Directing and writing credits:
"Dear Emily and Richard" is directed by Gail Mancuso, written by Amy Sherman-Palladino. Mancuso had directed three previous episodes of "GG":

"Red Light on the Wedding Night" - Lorelai drinks a gallon of Long Island iced tea and fucking finally realizes how boring Max Medina is.
"Lost and Found" - Lorelai gets embarrassingly overinvolved in Rory's love life (per usual) and makes a big speech about Dean's virtue. It's all very strange.
"Application Anxiety" - We meet the Springsteens, a family of smart weirdos who are probably involved in something very shady, like human trafficking or incest.

I have no ASP news for you, but I'm happy see all of the Emmy nominations for "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." There's really no category where I think it deserves to win, but it definitely deserves the recognition.

Most batshit crazy outfit:
I know the 80s were a wild time for fashion, but this dress is simply inexcusable. How many ruffles does one person need on a set of sleeves? And those bangs?! The whole ensemble is a tacky as hell and somehow even worse than Lorelai's ridiculously poofy cotillion dress (that is clearly not too tight for her, btw.)

Emily-Fugly-Dress-Dear-Richard-and-Emily-Gilmore-Girls-1
The fact that it's the color of cat diarrhea doesn't help matters much, either.

Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
Rory is a whiny brat who only cares about her own feelings and no one else's. Case in point: she calls Lorelai and makes her come to the hospital because she's scared to go into the delivery room with Sherry. And what's worse is that Lorelai goes along with it! I'll discuss this in depth later, but the takeaway is that Rory constantly acts like a helpless child and Lorelai enables her bad behavior.

Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
Lane and Sookie are forced to do irritating tasks multiple times because Lorelai is a shit event planner. Seriously, who the hell allows their client to change a party theme multiple times? Sookie worked hard on a golf ball cake and Lane acquired flags, only to find out that Ridgemont changed his retirement party theme for the fourth time. Those two should revolt until Lorelai wises up and learns how to write a contract that doesn't drive everyone fucking insane.

Best literary or pop culture references:
I feel like Howard Stern always pops up in the least expected places ...

Lorelai: You need to tell me why you're sitting like that.
Sherry: Maureen told me that Howard Stern said that if you squat it makes the baby come out faster.
Lorelai: Okay, as long as you have a sane reason from a reliable source.

I remember secretly watching his show on E! as a little kid and being weirdly fascinated/horrified by the way he routinely and unabashedly degraded women. Now, I'm a huge fan of his wife's Instagram account (@bethostern) and the way he's featured there is in direct contrast to how I typically think of him. It's very strange and I don't know how to feel. This baby tip is straight up idiotic, though ... I can say that definitively.

Howard--Beth--and-Yoda-Stern
Howard, Beth, and Yoda Stern in Time Magazine.

Stars Hollow weirdness:
Kirk is bored, so Jess suggests he read "Moby-Dick." Miss Patty stands near Taylor's construction site and licks her lips as underage men walk past (she has a creepy thing for Dean). It's all very mild compared to the usual SH townie shenanigans.

Sharpest insult or one-liner:
I love it when Rory and Lorelai shock the elder Gilmores by pretending to be poorer than they actually are:

Emily: My first trip to Europe, I went to Paris and stayed at the Ritz.
Lorelai: Well, I tell you what, if it’ll make you happy, we’ll go to Paris and eat out of their dumpster.

These bitches wouldn't have to dumpster dive if they stopped eating out every single day and opened up a savings account.

Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Emily and Richard give the girls a some travel books for their upcoming backpacking trip to Europe. I caught the titles of a few:

  • Egon Ronay's Cellnet 1987 Guide to Hotels, Restaurants and Inns in Great Britain and Ireland by Egon Ronay
  • Myra Waldo's Travel And Motoring Guide To Europe by Myra Waldo

Rory buys some less pretentious books for them to take:

  • The Rough Guide to Europe 2006 by Slawomir Adamczak
  • Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door by Rick Steves

We also see Jess reading "The Divine Comedy: Volume 1: Inferno" by Dante Aligheri when Dean walks into the diner. Lorelai reads "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich when she waits in the hospital for Sherry's baby to arrive.

Best song of the episode:
Teen Lorelai listens to Nena's "99 Luft Balloons" when she's in the hospital waiting room before giving birth to Rory.

