"Paris is Burning"
Written by Joan Binder Weiss; directed by David Petrarca

Rory and Lorelai are walking through Stars Hollow, playing a game in which they have to name a disease for each letter of the alphabet. The loser has to clean out the fridge. Lorelai spots puppies and starts cooing over one named Buttercup. Rory notes that Buttercup is skittish around a lot of different people, as well as red clothing and cabbage. Luke approaches and Lorelai tells him that they found the dog version of him. He tells the man in charge of the dogs not to let the girls have one, since they can barely take care of themselves. Rory is on his side and reminds Lorelai of Skippy, their hamster, which reportedly would bite Lorelai and then laugh. Lorelai stuffed the cage with Kleenex instead of cleaning it, then took it back to the pet store and left it there. Lorelai realizes that they shouldn’t get a dog but complains to Rory that she wants a pet. Rory says that she has her, though she won’t wear a collar. Later, Max cleans his apartment while Lorelai eats, despite the fact that he made dinner for her earlier. She asks him where he learned to cook and he tells her that an old Italian woman who used to live upstairs taught him. She calls his bluff, recognizing that it was an ex-girlfriend. Lorelai asks if Max has read Rory’s paper yet, then offers to just give her an A for him. She looks through his books, talking about Proust, and he offers to loan her a book. She starts to read it right there, but they wind up going to bed instead.

Later that night, Lorelai sneaks back home and finds Rory waiting for her on the couch. Lorelai says that Max loaned her Swann’s Way and Rory mentions that that means something. Lorelai asks how many times Dean called (it was five). Rory notes that Lorelai looks happy and Lorelai confirms that she is. In class the next day, Max reads some Emily Dickinson and Madeline tells Louise that she could listen to him talk about passion all day. She wonders if he’s dating anyone; she thinks that person would be pretty, but Louise thinks she would be dumb. Paris says that whoever is dating Max is a loser because he’s a teacher and doesn’t make much money. She sees Rory looking at her and, after she leaves, Louise notes that Rory probably read the paper and knows about the ugliness of Paris’ parents’ divorce. Madeline and Louise both say hello to Rory, then head off. At Friday night dinner, the girls note that Emily is happy and Lorelai thinks that she’s waiting to get the upper hand on something. Emily brings up parents’ day, which Lorelai didn’t know about because she hasn’t read the newest Chilton newsletter yet. Lorelai argues that just because she hasn’t read the paper yet doesn’t mean she doesn’t care about Rory. Emily asks if she’s going to parents’ day, but Lorelai wants to wait until she’s read the newsletter before they discuss it. Emily tells her that parents’ day is on Wednesday and Rory says that she doesn’t have to come. Emily says she’ll go instead, if Lorelai is so busy, but Lorelai promises that she’ll be there. Emily freaks her out by lying about a mother/daughter talent show.

On Saturday night, Lorelai runs around the house, getting ready for a date with Max. Rory starts to leave but Lorelai keeps asking her for fashion and accessory advice. The doorbell rings and Lorelai wonders what kind of guy is actually on time for a date. Rory freaks out, since she’s not supposed to be there when Max is, but Lorelai wants her to get the door before she leaves. Rory reminds her that she’s not supposed to answer the door when Lorelai has a date. They’ve already broken the number one rule of Lorelai dating, that Rory isn’t in the house when a date comes by. Lorelai asks her to break another rule, just this once, so Rory acquiesces. She tries to offer Max something, even though they don’t really have anything, and they make small talk about plans for the night. They recognize that they’re uncomfortable and Max notes that if things progress, they’ll probably keep seeing each other outside of school. Rory assures him that she’s okay with him dating Lorelai. Max tells her to call him by his first name, but she’s not sure she can do so. They decide to come up with “non-Chilton” names for each other - he’ll call her Rebecca and she’ll call him Norman. Rory leaves to meet Lane, telling “Norman” to have Lorelai home by 10.

Sookie and Jackson head to Luke’s, arguing about Sookie’s stuffed fried squash blossoms; Jason wants her to make “zucchini tushes” instead. Sookie sits with Rory and they’re soon joined by Lorelai, who is happy to have found her ice skates. She and Rory plan to go skating together, Rory as Nancy Kerrigan and Lorelai as Tonya Harding. Luke teases that Lorelai hasn’t worn her skates in ages, then offers to clean them and tighten the blades for her. “You get really good service here,” Sookie notes. Rory suggests inviting Max to come skating and Lorelai wonders when Rory started calling him Max. She says that since Lorelai is obsessed with Max, they’ll probably start seeing each other more often. Lorelai denies that she’s obsessed and decides not to invite Max to come skating. Back at home later that day, Sookie tends to Lorelai, whose skates weren’t very nice to her feet. Sookie notes that Lorelai isn’t seeing Max that night and Lorelai defends herself by stating that they don’t see each other all the time. She says that Max is great, but she’s not sure they’re right for each other. Sookie points out that Lorelai always starts to try to wriggle out of relationships around two months into them. Lorelai thinks she’s being practical by getting out now, since Rory is already starting to get attached to Max. Sookie teases that Lorelai is dancing away from the relationship, as usual, but Lorelai doesn’t think that she has that kind of pattern. Sookie notes that Lorelai doesn’t usually get defensive about this, so she must really like Max. Lorelai fires back that Sookie doesn’t know anything, since she hasn’t had a relationship in years. She quickly realizes that she’s hurt Sookie’s feelings and lets her keep singing Ricky Martin.

