Directing and writing credits:
"Keg! Max!" is directed by Chris Long, written by Daniel Palladino. Long has directed so many episodes at this point that it's hard to keep track. Here's the running tally:

"Presenting Lorelai Gilmore" - Dean is disgusted by the thought of wearing a tux until he realizes how cool Neil Young looks in one. You are not Neil Young, Dean. You will never be Neil Young.
"The Bracebridge Dinner" - If I quit my job in an unplanned fit of rage, I'd be just as happy as Richard Gilmore.
"Help Wanted" - The patriarchy is alive and well! Lorelai tries to show her father some kindness and he treats her like an incompetent secretary.
"Haunted Leg" - Christopher throws a tantrum at Friday night dinner and Lorelai is much nicer to him than I ever would have been. This dude needs to WRAP UP HIS JUNK. Condoms would seriously alleviate 95% of his problems.
"Swan Song" - Rory is dumb enough to believe that Jess got hit in the eye while throwing a football with a buddy, but I don't buy his bullshit for one second.
"A Tale of Poes and Fire" - Babette ate oatmeal.

I honestly don't understand how D. Palladino kept up with the "GG" workload. Maybe he and Amy are the kind of people who only need five hours of sleep every night. They each wrote 36% of Season 3. How the fuck are two people collectively responsible for nearly 75% of a show that has notoriously long and complex scripts? It takes me nearly 45 minutes to write each one of these lame "GG" recaps. I would have a panic attack if I were responsible for that kind of volume and originality. I guess it's a good thing I don't work in television πŸ‘―β€β™€οΈ

Most batshit crazy outfit:
Who does Lorelai think she is, Samuel L. Jackson? This hat is so damn ugly that it totally distracts me from Sookie's middle school art project sweater.

Kangol called: they reject your endorsement.

Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
Lorelai corners Max in a classroom and continues to pursue him even though he asks her multiple times to stay the fuck away. The whole encounter is obnoxious, but Lorelai is clearly in the wrong and should have respected his wishes instead of directly violating them. I do hate that he places her on a pedestal and blames her for his actions, though. He tells her,

"I'm not worried about you, I'm worried about me. I mean, there are people still walking the halls and this is my workplace and I can't be held responsible for what I do around you. I mean, you are like a ... like a ... like a mythological creature that casts some kind of spell on me and makes me act stupid. I'm not stupid. I don't act stupid with anyone else."

Okay, dude. It's not Lorelai's fault that you can't control your boners every time she steps foot in Chilton.

Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
Lorelai tortures Sookie with her idiotic Max nonsense. It's clear that Sookie is 100% over it all because she tries to convince Lorelai that maybe the kiss between them never happened:

Sookie: Maybe it was an illusion.
Lorelai: It was not an illusion, Doug Henning. We kissed.
Sookie: Don't be so sure because something like this happened to me when I was like ten. I was so into Leif Garrett and I fantasized about kissing him so much that at some point, I really thought it happened.
Lorelai: I kissed Max, Sookie.
Sookie: I can still feel Leif's lips on mine.
Lorelai: I kissed him.

Unlike Lorelai, Rory is a pretty good friend to her bff. She attends Kyle's lame house party in support of the band and in an ultimate show of support, holds back Lane's hair while she vomits after drinking approximately 1.5 beers. If Rory were a truly great friend, she probably would have stopped Lane from drunk dialing Mrs. Kim, but she was a little busy forcibly shoving Jess away from her lady business.

Best literary or pop culture references:
Paris shows up at the booster club meeting to tell all the robot moms how moronic it is to host grad night on a yacht. She brings up many solid points, but this is her strongest:

"Forget the inconvenience of being at sea with guests unable to leave if the party is dull or if the band, which will inevitably be composed of accountants with semi-mullets, decides to do a half-hour tribute to Kenny G."

I love a good Kenny G burn, especially when it comes from Paris.

Stars Hollow weirdness:
The townies are barely in this episode, but we do find out how Kirk likes to spend his Friday nights: playing video trivia at the pizza place.

Sharpest insult or one-liner:
In the drollest tone, Dave tells Yiung Chui, "You should probably stay away from the band area. We got a lot of cords and stuff, and I don't want you to get electrocuted and die." Adam Brody's line delivery here is fantastic and I am reminded of how great he is not only in "The O.C.," but in "Jennifer's Body." I always forget that he's in the latter and it's such a treat when he and his eyeliner make an appearance.

"Do you know how hard it is to make it as an indie band these days?"

Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Not a damn thing. Brian wants to call the band "The Harry Potters," apparently not realizing that there actually is a band called "Harry and the Potters." I once saw them play at Carnegie Mellon and it was ... interesting?

Best song of the episode:
I'm aware that it's a lame choice with all of the other good music in this episode, but I must go with Perry Como's "Magic Moments," the song everyone sings at Richard and Emily's Friday night soiree. The guests are all dressed to the nines, eating mushroom caps, dancing, and singing around a piano. The elder Gilmores know how to party! It's worth mentioning that some dude named Lloyd Sandstone is potentially groping Emily. Why can't anyone respect boundaries in this episode?

