Directing and writing credits:
"Say Goodnight, Gracie" is directed by Jamie Babbit. Amy Sherman-Palladino has the story credit and shares the teleplay credit with Janet Leahy. Babbit has directed a bunch of previous episodes:

"The Road Trip to Harvard" - Lorelai maxes out her credit card at the Harvard student store and buys all of the ugly shit no one else wants (bucket hats).
"Dead Uncles and Vegetables" - The alt town troubadour opens up a produce stand outside of Taylor's market and nearly drives him to an early death.
"Lorelai's Graduation Day" - Lorelai graduates from business school with Seth MacFarlane, of all people.
"Take the Deviled Eggs..." - We find out that Sherry has a Black friend.
"That'll Do, Pig" - Dean wears a zip-up turtleneck sweater to the Stars Hollow High carnival.
"Lorelai Out of Water" - Alex, Lorelai's most forgettable boyfriend, takes her fishing and Lane's band gets a new practice space.
"The Big One" - Paris loses her virginity and has a meltdown on CSPAN.

Leahy also wrote "Lorelai Out of Water" and has worked on iconic shows like "Cheers" and "Mad Men." If you want to know more about her, check out her interview with Pete Holmes on the "You Made It Weird" podcast.

Most batshit crazy outfit:
When I think of appropriate funeral attire, you know what doesn't come to mind? A bucket hat (unless you're Snoop Dogg.) The rest of Lorelai's outfit isn't horrible, but the hideous hat kills it for me.

Miss Patty wins "best funeral ensemble" for her dragonfly muumuu.

Emily, on the other hand, continues to slay the game with her gardening attire.

Lorelai should ask her for some tips on how/when to wear a hat.

Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
So let's get this straight: Lorelai would be disappointed if Rory had sex, but she's proud when Rory is the catalyst for a cop raided party? I don't understand this logic. I'm also baffled by Sookie and Lorelai's funeral negotiations. Why do they think the Dragonfly Inn bid is so pressing that they can't wait 24 hours to discuss it? It's beyond tacky to start badgering the lawyer (played by Melissa McCarthy's IRL husband, Ben Falcone) while he's holding Fran's coffin.

Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
As previously mentioned, Lorelai is awful, but Rory is a good, supportive friend to Lane. She brings her backpack (Zelda Fitzgerald) to church and tries to help Lane rationalize her drunk call to Mrs. Kim. Remember these nice moments because they'll completely disappear once Rory goes to college.

Best literary or pop culture references:
I love the homage to the graduate at the end of the episode with Rory and Jess at the back of the bus.

Hello darkness, my old friend.

Stars Hollow weirdness:
We unfortunately don't get to see it, but Lorelai tells us that Kirk dropped Fran's coffin and ripped his pants when a gnat flew into his mouth (there's a picture of him getting pinned by the casket in the paper). Then, of course, there's the bizareness of Taylor's "grand opening" marching band beginning to play during Fran's funeral service. The grand opening is cancelled, but I guess the marching band did not get the memo because they sound off with a terrific fanfare during Reverand Skinner's moment of silence. If D. Palladino wrote this episode, I'm sure there would have been significantly more townie moments during the funeral.

Sharpest insult or one-liner:
It's not really an insult, but I respect Mrs. Kim's bluntness when she says, "Walking with dead people, not my thing. Let's go," at the end of Fran's funeral. I need to start taking this approach when I don't want to do something.

Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Jess is initially reading "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel García Márquez when Rory sees him on the bus. Later, after she leaves, he pulls "Death on the Installment Plan" by Louis-Ferdinand Céline out of his rucksack. Rory's bus book is "Eleanor Roosevelt" by Blanche Wiesen Cook. Mrs. Kim quotes "Henry VI" and drives Dave fucking crazy because apparently Google is not a thing in 2003.

Best song of the episode:
It feels wrong to go with anything other than David Bowie's "Suffragette City." At least Jess and his deadbeat dad are able to bond over something?

