Directing and writing credits:
"Chicken or Beef?" is directed by Chris Long, written by Jane Espenson. Long has directed many previous episodes.

"Presenting Lorelai Gilmore" - Emily is horrified by Rory's low-rent cotillion with cotton tablecloths and folding chairs.
"The Bracebridge Dinner" - Jess sabotages "the Michelangelo of snow" so that Rory and Lorelai's crude rendering of Björk wins the snowman building contest by default.
"Help Wanted" - Richard forgets that Lorelai is his daughter and not his secretary.
"Haunted Leg" - We find out that Doose's Market sells giant boxes of Easy Mac.
"Swan Song" - Rory acts like an entitled brat and for once, Jess is kind of the better person.
"A Tale of Poes and Fire" - Rory's going to Yale!
"Keg! Max!" - I regret ever declaring my #TeamJess allegiance.
"The Lorelais' First Day at Yale" - Unemployed Lorelai spends $500 on takeout so that people will like Rory.

This is Espenson's first episode of "Gilmore Girls." You probably know her from her work on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." She's written some of my favorite episodes, including "The Wish," the one with an alternate, Buffy-less universe. Most recently, she was a writer/producer on "Once Upon a Time," a show that never appealed to me but was apparently pretty decent.

Most batshit crazy outfit:
I love Rory's new haircut so much that it's hard for me to objectively judge her outfits. She somehow makes this pajama top (?), shrunken corduroy blazer, and cargo mini skirt work, even though the combination makes zero sense. The proportions are all wrong and it's sloppy af, but damn, would you look at that hair? Lane's French braid pigtails are fantastic as always.

Rory Gilmore always makes me feel better about my own shitty posture.

Most irritating Rory or Lorelai moment:
I don't understand why Rory and Lorelai accept an invite to Dean's wedding. How fucking awkward would it be if they went? Just make up an excuse ... literally anything will do!

  • Our fictional cat has bronchitis.
  • Luke reported our diner debt and now we have to flee to Nepal.
  • Kirk accidentally put a hit on us, so our afternoon got hectic.

Rory and Dean broke up less than one year ago. Lindsay is clearly a rebound and this marriage is 100% doomed. Any person with one ounce of sense knows to avoid that wedding like the plague.

Number of times Rory or Lorelai treat their bff like shit:
After Rory finds out about Dean's upcoming nuptials, she has the audacity to yell at Lane for not giving her an advance warning.

Rory: Have you heard of a phone? Because as my friend, it is your responsibility to use it to call me and tell me that my ex-boyfriend's wedding is on Sunday so I'm not accidentally in it.
Lane: What?
Rory: I'm sitting out in the gazebo, reading, and this guy almost brains me with a stack of tablecloths.

Does Rory ever call Lane to ask her how she's doing? To inquire about her well-being and the tribulations of Seventh Day Adventist college? If she does, we don't get to see it. Lane has her own life and struggles, but Rory only cares about them when she benefits in some way.

Best literary or pop culture references:
This is one of those questionable gay jokes that I typically hate, but I must admit that I laughed out loud. Melissa McCarthy's line delivery is killer.

Michel: Are you sure it wasn't another Michel?
Sookie: You called me! You kept me on the phone for over an hour. I missed the beginning of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and by the time I got back, they were all gay.

I feel like Sookie truly believes that the point of the show is for a bunch of men to makeover another man and "turn him gay."

Sookie's face perfectly illustrates how I feel about working the week of Christmas.

Stars Hollow weirdness:
Kirk has joined the Stars Hollow Security Company (he has a gun!!) and without permission, installed an annoying alarm in the Gilmore house. He does this because he's concerned for Lorelai, aka "the pretty spinster," now that she lives all alone. This is 1/4 nice, 3/4 insulting. If Kirk hadn't destroyed their phone line and roof in the process, I would have given him props for at least attempting a nice gesture.

The new SH mail carrier doesn't have a tongue. He also enjoys routinely delivering mail to the wrong houses, which Lorelai seems to find delightful. I'm with Miss Patty: the town should band together to kill him (this isn't exactly what she said, but it was strongly inferred).

