Season 1 | Episode 5 | “Cinnamon’s Wake” | Aired Nov 2, 2000
As a Gilmore Girls fan, I know I’m supposed to hate Dean. And if you give me another few seasons (specifically season 5 and the affair and his general awfulness), I’ll be back to hating him. But in season 1, where he’s so giddy over Rory and totally in love with all of her quirks, I can’t help but root for Dean. Their relationship is just beginning to spark, and I find myself hoping it will last. Who’s with me?
After being deprived of Richard and Emily during last week’s “Deer Hunters” episode, we at least get Emily back for a scene and a phone call this week, while Richard is away on business in Germany.
One of Lorelai’s cousins, Claudia, has died, but no matter what Emily says, Lorelai has no memory of the woman. Because she’s never met Claudia, she can’t pull herself away from the inn, and so she’ll miss the funeral. Emily is appalled.
Side note: I’d almost forgotten how amusing the Friday night dinner cold opens were in this first season. Here’s the punchline from the open of this episode, when Emily proves she can be just as sassy and sarcastic as her daughter:
This episode focuses quite a bit on the men in the Gilmore girls’ lives, forcing both women to admit that they might just feel something for Dean and Max—strikingly similar gentleman callers who’ve popped up for a few flirty scenes in the previous four episodes. Dean follows Rory onto her bus in the morning, and she continues to act as if she’s never seen a man in her life. It’s awkward but adorable, and he jumps off at the next stop with an endearing, “Goodbye, Lorelai Gilmore.”
Rory’s not the only Gilmore being courted this week, and soon we catch up with Lorelai, who runs into Max at the Chilton bake sale. She can’t stop calling him “Mr. Medina” in an attempt to keep things extra-professional, but alas he asks her out on a date. She admits she wants to go, and while she doesn’t agree to it, she does tell him where she’ll be getting coffee and at what time the next day.
Back in Stars Hollow, Rory runs into her neighbors, Babette (Sally Struthers), Morey (Ted Rooney) and their cat Cinnamon. Morey and Cinnamon are both feeling ill after eating some bad clams at Al’s Pancake World. “We had a coupon!” explains Babette.
Rory ditches Lane and runs into Doose’s market, where she scopes out Dean and awkwardly tries to purchase a head of lettuce and a mouse trap. Turns out she only has enough money for the lettuce, but when Dean jokes about how she can hit the mouse with half of it, she scurries out the door. We also see Kirk, the ever-changing character no longer known as Mick, at Doose’s. He’s never met Miss Patty before, so although he has the time, he’s not quite the Kirk we know and love just yet.
Lorelai and Max meet up for their not-a-date coffee date, and they spend the whole time discussing whether or not they should try to actually date. Max argues that they’re attracted to each other and tells Lorelai a sob story about his uncle’s long-lost love, and she finally agrees to go to dinner. As he leaves, she asks whether or not the uncle story is really true, and he responds with only, “Goodbye, Lorelai Gilmore.”
Sookie and Lorelai are busy discussing the Max predicament at Luke’s Diner, and Lorelai explains she’s worried about how dating a Chilton teacher is going to affect Rory. Before she’s made a decision on how or when to tell Rory, or even whether she should really go on the date, Rory runs in and calls her mom to Babette’s house.
The vet is there and Morey is a complete wreck: Cinnamon has died, at the ripe ‘ole age of “260 human years.” (According to the Cat Years Calculator, that means Cinnamon has been around for more than 60 years. Probably not true, but we’ll let this one slide—just like Cinnamon slid across the room and into a lamp after Babette found her body. #BadJoke)
Rory and Lorelai quickly call the town together for a wake in Cinnamon’s honor, and Lorelai completely forgets about her date with Max until he shows up on their doorstep; of course, it’s Rory who sees him from Babette’s house next door, and she can’t possible fathom what one of her teachers could be doing at her house on a Thursday night. Lorelai has to awkwardly tell Rory why he’s there, before running over to tell him why she has to cancel their date. He can’t believe she’s canceling because of a cat, but she promises it’s true and she wants to reschedule. Right from the beginning, we see how much Lorelai will struggle to find a place and find time for Max in her world.
Dean finally catches up with Rory at Cinnamon’s wake and says he’s sorry for bugging her so much. He realizes she’s not interested, and he’s going to back off. Faced with no other option, Rory finally speaks, shouting that she is interested and then running off. It’s awkward and adorable (as usual), and you can’t help but swoon at the way Dean beams after Rory runs off.
As they return home from the wake, Emily calls, and Lorelai admits why she’s been unavailable all night. Emily is completely horrified that Lorelai skipped her cousin’s funeral for a cat and makes a snide comment about her upcoming “raccoon wedding” before hanging up.
Lorelai and Rory are able to chat a bit about the Max situation, and while Rory seems OK with her mom dating her teacher, she keeps Lorelai on edge and won’t confirm that it’s fine. She does, however, ask if Lorelai can keep him out late, because she has an oral exam the day after Lorelai’s date, and it would be great for Rory if Max slept through it. Looks like mom dating the English teacher isn’t such a bad thing after all.