"The Big One"
Written by Amy Sherman-Palladino; directed by Jamie Babbit

Lorelai and Rory are excited to realize that the mail has arrived at their house because they think that Rory’s acceptance letter from Harvard might have come. Lorelai tells Rory to put her shoes on so they can run off and celebrate right away in case she gets an acceptance letter. Kirk is delaying their answer by not having the mail ready right away; he notes that people don’t slow down anymore. The girls decide that they’ll have to check back later after Kirk has finished figuring everything out. Lane drums on a jar at Luke’s while telling the girls that Zach doesn’t think any great songs have been written after Kurt Cobain’s death. Lorelai gets Lane to stop, since she’s sick with “deadly allergies.” She’s preparing to take some allergy medication she found in Rory’s room; it expired years earlier, so she’s going to take four pills. The girls notice that Luke has made up new menus. Lorelai is upset, since she’d doodled on the old ones, and the new menus have thick plastic on them that will prevent her from drawing on them. Rory notes that there are three new salads on the menu. The girls learn that the changes have occurred because of requests Nicole has made. Lane asks why the Monte Cristo isn’t on the menu anymore. This upsets the girls because, though they never ordered it, always seeing in on the menu was comforting. Luke finally gives in and gives them the old menus. “How come everybody else gets a new menu?” Lorelai asks.

At Chilton, a teacher reminds Rory’s class that the school’s bicentennial is approaching and they can sign up for a speech contest. The winner gets to present his or her speech at a ceremony that will be broadcast live by C-Span. The teacher adds that Brad has returned to school after a run on Broadway in Into the Woods (which was actually where the actor was). “Sit down, Mary Martin,” Paris tells Brad. Brad tells Rory that performing has given him a lot of confidence. He’s confronted by Paris, who tries to get him to move away from the speech contest sign-up sheet by saying, “Are you going to move, or do you need a ‘five, six, seven, eight’?” He tells her that he’s not intimidated by her anymore; she replies, “I’m thrilled to hear it, Chita Rivera.” She tells Rory that she hopes she’s signing up for the contest because this will be Paris’ last chance to compete against her at Chilton. Rory says that her decision to sign up has nothing to do with Paris. Paris tells her that she’d really like to take her down, as well as “Jerome Robbins and the rest of the losers here.” Brad notes that Paris is really up on her theater references. At the inn, Sookie complains that the guests are sending back her food and tells Lorelai that they have to screen the guests better. Lorelai thinks that the people are dumb until she tastes the food herself. She and Sookie wonder if she has a virus that is affecting her taste buds.

Rory and Lorelai discuss the food in the lobby, then Paris and the speech contest, which Rory mostly wants to enter so she can win and boast about it. Lorelai wonders why she didn’t want to participate in the first place; Rory says she wasn’t sure she wanted the whole school looking at her. Lorelai notes that she should get used to people watching her if she wants to be a foreign correspondent. Suddenly, Lorelai realizes something and heads back to the kitchen. She runs into Sookie on the way and they announce at the same time that Sookie is pregnant. At Chilton, Paris tries to psych out other students in the contest. She tells one that her speech looks too long, tells one that she probably won’t trip, and sings “Into the Woods” to Brad. “Look, I’m proud of my part, okay?” Brad says. “The New York Times called me winningly naïve.” Rory tells Paris to stop singing and leave everyone alone. Paris protests that she was trying to give Brad some human contact, since “he’s been talking to nothing but a cow for a year and a half.” Brad gets called in to give his speech and he repeats that he’s winningly naïve. “Brad, you got your beans?” Paris asks him. Rory thinks that Paris’ speech must be pretty bad if she’s resorting to these kinds of tactics. Paris replies that Rory isn’t very good at mind games.

Sookie calls Lorelai to let her know how Jackson reacted to learning about her pregnancy. As soon as she told him, he got out a calculator and has been crunching numbers for two hours. Lorelai wonders how “Mr. I Want Four in Four” could say nothing to hearing the news. Sookie says he just keeps saying, “Oh, boy.” Lorelai heads to the market, where Dean is frustrated Kirk’s mail-delivering techniques. Lorelai asks Dean to grab her water bill for her if he can. She stops by a drugstore in Hartford instead and runs into Max (last seen in “Nick and Nora/Sid and Nancy”). They do some awkward catching up; Max has been teaching at Stanford and is back for Chilton’s bicentennial. They talk about Rory a little and Max sense that Lorelai doesn’t like her boyfriend. He points out that she’ll be leaving for college soon, but this just makes Lorelai worry about frat guys. Lorelai heads to Friday night dinner, where Richard tells her that things are chaotic because a maid called in sick and Emily is visiting ill DAR members at the hospital. After he runs off to answer the phone, Lorelai tells Rory that she ran into Max and he was nice to her, considering what she did to him the year before. Rory is glad that he’s back in Hartford. Richard returns and he and the girls discuss the speech contest; he says he’ll try to come if she gets to give her speech. Lorelai speed dials the house to make Richard run and answer the phone again.

