Gilmore Girls Season 1, Episode 11: “Paris is Burning” Gilmore Girls is a hit television series about a mother named “Lorelei” who got pregnant with her daughter, “Rory,” at sixteen years old. It focuses on the close bond that this mother and daughter share now that Rory is a teenager. Lorelei struggles being Rory’s mother and best friend at the same time. In this particular episode, Lorelei has started dating Rory’s teacher, Max Medina, and has a hard time deciding if whether or not what she is doing with Max is in Rory’s best interest. She struggles with the decision of going to Parents Day at Rory’s school because she is afraid to see Max since in this particular setting he will be primarily Rory’s teacher. In a scene near the beginning of the episode, Lorelei and Rory have dinner with Lorelei’s difficult mother, Emily. In this particular scene we see Emily use pathos and angle of vision to manipulate Lorelei into going to Parent’s Day when she was trying to avoid it to avoid seeing Max. Emily brings it up during their Friday night dinner: “So Rory, tell me about Parents Day.” Lorelei questions, “What?”
“Parents Day, next Wednesday when all the parents go to classes with their
children all day long.. Why
haven’t you read your newsletter Lorelei?” “Mom, not everybody can wait outside the mailbox for the Chilton newsletter to arrive and instantly memorize the contents” You’ve got your priorities far be it for me to question them? “Just because I didn’t read the newsletter doesn’t mean I don’t care about my daughter!” “So are you going?” “Why don’t we talk about it next Friday when I have actually read the newsletter? “ “We could…except for the fact that if we talked about it next Friday you would have already missed it since it’s on Wednesday… I guess we could talk about how you missed it then though…” “I won’t miss it.” “You know what… I’ll go for you!”
“What? I’m not busy. I’m going. I will be there… End of story.” “Fine.” In this scene Emily uses many different rhetorical concepts to manipulate Lorelai. She appeals to Lorelei through pathos by trying to make her feel bad for not being on top of her child’s school and schedule. She tells Lorelei “you’ve got your priorities far be it for me to question them?” She acts surprised at Lorelei for not having read the newsletter yet (even though it only came out this morning) and in a way ends up bullying her into going to Parents Day. She appeals to Lorelei’s emotions by making Lorelei feel guilty, which we can see when Lorelei feels the need to point out “Just because I didn’t read the newsletter doesn’t mean I don’t care about my daughter!” We also see that Lorelei gets frustrated and annoyed with Emily throughout this conversation because through pathos, Emily knows just how to get under Lorelei’s skin. Emily also uses a very smart approach in this conversation with Lorelei. She uses angle of vision to manipulate Lorelei. She doesn’t really let Lorelei answer any of the questions she asks and she is thinking ahead of Lorelei the entire conversation, which kind of puts Lorelei down in a way. She answers most of the questions herself,
even if Lorelei is talking and saying she will be there for sure, she acts like Lorelei isn’t capable of handling her own schedule to get to her daughter’s Parents Day. Further in the episode, at school, Rory is witnessing a bunch of gossip happening about a girl named Paris, whose parents are getting a nasty divorce. This is first depicted when we see Paris’ old best friends, Madeline and Louise, gossiping about Paris’ parents and how it is being written about in the school newspaper. Paris always tries to seem to come off as a bully and a tough person when really Rory has witnessed Paris many times being a good friend with sensitive feelings. Paris has a bad attitude about all the gossip that is being talked about at school and she is worried because “Parent’s Day” is coming up at their school. She says rude things to her best friends, Madeline and Louise before walking out of class, which leads them to start gossiping about Paris’ family situation. Lorelei is still worried about the situation with Max and decides the smartest thing to do is to break up with him to avoid any complications between her and Rory. She
decides she is going to end things with him on Parent’s Day and that is what she has every intention of doing. When the day comes and Mr. Medina’s class is over, Lorelai hangs back to talk to Max and breakup with him. The opposite thing happens and they end up in a very passionate make out session, in which Paris looks in on. Less than a minute later, Rory is at lunch and hears the news that her mother was seen making out with Mr. Medina, and she is really angry and goes to confront her mom. Lorelei and Rory get into a big argument and Lorelei feels terrible about what happened. The following day at school people are still talking about the lip action going on in Mr. Medina’s classroom. Below is a scene, in which ethos, pathos, and logos can be seen. It begins when Paris passes Rory and says, “I wish my mom would sleep with my teacher, it’d sure make midterms much easier.” This appeals to Rory’s emotions through pathos, because it makes her mad and she stands up to confront her:
