EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'Gilmore Girls' recap: Chocolate pudding and an obligation party

Season 1 | Episode 6 | “Rory’s Birthday Parties” | Aired Nov 9, 2000

Despite having watched Gilmore Girls when it first aired and several times since, I confess to never realizing just how important Emily Gilmore was to the show. Blame it on binge-watching, on youth, or on the distracted way I used to make dinner while watching the 5 p.m. ABC Family Gilmore Girls reruns. No matter the cause, now that I’m rewatching the show from the analytic perspective of these recaps, I really see how much she influenced and guided the plot—not just in later seasons but from day one.

It’s through Emily that we see into Lorelai’s past, and their every interaction is a new lens through which we can look at Lorelai and Rory’s relationship. On its face, Gilmore Girls is about the mother-daughter relationship between Lorelai and Rory, but really it’s about two mother-daughter bonds across three generations of Gilmore girls.

For the first few episodes of season 1, Emily Gilmore was stuffy and poised, guided by society’s rules and having only sarcasm in common with her daughter. At the beginning of episode 6, we see a new side of Emily begin to emerge, when she serves chocolate pudding for dessert (in crystal bowls, of course). She’s still in fine Gilmore form—asking the girls to go through the house after dinner and put Post-it notes on the items they want to inherit—but the pudding progress is notable nonetheless.

As Lorelai places a Post-it on a hideous vase, we learn that Rory’s birthday is next Friday. Emily puts her foot down on Lorelai’s request to move their weekly dinner, so the Gilmore girls will celebrate in Hartford on Friday and in Stars Hollow on Saturday night.

The next day, Emily calls Lorelai and asks her to go shopping to find something for Rory’s birthday. Lorelai is shocked, but because she can tell Emily is making steps to repair their relationship, she agrees. At the store, Lorelai is pushing for a hot pink guitar-shaped purse, while Emily wants to buy Rory a double string of pearls and a cashmere sweater set. Finally, after telling her mother to “think pudding,” Lorelai guides Emily to a present Rory will actually like: a set of beaded bracelets that light up and only cost $12. Score!

Meanwhile, at school, Rory has run into the ever-obnoxious Lucas Scott Tristan DuGrey and discovered that Emily invited the entire school to her birthday party. Because everyone at school either hates her, thinks she’s a psycho, or has no clue she exists, they’re calling it an “obligation party.” Clearly, she’s not happy.

Lorelai shows up to Luke’s ahead of Rory, and she invites him to the party. (Only a few episodes into the season and I’m already frustrated at the writers for keeping these two apart!)

When Rory shows up at Luke’s, she checks out their tulle-covered party dresses and realizes that Lorelai actually had a good time out shopping with Emily. Not wanting to kill the budding peace between her mother and grandmother, Rory keeps her mouth shut about the obligation party, and instead jokes about her wild eighth birthday party, which ended with the cops shutting the place down and arresting the clown.

At 4:03 a.m. that next morning, Lorelai climbs into bed with Rory, wishing her happy birthday and telling the story of her birth—a ritual that Rory has clearly gotten used to over the years. On her way to school, Rory stops at Luke’s (he baked her a coffee cake and blew up balloons) and exchanges a few flirty glances with secret-boyfriend Dean.

The Gilmore women arrive at the Hartford party, where dozens of caterers are buzzing about and listening to Emily yell about candle positions. Everyone is poised and friendly-rude, and both Stars Hollow Gilmores look incredibly uncomfortable. When Rory tries to talk to her grandfather, he runs off to discuss work and all of his colleagues shove envelopes of money into her hands. Emily quickly steers her off into a room with all of her “school friends,” none of whom recognize her. She runs into Paris and has to fend of Tristan’s requests for a birthday kiss; then Emily finds her and pushes her to make a birthday speech. Overwhelmed by all the people she doesn’t know and the people she doesn’t like, Rory goes off on her grandmother, yelling and storming up to Lorelai’s old bedroom.

Lorelai is completely clueless, but she follows Rory upstairs and finds out why she was so upset. They talk it out, Lorelai relives some of her family drama memories, and Emily marches upstairs to tell them they’re both being rude. Rory tries to apologize twice, but Emily brushes her off both times, and when Rory invites her to the Stars Hollow birthday party the next night, Emily says she has plans. Lorelai confronts her mother, they fight and then she heads home.

The next night is Rory’s second birthday party, and the vibe couldn’t be more different. She’s wearing a tiara and pink feather boa, her mom gives her a very dated iBook laptop, and the whole town crowds around as she blows out the candles on a cake decorated with her face. The doorbell rings and Lorelai screams, “Who the hell’s ringing the bell? It’s a party—get your ass in here!” as Emily and Richard round the corner into the room. Awwwwkward.

Rory is absolutely ecstatic to see her grandparents, bouncing up to greet them and showing off the bracelet Emily gave her. Within minutes, Miss Patty hits on Richard, and Lorelai reveals to Sookie that her parents have never been to the house before. It’s bizarre to see Emily in Lorelai’s world, offering Sookie catering jobs and staring knowingly as Luke and Lorelai hug hello.

Later Lorelai finds Emily up in her bedroom, and it’s clear how much Emily regrets not being involved in her daughter’s life. They talk about Luke, about the time Lorelai broke her leg, and about how Emily thinks Lorelai should get a maid. Emily heads downstairs to find Richard (who’s reading a Cosmo magazine on the porch) and the two head home. Richard gives Rory a second birthday check “for Fez” and they say goodbye.

In the car, Emily is stone-faced and sad, and she tells Richard, “She’s right. I don’t know my daughter at all.” Oddly enough, it’s an expression we see reflected on Lorelai’s face a few minutes later, when she looks out the kitchen window and sees Rory sneaking outside with Dean. He gives her a birthday gift (a handmade leather bracelet) and the two hold hands. Lorelai looks shocked, in disbelief that her daughter could be keeping secrets in the same way that she kept so much from Emily for all those years.

Gifs via gilmoregirlsgifs.tumblr.com and youmissedthewholeshow.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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