Thoughts:
For a show that's typically light on plot, a bunch of big events happen all at once in this episode: Dave reads the entire Bible in one night, Jimmy Mariano makes an appearance, Fran dies, Dean gets engaged, and Jess leaves Stars Hollow for Venice Beach. Big changes are on the horizon, and it's fitting to see so many chapters come to a close.

As Rory collects Lane's backpack from the party detritus, Luke slouches onto the scene and complains about his nephew's destructive tendencies. Thanks to Jess, he was woken up ten minutes early and forced to discuss Hummel reparations with Kyle's parents. If I were in his position, I would be furious, too. After figuring out that Rory was the catalyst for the fight between Dean and Jess, Lorelai sings "The Wing Beneath My Wings" and proves once again that she's the world's worst mother. What is the message here? Does she think Rory is a hero because stupid boys got into a fight over her? I'm disgusted.

At the sad, fire-damaged Independence Inn, Sookie and Lorelai deal with the challenges of entertaining (see-through) robed guests sans kitchen. They should probably give Peg and Dennis Miss Patty's address; I have a feeling she's down to be the third participant in their inevitable kinky lovemaking spree.

"Seeing the sunlight hit Dennis gave me a whole new respect for Peg."

Since S3 Rory is a good friend, she finds Lane at church, returns her backpack, and tries to ease her anxiety about Mrs. Kim.

Rory: Okay, well, let's think. Maybe she didn't hear you.
Lane: I was drunk, I could've slurred.
Rory: Exactly. Maybe she thought you said you were at a smarty, playing clock music, drinking fear, and in love with Rave Smitchalsky.
Lane: And how would that be better?
Rory: It's much less clear.

Since Lane is on pins and needles over the Mrs. Kim drunk dial, she figures there is zero chance Dave will be allowed to take her to prom. When he shows up to her house in a haze and begs Mrs. Kim for permission, she tells him, "Let never day nor night unhallow'd pass, but still remember what the Lord hath done." Assuming that this phrase is from the Bible, he leaves the Kim household with a mission to figure out what it means. After staying up all night reading but coming up empty, he knocks on their door the next morning, begging Mrs. Kim for answers.

"I stayed up all night. I read the entire bible cover to cover. I don't know what it means."

She reveals that although the line she quoted is from "Henry VI" and not the Bible, she's still impressed at Dave's ability to stay up and read it "cover-to-cover." She grants him permission to take Lane to prom, although they can't get married. It is a triumphant, unexpected moment and the first time I realize that I truly don't understand Mrs. Kim. Who is she? What are her principles? I thought I knew, but I have no idea.

At Luke's Diner, Jess is clamoring to fulfill orders and contain the chaos in Luke's absence. One particularly annoying man sits at a table for four and orders nothing but coffee (this turns out to be Jess' dad, Jimmy). Taylor pops up in a ridiculous outfit to announce the grand opening of his soda shoppe and candy store. He plans on selling penny candy for $1/piece which makes me realize that yes, Taylor totally would have voted for Trump. When he starts to sing "The Candy Man," I am immediately reminded of the night that Rory loses her virginity to Dean. Picturing Dean shirtless, smiling while Sammy Davis Jr. brightly croons makes me want to barf. (The fact that this show has made shirtless Jared Padalecki seem disgusting speaks volumes.)

After Luke returns from Kyle's, he tells Jess to stop bitching and start working because he has Hummel repairs to finance. When the "loser coffee guy" leaves without his wallet, Luke chases after him and realizes who he is. Later, Luke shows up to Jimmy's hotel room and confronts him.  He threatens physical violence (typical) if Jimmy does or says anything to upset Jess and make Luke's life harder. I understand where Luke is coming from, but this is a dumb plan. He should have been honest with Jess and told him that his dad was in town.

Diedrich's is a step up from Hill Bros. Coffee. Has Luke switched suppliers?