“What is wrong with you? “ “Nothing I’m great.” “You’ve walked around for weeks with all of your family’s personal problems in the newspaper for everyone to read and talk about…
I saw how
you walked around here, I saw how much you hated it… and then you turn around and pull something like this? Doesn’t that seem crazy to you? Do you have any idea how many people you’ve hurt? Forget me and my mom, what about Mr. Medina? He likes you, he encourages you. He holds up your papers and tells the class how great you are and then you turn around and spread stories about him.” “I do like Mr. Medina… I probably shouldn’t have told people what I saw.” “No, you shouldn’t have.” “I’m sorry, things have been not good lately. I just didn’t want them talking about me anymore that’s all” In this scene pathos can be perceived when Rory tries to appeal to Paris’ emotional side. Rory compares what Paris did to her, her mom, and Mr. Medina to what the school’s newspaper had done to Paris when they flaunted her
parent’s divorce all over the school.
Rory makes Paris
feel bad through pathos by making Paris remember how she felt when people were all gossiping about her. It quickly worked and Paris realized that what she did was wrong. Pathos is what made Paris apologize in this scene and it helped give her a clear understanding of how she hurt innocent people for the sole purpose of making people stop talking about her. Rory is a very smart and mature young woman in which many teenagers can relate. She appeals to the audience through ethos as well mainly because she is such a respected and well-known character. Paris might not respect Rory at first in this scene, but the audience is on Rory’s side in this conflict because she is a character that can be trusted to do the right thing. In other words, Rory is persuading the audience without even trying to through ethos. She is primarily trying to persuade Paris to see what she did wrong, but through ethos she appeals to the audience as well because we know that the words coming out of her mouth are credible and admirable. Logos is portrayed in this scene when Rory uses factual and logical evidence to support her disagreement with Paris. She re-tells history, which is fact, by saying that Paris walked around for weeks with all of her family’s
personal information in the newspaper for everybody to read and talk about. This is a logical reason that makes Paris think, come around and realize what she did because that is not something that Paris can deny, it happened. Rory uses logos before she uses pathos to really make Paris realize the damage she had caused in spreading these stories and gossiping about her and Lorelei throughout the whole school. Rory’s purpose of this confrontation is to make Paris realize what she had done wrong and justify her reasons for being upset with her in the first place.
She doesn’t do it
out of spite. She does it because she feels Paris has treated her wrongly for no apparent reason. Rory doesn’t even let the gossip going around the school about her really bother her at all. She just goes straight to the source and nips it in the bud very effectively. Rory is a teenager trying to get through high school. She deals with issues of gossip and drama day in and day out because that is what happens during your teenage years and especially throughout middle and high school. Rory is a favorite character of many in the Gilmore Girls series because she is a main character but also because she is a good person with a good heart trying to make it through high school. The audience can relate to Rory through pathos because
theyâ€™ve all been there. It is unlikely to find a teenage girl that has not witnessed, started, confronted, or somehow been involved in gossip and drama. Throughout this entire episode of Gilmore Girls many dramatic things happened. The scene where Emily manipulates Lorelei into going to Parentâ€™s Day portrays pathos and angle of vision. In the second scene when Rory confronts Paris about the gossip she spread about her pathos, ethos, logos, and pathos in conjunction with the audience are seen very clearly. All of these rhetorical concepts and functions help add more to the dramatic scenes and guide the plot in the right direction towards the end of the story.