Episode: Application Anxiety ...
Original Airdate: October 08, 2002
While Lorelai and Rory watch reruns of the Brady Bunch Variety Hour, the moment of truth arrives, or rather, the mailman arrives and delivers Rory’s application to Harvard. Drum roll please! They stand in awe of the envelope with the impressive H logo and the fact that it’s heavy with importance. Rory is slightly bummed that she was watching something so lowbrow when it came. I mean, isn’t it disrespectful somehow to be absorbing bad TV when academic excellence comes a callin’? To remedy the sitch, Rory and her mother agree to lie and say Rory was reading Dead Souls (for those of us not familiar with Russian novels, it’s written by Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol) and looking at a large globe the day her application to Harvard arrived. That’s much more impressive.
While the girls go through the application, Lane busts in with a problem. She’s chez Gilmore because she’s constructing an ad to find a band (something her mother can NEVER know), but her self-description is way too long. It’s got to be cut -- she just can’t have two pages, single-spaced listing all her musical influences! Lane reluctantly agrees, leaving Rory and Lorelai to continue to go over the application question by question. Let’s see…what will Rory’s personal essay be about? Suddenly Lane busts in again realizing that at 2,000 words, this ad will cost a fortune. Rory suggests that she limit her influences to the most important ones. Sure, you can have David Bowie on there, but does Lane really have to list every one of his albums with her rating next to it? And what’s up with including Jackson Browne? Ah…well, Lane says this will separate the poseurs from the non-poseurs because non-poseurs will know that he wrote some of Nico’s (for those of you unfamiliar with Nico, she was an influential member of the even more influential Velvet Underground) best songs – and was her lover -- before he got all hippy drippy. Anyway, Lane retreats to cut but announces she can only do it while blasting the Ramones, so the girls must go outside in order to continue obsessing over the Harvard application.
Cut to Luke’s, where Rory and Dean chat and chew and down some java. Rory asks Dean to go out on Saturday and he’s shocked. Won’t she be working on her application all weekend? No, it’s not due for weeks and she already has her essay topic picked out. Which is? Hilary Clinton and her influence. Hmmm. Sounds a little dated and obvious to us. Anyway, Dean is pleasantly surprised to get to hang with his girl on a Saturday night (how sad is that) and then Rory jets to school. After she leaves, Luke looks outside and sees Taylor mysteriously taking pictures outside his diner. Hmmm. Something looks fishy.
At Chilton, Paris and Rory are hosting a seminar about getting into the right college. After Paris freaks out because she got vetoed for her idea of making the set look like Charlie Rose, the seminar begins. And Rory gets the wind knocked out of her when she hears two experts, a college admissions officer from Princeton and an Ivy League College consultant explain that originality is extremely important. For example, if these two people read another essay on Hilary Clinton and her influence, well…
Gulp. Rory is sitting there like a deer caught in the headlights. Her worst nightmare is coming true. She’s supposed to participate in the seminar but can’t. Everything they’re saying, i.e. don’t be too eager, don’t send in your application early, don’t check off that you’ve done every extra-curricular activity at school, seems to apply to her. Seems these people hate the eager beavers who have college posters on their wall. Uh-oh. That’s Rory Gilmore!
Later, Lorelai gets freaked out too when Emily starts to lecture her about how incredibly difficult it is to get into an Ivy League university. The competition is fierce. And what about famous people like Natalie Portman and Claire Danes? If they want to go to Harvard, they can get in no matter how qualified they are. She talks and talks and talks until Lorelai feels like her head will explode. Then Rory busts in and demands some solo time with her mom. While Emily waits in the living room, Lorelai and Rory have a double freak out over this whole thing. Rory says she has no original thoughts, while Lorelai bemoans how stupid celebrities who decide to go to college are ruining everyone’s chances! The girls try to calm down but it seems impossible. They need perspective. Or therapy. Or booze. Okay, whatever they do, they’ve got to hide it for the next few hours because Emily will make it worse.