When Jess first comes to SH, Luke tells Lorelai that his dad abandoned him two years ago. When Luke confronts Jimmy, he mentions that he hasn't seen him since Jess was born. Which is it GG writers? Did they somehow forget that they gave Jimmy a backstory or did they just decide they didn't give a fuck about consistency? Either way, I'm annoyed.

Instead of heeding Luke's warning, Jimmy does eventually show up at the diner and tell Jess who he is. Instead of apologizing for his absence or explaining his sudden presence, Jimmy says nothing further. Jess pours him coffee and the two sit in silence together at a table while "Suffragette City" blares. They both mouth, "Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am," which I think is supposed to elicit an "Aw, look, they're related" reaction. Instead, it fills me with rage that this new male figure in Jess' life seems to be just as big of an asshole as him. Jimmy is what Jess is going to turn into if he doesn't figure out how to express his emotions and form healthy relationships with people.

It's not shocking to me that instead of staying in Stars Hollow and attempting to repair things with Luke and Rory, Jess hops on a bus and heads to CA to start fresh with some dude who can't even utter a simple apology. It's all very sad, but it makes Jess' self-improvements in S6 and 7 feel even more meaningful.

When Lorelai and Sookie see Fran's death announcement on the door of Weston's Bakery, they immediately think about the Dragonfly Inn. They loved Fran, but she lived a nice, long life, and they really want that inn, so I can't knock them for this behavior. What I do find unacceptable is their ridiculous lack of chill at her fucking funeral. They freak out when her lifelong friend, Marjorie, mentions the Dragonfly and the mic cuts out, rendering her comments  inaudbile (even though they're in a tiny room with great acoustics). During Fran's "walk around the square," Lorelai and Sookie sidle up to the lawyer in charge of the will and pump him for news on the Dragonfly. When he tells them the property is probably theirs as long as the check clears, they turn into total woo girls and start to celebrate around Fran's dead body. Way to keep it professional, ladies ... such great businesswomen 🙄

After Fran's funeral, Dean pulls Rory aside to excitedly tell her that he's getting married! What awkward timing. After punching Jess at Kyle's party to defend another lady's honor, I guess Dean decided that the timing was right to propose to his girlfriend of ... 7 months max? Rory, understandbly, is flabbergasted, and serves up  a heavy dose of skepticisim in response to Dean's exuberance.

"I mean, it's weird, but Lindsay's amazing and I asked and she said yes, so ... I'm getting married."

The conversation takes a turn for the brutal once Dean realizes he's not getting the response he desires:

Dean: You know what, I'm sorry if you have a crappy relationship with Jess.
Rory: Hey, that has -
Dean: And I'm sorry if he treats you like dirt and everyone hates him, but that was your choice. I have a great girlfriend and I am really happy, and when you dumped me for that jackass, I thought I'd never be happy again.

Well, sure, Dean ... how nice that you're happy! But please know that it's fleeting. IT IS FLEETING AF. You might be happy now, but you'll be ready to stick your dick in something new after 3-4 months of marriage. Congratulations, asshole.

Random observations:

  • In the first diner scene, Kirk's waffles look plastic.
  • Jess and Jimmy both have a penchant for short-sleeved shirts layered over long-sleeve shirts. I do not approve (although I frequently rocked this look as a teen).
  • What movie do you think the grandparents played during Rory's movie night? My money's on "To Catch a Thief" or something with Audrey Hepburn.
  • I know I only commented on Lorelai's hat, but Lane also wears an insane black straw number to the funeral that makes me question her taste.
  • Tea time at the Kim house = soy scones and "tofutter." My mouth is watering.
  • Lorelai has a ridiculous number of shirts that either have a peace sign or say "peace." I don't approve of it or understand it.
  • Who are the Jews in Stars Hollow? I can think of zero.
  • I like Dave less after we find out that carbonation freaks him out. Who is this person and what is his story?
  • I don't understand how Rory overlooked Jess' moving duffle at the end of the episode. It's huge.