Thoughts:
After suffering through a few boring episodes, we are rewarded with one that is delightfully strange and packed with things to discuss. It opens at Friday night dinner, where Emily and Richard are shocked to find out about Rory and Lorelai's plans to backpack across Europe. Don't the younger Gilmores know that backpacking is an activity solely reserved for the poors? E and R offer to bankroll the entire operation, but Lorelai is too proud for that nonsense; she is a self-made woman in the same vein as Kiley Jenner.

Construction on Taylor's soda shoppe is still in full swing and Miss Patty is l-o-v-i-n-g it. As far as I can tell, she hangs out next to the worksite all day, hoping to catch an outline of peen admist the hustle and bustle.

Inside the diner, Luke reads what I think is a fake book ("Hidden Romantic Gems of the Restaurant World") in preparation for his date with Nicole. I think it's sweet that he wants to take her somewhere nice and classy. When Dean shows up to place an order for the construction crew, he and Jess exchange some sassy barbs but never come to blows like they do in my fantasy. I know violence is wrong, but I really want to see these two punch each other in the face.

Jess-and-Dean-Dear-Emily-and-Richard-Gilmore-Girls
Please take note of Dean's turtleneck and weathered leather jacket.

Everything that happens at the inn revolves around the dumbass themed retirement party, so I'm going to skip over it.

When the work/school day is over, Rory and Lorelai return to their house to find a box on the front porch containing a bunch of travel books from Emily and Richard. After this arrival, we have our first flashback (all of which are shot in muted color)!

Young Lorelai is played by Chelsea Brummet, who is best known for her regular role on "All That." I don't think she's necessarily a bad match for the part, but the writing here sets her up to fail miserably. Young Lorelai is supposed to be wild and fun, not the type of dipshit who says things like, "Well, the word 'whoopee' comes to mind." And of course, I think it's risky to expect anyone who isn't Lauren Graham to do Lorelai Gilmore justice.

This Lorelai is lame and more of a blatant entitled brat than I would have expected. She's willing to rebel, but only BECAUSE Christopher pushes her. Based on the stories we've heard, I would expect Lorelai to be the catalyst for bad behavior, the one to convince Christopher to go against his parents' wishes.

And ugh! Speaking of that douchebag ... the young Christopher casting is straight-up embarrasing. Young Chris is supposed to be a hot rebel, not some nerd who already has a receeding hairline at age sixteen. Did you know that Chris Pine once audtioned for "GG"? He would have made a DOPE young Christopher. But instead, we're stuck with Phillip Van Dyke, aka Luke from "Halloweentown."

Luke-Halloweentown-Phillip-Van-Dyke
The Internet tells me he's now a hot dad, but I don't believe it.

I don't know why someone in the writers' room didn't stop everyone from going forward with this shit show. A flashback episode on "Gilmore Girls"? Did ASP drop a bunch of acid before showing up to work? It's a difficult concept to execute, especially when working with what I assume was a micro budget. I'm enthralled by it in retrospect, but at the time it actually aired I was probably annoyed to see other actors in two important roles.

The only important things we learn in this first blast from past are that Emily Gilmore has forever been a bitch to her maids (Sophia was fired for touching the Baccarat unicorn) and that all teenagers, even rich ones, have zero clue about alochol (they drink scotch, vodka, gina, and a cherry).

The other main storyline that is juxtaposed with the flashbacks is Sherry's pregnancy. Rory has been cordially invited to attend her c-section, but she goes into labor early and no one else is available to up at the hospital. Sherry's other high-powered working friend, Maureen, calls Rory and begs her to do whatever she can to make it to Boston Memorial.

And now, all of a sudden, we're back in 1984 where Emily Gilmore is wearing a hideous peach suit and ordering around a photographer. Lorelai is supposed to have her cotillion portrait taken, but the dress won't zip! The dress is obviously big enough to zip and Brummet isn't a capable enough actor to convince us otherwise. Emily is annoyed, but never suspects pregnancy. She tells Lorelai to "Put on your sweats and run around the block. You’re gonna fit into the next dress no matter what." Yikes, okay.

In the present, Nicole answers her cell phone in the diner, which drives Lorelai crazy, and Rory arrives at the hospital. The latter gal is greeted by Maureen, Sherry's friend who promptly leaves because she is a working woman stereotype and her job is the most important thing in her life. Sherry now has bleach blonde hair and is freaking out because Christopher might not show up in time for the baby's birth. If I were Rory, I would fake a phone call and get the fuck out of this situation immediately.

Sherry-Hospital-Dear-Emily-and-Richard-Gilmore-Girls
I don't remember Madchen Amick ever having bleach blonde hair. Is this a wig?

