Friday Night Fights
by Sara Junuzovic
Gilmore Girls is a TV show that owes its existence to the concept of a family dinner. The Gilmore girls—Emily (the grandmother), Lorelai (the mother), and Rory (the daughter)—manage to stay connected throughout the years with their weekly Friday night dinners. However, it is questionable whether any of the Gilmores, including Richard (the grandfather), really enjoy these dinners. Not a single pair has a healthy or stable relationship with one another, not even Rory and Lorelai, who are meant to be inseparable and the mother-daughter duo every girl looks up to. They constantly fight, yell, lie, manipulate, and betray one another, but the dinners still persist.
This Friday dinner episode comes at a time where the family hadn’t met up for a while as they have each hurt one another in such a way that they did not think their dynamic was salvageable. As this episode is two thirds into the season, the tension has been building for a while. Lorelai, however, decided this was not appropriate and enticed them all to meet up. Although virtually none of them want to have the dinner, they still do it, because it’s a Friday night and what else would they do?
Almost immediately after sitting down for just the pre-dinner drinks, arguments ensue. Lorelai reminds them that they’re not allowed to escape, as they must eat their dinner. However, this is where the audience also understands that the dinner will be unlike any other. This is denoted by the shaky camera movements that no Friday night dinner has ever had on the show previously.
The Gilmores fight and yell, but before things can get ugly, the salad comes. Lorelai’s excitement over the salad stands out from their typical behavior as the Gilmore girls hate everything that’s not processed. However, due to her desire for a “normal” family dinner she treats it as though it’s the most wonderful meal ever placed before her. The salad prompts the beginning of their usual dynamic but as it’s only an appetizer it fails to keep the peace going. The arguments start back up again, bringing up past disagreements that the family failed to properly discuss previously. Surprisingly, the viewer doesn’t even see the main course being brought out by the maid, something that is a usual formality of the show. Furthermore, the Gilmores don't comment about the main course which emphasizes their collective distress as the food is not able to bring them together at that moment. Typically the family is able to put aside their differences and appreciate their dinner as this is normally the only time of the week they speak to each other; however, the course fails at its purpose this time. Nevertheless, dessert comes and all is well again. They’re polite, gracious, and cordial towards each other— a true rarity in most of the family’s scenarios but not a rarity when food is involved. Finally, the episode ends with Lorelai stating “Well… I think we’ve officially reinstated Friday Night Dinner.”
This episode served as a reminder to the audience that the show would not exist without their Friday night dinners. From the start to the end, their dinners bring together love and hate.
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