In the morning, Lorelai suggests that Rory drop out of school. She’ll quit her job and they can both form a rock band with Lane. Brilliant! As for Lane, she’s getting all sorts of calls from her ad but can’t deal when these potential band mates don’t know that Kim Deal was in the Pixies before she was in the Breeders. Some people just have no sense of history! Rory heads off to school all mopey, while Lorelai just sits alone at the kitchen table like a deflated balloon.
At Luke’s, random people are coming in and ordering old-fashioned food items like egg creams. After the third one, Luke knows that Taylor must be behind it all. And he is. See, Taylor wants Luke to open an old-fashioned soda shop (right next to the diner!) so the teens have somewhere safe to hang out. Apparently, Taylor is convinced that Stars Hollow has a dark side and it’s just a matter of time before kids are running wild in the streets. He’s afraid the Z-boys will turn Stars Hollow into Dogtown. Luke is outraged. Taylor will open a soda shop over his dead body.
At home, Lorelai has come up with some kind of temporary solution for all this anxiety. She has the number of a Harvard alumnus (class of ’74) who they can meet with and asks lots and lots of questions. They set up a lunch date and hope for the best. Lorelai and Rory arrive at Darren Springsteen’s (no relation to Bruce) house and sit down to talk about Rory and all her interests. As the afternoon continues, it seems like Rory and Lorelai feel a bit out of place with these upper-crust and very proper Connecticut overachievers. Darren’s kids join them for lunch, and they are the picture of the perfect family. In fact, they are all a little too perfect (although there is a black sheep in the family – another daughter who is “following her own path,” whatever THAT means), and when Darren starts quizzing his kids during lunch (it’s a little tradition), it becomes increasingly clear that this was a very bad idea. Especially when Lorelai starts getting quizzed. It’s a little embarrassing and exhausting.
When Rory excuses herself to go to the bathroom, she hears some cool music, follows it and finds the black sheep of the Springsteen family – Carol – changing into a big bunny suit and on her way to a kid’s birthday party. Carol dropped out of school in the 11th grade and works. To her family, it’s blasphemy but it’s better than being brainwashed and pushed on the conveyor belt to college. Rory doesn’t really know what to make of this girl. Carol says she refuses to please her parents and the expense of her true path. That’s cool and all, but it’s totally different for Rory. Lorelai would be happy as long as Rory is happy. Which means Rory could really do anything she wants. And after talking to Carol for a few minutes, Rory realizes just how lucky she is.
After their lunch, Lorelai and Rory head over to the town meeting, during which Taylor discusses the idea of opening a soda shop. While he tries to convince the townspeople, Luke gets angrier and angrier. He and Taylor yell and yell and yell until it’s clear that the townspeople are keen on the idea. A burger at Luke’s and an ice cream at the soda shop? Sounds pretty good! So it’s a done deal. Poor Luke. On their way out, Lane meets up a dude named Dave who has a cool band looking for a drummer. They hit it off immediately. Sparks are definitely flying here. After listening to him talk, we wonder if he has the other half of Lane’s medallion.
Dean shows up to hang with Rory and they start talking about what will happen to them after Rory goes to Harvard. Will they break up? And if not, when will they see each other? Rory is optimistic – there are weekends after all. But Dean is skeptical. Rory then suggests he go to college in Boston too. But he’s headed for community college. And community colleges in Boston don’t have dorms. How will he afford an apartment? Oy. This conversation is getting crazy. It’s too serious of a conversation to have right now. So they drop it and head to Luke’s. But this conversation will rear its ugly head another time, you can be sure of that.
As for Lorelai, she has a disturbing conversation with Sookie and Jackson who want to know what she’s doing with Rory’s room once Rory goes to college. Jeez! Why does everyone want to have such unpleasant conversations? Rory hasn’t even applied to Harvard yet! At home the next day, Darren Springsteen leaves a message saying that he’ll do everything he can to make sure that Rory gets in to Harvard. Rory should be excited but she’s a little melancholy. So is Lorelai. The gravity of the situation is way too heavy. They don’t want to think about the idea of being separated. So they decide to spend the whole day hanging out. Their days are numbered, after all.
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