Taylor is also a larger part of this episode. He blackmails Lorelai with a cease and desist letter on the inn with hopes that she'll help him convince Luke to allow a summer ice cream truck. Even though his store is right next door, he wants to park the truck in front of the diner and sell ice cream outdoors in the summer. The whole thing is stupid, but I guess they occasionally remember that Michael Winters is a legit actor and decide to throw him a bone.

Sharpest insult or one-liner:
John Cabrera doesn't get enough credit for his perfectly sardonic, dry line delivery.

Lane: Well, I thought Rory was my mom.
Zack: The resemblance is uncanny.
Brian: We should get your mom a bell like a cat.

My brain went from picturing Mrs. Kim wearing a bell, looking pissed off, to imagining her as a cat.

Which cat best captures the spirit of Mrs. Kim?

Books mentioned/books Rory is reading:
Rory reads Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey" in the gazebo during her "perfect Stars Hollow day." It's a pity she's quickly interrupted by Dean and Lindsay's wedding preparations. Or rather, it would be a pity if I gave a single shit about Rory and her happiness.

Best song of the episode:
Before she's interrupted by the party planners, Rory listens to "The Weakest Shade of Blue" by the Pernice Brothers. These are the lyrics we hear as the camera pans from the top of the gazebo down to Rory:

This love i have for you is terrible and true
How this sheltered loveless life
Fades into the weakest shade of blue

This song is about a guy who really wants to be a with a girl, even though she's hesitant and maybe has rejected him in the past. Does that sound familiar?

Thoughts:
Two exciting things happen in this episode: Rory gets a haircut and Dean marries Lindsay, his girlfriend of approximately 5 minutes. Let's discuss Dean's wedding drama first, because I have so many thoughts. Most importantly, who the fuck gets married at eighteen years old in 2003? Stars Hollow isn't located in a flyover state and neither kid seems especially religious. We hear zero discussion of promise rings or Jesus, so it's not like they're only tying the knot to fuck without guilt. What is the rationale? I guess they're both just small-town dumbasses who think that love isn't real until rings are involved.

Rory is home for the weekend and wants nothing more than to "hang out in town, read, veg, drink coffee, and have the perfect Stars Hollow day." While she's reading in the gazebo, a bunch of dudes start to set up for the wedding, and Lindsay and her mom pop up and start gushing about frosting the town. Their exchange always reminds me of Benjamin Barry's ad campaign in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." This movie came out at the beginning of 2003, so I wonder if it's a sly reference or purely coincidental.

This is another dumb movie that I adore.

After Rory whines to Lane about the ordeal, she runs into Dean and they have a deeply awkward conversation. He says that he didn't know she was going to be home that weekend and that if he did, he would have invited her to the wedding. Yale is no more than 30 minutes away from Stars Hollow. If he actually wanted her there for some weird fucking reason, he could have invited her, and it would have been no big deal. If she was unable to attend, she would have sent regrets. Dean should have just said, "I'm sorry if all of this wedding stuff is weird for you" if he wanted to clear the air. Since he's a moron, he decides the move is to extend a last-minute invite Rory and Lorelai.

Rory makes some half-assed attempt to decline, but Dean keep blathering on, asking whether the Gilmores would like to eat chicken or beef (hence the clever title 🙄) . Is Dean so bad at reading social situations that he can't see how uncomfortable Rory is? She clearly does not want to attend his wedding, but he soldiers on as if what he's doing is normal. If we give him the benefit of the doubt, I guess he might just be nervous and afraid of offending the Gilmores. After all, they are the Corleones of Stars Hollow. Cross them once and you'll never eat at Luke's again.

When Rory later recounts the situation in the diner, Lorelai tells her that Dean is her ex-boyfriend, so to the attendance decision is up to her. Since Rory is a pushover, she says they should go, and plans to purchase a salad spinner are put into motion. I appreciate that Lorelai doesn't try to influence her and is unconditionally supportive. Were I in her position, I don't think I could refrain from expressing how fucking weird it is to show up at a very recent ex-boyfriend's wedding, even with an invitation.

