Directing and writing credits:
The writing credits on this episode are a bit atypical for the series. John Stephens and Linda Loiselle Guzik are credited with the teleplay and Joan Binder Weiss with the story. Based on what I know, this would mean that Joan Binder Weiss came up with the story (maybe she wrote a treatment), but John Stephens and Linda Loiselle Guzik actually sat down together and wrote the script.

Usually, "Gilmore Girls" uses "written by" credits, meaning the same person who came up with the story actually wrote the script. Occasionally, one person will get a teleplay credit and another a story credit, but it's weird to me for two writers to get the teleplay credit. Whenever something unusual happens with the credits, I always wonder if there were difficulties/turmoil in the writers' room. If anyone has any dirt, please dish.

John Stephens and Joan Binder Weiss have both received writing credits earlier in the season, but this is Linda Loiselle Guzik's first. She only has two standalone writing credits throughout the entire series, and they're unfortunately both for kind of shitty episodes.

Lesli Linka Glatter, who you should remember from the pilot, directed this episode.
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Most batshit crazy outfit:
Nothing stood out to me as exceptionally heinous in this episode. Rory needs to stop wearing outfits in head-to-toe earth tones, Lorelai should cool it with the graphic ts (in this episode, she wears one emblazoned with a purple, glitter eagle), and someone should throw Dean's collection of ribbed turtlenecks into the Founder's Day bonfire. I also didn't love Rory's matchy-matchy anniversary date ensemble. So much fucking pink - shoes, purse, dress. At least she's wearing a color that isn't brown, though.

I should correct my earlier comment about the "GG" wardrobe coming from Delia's. In this episode, I actually noticed that Alloy.com is credited for providing it, which also makes a lot of sense. Alloy and Delia's were basically early 2000s clothing soul twins.
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Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
The Gilmore Girls are somehow always selfish assholes, but way too polite at the same time. Why didn't Lorelai just say, "Hey mom, this guy seems terrible, so I'm not going to stay for dinner." How is sneaking out through the window any better? Also, who the hell drinks gin straight? Vodka, sure... but gin? πŸ˜–
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Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
Once again, none! Lorelai is kind of peeved over Sookie's kitchen makeout with Jackson, but she's only a mild dick about it.

Best literary or pop culture references:
Tristan: Oh, yes I will. Ah. To be young and in love.
Paris: What a shame Elizabeth Barrett Browning wasn't here to witness this. She'd put her head through a wall.

100% with you, Paris.
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Stars Hollow weirdness:
The Founder's Day Firelight Festival isn't that weird, but the fact that they allegedly sell star-shaped hot dogs at it is delightfully bizarre.
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Sharpest insult or one-liner:
There are some great exchanges during the dinner with Chase Bradford (Paul Cassell), but they only work well because of the excellent delivery. This one is probably my favorite:

Emily: Chase, I'm simply fascinated about your work situation. Tell us how you wound up back here at home. I mean, you move away to make your fortune and you end up right back here. Isn't life funny?
Lorelai: Hilarious.
Richard: It's a comedy for the masses.
Chase: Well I worked hard and the company was very good to me. You know a thing or two about company loyalty I assume, Richard. Well, the company offered me a choice of East Coast locations, sort of a big vote of confidence in the job I was doing. Picking your locale, it's a very coveted position to be in.
Lorelai: Yeah, would like to be picking my locale right now.

I love that Chase picks up on none of these digs and continues to smile like a pompous douche and blather on pretentiously about nothing.
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Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Dean tries (and fails) to read Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina." He says,

I don't know. I think maybe Tolstoy's just a little over my head.

Rory tries to convince him this isn't the case, but we all know it is. I read "Anna Karenina" in 11th grade and I wouldn't exactly call the experience fun/leisurely. I kept a running list of all characters in order to keep everyone straight, and I just don't see Dean putting in that kind of effort.
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Best song of the episode:
I love Grant Lee Phillips so much. If I lived in Stars Hollow, I would totally try to date him. Fuck Luke, Jess, Dean, Logan, Max, and Christopher... I'm team Troubadour.

His renditions of "Heavenly" and "Mockingbirds" are both beautiful - I couldn't possibly choose just one.
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Thoughts:
If you're still on Team Dean after watching this episode, something might legitimately be wrong with you. First, he plans their anniversary date on a Friday, even though he knows Rory has mandatory dinner with her grandparents, because he has to work on Saturday. Instead of changing his schedule to accommodate her, he wants her to change her schedule to accommodate him. This is one of many red flags, Rory. If she had been unable to get out of grandparent dinner, I suspect Dean would have majorly guilt-tripped her and spent at least an entire week pouting about how he's the only one who takes their relationship seriously.

