Gilmore Girls 3×3: Application Anxiety

Application Anxiety originally aired October 8, 2002.  This episode was written by Daniel Palladino and was directed by Gail Mancuso.

Gilmore Girls Season 3 Graphic

We open this episode with Lorelei and Rory watching one of the Brady Bunch variety shows.  Rory’s application to Harvard comes in the mail, and Rory can’t believe she was watching the Brady Bunch Variety Hour when her application came.

Rory has a lot of application anxiety, and she and Lorelei spend some looking over her application and talking about it, while Lane is working on a drummer-seeks-band ad.  On the interests section, Rory has to decided to circle everything except sports and is going to do her essay on Hilary Clinton.  Paris organizes a seminar and the two people invited to speak talk about how circling everything in the interests section shows the student is trying too hard because one can’t be interested in everything.  One of the panelists is a college admissions person, and talks about how he can’t read another essay on Hilary Clinton.  They have all of these do’s and don’ts, and they pretty much describe Rory.

We also have a Friday night dinner, where we learn Emily has been collecting college-issues of magazines for Rory, and Emily’s stories are stressing out Lorelei.  Lorelei and Rory have a few moments of insanity in Richard’s study before calming down enough to be near Emily for the night.

Lorelei talks to Headmaster Charleston, who suggested a meeting with someone who went to Harvard.  Lunch gets set up, and we meet Darrin and his family.  They’re big on meal-time quizzes, and at one point, Rory excuses herself to go to the bathroom. She meets Darrin’s third child, who isn’t on the Ivy League conveyor belt.  Her parents made it seem like she was on drugs or something, instead of not going to an Ivy League school.  When Lorelei finally comes looking for Rory because she needs to get a question right, Rory thanks her for not putting her on the conveyor belt.  Darrin calls a couple days later, and leaves a message saying that Rory is made for Harvard.

Lane also finds a band and Taylor brings up the idea of a soda shop, which the town agrees to.


I thought this episode was really interesting, and it’s pretty much because of Rory’s application anxiety.  Rory’s reaction during the college application seminar was interesting, because they really were describing Rory so well.  I get why Rory was upset or whatever, because she was doing everything they were talking about.  But, Rory really is the type of student to do what people want to hear.  And with so many people applying to Harvard, and the conversation about how they all have the same classes so they have the same GPA’s and they all have same extracurricular activities, so they all kind of blend together…like…I know Rory wants to go to Harvard, and she’ll do what she thinks will get her in, but at the same time, I don’t see Rory doing something interesting to separate herself from all of the other people who are also applying.

I do think that the lunch with Darrin and being able to ask him questions and talk to him helped (even though we never see it).  I do like that Lorelei is happy with whatever Rory wants to do, and that she actually talked to Headmaster Charleston to figure something out.  It’s Chilton, so you’d think a private, expensive, and fancy prep school would have more stuff in the way of college applications but we never see it.

Favorite Lines Or Scenes:

Nothing jumped out at me in this episode

Pop Culture:

All of the Brady Bunch Variety Shows, Sylvia Plath’s suicide, Charlie Rose, the Beetles, the Brat Pack, Ted Williams being frozen, the discussions the Kennedy’s had during meals, Urkel, Wu Tang Clan

Episode Rating:

I liked this episode, and Rory’s college application anxiety is very her, but I’m glad she was able to work through it.  This episode gets 3 mugs of coffee.


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