Lorelai goes to Sookie’s and they talk about pregnancy. Jackson has become obsessive about driving slowly so he doesn’t jostle the baby, and he’s still trying to figure out how they’re going to afford having a child. He wants to sell his truck so they can afford a minivan, and he’s also called a contractor so they can put an addition onto the house. Lorelai tells Sookie that she ran into Max; she hopes that he doesn’t hate her anymore. Jackson continues baby-proofing the house. Rory arrives home in time to get involved in a conference call with Paris and Headmaster Charleston in which the girls learn that they’ll both be combining their speeches for C-Span. Paris and Rory aren’t happy with the arrangements or the fact that they have to work together. The next night, Paris comes over to work on the speeches, though Rory thought they would be doing it over the phone. They start working and suddenly Paris announces that she and Jamie had sex the night before. She’s trying to figure out how she feels about the whole thing and wonders what Rory thinks. Lorelai arrives in time to overhear Rory getting more information, then admitting to Paris that she’s still a virgin. Paris and Rory make up over the whole Francie situation. Lorelai pretends she’s just arriving and when Paris leaves the room, she hugs Rory and tells her she’s taking her shopping the next day. “I’ve got the good kid,” she boasts to herself.

The day of the C-Span broadcast at Chilton, Rory tells Lorelai that she’s worried because Paris hasn’t arrived yet. Lorelai goes to get coffee and runs into Max again. They head into a classroom and Lorelai tells Max that she should have explained why she left him before their wedding. He knows that it’s because she didn’t love him and he doesn’t need to hear an explanation. He’s also glad that things worked out the way they did because otherwise he wouldn’t have gotten to teach at Stanford. Lorelai is sorry that they never got any closure, but Max replies, “Life’s not really about closure, is it?” He assures her that he’s okay with everything and she tells him she’s glad they got to see each other again. Richard chats with Headmaster Charleston, who asks Rory where Paris is. She worries that she’ll have to give the speech by herself. Paris arrives, looking disheveled, and she and Rory go up to give their speech. Rory begins, but when it’s Paris’ turn, she starts talking about how ironic it is that she’s spent so much time focusing on school but she’s been rejected from Harvard. She had sex, but she’s not going to Harvard; of the two things she thought would happen, it wasn’t having sex. Rory tries to wrap things up as Paris says that she’s being punished for having sex. “She’s never had sex,” Paris tells the audience. “She’ll probably go to Harvard. She’s a shoe-in. Pack your chastity belt, Gilmore - you’re going to Harvard!” In the audience, Lorelai glances at Richard and sees that he’s asleep.

Backstage, Rory tries to comfort Paris, who notes that five generations of her family have gone to Harvard. Rory tells her that she’ll get a good education at another school, since she’ll definitely wind up at a good one. Paris says that, for everything that’s happened afterwards, she better have been good in bed. “That’s the perspective I know and love,” Rory replies. In the hallway, Richard says good night to Lorelai, giving her an envelope to give to Rory. Lorelai goes to get her coat from a classroom and encounters Max yet again. He tells her that he’s been teaching for years, but he didn’t realize until today how hard it must be to be a girl. They say their goodbyes, then kiss. At the Bellvilles’, Sookie tells Jackson that she’s not making any more changes for the baby. He tells her that he just wanted to let her know how happy he is. He does still want to get rid of her knives, though. At home, Lorelai and Rory try to figure out what Lorelai and Max’s kiss means. They find a few large envelopes in the mailbox and Lorelai comments, “Apparently you are the biggest virgin in the world.” They head inside so Lorelai can figure out her relationship issues and Rory can decide what school to attend.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Madeline: “How do you leave the house every morning and not have a piano fall on your head?”
Brad: “Well, I make a left on Federal and then….”

Lorelai: (re: DAR members) “What’s in that water they’re drinking?”
Richard: “Well, a little whiskey, usually.”

“Do you have payphones in this town or are you still using a town crier?” - Paris to Rory

Paris: “Why did you use this font?”
Rory: “Because I was on the crack.”

Lorelai: “I am not seeing my coat here, and it was very cute and it was on sale, and I will fling myself off a building if I lose it.”
Woman: “We put some of the coat racks in the classroom over there; take a look. Otherwise, the staircase to the roof is on your right.”
Lorelai: “Thank you. Hmm. Took 200 years, but somebody at Chilton finally cracked a joke.”

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