Gilmore Girls

Season 3 Episode 22

Those Are Strings, Pinocchio

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM May 20, 2003 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
303 votes

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Episode Summary

Rory finally learns her mother can't afford to buy the Dragonfly Inn since financial aid for Yale didn't come through. She decides to take matters into her own hands with a quick visit to her grandparents right before graduation. Luke has second thoughts about a trip with Nicole after something Lorelai tells him. Jess makes silent contact with Rory after her graduation ceremony from Chilton.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Rory graduates from Chilton, Sookie and Lorelai get the dragonfly inn. An excellent, heart-warming season three finale.

    I'll start by saying that this was without a doubt my favourite Gilmore girls finale so far and probably is up in my top five episodes to date. The whole graduation was sad but brilliant, it as sad because you knew Rory's youth was coming to a conclusion but was brilliant due to humour and the speech made by Rory.

    The Gilmore's are getting ready for there pack backing trip around Europe and it was amusing with Rory bringing too many books and Lorelai too much toothpaste. Dean and Rory had better closure in there relationship, as Rory shows that she is supportive of his engagement to Lindsey. It was good to see them getting along and Dean not mad at her.

    Then we had Lorelai finding out that the inn has to close, when she went to Sookie and Jackson's to break the news, that was enjoyable. They were doing toasts to bad things and all pretended to be okay with it. Sookie and Michel's little argument was enjoyable, both irritated with there jobs.

    It was nice of Rory to go to her grandparents and it showed how much she cares, I was glad that they were happy that she asked and was even more happy to see Friday night dinners back on the table. Emily and Richard assuming that Lorelai didn't want to see them though the whole episode was a nice touch.

    It was also great to see people come for Paris, very amusing when she greeted the kid. I loved when she said to Headmaster Charlton when getting her diploma 'No hard feeling's' classic Paris, brilliant. Plus Brad singing was funny, everyone was disgusted. Sookie pushing passed people to get out of the chairs was funny, the comments she made.

    The highlight probably was Rory's speech at the end of graduation, it really was a brilliant speech, that was sad and nearly a tearjerker. It was nice to see her talk about Lorelai like that and her grandparents, heart-warming stuff. Seeing Lorelai cry with joy was obviously a good moment but it was funny to see Luke tearing up.

    Another Paris moment when they were getting ready to receive there diplomas and she said to a classmate 'Hey what's your story?' and she's been going to school with her for however many years, so funny. Lorelai was obviously jealous of Luke and Nicole and Luke's dream at the end was great but I was obviously hoping it was real, now we know that he loves her.

    Emily and Richard unveiling of the car was funny, 'It's the one with the bow on it' and they all had bows, amusing. I liked how Emily just slipped in Friday night dinners and it looks like Lorelai is welcome as well. It was a great end with Lorelai wanting to carve there names in the Chilton walls, it was funny when they pretended to talk about the architecture. When they found out they got the inn and Lorelai wrote a message to Rory, another brilliant moment.

    So this really was an excellent finale and I am can't wait to see how Rory handles college life and to see Lorelai and Sookie open there own inn. Will Jess return? Will Luke and Lorelai and Luke ever get together? Bring on season four!moreless
  • rory graduates chilton and luke tells the gilmore girls he's taking nicole on a trip. rory brings people to tears from her valedictorian speech and once again theres emily and richard to complicate things BUT also buy rory a car!!moreless

    a VERY gilmore episode...excatly why i even bother to watch this series is from episodes like this where one minute youre crying from rory's exceptionally sad/true valedictorian speech to complpete histerics when she and lorelai exchange a round of stickiing out their tongues at each other and completly horrifying emily. one minute im sad becuase of the meaningful words that rory says when jess calls but says nothing and the next im jumpimg up and down for joy when sookie and lorelai get the dragonfly inn!! and of course another classic lorelai moment when she wants to carve their intials in the walls of chilton! and then a very luke loves lorelai secretly moment when he dreams that shes tells him not to get engaged on the was full of once again_wonderful acting_ and great writing the gilmore girls pull out ANOTHER,fabulous episode!! i LOVED it!!moreless
  • An absolutely fabulous episode!

