think she believed anything happened between Rory and Dean but this is a release of her panic and the awful ending between herself and her mother, particularly given how much of a reversal it was from their previous exchange.

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