That Damn Donna Reed originally aired February 22, 2001. It was written by Daniel Palladino and was directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino.
In That Damn Donna Reed, Dean expresses his approval of the 1950’s housewife, which leads Rory to dress up and surprise Dean with a 1950’s-styled evening.
We open with Dean coming over to spend the evening with Rory. They watch the Donna Reed Show (which is an actual show, I googled it) and Dean says that he kinda likes the 1950’s housewife thing. Rory and Lorelei just look at him when he says that. I’m not surprised that Dean thinks the idea of a woman having dinner on the table is a nice idea.
At Luke’s, Taylor is trying to convince Luke to spruce up the diner. Lorelei agrees, and Luke eventually decides to re-paint the diner. We go to Friday night dinner, in which Lorelei likes the wine and Richard and Emily aren’t going to Martha’s Vineyard. Lorelei’s suggestion of going to Europe or flying coach doesn’t go over well with Richard and Emily.
Rory agrees to house-sit for Babette, who has a new kitten named Apricot. Rory has a pet bird as an assignment for school- she has to observe it for a month. She asks Dean to come over but he has to work. He makes a comment about repressed housewives needing to shop for their husband’s dinner. Rory doesn’t take it well, and doesn’t like the fact that Dean is kind of into the whole dinner on the table/’50’s housewife thing. I kind of get why Rory doesn’t like it, but I have to agree with Dean when he says that there are 2 points of view. Don’t get used to me agreeing with Dean, because I don’t think it’ll happen very often. Rory doesn’t seem willing to listen to Dean’s side, and kind of dismisses it because he’s not agreeing with her. In Dean’s defense, he did grow up in a home where his mom didn’t work for a long time, and even when she did go back to work, she still managed to cook on the weekends for her family. It is what he knows, so it does make sense that he’d look for that in his own relationships.
Lorelei goes over to Luke’s to pick out paint colors, where they’re visited by Taylor and Kirk, who doesn’t believe Luke is re-painting the diner. Andrew also stops by to take before-and-after pictures. It is funny, because everyone’s so surprised that Luke is actually sprucing up the diner.
Rory cooks for Dean, and has a Donna Reed night for him. She, in true Rory fashion, researches Donna Reed- and Dean tells her that he doesn’t expect to her be like Donna Reed.
Lorelei loses Stella (Rory’s bird) and calls Luke to come help her find Stella. Meanwhile, Rory loses Apricot, and Lorelei says they’re not animal people.
We see another Friday night dinner, where Emily and Richard manage to rent a house in Martha’s Vineyard. Lorelei admits to having having feelings for Luke, and Emily isn’t thrilled.
We close with Christopher- meaning, we finally meet Rory’s dad for the first time.
Favorite lines/scenes: Friday night dinner (both of them) and Lorelei singing a painting song
Pop culture: Donna Reed Show, the 1950’s housewife, A Streetcar Named Desire
Final thoughts: I really liked this episode, and it was interesting to see Rory and Dean disagree on the ’50’s housewife concept. Also, I’m glad I don’t go to Rory’s school- a flour baby in health class for a week was bad enough, so I’m glad they never gave me an actual animal to take care of. It gets 4 mugs of coffee.