    Yay!! Rory graduates Chilton!! While I am a huge fan of television, rarely has there been a show that has been able to draw me in and make me feel like I was right there, that is until Gilmore Girls. This episode was no exception. For three years we followed Rory in her journey through Chilton. We were with her as she struggled to catch up, as she had difficulties fitting in.. From the difficulties early in her sophmore year to watching her become a well liked,well respected member of the school newspaper,the student body vice president and finally the valadictorian. Rory's graduation was a long awaited event,not only for her and Lorelai but for us as well. This episode is an absolute classic and possibly the best episode of the series. There was not a dry eye in the house when Rory delivered her speech on the inspiration that her mother had been. Despite her recent breakup with Jess, Rory stood tall and did not allow it to ruin her day. There are many excellent episodes in this series but this one by far out does them all!moreless
  • A great episode, full of love and powerful emotion

    Rory graduates from Chilton, but not before some drama with Lorelei and her grandparents. It seems that because of the 75 thousand dollars that Lorelei got from Richard, Yale cancelled Rory's financial aide. Sookie finally lets this slip to Rory, causing Rory to go to her grandparents to pay for Yale. They agree, and Richard modifies Rory's harsh payback terms on her self to agree that she will pay them back not until at least five years after she graduates, and with no interest. Later, there is Rory's speech, incredibly heart-warming and well spoken, at her graudation, as she is the Valdectorian. She thanks her grandparents but most of all she thanks her mother for inspiring her, and everyone dissolves into tears, as did I. It was beautiful.moreless
  • I just loved that speech!!!

    It's the season finale and there are lots of things going on.

    Some are bad some are good.

    The graduation is close and so is the trip to Europe. The Independence Inn is closing, Sookie and Lorelai are without work and so is Jackson. That was a weird celebration...

    Taylor is crazy lol and so is Kirk!! deer eaten by woofs lol

    I liked to see Rory reaching out to Dean, helping him with tips for the wedding.

    When Rory finds out that Lorelai is not buying the Dragonfly because of Yale, she gets mad. I liked that, she loves her mother so much that she she would take a loan from a bank, one of those that you take your whole life to pay.

    I knew that she would ask her grandparents, it had to be. She offered a deal...

    When she told Lorelai, that was hard for her to deal with.

    Paris' important people are her maid and her kids, that is sweet. They are like family.

    The graduation ceremony was amazing, the speeches, Sookie with the photos, Rory's speech was amazing too. I liked it and see Luke crying was great lol

    This is a turning point episode, Rory graduated, she told Jess what she thought, she get a car, they are going to Europe, everything ended well.

    This part of their lives is over, season 4 is coming!!moreless
Sean Gunn

Sean Gunn

Kirk Gleason (Episodes 44 - , recurring previously)

Keiko Agena

Keiko Agena

Lane Kim

Kelly Bishop

Kelly Bishop

Emily Gilmore

Alexis Bledel

Alexis Bledel

Rory Gilmore

Lauren Graham

Lauren Graham

Lorelai Gilmore

Edward Herrmann

Edward Herrmann

Richard Gilmore

Larry Cedar

Larry Cedar


Guest Star

Samantha Weil

Samantha Weil


Guest Star

Brandon Michael

Brandon Michael

A.V. Geek

Guest Star

Liz Torres

Liz Torres

Miss Patty

Recurring Role

Sally Struthers

Sally Struthers

Babette Dell

Recurring Role

Dakin Matthews

Dakin Matthews

Hanlin Charleston

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (18)

    • Lorelai states in this episode "You're not changing your major from journalism because of my lack of money." But Rory can't be a declared journalism major because Yale University doesn't actually offer a bachelors degree in journalism.

      In season 7, Rory confirms her major is English.

    • We learn that Dean has an older sibling, when he says his nephew is three.

    • Unfortunately, Rory getting turned down for financial aid wouldn't have happened this year, FAFSA uses the previous year's tax records and income. Rory wouldn't have had a problem until her sophomore year at Yale.

    • The season started with Lorelai dreaming about Luke and ends on a dream of Luke about Lorelai. In both cases, they reveal their feelings for each other.

    • During the graduation ceremony Lorelai asks Luke if he has a pen, when he says no, she asks him: 'Where is the pen you take orders with?'
      The pair have exactly the same exchange during an earlier episode - "A Tale of Poes and Fire".

    • When Rory finds out Luke cried during her speech, she says, "Oh Luke, you old softy!" which is exactly what she says in episode 1.6 "Rory's Birthday Parties" when Luke bakes her a coffee cake and blows up balloons.

    • While explaining to her parents why Christopher isn't coming to Rory's graduation (he is out of town), Lorelai says that she and Rory may plan on re-enacting the whole thing when he gets back. Coincidentally, in the series finale episode four years later, the two girls plan to re-enact Rory's college graduation ceremony for the Stars Hollow townspeople, who cannot make it to the real thing.

    • Previous episodes have suggested that Luke has strong romantic feelings for Lorelai, but this is the first episode where it is really spelled out for the audience, with the dream he has at the end.

