|Slightly sneeky Rory is surprisingly adorable.|
Season 1, Episode 12
Original airing: January 18, 2001
My Rating: 54
I think we all expected Sookie and Jackson’s first date to be a trial. The episode did a great job of making them both adorably awkward and nervous. And who hasn’t proposed a double date to try and prevent awkwardness and then have that double date make things so much worse? It was a pretty relatable storyline.
I really liked the pressure Sookie put on herself to make this date awesome. Asking Jackson out to a really fancy place and wearing her hair up in a very complicated (and likely uncomfortable) manner made her even more nervous. But she did what she thought she should do. And it was so nice to see them finally click after settling in at Luke’s and telling Rune to scram. The payoff was well worth the pain.
To make the scene even better, we get some great Lorelai and Luke interaction. Though I still have to wonder if Luke knows about Max, knows about the break up, or just figures Lorelai is fair game as long as there isn’t a ring on her finger. His eyeful of Lorelai and Max kissing in the snow (S1E8 Love & War & Snow) hasn’t cooled his amour at all.
Lane’s double date was possibly worse than Lorelai’s. Todd is pretty much sub-human in his presentation, as Lane describes him at the end of the episode. He has zero opinions about basically anything and I feel bad for Lane that she got in trouble over trying to spend time with such a waste of space. But her outlook is great at the end. At least now she can move on with her affections. I think Lane’s attitude is really good and underlies the moral lesson of being respectful of your parents. She lied to her mom and ended up on a terrible date AND got grounded. For shame.
Speaking of lying, there was a great B plot there with Lorelai and Rory. Rory’s been struggling with her honesty and openness for the entirety of her relationship with Dean. I think it was a very teenager thing to say “I’ll not tell you so you don’t have to lie to Lane’s mom. I’m a good daughter/friend!” Of course, it wasn’t the right answer, but it worked here.
I think Lane and Rory both really did understand they were making poor decisions, but they are teenagers. That’s basically their job. And I liked that they both owned their choices and took responsibility for them. It’s really a great example for young viewers.
This episode did a pretty amazing thing – it made me appreciate Dean as a boyfriend for Rory. He’s not into the matchmaking, but he does it to make Rory happy. During the date, he tries to get Rory to leave Lane and Todd alone so they can get to know each other. And after the date, he doesn’t rub the whole blow-up in Rory’s face. That’s pretty admirable, honestly.
But the best argument for Dean being decent is what the show put him up against. Todd and Rune are by far the most unlikable and irritating characters we’ve seen – including Tristan. Todd is a completely bland human being. I felt so bad for Lane when she was attempting to engage him in conversation. She hit the big three (books, movies, and music) and he had almost nothing to contribute. I don’t think they could have written a more boring teenage boy.
Rune was obviously the writers’ desire to drive the audience up a wall. From his first moment of introduction with that horrified, sneering look on his face to his attempt to get Jackson to blow off Sookie at the end of the date, Rune was a nightmare. It’s practically unbelievable that someone would think Lauren Graham is anything other than spectacularly gorgeous. I could get him being annoyed with her height, but comparing her to a bearded lady? That’s ridiculous.
The problem with Todd and Rune is they are completely unbelievable. Neither has a single redeeming characteristic that we get to see in the episode. They are so unbelievable that it’s impossible to take the storyline seriously. Could we not get people who just don’t click with Lorelai and Lane? Do they have to be moronic jerks? It went beyond entertaining and became irritating very quickly.
I thought it was adorable when Rory kept turning her head around to try and oh-so-subtly spy on Lane and Todd. The shot of Dean turning her face forward again was great.
The Bottom Line:
It was great fun seeing Jackson and Sookie dance around each other, but the episode was completely spoiled by Todd and Rune. The characters were so unlikable and unrealistic that I just couldn't get in to the story. A little annoyance can go a long way.