"Happy Birthday, Baby!"
Written by Amy Sherman-Palladino; directed by Gail Mancuso

Lorelai, Rory, and Emily are at Friday night dinner, waiting for Richard, who has cooked. Emily explains that he wanted a specific dish from his childhood and had to make it himself because the recipe is a secret. The dish, Johnny Machete, doesn’t impress Emily, but she says she’ll take a few bites before she throws it out. Rory tells her grandparents that she got her college acceptance letters back and has decided to go to Yale. Emily and Richard don’t react the way the girls thought they would. The girls assure them that they’re both thrilled with the decision, which means Richard and Emily should be thrilled, too. They finally head off to get champagne and brag to their friends. At the inn, Lorelai talks to Tom about the damage the fire did to the place (see “A Tale of Poes and Fire”); she wants him to have things looking normal in ten days. Michel tells Lorelai and Sookie that a couple they forgot to call showed up, but he convinced them that they had their days confused and sent them home. Tobin, the night manager, arrives for a meeting, which Michel doesn’t appreciate. Lorelai tells the group that they’re going to fix up the inn and put everything back the way it used to be. Tobin wants to get a celebrity in so they can drum up business. Michel suggests turning into a bed and breakfast, an idea Lorelai hates. Tobin agrees with Michel, who tells him, “Get off my side immediately.” Tobin gives Lorelai a candle for her upcoming birthday and offers to help out during the day if he needs to.

Lorelai and Rory look around their house, making a list of repairs that need to be made. Apparently, every year for the past five years, Luke’s birthday present to Lorelai has been five free hours of handyman work. Rory notes that Lorelai has exploited this gift for the past four years. She decides, however, that she’d like another bookshelf, which makes Lorelai proud. Paris calls Rory and tells her that she’ll probably have to go back to school the next day (see “A Tale of Poes and Fire”) because her parents are coming home. She wonders if people are still talking about her “meltdown speech” (see “The Big One”). Rory tells her not to worry about what other people think and encourages her to go out and do something fun. After she gets off the phone, Rory talks to Lorelai about “birthday week,” in which Lorelai gets spoiled every day (well, more so than usual). Lorelai gets a call from Richard’s secretary to set up a coffee date between him and Lorelai for the next day. Lorelai gets her to put Richard on the phone, but he wont’ tell her what he wants to discuss with her. At Weston’s Bakery, Rory orders a huge cake with cupcakes on top that reads “Happy 16th Birthday, Lorelai.” Lane enters and tells Rory that their plans to make the world’s largest pizza have been thwarted because the largest pizza was 122 feet, 8 inches. Lane suggests making the world’s largest taco instead, though they agree that it would be difficult to serve. They decide to just tell Lorelai it’s the world’s largest pizza. Rory asks Lane to hide some things for Lorelai’s birthday party at her house; Lane thinks this is ironic, since she usually hides things at Rory’s.

Jess approaches and has to agree to order Indian food, or else Rory won’t watch Almost Famous with him again. After Lane leaves, Jess asks if Rory is still planning to go to Yale. She’s surprised that he looked up the distance between Stars Hollow and Yale. At Luke’s, Taylor and Nicole go over some paperwork for Taylor’s new ice cream shop. Taylor is unsure of why Nicole is still dating Luke. After Taylor leaves, Nicole tells Luke that her parents are coming into town and she wants him to meet them. He’s not thrilled with the idea but agrees. Jess leaves, claiming that he’s going to school, though Luke doesn’t believe him. At Chilton, Madeline tells Louise that she’s going to Mills College (it was the one that took her). Louise has decided to go to Tulane. Paris arrives with a bandage on her nose, which makes the other girls think that she had a nose job. She admits that she had it pierced because Rory told her to go out and do something crazy. Unfortunately, she was allergic to the hoop that was put in and wound up in the emergency room. Rory gets a call from Pete, who’s in charge of the giant pizza; he tells her that there’s a problem with the crust. At home, Lorelai is excited to see Mallomars spelling out “Happy Birthday, Lorelai” on the kitchen table. Luke arrives to do his repairs and Lorelai gives him a to-do list. She eats a Mallomar from the table and replaces it with one from a box, explaining that she didn’t want to mess up what Rory made. Luke still thinks she’s crazy for not just getting a Mallomar from the box in the first place. He tells her about meeting Nicole’s parents and says that she was right about Jess not going to school - he followed him to work. Luke has decided to confront him about the situation.