    • Liza Weil's (Paris) sister Samantha Weil had a cameo in this episode. She played a Chilton student named Bernadette.

    • Announcer: ...Paris Eustace Geller...

      This is perhaps the first place we learn Paris' middle name.

    • (Rory's Valedictorian Speech)
      Rory: many people who have shaped my life and my fellow student's lives impermeably and forever...

      im·per·me·a·ble (ĭm-pûr'mē-ə-bəl) adj. Impossible to permeate -·per'me·a·bly per·me·ate (pûr'mē-āt') spread or diffuse through;

      "Shaped them to be impossible to spread or diffuse through"?? --- A clearly out of place, utterly misused word (there's no question it's the word used, either). Considering Rory is supposed to be Valedictorian as well as a highly effective writer, it seems odd that she would have screwed up so badly on such an important speech. The "im-" prefix alone should have tipped off someone. Possibly the word meant here was pervasively:
      per·vade [per-veyd] to become spread throughout all parts of - adv. per·va'sive·ly EDIT: What she means is that what the teacher's have taught them will be in their lives forever. Nothing can permeate or change the great knowledge they have gained at Chilton.

    • The song Brad badly sings at the end of his speech is Cherish a classic 60s love ballad by The Association. Wonderful to sing to someone you love when alone, but singularly inappropriate to sing to one's graduating class.

    • The reaction of Lorelai's parents to the idea of buying Rory a car for her graduation being of some benefit to Lorelai, their subsequent reaction to Rory's proposition, and Lorelai's claim that she wants herself and Lorelai to both get what they want but her parents to explicitly not get what they want, shows how all three are somewhat involved in a dysfunctional relationship, as each "side" derives pleasure from the dissatisfactions of the other.

    • The set used for the entrance hall and staircase at Chilton was also used in the movie "Rock Star" in 2001 with Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston.

    • When Rory was talking to Jess, she said that he ended up not taking her to her prom. They were not planning on going to her prom. They were planning on going to his prom with Lane and Dave.

    • When headmaster Charleston is talking at the beginning of the graduation ceremony, the camera pans over the audience. You can see clearly that there is no empty seat between Lorelai and Jackson. There should have been, because that is Sookie's seat. She has just been taking pictures of Rory.

    • The Season 3 DVD set for this series has some special deleted scenes for this episode, and one of them features (approximately) 9-year-old Rory and her much younger mother in a flashback as the girls walk through the emptied Independence Inn.

    • At one point in the ceremony, Emily wants to take a picture of Rory, but complains that it is impossible to distinguish her because everyone is wearing a blue robe. Actually, since Rory was valedictorian, she wore a bright yellow sash which made her easily distinguishable amongst the other students.

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Lorelai: (about her parents) Just once in my life, I'd like for you to get exactly what you want, and me to get exactly what I want, and them to get nothing!
      Rory: Well, we'll see if we can't arrange that sometime.

    • Lorelai: (about the money Richard and Emily are giving Rory for Yale) Rory, my parents do nothing altruistically. There are always strings attached.
      Rory: There's no strings. I just have to pay them back five years after I graduate and have dinner with them every Friday night.
      Lorelai: Um, hey, Pinocchio, those are strings.

    • Lorelai: (still upset because Rory went to her grandparents for Yale tuition money so Lorelai could open her inn) So explain this win-win-win thing to me again.
      Rory: Everybody wins. That's what it is.

    • Brad: Through good times and bad, Chilton formed us, brought us hope, honed our insight, gave us encouragement. Though my time here was briefly interrupted by my period spent on Broadway hanging out with Stephen Sondheim, I still consider Chilton the most rewarding experience of my young life. Now it had always been my plan in closing to recite a short poem I'd written.
      Louise: (aside to Madeline)But you reconsidered.
      Madeline: (aside to Louise)Come on, Brad. Go out a winner.
      Brad: But as I read it aloud, I realized the sentiments I wanted to share with my fellow students were better expressed in a favorite song of mine. (sings)
      Brad: Cherish is the word I use to describe... bong, bong. Bong, bong.
      Rory: Oh, Brad.

    • Rory: And if the ring bearer is younger than five years-old.
      Dean: My nephew, he's three.
      Rory: Don't give him the ring until the last second because I have seen many a ring swallowed, and well, it takes a couple days to get it back.

    • Lorelai: What are you going to do now?
      Rory: Rail at God for a while.
      Lorelai: Tell her I said hi.