At Chilton, Tristan swaps gossip about Paris with another student. Max tells Rory that he enjoyed her Emily Dickinson paper, then awkwardly asks if Lorelai is coming to parents’ day. Rory tells him she is and Max notes that he hasn’t heard from her in a while. At home, Lorelai cleans out the fridge, trying to determine how old is too old for some of their food. Rory tells her about Paris’ parents’ divorce and Lorelai says that if she were anyone else in the world, she might actually feel sorry for her. Rory says she does feel sorry for Paris, since the whole school is talking about her. She says that the dynamics at Chilton have changed for her, and Madeline and Louise said hello to her for the first time. “Wow, you’re the new Heather,” Lorelai remarks. Rory asks how she’s doing with Swann’s Way and Lorelai says that she’s finished. Rory is impressed, since it took her a long time to read it, and Lorelai admits that she’s only finished the first sentence. She asks Rory to return it to Max, but Rory tells her she can just bring it to Chilton the next day, since she’s coming for parents’ day. Lorelai tries to back out of coming, asking Rory again to take the book. Rory says that she can give it to him the next time she sees him, but Lorelai isn’t sure when that will be. Rory notes that they’re together all the time and wonders if they’re breaking up. Lorelai admits that things aren’t working out and the relationship isn’t right. Upset, Rory tells her that she can do whatever she wants.

The next day, Lorelai goes to parents’ day anyway and tries to get Rory to act civilly towards her. The two of them spot Paris arguing with her mother, who wants to leave early and is concerned with her daughter’s appearance. Lorelai isn’t thrilled to be heading to Max’s class first and suggests implementing a mother/daughter ditch day. In class, Max talks to the parents about various writers and mentions that he would normally read a little of Swann’s Way, but he doesn’t have his copy. After class, Lorelai returns the book and Max asks if something is wrong. He thinks she’s breaking up with him and notes that he would have expected a better breakup from her. She says that she just needs space, but he doesn’t want that. Lorelai says that Max walked into a family; now that Rory is attached, Lorelai doesn’t want her to get hurt. Max thinks that she’s actually concerned about hurting herself. He doesn’t want to give up on the relationship that easily and they start arguing. Max says that Lorelai has missed him, but she just wants to give him back his book. They wind up kissing just as Paris walks by and sees them. In the cafeteria, Paris spreads the news, telling Rory last. Lorelai arrives and Rory immediately leaves. She asks Lorelai if she was just kissing Max, noting that she said to be nice to him but didn’t mean that nice. Lorelai apologizes for making things hard for Rory and says that she broke the rules by bringing Max into their lives. She made the rules to protect Rory, but now she’s just hurting her. Rory says that she’s not a kid anymore and the rules need to change.

Lorelai and Rory head to Friday night dinner, agreeing to try to get along during the meal. Inside, Emily immediately sends Rory upstairs so she can blast Lorelai for kissing Max at Chilton. (She heard from Headmaster Charleston’s wife.) Lorelai recognizes that it was a mistake and reveals that she’s been seeing Max. Emily is shocked that Lorelai is dating her daughter’s teacher; Lorelai doesn’t want to talk about it. She tells Emily about Max’s good qualities and Emily accuses her of always letting her emotions get in the way. She asks if Lorelai was willing to go through all of this for the love of her life. “I don’t know,” Lorelai replies. “He might have been.” In the cafeteria, Paris, Louise, and Madeline discuss Max and Lorelai within Rory’s earshot. Rory gets rid of Madeline and Louise so that she can yell at Paris for ruining other peoples’ lives to take the focus off of her own difficulties. Paris admits that she shouldn’t have done what she did and apologizes. Rory offers to talk if she wants to, but Paris isn’t willing to be friends. At the inn, Jackson drops off squash blossoms for Sookie, who takes the opportunity to ask him out to dinner. Lorelai runs into Max at the coffee shop in Hartford where they met before and tells him that Rory likes him. She apologizes for her behavior and Max reveals that the headmaster has warned him that he’s putting his job in trouble. He recognizes that he’s partly to blame, then admits that maybe they should spend some time apart. Even though Lorelai is upset, she agrees. Back at home, Lorelai cries over the breakup and Rory tries to comfort her.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Lorelai: “Everybody knows that 8:00 means 8:20, 8:15 tops!”
Rory: “Well, obviously he was raised in a barn.”

“Can I get you something? I mean, we don’t really have anything, but if you wanted something and we had it, I’d be happy to get it for you.” - Rory to Max

Rory: “Well, could you figure it out before French class, because I’d rather you didn’t start making out with Mrs. Collins.”
Lorelai: “Hey, no promises until I see what she looks like!”

Emily: “Kissing a teacher…in a classroom…on parents’ day!”
Lorelai: “Well, they wanted us to get more involved with the school.”

Emily: “A mistake? A mistake? Is that what you call it a mistake?”
Lorelai: “Well, I tried to call it Al, but it would only answer to mistake.”

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