Don't ever let an old White woman wearing a wrinkled yellow skirt suit plan your wedding.

The night before the big event takes place, Dean and his bachelor party posse (including Max Greenfield, who knew?) stumble into Luke's, screaming the lyrics to the Stars Hollow High fight song. The stop at the diner is phase 2 of the bachelor party plan. Phase 1 was "a case of beer in the JCPenney parking lot, then batting cages and laser tag." Take away the case of beer and Dean's bachelor party is indistinguishable from a suburban ten-year-old's birthday. Nothing says "mature enough to get married" like underage drinking amongst moms shopping for discount slacks.

After Luke promises pancakes and Kyle begins philosophizing about the plight of strippers, Dean begins muttering Rory's name. Luke ushers all of the other dudes out of the diner and says that Dean needs to rest. Here's a list of the sad shit he drunkenly divulges:

  • She's smart, man. You know, she's so smart.
  • She could probably fix the world, you know?
  • And the hair - pretty hair. She has the prettiest hair. And that head.
  • I miss her. Why didn't she love me?

Yeesh. The next morning, Dean wakes up hungover and Luke blends together some sort of concoction to make him feel better. Just as Luke prepares to drop some life advice, Dean mentions that he's needed at the church and bounces.

This is the group of winners that Dean has assembled.

When Luke runs into Rory that morning, he tells her that she shouldn't go to Dean's wedding. She decides to listen to him because "he seemed really serious." My husband hates that she didn't question him further. He turned to me and said, in a mocking tone, "You're my pancake man, so I'll trust what you say about emotional matters." I guess he has a point. I love the proprietor of my local Korean diner, but I'm not taking any advice from her that's deeper than how to prepare the best bibimbap.

While Rory doesn't officially attend the wedding, she does lurk near a tree during the ceremony and watches Luke and Lindsay happily exit the church. I guess her face is sad/confused, although I'm not 100% sure what emotions Alexis Bledel is trying to channel ... painful poop? If my first serious boyfriend got married during my freshman year at Yale, I think my reaction would probably be, "Ugh, what a fucking loser. I'm so happy to have dodged that bullet." Rory is less judgmental than me, though.

Her face here looks disgusted/skeptical, which is way more appropriate.

As her drama unfolds, Lorelai deal with two things: Taylor's cease and desist order and Michel's insecurity over his involvement with the Dragonfly Inn. None of it is very exciting and the tl;dr is that although Michel is a bitch, Sookie and Lorelai still want to hire him to be their concierge. Taylor gets his ice cream truck by using unnecessary blackmail, the crew breaks ground on the inn, and everyone is happy ... except for Rory. Idiot Dean's continual presence is one of my least favorite aspects of Season 4.

Random observations:

  • Zack gets pissed off when Rory points out how many rock stars went to college - Mick Jagger, Dexter Holland, Greg Ginn, and "the guy from Bad Religion." His reaction to this information and his stupid "I gotta find a sound" bit cemented my hatred for him.
  • Do we think Michel's fancy hotel job is in NYC? I have a hard time believing that such a faux-trendy place exists in Connecticut.
  • These are Taylor's ice cream flavors: black raspberry, butter brickle crunch, coffee, chocolate, chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chocolate, lemon, lime, rainbow sherbet, peppermint stick, rocky road, strawberry, and vanilla.
  • My husband on Taylor: "I would gladly look him in the eyes and shiv him."
  • I think I've mentioned it before, but I find Kyle's character evolution delightful. I can't wait until we get a glimpse of his post-Navy behavior in S5.
  • Someone should really tell Dean's friends that "stripper" and "prostitute" are not synonyms.
  • Like Gypsy, I'm intrigued by "The Happiest Doughnut." What are his secrets? Is he on mood stabilizers? What happens during the dunking scene? I have so many questions.
  • If you're wondering, I think the cat on the far right best captures the spirit of Mrs. Kim.