A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving
by Leslie Ann Blake
Gilmore Girls revolves around the mother-daughter relationship of Lorelai and Rory, who live in a small town in Connecticut. Lorelai had Rory and ran away from her affluent parents at age sixteen, determined to make a life without any help. When Rory is sixteen, she is accepted into a prep school that will help achieve her dream of going to Harvard. To help fund this education, Lorelai must reconcile with her parents, who demand that the girls come to a weekly dinner as their part of the bargain.
The most consistent friend in Lorelai’s life—and, coincidentally, the person who feeds her the most—is Luke, the gruff owner of the town’s dinner who begrudgingly brews endless pots of coffee and makes countless unhealthy meals, despite his wish that the girls would eat healthy. The first and last scene of the series is in Luke’s Diner with Luke cooking for Rory and Lorelai, implying this is the natural order of things.
Just as her eating habits show, Lorelai does not always know what’s best for her. Early in the series, Lorelai resists thinking of Luke romantically, and all of Luke’s attempts to express his feelings are cut short before Lorelai notices. This episode takes place in this slowly budding stage of their romance. By the end of the series, the couple has had many ups and downs, but Luke remains the most consistent man in Lorelai’s life and it is strongly implied that they are finally together for good.
In the Thanksgiving episode of the third season (2002) of Gilmore Girls, “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving,” the girls are invited to four dinners. The meals are quite diverse: lunch at the Kims’ (Rory’s best friend’s home), an afternoon turkey fry at the home of Jackson and Sookie (Lorelai’s best friend), a meal at the diner with Luke and his nephew Jess (Rory’s boyfriend), and the obligatory cocktail and elegant meal at Lorelai’s parents’ home. To make the night easier on their stomachs, Lorelai decides to turn down Luke’s invitation. In a classic instance of Lorelai underestimating Luke’s feelings, she assumes, “He won’t care. Holidays are nothing to him, anyway.” Later, the girls not only attend his dinner, but return after the evening is over. This turns out to be the true feast of the evening.
As the viewers are prepared throughout the series to accept Luke as Lorelai’s true love, so too they are prepared to accept Luke as the true provider of the feast.