"Application Anxiety"
Written by Daniel Palladino; directed by Gail Mancuso

The girls watch The Brady Bunch Variety Hour at home, talking about how the show aired during the golden age of TV. The mail arrives and Rory realizes that she’s received her application to Harvard. The girls admire it and Rory is upset to have to admit that she was watching The Brady Bunch Variety Hour when the application came. Lorelai wonders if she can lose points for that. Rory laments that she wasn’t reading Dead Souls like she was that morning. Lorelai promises to pretend that that’s what she was doing, and that she herself was looking at a big globe. Later, the girls start the application in the kitchen (after cleaning the table) and Lorelai jokes that 50% of Rory’s eligibility is based on what she was doing when the application arrived. Lane exits Rory’s bedroom and says that she needs help writing her ad seeking a band to play with. Her problem is that she’s included too many bands she wants her bandmates to like. Rory tells her that she has to cut things down. She goes back to the application but has to have a conversation with Lorelai about one of her childhood nicknames. They discuss the possible topics for Rory’s essay - she could write about Lorelai, Faulkner, or Sylvia Plath (not recommended). Lane realizes that she has to pay a quarter per word for the ad, so she definitely has to cut her list. Working on the application again, Rory says that she’s interested in all of the activities listed except for sports. Lane says that she’ll have to crank the Ramones if she has to make her cuts, so the girls move outside.

Dean and Rory go to Luke’s before school and discuss their plans for the weekend. Rory suggests seeing a movie but Dean figures that she’s not free since she’ll be working on her application. Rory says that it’s not due for a while and she already knows that she wants to write her essay about Hillary Clinton. Dean agrees to the date and Rory heads to school. Luke slips into youth for a minute by teasing Dean, then notices Taylor taking photos of the store next door to the diner. Paris argues with a teacher in the Chilton auditorium while Rory waits outside. Paris complains to her that she set up a seminar that the teachers don’t want her to do it the way she wants to. She wants to do it Charlie Rose style rather than as a regular seminar. They start the seminar anyway and introduce a discussion on applying to college with an admissions officer and a college consultant. The panelists proceed to list all of the things Rory wants to do as no-nos. They advise the students to be original, not write about Hillary Clinton, and not circle all of the activities. Rory is hurt and won’t ask any questions. Lorelai heads to Friday night dinner without Rory, who will be arriving later, and Emily gives her a bunch of college issues of magazines. Emily is surprised by how stiff the competition is to get into Harvard. Lorelai assures her that everything will be fine because Rory is special. Rory arrives and pulls Lorelai aside to tell her that she doesn’t think she’ll get into Harvard. Lorelai starts freaking out and repeating everything Emily told her.

Paris calls, also freaking out about the seminar, and Rory hangs up on her. Lorelai and Rory try to calm down, saying that if other people can get through this, they can, too. Lorelai tells Rory to hide her anxiety or Emily will read to her from college magazines all evening. At home, Lorelai fields calls about Lane’s ad, since Lane is late to catch the calls herself. Lorelai decides that instead of going to college, Rory can drop out, Lorelai can quit her job, and the two of them can form a band with Lane. Lane rejects band candidates for not knowing as much about music as she does. At Luke’s, a boy orders an egg cream but Luke has no idea what one is. Tom (see “There’s the Rub”) tries to help him out by mentioning that he used to get them at Coney Island, so Luke tells the kid to go there. Another kid comes in and orders a black cow; Luke says he can make him one, except the kid wants the ice cream to have been made on the premises. Kirk orders a chocolate phosphate and Luke realizes that Taylor put all of them up to this. Kirk won’t admit to anything so Luke pressures the second kid, telling him that he’ll go to Hell if he lies. The kid says that Taylor didn’t say Luke would get mad. Luke drags the kid and Kirk out of the diner and over to Doose’s, where he demands to know what game Taylor is playing. Kirk claims that the kid fessed up and the kid calls him a snitch. Taylor tells Luke that he wants to open an old-fashioned soda shop, mostly in order to keep kids off the streets. Luke realizes that Taylor wants the building next to the diner, which Luke bought in “Lost and Found.” Luke refuses to let him, claiming that he’s going to open a “skateboard and pop bottle shop.”

Lorelai greets Rory at home and informs her that she talked to Headmaster Charleston. He suggested that they set up a meeting with a Harvard graduate to get some perspective and some inside information from someone who’s gone through the application process. Rory thinks that sounds weird, but Lorelai thinks it’s worth it. Rory starts to call Darren, the alum the headmaster told Lorelai about, but she freaks out and hangs up when he answers. The phone rings and the girls worry that Darren dialed *69. Fortunately, the call turns out to be from Dave Rygalski (Adam Brody), who’s calling about Lane’s band ad. Lorelai makes Rory call Darren back but Rory panics and gives the phone back to her. Lorelai pretends to be Rory and sets up a lunch with Darren and his family. Lorelai tells Rory that if things don’t work out, they’ll take their McBimbo act on the road, which would be something interesting for Rory to put on her application. The girls head to the lunch, discussing different forms of the word alumnus. They meet Darren, discuss Stars Hollow, and meet Darren’s wife Marie. They start discussing art, then Rory’s current interest in Russian literature (allowing Lorelai to say that she was reading Dead Souls when her Harvard application arrived). Lorelai is happy to point out to Rory that Darren, like Rory, has a lot of Harvard paraphernalia. Darren and Marie’s kids, Jack and Jennifer, show up (also Ivy Leaguers) and the family leaves the room, leaving Rory and Lorelai alone. Lorelai is grossed out by the siblings’ closeness and bugs Rory by repeating the name Zoltan Kemeny.