At the market, Rory runs into Jackson, who’s upset that she didn’t ask Sookie to help with the huge pizza for Lorelai’s party. He also notes that, as the town’s main produce supplier, he could have provided vegetables for the pizza. “I hope you and your world’s largest pizza will be very happy together!” he tells her. Richard meets with Lorelai and explains that when she was born, he made a real estate investment in her name. Now the complex has been sold and all of the investors are getting a check, so the money goes to Lorelai. She is shocked to receive $75,000 and immediately starts figuring out what to spend it on. (She’s thinking Jimmy Choos.) She asks if the money is a gift, but Richard says that it legally belongs to her. At home, Rory and Lorelai discuss the money and consider buying a boat, though they would have to put it on the front lawn, which would make them white trash. Rory runs to answer the phone so that Lorelai won’t know what’s going on with the planning for her party. Pete tells Rory that they did a trial run for the pizza and Kirk wound up getting burned, so now Pete wants Rory to find a way to transport the pizza herself. After the call, Rory makes something up about the caller but Lorelai knows it was about her. Jess returns home from work and Luke offers to give him a raise at the diner so he can quit his job at Wal-Mart. Jess refuses, so Luke tells him that he knows he’s been skipping school to work. Jess doesn’t care.

At the inn, Michel gives Lorelai a day book for her birthday. Tobin shows him up by giving her Joe Strummer’s leather jacket. Luke’s time with Nicole’s parents is ruined when Nicole fights with her father over a surrogacy situation. Mrs. Leahy explains that they always fight over something until dinner, then pick up over dessert. Mrs. Leahy starts pressuring Luke about marriage and kids, which causes Luke to go off about how kids wind up lying to you and working at Wal-Mart and breaking agreements. Rory heads to the pizza place, where Pete tells her that instead of one huge pizza, they’re going to make a bunch of little ones. Rory doesn’t like this idea, since the arrangement was one huge pizza. Back at the diner, Luke apologizes to Nicole for what happened with her parents. Jess passes through on his way out, then returns when he realizes that his car is missing. Luke tells him to just go to school and let him take care of things. At Friday night dinner, the family sings “Happy Birthday” to Lorelai, but then the maid takes the cake away before she can blow out the candles. Somehow, this leads to a story about Emily giving away Lorelai’s bunny when she was a child. Lorelai gives Emily the money she owes her for Rory’s tuition and Emily says that Lorelai must be relieved because now she has no obligation to her parents. Emily is surprised to learn that the money is from Richard’s investment; he didn’t want Emily to know about it. Everyone fights and Emily tells Lorelai that she doesn’t have to come to Friday night dinners anymore. Back in Stars Hollow, Rory tells Lorelai that she shouldn’t have tried to give Emily the money. Lorelai says that she doesn’t need her parents’ help anymore, and she doesn’t want them to make her feel guilty for repaying the loan. They head to Miss Patty’s studio for the party with the huge pizza.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Richard: “My gran used to make this for me whenever I was feeling a little sad. You know, if my cricket team lost or a girl I fancied turned up her nose at me.”
Lorelai: “Well, then load me up because there was this really cute chick at the pharmacy today. I used my best material on her and nothing.”
Emily: “Richard, at least let Pina serve it.”
Lorelai: “No comment on my lesbian hilarity. My, how far we’ve come.”

Lorelai: “And where’s the French maid outfit I requested?”
Luke: “I’ve got it on under the plaid.”
Lorelai: “So what else is new?”

Luke: “Your parents must think I’m a lunatic.”
Nicole: “No, I don’t think lunatic was one of the words they used. But they have a very extensive vocabulary, so there may just not have been time.”

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