    • (Lorelai and Sookie are working on Rory's graduation dress)
      Sookie: Maybe we should bring it in a bit more.
      Rory: Oh, sure, but first why don't you use a medieval torture instrument to crush my ribs and flatten my spinal cord in order to accommodate your sadistic wish there?
      Lorelai: Don't use subtlety on us, we're slow.

    • Rory: How was my speech?
      Lorelai: It made everyone cry, including stone cold Luke.
      Rory: Luke, you old softy.
      Luke: I will never live this down.
      Lorelai: Not with me in your life.

    • Rory: (to Jess, on the phone) Jess, is that you? Jess, I'm pretty sure it's you and I'm pretty sure you've been calling and not saying anything but wanna say something. Hello? You're not going to talk? Fine, I'll talk. You didn't handle things right at all. You could've talked to me. You could've told me that you were having trouble in school and weren't going to graduate, and that your dad had been there, but you didn't. And you ended up not taking me to my prom and not coming to my graduation and leaving again without saying goodbye again, and that's fine, I get it, but that's it for me. I'm going to Europe tomorrow and I'm going to Yale and I'm moving on. And I'm not going to pine. I hope you didn't think I was going to pine, okay? I think. . .I think I may have loved you, but I just need to let it go. So, that's it, I guess. Um, I hope you're good. I want you to be good, and, um, okay, so, goodbye. That word sounds really lame and stupid right now, but there it is. Goodbye.

    • Rory: What are we doing?
      Lorelai: Leaving our mark. Got a knife?
      Rory: A knife? For what?
      Lorelai: For carving our initials. Come on. Knife, knife.
      Rory: What, like the switchblade I keep in my sock? No, I left it at home.

    • Lorelai: Hey Luke.
      Luke: Lorelai - Hi, where's Rory?
      Lorelai: Oh - she's out in the car.
      Luke: It was a really nice ceremony wasn't it?
      Lorelai: Yeah, it was beautiful.
      Luke: What's up?
      Lorelai: I just wanted to say something to you in case we don't see each other before you go on your trip.
      Luke: Sure, what?
      Lorelai: Don't get engaged.
      Luke: What? Why? - Lorelai? (Cuts to Luke's apartment where he wakes up with a was just a dream)

    • Rory: Mom! This outfit carries a lot of wind resistance!

    • Headmaster Charleston: It's a distinct pleasure for me to introduce to you our Valedictorian. This young lady was a second-year transfer from a modest school where she distinguished herself immeasurably. She is humble, hard-working, competitive when need be, and unparalleled in her academic achievements. Ladies and gentlemen, Rory Gilmore.
      Sookie: Not crying right?
      Lorelai: Not crying. Keeping our cool so we don't miss anything.
      Sookie: Tears get in your eyes.
      Lorelai: Then you miss things.
      Sookie: So we're not crying.
      Lorelai: Not crying.
      Sookie: (to Jackson) Not crying.
      Jackson: (to Sookie) Not crying. (to Luke) Not crying.
      Luke: What?
      Lorelai: No crying.
      Luke: I'm not crying.
      Rory: Headmaster Charleston, faculty members, fellow students, family and friends, welcome. We never thought this day would come. We prayed for its quick delivery, crossed days off our calendars, counted hours, minutes and seconds and now that it's here, I'm sorry it is, because it means leaving friends who inspire me and teachers who've been my mentors, so many people who've shaped my life, and my fellow students lives impermeably and forever. I live in two worlds. One is a world of books. I've been a resident of Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County, hunted the white whale aboard the Pequod, fought alongside Napoleon, sailed a raft with Huck and Jim, committed absurdities with Ignatius J. Reilly, rode a sad train with Anna Karenina and strolled down Swann's Way. It's a rewarding world, but my second one is by far superior. My second one is populated with characters slightly less eccentric, but supremely real, made of flesh and bone, full of love, who are my ultimate inspiration for everything. Richard and Emily Gilmore are kind, decent, unfailingly generous people. They are my twin pillars, without whom I could not stand. I am proud to be their grandchild. But my ultimate inspiration comes from my best friend, the dazzling woman from whom I received my name and my life's blood, Lorelai Gilmore...
      Sookie: (With tears in her eyes) Uh, oh -
      Lorelai: (Also on the verge of crying) Hang in there.
      Rory: My mother never gave me any idea that I couldn't do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be. She filled our house with love and fun and books and music unflagging in her efforts to give me role models from Jane Austen to Eudora Welty to Patti Smith. As she guided me through these incredible eighteen years, I don't know if she ever realized that the person I most wanted to be was her...
      Sookie: (Choked up) Not crying.
      Lorelai: (Slightly crying) Crying a little.
      Sookie: Crying a little, but not blubbering. That's what we meant when we said no crying. No blubbering.
      Rory: (Tearfully) Thank you Mom, you are my guidepost for everything.
      Sookie: On the verge of blubbering here.
      Jackson: (Choked up) Not doing too well myself.
      Lorelai: (Looks over to see Luke) Not you, too.
      Luke: (tearfully) I'm blubbering, you're freaks!