While Rory is at the hospital attending to this disaster, Lorelai is alone at Friday night dinner with Emily. Even the maid, Leilani, is out of town, so my favorite mother/daughter combo is forced to spend some true quality time together. Lorelai is concerned about what Emily does when Richard is out of town, which I think is sweet. See, she does care (sometimes). Lorelai wants her to get a DVD player, but Emily is resitant to the idea ("I'm not an invalid, Lorelai").

Back in the 80s, Lorelai's pregnancy has been revealed and the elder Gilmores and Haydens sit in the parlor, discussing what should be done, while the kids lurk on the stairs and listen. Straub, Christopher's dad, suggests abortion and everyone is absolutely horrified. As far as Emily's concerned, it is absolutely NOT a viable option. Richard suggests that Christopher marry Lorelai and take a job at his company. No one asks the kids what they want to do; every decision is made for them. Christopher is less horrified by this than Lorelai.

At FND, Lorelai's nice evening with Emily is interrupted by Rory, who calls and demands that she rush down to the hospital to save her from watching Sherry give birth. If I were Lorelai, I absolutely would not have gone to that hospital. I would have told Rory to suck it up and either say she doesn't want to be in the room or accept the fact that she's the only family member present and needs to be a good, supportive person for Sherry. Since Lorelai has no problem emotionally stunting her daughter, she goes to the hospital. Emily, of course, is perplexed by this ("You’re going to be with Rory’s father’s girlfriend while she has his baby?") and I don't blame her; it is an uncomfortable, unconventional situation that Lorelai could easily avoid.

Just like adult Lorelai, teen Lorelai makes some pretty dumb choices. She goes into labor watching "Quincy, M.E." and eating a pepper sandwich, but instead of letting her parents know, she drives to the hospital alone. What kind of ungrateful bitch pulls a stunt like this? Tell your parents what's up like a normal human being and let them drive you to the hospital, you goon. Don't leave a hastily scrawled note and try to avoid them when they show up angry. I understand that she doesn't have the best relationship with them, but she's still a teenager who depends on them for food and shelter, so it's the least she can do. Instead, she shows up to the hospital alone and listens to "99 Luft Balloons" on her Walkman.

Present day Lorelai also shows up to the hospital in a surly mood. She shames Sherry for trying to get work done while she still can and she refuses to buy a camera to commemorate the moment in case Christopher doesn't make it. It's some pretty immature shit, tbh. Even after Christopher arrives and the baby is born, Lorelai can't shake her self-absorption. As Chris and Lorelai look at Gigi in the hospital nursery, they have this exchange:

Christopher: She’s perfect.
Lorelai: Rory was perfect. She, however, is a good solid second.

Young-Lorelai-and-Christopher-Hospital-Dear-Emily-and-Richard-Gilmore-Girls
Oh, yes ... that Christopher. What a dream boat. Swoon.

Goddamit, Lorelai. For once, I wish she would let someone else have their moment without attempting to shit all over it.

In the final flashbacks, we see Christopher at the hospital with teen Lorelai, looking at Rory in the nursery and musing that it's now time for them to get married. The look on Lorelai's face says, "ugh, no thanks." Later, as Emily and Richard prepare to leave for the symphony, they find a note that presumably explains Lorelai's departure. We're not told what it says, but I assume it's something like this:

Dear mom and dad,
I'm off to try my hand at being poor. I'll hit you up in sixteen years when I need money.
xox Lorelai

The episode ends with present-day Lorelai installing a DVD player for Emily. See, she's a nice person. Look how much growth she has experienced! Jk. This is what the episode wants us to believe, but I don't quite buy it yet.

Random observations:

  • Yo Emily and Richard, would you like to pay for my trip to Europe? I will gladly take your money.
  • Part of the retirement party decor = golf clubs attached to purple ribbons, hanging from the ceiling. Why?
  • When will the wardrobe department stop with the dumb scarves? They will be the death of me.
  • Arleta is another one of Emily's maids that is mentioned this episode.
  • Why are there so many creepy dolls in Lorelai's teenage bedroom? They make me uncomfortable and remind me of that "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" episode where Jake and Sophia go to the bed and breakfast and stay in the doll room.
  • At least teen Lor balances out the dolls with an Echo and the Bunnymen poster for "Ocean Rain."
  • I must give her credit ... Lorelai picks up a good selection of DVDs for Emily: "Singin’ in the Rain," "Funny Girl," "Easter Parade," "An American in Paris," "Urban Cowboy," "Saturday Night Fever," "Grease," "Footloose," and "Flashdance."