Directing and writing credits:
Directed by Kenny Ortega, written by Daniel Palladino. This is Ortega's second episode of Season 3; "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?" was his debut. This show is kind of weird because even with a seasoned veteran like Ortega, there's not much noticeable difference between directors. The aforementioned dance marathon episode stands out because of the choreography and increased camera movement and there are a few other anomalies throughout the series, but it's typically business as usual.

This episode is one of my favorites (mainly for the Lane/Dave Rygalski kiss) and a good example of how strong Palladino's writing is when he doesn't overutilize the townies. They're in this episode just enough to add color, but not so much that they completely overtake it.

Most batshit crazy outfit:
Weirdly enough, this episode is light on ugly ensembles. I don't love Lorelai's black leather gloves or sheer, bell sleeve top, but they're par for the course in 2002. Rory's love of tiny, shrunken cardigans is likewise unfortunate, but it's probably a look she saw in a dELiA*s catalog and decided to copy, so we'll give her a free pass.

Since there isn't a particularly horrible outfit from anyone, I will highlight something positive: Lane Kim's mock turtleneck and french braid pigtails.

I even like the tiny glasses! The whole look is very cool librarian.

I don't love that she pairs it with an ankle length red skirt and heeled Mary Janes, but it's baby steps with these people.

Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
I hate when Lorelai critiques Jess and Rory's kiss at Luke's dinner. Mind your own business, you fucking weirdo. No one asked you for a performance review, so please sit there and enjoy your turkey in silence. Her interaction with Dean at the market is creepy, too. It doesn't help that Lauren Graham and Jared Padalecki have insane sexual chemistry, but I do think it's borderline inappropriate to try to remain friends with your teenage daughter's ex-boyfriend. Like ... why?

I'm going to discuss it at length later, but Lorelai's outburst at Emily and Richard's Thanksgiving dinner is obviously the most irritating moment of the episode. Sometimes her behavior makes me completely understand her parents' actions and POV. Rory should have explained the application process to Lorelai early in the process to avoid this awkwardness.

Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
Lane is wrapped up in Dave, who attends Mrs. Kim's Thanksgiving dinner as a Christian guitarist, so there's not much time for Rory to treat her poorly. Sookie is busy panicking about the Inn's Thanksgiving dinner and numbing the pain of Jackson's antics with alcohol. Lorelai is a decent friend and tries to talk her down several times.

MGD? Really, Sookie. I thought you were better than this.

Best literary or pop culture references:
I find Jess's pop culture references baffling 95% of the time. Do we really think he would be this familiar with Frank Sinatra?

Rory: This will get better over time, I promise. But until then, let’s just play it cool.
Jess: Hey, I’m Frank at the Sands.
Rory: That’s cool.

I guess Jess is equal parts musical theater fanatic, punk rock aficionado, and 85-year-old man.

Stars Hollow weirdness:
Kirk has adopted a cat from Le Chat Club and named him Kirk. He acknowledges that this might be confusing, but rationalizes it by saying that his mom can always refer to him as "human Kirk" and his new pal as "cat Kirk." It's amazing and I love every second of it.

Later, cat Kirk flips the fuck out and tries to do a bunch of sinister things to him. Human Kirk tells us that 60% of his body is scratched (he's not even safe in the bathtub) and that cat Kirk tried to garrote him with a ball of yarn. Never let a cat smell your weakness, Kirk ... that was your first transgression.

"Oh, sorry. My excitement must be clouding my ability to judge comedic hyperbole."

Sharpest insult or one-liner:
When human Kirk gets excited, he apparently loses the ability to properly recognize humor. After adopting cat Kirk, he apologizes to Rory for misreading her tone: "Oh, sorry. My excitement must be clouding my ability to judge comedic hyperbole."

Kirk is a lovable weirdo and I hope he never changes.

Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Lorelai mentions Quasimodo from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" at Sookie's Thanksgiving dinner. Aside from that, nada.

Best song of the episode:
I think it's the only song we hear but even if it wasn't, I would have to pick "The Man Who Sold the World" by David Bowie. This is the perfect first kiss song for Lane and Dave and I think of that scene every time I hear it. The same Bonnie & Maude episode that I mentioned in the last recap also dissects this kiss scene and once again, does a great job. You should listen to the entire episode, but if you just want to hear the kiss scene discussion, skip to 38:00.

"A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving" has everything I never even knew I wanted in an episode of "Gilmore Girls": Dave Rygalski playing a David Bowie riff while fronting as a Christian guitarist, drunk Sookie, Emily and Richard's sassy French friends, and the two Kirks (cat and human). It's a true delight and definitely makes it into my top ten.