When the episode begins, Rory and Lorelai are sitting on their couch, trying to think of something exciting to do with their newfound Friday night freedom. After a few moments of contemplation, "pizza and tv" is Lorelai's revolutionary suggestion. Rory points out that this is their fallback and urges them to come up with something better. Since all of their "Stars Hollow homies" are in bed/boring, Rory decides to give Richard and Emily a call. Unsurprisingly, the grandparents are having a rollicking good time with 55 or 60 other octogenarians who likewise enjoy alcohol and impromptu musical numbers. This is an accurate summation of the contrasting vibes:

Rory: The Gilmore house is partying like it's 1999.
Lorelai: And here it's "At Home with The 700 Club."

"Oh, here come the mushroom caps everybody!"

If Rory and Lorelai were actually at this party, I'm sure they would nonstop complain about the food and guests, but compared to their night on the couch, it does seem like a good time. Emily and Richard: 1. Lorelai and Rory: 0.

Lorelai's main points of interest this episode are her new camera (Digital Dan), depressing inn business, booster club duties, and of course, Max. There is a great scene in the diner where Lorelai annoys everyone by doing dumb shit like taking a picture of the menu and ordering off the picture (why). After she takes a rough shot of Luke and insults him, he tells her, "I wasn't ready. Plus, it was a bad angle. Plus, this is a harsh light. A soft light would help with the thing with the eyes." He might seem like a simple man, but he knows the proper ingredients for a quality glamour shot.

The Luke harrassment unfortunately does not stop at the inn. He is kind enough to inspect the stove's fire damage but unable to escape the nonstop commentary about his ass.

Sookie: Well, he was lying on the floor pretty much like that, tinkering with stuff back there, and I got down and leaned in to see what he was doing, and after a while, I realized that the whole time, my hand was on his butt.
Lorelai: Sookie!
Sookie: It was an accident.
Lorelai: It's getting very Cinemax at night in here.
Sookie: It was embarrassing.
Lorelai: Uh huh. So, how was it?
Sookie: His butt?
Lorelai: Yeah.
Sookie: It's got a nice shape to it.

"Accidentally" sexually assulating someone and then talking about it in a joking manner is some Donald Trump shit. I want Sookie and Lorelai to be better than this.

Lorelai lets me down again after she sees Max at Chilton. After receiving a threatening letter that berates her "previous paucity of participation," Lorelai shows up to a booster club meeting and is surprised to find that Max is the faculty rep. He treats her the same as everyone else (which upsets her, obviously) and she is crestfallen when she shows up to the second meeting and finds that he has been replaced with the drama teacher, Barbara Epstein. Instead of letting this go and moving on, Lorelai excuses herself from the meeting, finds Max, and refuses to walk away when he tells her he has no interest in revamping their romance. If this situation were reversed, we would be furious that Max didn't respect Lorelai's "ten feet" rule.

Leave this nerd alone and find some new d. You are not this desperate, Lorelai.

Later, she makes Luke and Nicole uncomfortable when she shows up to their room at the inn for turndown service and refuses to fuck off, even after they heavily hint that they want her gone. Why is Lorelai consistently unable to read social cues? Is there something in the Stars Hollow water supply?

While Lorelai's busy creepily overstepping boundaries, Rory is focused on making the best of Kyle's party and supporting Lane's band. It's a real bummer to watch her relationship with Jess deteriorate over the course of a single night. Before he finds out that he's missed too much school and isn't eligible for graduation, the vibe is flirty and adorable. Instead of berating the lame Stars Hollow High prom, Jess takes a zen approach:

Rory: It means a tux, you know. I know it's geeky.
Jess: Tuxes are also James Bond. That's not geeky.

This is a shocking response from someone who hates everyone and everything. Along with promising to procure prom tickets, Jess attends Lane's band rehearsal and even refers to Dave as "a cool guy." Is this an "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" situation? Of course, everything crumbles after his conversation with the Black (shocking!) guidance counselor. Apparently, Jess thought he was somehow above CT state law and that his depressing combo of intelligence + laziness somehow magically = high school graduation.

What I'm perplexed by is that Luke wasn't notified of Jess' attendance record. The Black guidance counselor read him the riot act when Jess' grades were slipping and all of the Β baseballs were missing, but I guess no one thought to give him a call when Jess started to skip school. I hate to place the blame elsewhere, but the Stars Hollow High faculty is at least partially to blame. The students should form a coup, overthrow the incompetent administration, and fight for justice.