Second, he wears a ribbed, forest green turtleneck to their actual anniversary date. Nope nope nope.

Third, and most important, he tries way too hard and has expectations that are out of line with what he deserves. He masquerades as a super nice, caring boyfriend. He lets Rory order three kinds of pasta at dinner, compliments her cuteness, and builds her a car. It would be great (although still overkill) if he did these things without asking anything of Rory, but it's clear that there are strings attached to these acts of kindness. When he says "I love you" and she doesn't immediately reciprocate, he basically has a temper tantrum. He doesn't specifically say, "Bitch, I did all this for you and you can't even tell me you love me?," but it's clear this is what he's thinking.

I could feel my blood pressure rising during this exchange:

Rory: Please, don't be mad.
Dean: Why? Because I say I love you and you wanna think about it? I mean, go home and discuss it with your mother? Make one of your pro/con lists?

So what if she does? Rory doesn't owe you dick and her thought process is none of your business, Dean. My boyfriend once got mad at me because he found a pro/con list I made before deciding to move to Ann Arbor with him. Oh, my pragmatism hurt your feelings? I'm not sorry. Maybe if you stopped touching my stuff and reading things you weren't supposed to read, we wouldn't have this problem 🀷

(For the record, my boyfriend is not a dick and wasn't actually snooping around in my stuff when he came upon this list. I'm adding this clarification because he'll probably be mad at me for making him seem dumb/nosy if he ever reads this.)

Here's another ridiculous Dean comment:

Rory: Dean. Please, it's just not that easy for me. I mean, saying I love you means a lot. Think about it from my point of view. I mean, my mom and our life. I mean, my mom said that she loved my dad and then. . .
Dean: You don't get pregnant saying I love you.
Rory: I know. I'm just confused. I need to...It's a really big deal.

Rory isn't a moron, Dean, and I don't think she was trying to suggest that saying "I love you" leads to teen pregnancy. Maybe she was simply trying to express that she wasn't ready for things to get serious so quickly. That she felt your mounting expectations and realized that wanting to fuck was probably also looming on the horizon. If Dean was a good boyfriend, he would have said something like this: "I totally understand if you're not ready to say it or need to think it over. Take as much time as you need - no pressure." But he didn't say any of that because DEAN IS THE GODDAMN WORST.

Aside from Rory's drama, I'm happy to see Lorelai so grouchy about love. It's totally pathetic/realistic for her to feel so bummed out and lonely that she turns to her last hook-up (Max Medina) for validation. The last time we saw him was five episodes ago in "Paris is Burning" when he told her they needed to take a break. Up until this episode, his name hadn't even been mentioned. I've been there, Lorelai, so I won't judge you too harshly.

I'm also happy to see Rachel (Lisa Ann Hadley) pop up in this episode. Sookie was right: gf is Elle Macpherson pretty and cool as hell. She has an interesting job, is well traveled, and somehow manages to wear a bandana around her neck without looking like a try-hard dipshit, which is no small feat:

Rachel-Gilmore-Girls

Rachel is almost too cool for Luke, which is probably why they don't make it as a couple. It's fun to witness someone make Lorelai, the Queen of Stars Hollow, feel intimidated and flustered.

Random observations:

  • I love the obvious boom mic in the Hamburger Helper kitchen scene with Lorelai and Rory.
  • Of course Paris uses "Gone with the Wind" insults in her casual, everyday vernacular.
  • Also, points for mentioning "Misery" and "Christine."
  • Are those Werther's Originals in a crystal bowl on Emily and Richard's coffee table? I also noticed them in the last episode on one of the side tables during the scene with Straub and Francine. No matter class and creed, old people everywhere love Werther's!
  • Black person sighting: the waiter at Andoloro's.
  • I love the way Emily laughs when Chase says, "I'm no Kreskin!" It's the perfect, "this shit isn't funny at all but omg I've completely convinced myself" kind of laugh.
  • I found this recipe for Miss Patty's Founder's Day Punch. Bourbon, vodka, and champagne...sounds like the perfect recipe for getting just about anyone soused.
  • Weird Gilmore decor: strange painting of a little girl or boy with a dog in Rory and Lorelai's foyer and a doll in a full wedding regalia in Lorelai's old room at Richard and Emily's.