    • (Lorelai and Rory start walking up the stairs at Chilton.)
      Lorelai: Wait, wait. Look around for a second. Notice?
      Rory: Notice what?
      Lorelai: It's not so scary anymore.
      Rory: No, it's not.

    • Taylor: People!
      Miss Patty: ...Oh! Sorry Taylor.
      Luke: I think this must be the first time 60 people lost their train of thought all at the same time.
      Babette: Yeah, Taylor, your voice always makes me think of my grocery list. (turns to Morey) We need croutons.
      Morey: Got it.

  • NOTES (3)

    • German episode title: "Ein starker Abgang", meaning "A Strong Exit".

      French episode title: "Qui Tire Les Ficelles ?", meaning "Who Is Pulling The Strings?"

    • Music:
      "Peace Train" by Cat Stevens
      "Mexican Shuffle" by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
      "Pomp and Circumstance" by Edward Elgar
      "Cherish by The Association" (sung by Brad)

    • Milo Ventimiglia (Jess) appears in this episode, but doesn't have a line.


    • Rory: I don't want you to defer your dream.

      This is an allusion to the Langston Hughes poem "A Dream Deferred" in which he asks what happens to dreams that fail to come true.

    • Lorelai: We're the Chilton equivalent of 50 Cent's posse.

      50 Cent is a well-known gangsta rapper who is known for traveling with a large entourage.

    • Kirk: I did tell you about the dangers of mold, right? And Ed McMahon's dog?

      Ed McMahon, of "Johnny Carson's Tonight Show" and Star Search fame, was involved in one of the most publicly noted cases of toxic mold after water pipes in his house burst and the clean up crews were less than efficient. The severe mold problem which ensued was claimed in a subsequent lawsuit to have killed the family dog, Muffin, as well as sickened numerous family members and staff.

    • Lorelai: We aren't buying a money pit are we?

      The Money Pit was a movie starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as a young couple attempting to fix up an old dilapidated house. The term has long been a phrase referring to a house which is in constant need of fixing (particularly expensive fixing), hence its use in this context and for that movie title.

    • Lorelai: (Sing-song voice)The Love Boat.
      Luke: I have no plans to propose.
      Lorelai: You don't now but after you've had dinner at Captain Stubing's table, and Isaac's served you up a couple of mojitos...

      The Love Boat was a TV show on from 1977 to 1986. People went on cruises where the crew, including Captain Stubing (played by Gavin MacLeod) and Isaac the bartender (Ted Lange), often helped the passengers fall in love.

    • Lorelai: (about Rory's dress) If you wear it with a moody look on your face like you're thinking of Bolsheviks, they'll mistake you for Simone de Beauvoir.

      Simone de Beauvoir (1908 – 1986) was a French philosopher and author of the pioneering feminist treatise The Second Sex.

      "Bolsheviks" was the name given to the Marxist faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party that seized power in the Russian Revolution in 1917 and later became the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

    • Sookie: Tell it to Deney Terrio here. I should've been a dancer.

      From 1979 to 1985, Deney Terrio hosted Dance Fever, a show which gave the best amateur disco dancers from around America national exposure.

    • Rory: This marble is two hundred years old. Harriet Beecher Stowe walked on this marble.
      Lorelai: Oh, the banister.
      Rory: Was donated by Robert Frost.
      Lorelai: The sconce.
      Rory: Was ceremoniously lit for the first time by Thomas Edison.

      Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was an abolitionist and writer of over ten books, including Uncle Tom's Cabin, the first major American novel with an African-American hero, and was the source for much of the growing antipathy towards slavery during the 1800s.
      Robert Frost (1874 –1963) is, in the estimation of many, the greatest American poet of the 20th century and one of the greatest poets writing in English in the 20th century. Frost received four Pulitzer Prizes.
      Thomas Alva Edison (1847 – 1931) was the father of the modern industrial lab, and invented, among many other things, the first practical light bulb, the phonograph, and movie projector.

    • Title: Those are strings, Pinocchio

      Pinocchio is a classic tale about a little puppet named Pinocchio, who yearns to be a real boy. As a puppet, Pinocchio is tied down by strings and forced into many things because he is just a possession, but not a person.