After Jess realizes that he isn't graduating, he doesn't tell anyone. Instead of confiding in Rory, he broods silently and treats her shittier and shittier as time progresses. When they first arrive at Kyle's party, he's annoyed that they've showed up early ("we're dork-early") and refuses to engage with anyone but Rory. He openly mocks Lindsay when she says she likes Michelle Branch and Matchbox 20 ... as if he's some paragon of culture and taste. When he disappears and Rory goes to find him, he's upstairs in one of the bedrooms. What transpires is upsetting.

Rory realizes that he's sad and asks him what's wrong. She gives him multiple chances to confide in her, but he takes her up on none of them. She's cute and patient with him ("You're not tired of me, are you?") and they kiss. He moves her to the bed and she initially seems into it. When he starts kissing her neck, she tells him to wait and her body language changes. Her arms are no longer holding him close; they're at his shoulders, moving him further away from her. He ignores her first request and she tells him to wait again. Instead of respecting her wishes, he starts to undo her belt buckle. After she physically pushes him off, he exclaims, "Jeez."

All of the dudes that I dated (aside from my husband) were Jess Marianos.

Instead of apologizing, he turns the situation back on Rory and tells her, "I did not invite you up here, you came up here on your own!" I interpret this frustrating as, "You walked into this bedroom uncoerced, so whatever happens here is your fault." I know Jess is hurt and lashing out unnecessarily because he can't find the words to communicate his feelings, but his behavior is inexcusable. After Rory starts to cry and says, "I don't know what I did," Jess replies, "You didn't do anything." He couldn't admit failure and express vulnerability, even to someone who truly loves him and has been nothing but supportive for the entirety of their relationship. I think these shortcomings (which Jess internally recognizes) have caused him to sabotage his own happiness for fear of rejection. To be clear, I am not trying to rationalize or defend Jess's behavior; I only mean to say that it's in character for him.

Imagine how differently this situation might have played out if Jess was taught that it's okay to feel sad. If, as a child, someone explained to him that instead of internalizing his sadness, he should share his feelings with someone he trusts, we probably wouldn't be discussing his shitty behavior. Toxic masculinity is real. Perceived gender norms are no joke. This is the type of nonsense that happens when we label emotional men as "pussies" and praise stoic, Ernest Hemingway types. NO MORE EXCUSES. This behavior needs to die.

Of course, the raging dickishness doesn't end with Jess' sexual coercion. After Rory's runs out of the bedroom, Jess follows her. Dean sees her crying, asks if she's okay, and makes eye contact with Jess, who trails after her. Dean's face tightens with rage and he follows Jess down the stairs, turns him around, and punches him right in the face. The whole thing is SO DISGUSTING. I got a reverse lady boner while watching and I honestly couldn't remember why I find men attractive.

The episode ends when the cops show up and make everyone dump their cups and leave. As the sirens flash, Rory and Jess exchange final looks at each other. Lane starts to puke, Rory walks over to hold her hair, and Jess walks off into the distance. Rory and Jess' relationship is officially in worse shape than Kyle's mom's Hummels. Boy with Toothache!

A heartbreaking ending, but damn, Rory looks good bathed in that red light.

I leave you with this, the transcript of Lane's drunk conversation with Mrs. Kim:

"Hello, Mama? Hi, how are you doing tonight? It's Lane. Yeah, Lane. Nothing's wrong. In fact, I'm feeling pretty good right now. Had a beer and a half, nice cold beer. And I just thought I'd tell you, I'm drumming in a band tonight at a party and we rocked. We were The Clash and Rage Against the Machine and Nirvana combined. And I'm in love with Dave Rygalski. He's my guy, not Yiung Chui. Yiung Chui's a ship in the night, Mama. Not even a ship, he's a little tugboat tooting along and I'm not gonna go to the prom with him, unh uh. I'm going with Dave, because we rock together, Mama. The charade is over."

Random observations:

  • Let's get one thing straight: Jess Mariano is no Bruce Springsteen. Tapping a keg for a bunch of moronic 18-year-olds does not make you "the working man's hero."
  • Michel adopts Chin-Chin and Paw-Paw in this episode! I guess Frank didn't hear about that time Michel made his neighbor's dog "disappear."
  • These are the suggested names for Lane's band: The Harry Potters, Follow Them to the Edge of the Desert, The We, Devil's Advocate, and Chops. I'm bummed we don't actually get to hear the Hep Alien origin story.
  • Rick, Kyle's twenty-one-year-old cousin (TWENTY-ONE!!!), is the same dude (Chase Penny) who plays Lane's crush, Rich Bloomenfeld, in S1.
  • Lorelai and Sookie stop in front of KC's Annex, a stand that sells onion rings and burgers. I don't think anyone ever mentions this spot by name which is kind of weird since it makes multiple appearances and everyone in this show is obsessed with food.
  • Kyle is one of my low-key favorite characters on "GG." I totally understand his swim towels v. good towels struggle and appreciate his attempt to keep the house clean.
  • I wonder what Lindsay said to Dean after he punched Jess to defend Rory's honor (or whatever the fuck that was). She should have broken up with him on the spot.