"The Bracebridge Dinner"
Written by Daniel Palladino; directed by Chris Long

Lorelai and Rory build a snowman in the center of town, bantering over the shape of the mouth. Rory doesn’t think it matters how the mouth looks anyway, since a guy working nearby has built an incredible snowman. Lorelai thinks that it’s too showy and demands too much attention, but Rory points out that that’s kind of the point of a snowman-building contest. Lorelai hates the other builder and thinks he’s a ringer. Rory doubts that a ringer would be competing for a set of new U.S. quarters. The girls talk about plans for Rory’s winter break, which Rory decides must include renting Godfather III and listening to the commentary, in which Coppola defends casting Sofia. She adds that she has to do some work for the Franklin, thanks to Paris. Rory realizes that the ringer is now power-buffing his snowman. They decide to stop looking at the ringer and stay focused on their own creation. Unfortunately, their creation’s head falls off, so they decide to go get some coffee. At the inn, Michel tries to talk to someone on the phone but gets distracted by Rune (last seen in “Emily in Wonderland”), who is “jumping like a Mexican bean” while he dusts. In the kitchen, Sookie and Jackson discuss mushrooms. Lorelai calls them into the other room, where they’re about to start auditioning musicians for the upcoming Bracebridge Dinner. For this event, they will be recreating a 19th century meal served by people in period clothing who speak period English. Sookie will serve seven courses - soup, fish, peacock pie, the Baron of Beef, salad, plum pudding, and wassail. Lorelai adds that there will be a raised platform, where Squire Bracebridge will sit and preside over everything. Jackson thinks everything will be great, at least until Sookie informs him that he’ll be playing the squire.

In the lobby, recorder players audition and Lorelai quickly gives them the job. Jackson announces that he doesn’t want to play the squire. Lorelai and Sookie ignore him, talking about how their guests are arriving on their own jet and have bought out the whole inn. Sookie and Lorelai realize that they’re crazy for trying to put all of this on, but that doesn’t stop them from going forward. Jackson’s one-sided conversation ends when he agrees to play the squire. As the harpists audition, Lorelai gets a call from Christopher, who wants to know if Rory can come visit him for a couple of days during her winter break. Hearing the harp music, he asks, “Where are you, Heaven?” Lorelai wonders if Christopher even has room for Rory. He assures her that he has a guest room that Sherry (see “Presenting Lorelai Gilmore”) fixed up. Lorelai agrees to let Rory visit if she wants to go. At Friday night dinner, Lorelai and Rory ask if Richard and Emily will be going out of town as they do this time every year. They announce that they’re not going anywhere and Richard leaves the table to take care of some business. Emily says that Richard is too sensitive about the problems he’s been running into at work. At the inn, Kirk transcribes as Sookie speaks to the servers for the Bracebridge Dinner. Sookie tries to test the servers and Jackson tries to get Rune not to be annoying. Lorelai arrives and reveals that the guests for the dinner are all snowed in in Chicago, so the event is off. Sookie is upset by the news, but Rune is just worried that he won’t get paid now.

At Luke’s, Sookie laments the amount of work she put into the dinner and wonders how Lorelai can be so calm. Lorelai says that there’s nothing they can do. She’s glad that at least the snowed-in group already paid for everything. Sookie suggests just making the dinner for the two of them and Rory, but Rory points out that it would just be the three of them in the dining room. “It would be like The Shining,” Lorelai says, “except instead of Jack Nicholson, we have Rune.” Sookie says that they can invite Luke and Jess to the dinner, and Lorelai decides that they can invite a bunch of acquaintances. Rory adds that they could stay at the inn, since all of the rooms are currently empty. They all agree to the plan and head off to invite people. Lane meets up with Dean outside of Stars Hollow High and talk about the get-together at the inn. Lane explains that she’s going and is just trying to figure out how to get her mom to not go with her. So far, it’s not working. Dean breaks up a fight between Jess and another student but winds up getting hit by Jess. Dean wonders why Jess hit him when he knew it was him. Jess tells him that he doesn’t need his help. At home, Lorelai and Rory finish confirming their guest list. Lorelai considers putting Luke and Bootsy in the same room, which would probably result in bloodshed. She also wants to put Jess in Miss Patty’s room, but Rory thinks that there would be no Jess in the morning. Lorelai fails to ask her why that would be a bad thing.

