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'Gilmore Girls' recap: Rory gets hit by a deer

Season 1 | Episode 4 | “The Deer Hunters” | Aired Oct 26, 2000

Things are not going well for Rory on the fourth episode of Gilmore Girls, as she starts to fall behind at Chilton. She and Lorelai are excitedly buying highlighters and purple legal pads when the episode opens, but in the next scene, we see her at school receiving a D on her English paper. Hot new teacher Max Medina (Scott Cohen, aka Luke Wilson’s down-to-earth doppelganger) is encouraging, but at the end of the day, a D is basically a “job application at McDonald’s”—or at least that’s what mean girl Paris tells Rory as she saunters out of the classroom.

It’s all grump and groan back in Stars Hollow, despite Lorelai’s best efforts, as Rory obsesses over her bad grade (without ever telling her mother what’s wrong) and Sookie pouts about a not-quite-perfect review. The restaurant critic, who wrote a complete rave about Sookie’s cooking, called her famous risotto “perfectly fine,” and it threw her into a funk. Rory is completely weighted down by bags and books, and we rarely see her look up from her giant textbook for the rest of the episode. She’s studying for the upcoming “no make-ups” Shakespeare exam that will be 20 percent of her final grade, and because she’s putting so much effort into it, we know something’s gotta go wrong.

gif via rebloggy

gif via rebloggy

Drella, the inn’s harpist, is in this episode, scuffing up Michel’s $300 Italian loafers and playing Black Sabbath just to irk Lorelai. She’s one of the show’s most annoying characters, and looking back it’s hard to believe that she was in so many of the season 1 episodes. Even stranger—the actress who plays Drella (Alex Borstein) was Sookie St. James (Melissa McCarthy’s role) in the original Gilmore Girls pilot. Those scenes are bizarre without McCarthy, and we can all be glad it didn’t work out, because it allowed Borstein to come back to the show a few years later in the fabulous role of Miss Celine.

After Lorelai and Rory leave the inn for the day, they return home so that Rory can study some more and her mom can pester her, narrating the news and asking to go out for ice cream. “Lorelai, go to your room!” Rory finally shouts, before packing up and heading into her room for more serious Shakespeare studying. Rory also studies at Lane’s house, at Luke’s diner and on a bench outside of Chilton. She probably even studies in the shower and on the bus.

Rory still hasn’t told her mom about the D, but Lorelai’s bound to find out soon enough, as she heads off to a parent-teacher meeting at Chilton. The parents are super-intense, quizzing teacher Max about the AP exam and asking a million questions. Lorelai shows up late wearing a B-52s T-shirt, clumsily stumbling into the classroom globe and rambling in response to Max’s friendly flirting. After asking if she’s allowed to watch Rory take the upcoming AP test, one of the other parents mutters, “Must be a scholarship student,” and Max calls a recess to avoid a fight. Instead he and Lorelai flirt some more, and she finds out about the D grade Rory got on her paper. She rushes off to comfort Rory, who is (of course) studying at the diner.

We see a new level to Sookie’s wackiness in “The Deer Hunters,” as she force-feeds Lorelai three different types of risotto and attacks the inn’s waiter to find out why the critic didn’t like her risotto. The dish, legend tells it, is magical. When Sookie’s mom was on her death bed, she ate some of the risotto and went on to live for three more years. Finally Sookie discovers that the food critic ordered the wrong wine for his meal, so she creepily finds out his address and hand-delivers a fresh plate of risotto for him to try with the correct wine. She’s completely bizarre, but she’s so goofy and bubbly that her crazy quirks become endearing. And “odd but endearing” is pretty much what Gilmore Girls is all about.

Now that Lorelai knows why Rory’s been studying so hard, she’s fully focused on helping her daughter study. The Gilmore ladies stay up all night the day before the test, reviewing Rory’s notes, going over quizzes and learning more about Shakespeare than most college English majors ever will. Rory reaches a point where she’s getting every answer correct, and they finally fall asleep at the kitchen table.

The next morning, Rory wakes up abruptly, and starts screaming because she’s late. She missed her bus and Lorelai can’t take her, so Rory grabs the car keys and runs out the door. On the way, she stops at a stop sign and calls Lane to check on a set of notes (because apparently double-checking one answer is more important than making it to the test at all), and a deer runs out of the woods and straight into her car. “I just got hit by a deer!” she screams at Lane, to which her best friend responds, “How do you get hit by a deer?”

Running through the halls of Chilton, Rory throws on the last pieces of her uniform, and we get a glimpse of the clock: 8:15. Uh oh. She gets to class and Mr. Medina tells her she’ll have to wait in the library; she missed the test. Normally calm Rory flips out, losing her quiet and collected composure and screaming about the deer that hit her and everything she did to learn the material and get to class.

Paris mutters “loser” under her breath, and it’s the final straw. Rory goes off on an epic rant, screaming at Paris and asking, “What the hell is wrong with you that you have this constant need to be the biggest jerk in the entire world?” As Mr. Medina pulls her out of class, she also screams at Tristan (who’s been calling her “Mary” since day one at Chilton), “For the last time, the name is RORY.”

Lorelai rushes to the school after being called to the headmaster’s office, and she can’t believe that Rory wasn’t allowed to take the test. She goes off on her own fit, yelling at Max and calling Headmaster Charleston “Il Duce.” She’s asked to leave, and she and Rory head home together. On their way back to Stars Hollow, Rory yells for Lorelai to stop the car, and they hop out for a scenic walk to look for the deer and have a heart-to-heart chat. Lorelai tells Rory it’s OK to drop out of Chilton if she wants to, but Rory assures her that this is the right path. She wants Chilton and she wants to go to Harvard; she just needs to catch up.

The episode ends on a high note, with Rory positive about her future again, and with Max calling the Gilmore household to tell Rory that she can do extra credit and to flirt a little more with Lorelai.

gifs via youmissedthewholeshow.tumblr.com and thegilmoregifs.tumblr.com

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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