In the opening scene, Lorelai and Rory watch "Grey Gardens" and come to the realization that there are undeniable similarities between them and the Edies. All I can really say to this is DUH. The only huge difference is that the Edies knew a thing or two about iconic, albeit haphazard, fashion whereas the Gilmores are clueless.

No one can rock a headscarf quite like Little Edie.

Over at the Independence Inn, Sookie freaks out over relinquishing Thanksgiving dinner control to Bob. After she's done picking celery tops out of the trash, Lorelai tries to calm her down and gets sidetracked when Emily Gilmore appears unexpectedly. Sookie greats her and at first, Lorelai doesn't think she's serious and makes a joke comparing Emily to Joseph Stalin. Emily is not amused and uses this leverage to strong-arm Lorelai into attending Thanksgiving dinner.

Like Sookie, Paris's anxiety is at an all-time high. She tells the ladies at school that "My Thanksgiving is turning into a Wes Craven movie." She wants to volunteer at a shelter so she can put it on her college applications, but it seems that no one is in need of Paris and her slotted spoon. She says,

"Who are all these jackasses who volunteered anyway? They can’t all be students like me. They’re not all putting it on a college application. I get something out of it and these other people don’t get a thing. Talk about selfish."

Never change, Paris. Your unapologetic narcissism is unparalleled.

That evening, on their way to the diner, Rory and Lorelai run into human Kirk and cat Kirk and hear the entire Le Chat Club adoption story. Rory says, "He’s always been a cat person, he’s just never had a cat." I take offense to this. What exactly is a cat person? Plenty of different personalities enjoy the company of cats. Stereotyping all people who co-exist with cats as lonely weirdos is inaccurate and small-minded. (I say 'co-exist with' because no one actually 'owns' a cat; it's impossible.)

As soon as they sit down at the diner, Luke brings Lorelai and Rory their Wednesday usual: French dip sandwiches, extra fries, and cherry pie. After realizing that they've committed to four different Thanksgiving dinners, the ladies decide that they need to cut one from their roster. Since Luke typically gives zero fucks, Lorelai tells him they won't be in attendance this year. Shockingly (to them, not someone who has emotional intelligence), Luke looks disappointed and Lorelai fakes a phone call with her mom in order to give an excuse for their newfound ability to attend his dinner.

The next day, Rory and Lorelai are at Doose's Market, picking up supplies for the big day. According to signs on the market windows, turkey is $1.29 per pound, which is crazy for 2002. Is this a fresh, organic turkey or a frozen one? Either way, anyone buying their turkey from Taylor is a total sucker.

It's cold enough for (stupid) leather gloves but not a scarf? Mmmk.

Rory stays outside to choose flowers for all the Thanksgiving hosts and Lorelai goes inside to grab some cranberry sauce. Jess shows up and kisses Rory right by the market, but she moves him further away so as not to accidentally flaunt the relationship in front of Dean. I agree with Jess on this one - fuck Dean. He's going to see them together eventually, so why keep delaying the inevitable?

Inside the market, Lorelai runs into Dean (and human Kirk, who has been mauled by cat Kirk) and gives him a creepy speech about how he was the best first boyfriend to Rory. She says, " It’s okay to keep avoiding me if you want. I just wanted you to know that you don’t need to, okay? Just because you and Rory broke up doesn’t mean we did." I really liked one ex-boyfriend's mom, but I would laugh in her face if she said this to me. Your son treated me like garbage and you think I want to remain friends with the person who spawned him? No fucking way, lady. You're out of your goddamn mind. Just pretend not to see me like a normal person and get on with your life.

The first dinner takes place at the Kim house, where chocolate is confusing and Tofurky reigns supreme. Dave Rygalski plays hymns (and a carefully masked David Bowie riff) softly in the background while everyone eats.

The second dinner, at Sookie and Jackson's, is a hellscape nightmare. A bunch of disgusting people in leather vests congregate around a deep fryer, drinking MGDs, and chanting Jackson's name. As Jackson emerges from the house with the turkey, everyone collectively loses their shit. Why did Sookie marry this person? She's going to need 10,000 shitty beers to erase the memory of this day.

After wishing Sookie well, the gals head to Luke's Diner for their third dinner. Lorelai awkwardly critiques Rory's kiss with Jess and I want to punch her in the face. I don't even like kissing my husband in front of other people, so I totally understand just going for a quick hello peck and calling it a day. This exchange is particularly frustrating:

Rory: I’m just not good with the public displays.
Lorelai: You didn’t have that problem with Dean.