Rory sees a pile of Christmas cards and wonders if they’re this year’s, since the previous year’s were around until Halloween. After looking at pictures of relatives’ ugly babies, Rory finds a card from Christopher and Sherry, which Lorelai didn’t show her. Lorelai asks why one of the rooms at the inn is empty and Rory tells her that she thought they could invite Richard and Emily. Lorelai isn’t happy about the idea but agrees to it. The night of the Bracebridge Dinner, Rory and Lorelai arrive at the inn and are unsurprised to learn that Sookie is “paper-bagging it” (i.e. hyperventilating). Babette and Morey arrive and Morey isn’t thrilled to hear that they’re the first ones there, since Charlie Parker was always late and he thinks punctuality hurts his street cred. Babette tells him that they can be late for dinner. Lane comes with her mother, who hasn’t brought much with her. Lorelai tries to agree that people have too much stuff nowadays, but after Mrs. Kim leaves, Rory points out that Lorelai has 64 pairs of shoes. Lorelai spots Paris and Rory explains that she had to bring Rory some things for the work she’s doing on the Franklin. Lorelai thinks that Paris is a robot. Rory tells Paris that she’ll work on the stuff for the paper the next night, since she’s busy that night. Realizing that Paris has no plans, Rory invites her to stay for dinner. Paris calls her Portuguese nanny to let her know where she is. Dean arrives with Clara (see “Love, Daisies, and Troubadours”) and isn’t happy to see Jess there. He tells Rory about the fight and, as Jess waves, says that he better not do that all night.

In the kitchen, Sookie tells her staff that the food tastes too 20th century. Lorelai arrives and gets an unfortunate glimpse of Rune changing clothes. Sookie realizes that the food needs salt, though she somehow managed to momentarily forget the word for it. Richard and Emily (“the Joy-Less Luck Club”) arrive and Richard seems a lot happier than he has been lately. Emily tells the girls that he’s been that way for the past two days and she’s taking credit for it. Later, Lorelai welcomes everyone to the Bracebridge Dinner and announces that she’s arranged for a bunch of sleighs to take everyone on a ride around town. Dean wants to ride with Rory but winds up with Clara instead. Lorelai ropes Luke into riding with her, wanting to “pull a Ben Hur and take down Taylor’s sleigh.” On their ride, Lorelai talks about how magical the town looks this time of year. Luke makes fun of her for that. She asks how things are going with Jess; he tells her that he discovered the secret of parenting - visualizing the reality you want. “And then, if necessary, you lie to bring it about.” Lorelai says that this is a lot worse than she was expecting. Luke asks if Lorelai ever lied to Rory, but she says she only did if it was to protect her (like saying that the stove burners were the devil’s hands). Luke admits that he lied to Jess that his mother wanted him to come home for winter break but he thought he should stay there. Lorelai says that Jess definitely knows what’s really going on. In Richard and Emily’s sleigh, Emily complains that her hair is getting messed up, but Richard is having fun. He’d also like to go on a roller coaster and says he’ll have Rory find a good one on the Internet.

Rory winds up alone in a sleigh but is quickly joined by Jess. He asks if she’s mad at him and she says that she is because of the fight he had with Dean. When Rory hears who Jess was fighting, she agrees that the guy is a jerk. Jess complains that everyone in Stars Hollow is a jerk and Rory asks why he’s still there. He says that his mother doesn’t want him, but Rory doesn’t believe that. Jess compliments her snowman (actually a snowwoman), which he thinks looks like Bjork; Rory says that that’s what she and Lorelai were going for. They agree that the ringer’s snowman is overdone and that Rory and Lorelai should win the contest. Jess is curious as to what Rory and Dean talk about when they’re together, since he doesn’t think Dean is Rory’s kind of guy. She says that he doesn’t know Dean very well. Once everyone is back at the inn, Lorelai takes a photo in the dining room and starts to announce the beginning of the dinner. Sookie stops her, saying that they need another minute. Miss Patty asks Lorelai about one of the servers and Lorelai promises to send him up to her room. Richard compliments the way the inn looks and Emily criticizes Lorelai’s wrinkled dress. Lorelai tells Rory that Richard is still happy; Rory reminds her that she thought this would be good for him. Rune begins the dinner and announces Jackson, aka Squire Bracebridge. As everyone starts eating, Mrs. Kim notes that no one said grace. Lane tells her that everyone does it silently. Mrs. Kim asks Babette if she said silent grace, but Babette just laughs at her. After getting a glare from Mrs. Kim, Babette and Morey both say silent grace.

Kirk serves Rory and Lorelai, who tries to get him to break character and stop speaking period English. She wins when Kirk joins her discussion of I Love Lucy. Later in the dinner, Clara asks Dean if she can eat her dessert with the horses. Bootsy says that he’s lost count of how many beers he’s had; Clara tells him it was seven. Paris thanks Lorelai for letting her attend the dinner and brings up all of the anachronisms she noticed. “Floggings will be administered,” Lorelai tells her. Richard tells a story about a trip to Prague and how he came across teenagers blasting Cher and hummed Mozart’s “Prague Symphony” to get them to leave. Taylor decides that this is the most interesting conversation he’s ever had with an insurance man. Richard announces that he agrees that insurance people are boring and he’s glad to be away from them - he’s retired. Later, Lorelai and Rory get ready for bed, discussing Bootsy singing “Hotel California” with a spoon accompaniment. Rory asks if Richard and Emily spoke to each other at all after his revelation; Lorelai says that they didn’t. Rory is shocked to see that Lorelai has placed one of the ugly baby photos in her bed. Rory asks if Lorelai has heard from Christopher lately and she mentions that he called but she forgot to say anything because she’s been busy. Rory wonders why Christopher invited her to visit through Lorelai. Lorelai says that he was pretending to be considerate by asking her permission. Rory is upset that Lorelai didn’t tell her and Lorelai says that she always has Rory around this time of year and doesn’t want to give her up. She especially doesn’t want her to hang out with Sherry, thinking there’s something wrong with her, even though she hasn’t met her. Rory thinks she’s jealous and suggests a compromise, saying that she can call Sherry “Mommy Sherry.” Lorelai realizes that she overreacted.