Everyone sits down to lunch as Lorelai looks at family photos and notices that Darren and Marie have another daughter. Marie and Darren announce, practically heartbroken, that their other daughter Carol is “following her own path.” The family asks about Lorelai, who explains that she didn’t get a chance to go to college. Rory gets to brag that she graduated from business school last year. Darren thinks this is good, since Rory’s family had to struggle to get to where they are. The family engages in a long trivia game but Lorelai doesn’t do so well. Rory heads upstairs to wash her hands and runs into Carol, who’s listening to Tom Waits, an artist Rory loves. Rory helps Carol dress up as a bunny for her second job. Carol isn’t surprised that Rory is surprised by her; she knows that her parents make it sound like she’s “holed up in the Chelsea with a needle sticking out of [her] arm, screaming, ‘Sid’ at the top of [her] lungs.” She explains that she works at children’s birthday parties (hence the costume), plus as a waitress, and makes pretty good tips. Rory thinks she also goes to school, but she doesn’t. Rory defends her choice to go to Harvard, but Carol notes that in her house, the kids get brainwashed while they’re still in vitro. She wants to please her parents, but not at the expense of finding herself. Rory says that it’s not hard to please her mother, who’s happy as long as Rory is happy. Carol says that she’s lucky. Lorelai comes up and begs Rory to help her with a trivia question, since she’s afraid she’s missed so many that she’ll be denied dessert. In the hallway, Rory thanks Lorelai for not treating her the way Darren and Marie treat their kids.

On their way out, Rory and Lorelai thank the family for taking the time to help Rory out. Darren tells Lorelai that she’s done a great job raising Rory, but Lorelai says that she was born that way. The girls arrive late for a town meeting back in Stars Hollow, but Taylor figured they wouldn’t be on time and made sure two seats were saved for them. Taylor brings up his desire to open a soda shop, which Luke doesn’t want him to talk about because he thinks it’s just between the two of them. Kirk removes a sheet from a model of the soda shop, which is part of a model of the whole town. (The model Jackson is even holding a tiny zucchini.) Babette and Lorelai note that the horse pulling the horse-drawn carriage is taller than the front door of the shop, making Luke wonder if Taylor is breeding huge horses. Taylor announces that Luke doesn’t have to willingly rent the space for the shop; according to the town bylaws, if three quarters of the town agree that it’s necessary to use the space for something specific, Luke has to turn the building over. Luke argues that that’s for hospitals during wartime. Lorelai yells, “Hit him!” though she doesn’t care which one throws the first punch. Luke is unhappy when the girls support the ice cream shop and tells Taylor he’ll pay through the nose. Outside, Lane meets Dave (he figured it was her because of her Dead Kennedys shirt) and they automatically bond.

Dean joins the girls and Rory fills him in on the town meeting and the lunch with the Harvard family. Dean is worried about what will happen when Rory goes to college. She says that they’ll see each other on the weekends but he thinks she’ll be too busy. She suggests that Dean go to college in Boston, but he knows he’s going to junior college and wouldn’t be able to afford an apartment. Rory wonders why he’s being this way, but Dean says he’s just being realistic. They decide to hold off on the conversation and head to Luke’s, passing Dave and Lane. Dave invites Lane to come meet his band the next week and she happily accepts. She removes her Dead Kennedys shirt, revealing a shirt underneath that says “Trust God.” He asks if that’s a band and she tells him it’s her life. Lorelai, Sookie, and Jackson discuss art, for some reason. Jackson asks Lorelai what she’s going to do with Rory’s room when she goes to college. Jackson would like to use it to store his antique tools. At home, Lorelai and Rory screen calls again, sick of talking to Lane’s potential bandmates. They get a message from Darren, who tells Rory that she’s perfect for Harvard and he’s going to talk her up to the admissions people. The girls decide to just spend the day hanging out, so they head downtown, where Luke and Taylor are arguing in front of the “future home of Taylor’s Olde Fashioned Soda Shoppe” sign that Taylor has put up. Luke accuses him of ordering the sign weeks ago, knowing that Luke wouldn’t stand a chance. He also doesn’t like the spelling of “shoppe” and wants to enforce his rights as a landlord.


MEMORABLE QUOTES: Rory: “Hold your horses there, little Miss Horsie Holder.”
Lorelai: “They’re going to expect a higher level of wit when you’re at Harvard.”

“Taylor, no, no, no, no, and every day from now on till the end of my life, I am gonna come in here and say, ‘Taylor, no.’ And when I die, I’m gonna have them freeze me next to Ted Williams, and when they find the cure to what I died of and they unfreeze me, my first words are gonna be, ‘How’s Ted?’ followed closely by, ‘Taylor, no.’” - Luke

Rory: “Not so breathy.”
Lorelai: “That’s how chickens talk!”

Lorelai: “Ugh, you’re not fun when you’re nervous.”
Rory: “Oh, yes, because you and I usually have so much fun with Latin.”

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