Lol are you kidding, Lorelai? Rory and Dean had about as much chemistry as two subway rats, fighting over a slice of pizza near the third rail.

After human Kirk recounts the abuse he's suffered at the paws of cat Kirk and Babette gives one of the most iconic line deliveries of the show ("You gotta give it a little something, honey"), the Gilmores head to their fourth and final dinner at Richard and Emily's. Along with all of the typical players, there are some special guests at this dinner: Natalie (the woman who called Emily "the cobra") and her husband Douglas, along with a French couple named Claude and Monique.

Monique's suit is so oversized it looks like pajamas and Claude is wearing a bracelet.

After a bunch of dumb small talk, including several weird jokes from Lorelai, Emily rings a bell to summon her servant and the feast begins. Eventually, conversation turns to the college application process. Natalie and Douglas are dying to know where Rory's applied. She reluctantly admits that along with Harvard, she's also turned in applications at Princeton and Yale. When Lorelai hears this, she loses it and starts to scream at Emily and Richard. Before she storms out of the room and onto the freezing patio sans coat, she says this:

"I’m not being paranoid, Mom. For seventeen years, she was going to Harvard, and now all of a sudden, she’s applied to Yale and she’s mimicking everything you say. This is just crazy."

I guess Lorelai wanted Rory to either go to Harvard or not attend college at all. The whole situation wonderfully showcases her delusions and once again, makes me think that the way Emily and Richard treat her isn't quite as harsh it it sometimes seems. Does Lorelai really think that Rory is ~so special~ that she's a shoo-in at an Ivy League school with an 11% acceptance rate? Lorelai is an insolent child.

In the next scene, the Kim Thanksgiving comes to a close and Dave Rygalski is ushered out with Tofurky and $20 for his time (so generous). But oh, no! He forgot his Bible. Lane offers to run it out to him, but Mrs. Kim wants to take a look at it first. She opens it up and reads the inside cover: "This bible belongs to God, but is being used by Dave Rygalski." At this point, my husband turned to me and said, "Dave is going to grow up to have two families who never find out about each other until he dies." I love Dave, but he is TOO GOOD at lying. It makes me uneasy.

After Lane runs after him and apologizes for the night of marathon hymns, he tells her he doesn't give a fuck and still wants to take her out on a date. As "The Man Who Sold the World" swells, Lane and Dave have their first kiss. It is adorable. They're both clearly very into it and Lane seems delightfully surprised.

After Lorelai admits to Rory that her actions at the elder Gilmore house were irrational, the two briefly stop to say hello to drunk Sookie before heading back to the diner. Jess is on his way to take out the trash and Rory decides to stop him in his tracks with an "I want to fuck you" kiss. Dean, who has apparently been lurking in the shadows, sees this and threatens Jess in the lamest possible way. For once, Jess is pretty rational and doesn't provoke conflict. Good for you, Jess. I'm proud.

After begging Luke for some to-go rolls, Rory and Lorelai head home. As they pass the gazebo, they wave to Kirk, who is snuggled up on the bench with all of his blankets. It makes me happy to know that a cat has managed to evacuate him from his own home. Things are going to be great when cats rule the world.

This actually does look cozy. The gazebo has the perfect amount of twinkle lights.

Random observations:

  • I should acknowledge that Sookie looks beautiful at Thanksgiving dinner, but it's hard to grab a screenshot of her where she doesn't look drunk.
  • Spotted in Doose's Market: Ring Pops and Easy Mac.
  • Morey Dell 100% belongs in the "Twin Peaks" universe.
  • Lorelai orders Luke to grab more marshmallows for the yams, then proceeds to take the marshmallows off his plate while he's gone. She is a monster.
  • I love that Emily hired a piano player she found at Nordstrom. I have to assume that both Nordstrom and MGD paid for advertising. I wonder if all the products in Doose's Market are paid placements, too ... it seems likely.
  • I die when Sookie can't say "ensconced." Sookie is always delightful, but I think this scene is the first where we truly see Melissa McCarthy's comedy chops.
  • "Bible Kiss Bible" is not a good band name. Are you high on bath salts, Rory?
  • Dean just moved to Stars Hollow like two years ago, but he's all "this is my town" to Jess. Chill out, bowl cut. I understand that you're feeling threatened and territorial, but it's super pathetic and silence is preferable.