The Pancake Conundrum


Credits: Fæ via Wikemedia Commons // Creative Commons

In an episode of ‘Gilmore Girls,’ Rory explains the “first pancake phenomenon” to her mother Lorelai. You always throw out the first pancake because it never comes out right. All things considered, it is a pretty sound theory: The first is always the worst. ‘Gilmore Girls’ was a popular TV show in the early 2000s starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. It’s about the strong, unbreakable bond between a single mother (Lorelai) and her teenage daughter (Lorelai as well, but nicknamed Rory) who are best friends.

        What evidence proves the “first pancake phenomenon,” and are there exceptions? The first pancake phenomenon is correct on many things; first pancakes (obviously), first drafts, first articles, first cars, first houses, and the first episode of a TV show (known as the pilot). There are many reasons why these specific firsts are the worst. First drafts are edited and turned into better second, third and final drafts. First cars are upgraded and the same usually goes for first houses.  In the case of TV shows, the first episode, and usually the first season, are often the worst. Even in television gold such as ‘Gilmore Girls,’ ‘Friends,’ or ‘Modern Family,’ the first episodes are indeed inferior. Under no circumstances are these episodes bad, they’re just not as good as the rest of the season/series when the familiarity of the characters and plot work seamlessly.

        There are, however, some exceptions to the “first pancake phenomenon.” First children (this may be biased because I am a first born) are, according to Business Insider, Daily Mail and The Atlantic, the smartest and sometimes the most successful. Other things that are also prefered are the first bite of food, the first paycheck, and first movie in a series. The first movie in a series tends to be the best and the sequel(s) never live up to our expectations as they don’t measure up to the glory of the first movie. Even when the first movie isn’t great, the sequels are even worse. Take Meet the Parents; with Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, and Owen Wilson; the overall comedy level gradually declines in Meet the Fockers and Little Fockers. The same usually goes for books.The first ones are captivating and the type of book you “can’t put down”; then you wait impatiently and excitedly for the release of the second or third book and it never lives up. Take Red Queen, a book by Victoria Aveyard that I couldn’t put down. I carried it around with me like it was an extra limb. I waited anxiously for February 9th, when the second book of the series, Glass Sword, was released on the Kindle; I could not get past the 4th chapter.  

It is important to point out that at the end of the episode of ‘Gilmore Girls’ when Rory discusses the “first pancake phenomenon,” Lorelai tells her, “I just think my first pancake [referring to Rory] turned out pretty darn good.” So, even within the episode there is an exception.

        This was a brief explanation of the ‘first pancake phenomenon’ and a small window into the brilliance that was ‘Gilmore Girls.’  Sadly, it ended in 2007, but Netflix has revived it (as it did with ‘Full House’) and there will be a short, 4 episode, season coming out November 25th. This gives you plenty of time to binge watch the previous 7!