Emily stops by the room and announces that she can’t stay in the same room as Richard. Lorelai tells her that there aren’t any more rooms, so Emily says she’ll go home. Lorelai reminds her that the roads are icy and it’s too dark. Emily still refuses to go back to the room. She thinks his decision to leave his job and not tell her is inexcusable. Lorelai tells her to take one bed and she and Rory will share the other. Rory watches Emily and Lorelai as they both put on face cream and comments that she’s looking at her future. Emily keeps complaining about Richard and Lorelai points out that he was having a horrible time at work. Emily decides to go for a walk and winds up in the lobby, where Richard tells her that he wants to talk to her. He tells her that he met with Floyd (see “Tick, Tick, Tick, Boom!”) and told him how unhappy he was. He resigned very suddenly (and may have even used some profanity) but quickly realized that he was relieved and happy. Emily asks why he didn’t tell her; he says that he’s disappointed her a lot recently and didn’t want to disappoint her again. He didn’t want to have to tell her that he’d ruined their plans - he just wanted to keep being happy. Richard apologizes and starts discussing their financial situation, but Emily decides that it’s time to go to bed. The next morning, Lorelai and Rory say goodbye to the guests. Lorelai tells Miss Patty that she can introduce her to the server she liked the night before; Miss Patty realizes that she only liked him when he was in his uniform. Lorelai spots Emily and asks her if she got lucky the night before. Richard and Emily assure her that everything is okay. Jackson asks Lorelai if, when Bootsy sang “Hotel California,” he played drums on his stomach. He did. Rory says goodbye to Dean and Clara, who asks them not to kiss. Dean covers his sister’s eyes so he can kiss his girlfriend. He’s not thrilled to see Rory and Jess smiling at each other. Lorelai and Rory ride home in a sleigh, passing the snowmen in the center of town. They’re happy to see that someone knocked over the ringer’s snowman, which means that they win the contest by default.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Lorelai: “What about Paris, does she ever sleep?”
Rory: “I think she periodically makes a whirring noise and then just shuts down.”

“Oh, that makes me so mad. And so sad. I’m smad!” - Sookie

Lorelai: “Let’s invite everyone.”
Sookie: “Everyone who?”
Lorelai: “Everyone everyone.”
Sookie: “Everyone everyone who?”

Morey: “Charlie Parker was late to everything.”
Babette: “Charlie Parker had more drugs in him than a Rite-Aid. Forget Charlie Parker.”

Rory: “Are you alone?”
Mrs. Kim: “Lane!”
Lane: “My wedding night’s gonna be very interesting.”

Paris: “Madeline’s 500 words on test anxiety spends 400 of them arguing that stretch corduroy is the best material for low-rise jeans.”
Rory: “Well, let’s see. Corduroy is a fabric, and the fabric of society is weakened when students….”
Paris: “You can’t get there.”

Lorelai: “It’s magical.”
Luke: “If you say so, sure. Oh, look, there’s the magical plumbing supply store where I bought a magical float for my toilet last week.”
Lorelai: “You disappoint me.”
Luke: “Oh, look. There’s the magical Luke’s Diner right underneath the apartment that Jess magically lit by leaving every stinkin’ light on.”

Richard: “So there we are, it’s a beautiful moonlit Prague night, and we’re strolling across the Charles Bridge when we come across this group of kids blasting this song by that…oh, that awful woman. Who is she? The tall bony one, married to the deceased mustachioed congressman.”
Rory: “Cher?”
Emily: That’s the one!”
Lorelai: “The year of ‘do you believe in life after love?’”
Rory: “A difficult time for all of us.”
Michel: “I like that song.”
Richard: “Well, I was appalled. Prague has played host to some of the greatest composers in history. Mozart named a symphony after it, for heaven’s sake. So what did I do?”
Emily: “I have tried so hard to forget this.”
Richard: “I stood beside them and their boom box and I hummed Mozart’s ‘Prague Symphony’ as loud as I could.”
Lorelai: “A bizarro Battle of the Bands.”
Taylor: “And did it work?”
Richard: “Well, they quickly packed up and went their way.”
Emily: “But then he kept on humming the Mozart. He wouldn’t stop.”
Richard: “Well, at that point I was hoping for some gullible tourists to drop money at my feet.”
Emily: “And two of them did.”
Richard: “And I kept it!”

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