Episode: Richard in Stars Hollow ...
Original Airdate: January 29, 2002
At the Friday night dinner, Emily doesnít waste any time grilling her daughter about her love life. She wants to know if Lorelai is dating. Then the line of questioning gets worse. Emily wants to know if Lorelai might be single for the rest of her life. Now, this isnít going where you think itís going. See, Emily visited the family mausoleum and realized that thereís just enough room for her, Richard, Lorelai and Rory. So if Lorelai meets and marries someone, thereíll be no room for him when he dies. Rory interrupts the conversation because itís totally creeping her out. However, Emily refuses to stop, saying that they could get an annex. If Lorelai marries one day, then there will be room. But, and this is a big but, theyíd have to move someone into this annex. Ouch. Lorelai and Emily decide Aunt Cecile is the best candidate (she never understood knock, knock jokes), but Rory is unsettled by the thought of removing someone from their eternal resting place. This continues until Richard comes downstairs and, upon hearing the topic at hand, decides that Cecile should be moved. After all, she was a horrible, cold woman who told the worst jokes.
While the family eats a lovely dinner, Richard waxes poetic on the joys of being retired. Every day is a new discovery! When Richard mentions a first edition Flaubert that he discovered, he and Rory run off to the library. This leaves Lorelai with Emily, who looks visibly uncomfortable. See, this retirement thing isnít so swell for Emily. Sheís not used to it; in fact, sheís annoyed by it. Lorelai convinces her mom that after a while Richard will settle into a rhythm and everything will be fine.
At Chilton, Paris is ranting and raving about the Oppenheimer Award for journalism. And of course she wants Chilton to win it. But their paper just isnít good enough. They canít look at other school papers as competition; they have to look to The New York Times for competition. And they have one week to do it. Rory is willing to try but sheís convinced that Paris is going to fall dead from a stroke one of these days.
Back with Ma and Pa Gilmore, Richard is being his annoying self by noticing just how many cups of coffee Emily has consumed in one morning. Then, they discuss dinner plans and the conversation just continues on a downward spiral until Richard offers to tag along with Emily on every thing she has to do that day. Everything from her DAR meeting, to the symphony luncheon, to the dry cleaner, and even the hair salon. Before the afternoon turns into a nightmare, Emily tells Richard that he should go to the club. He reluctantly heads out after successfully working Emilyís last nerve.
At the video store, Rory and Lorelai decide to have a worst movies of all time film festival that includes Hudson Hawk, Blue Lagoon and Electric Bugaloo. While they rent, Emily calls Lorelai and begs her to take Richard for the whole day. Apparently, Richard wants to join Emilyís water aerobic class. He even bought swim trunks. Itís officially out of control. Before Emily goes insane, Lorelai agrees to take her dad for a day.
The next day, Lorelai begs Rory to stay home from school because she canít bear to spend the day with her dad alone. Rory just canít do it, though, because of Paris and the whole paper nightmare. So, Rory promises to be home right after school. Until then, however, Lorelai is on her own. Richard takes off his coat, and the silence between them is deafening. Itís totally awkward, but Richard tries to put his daughter at ease by saying that she should do what she normally does. So, the two sit down to read the paper. Later, they head to Lukeís for breakfast. But Richard already ate breakfast because he gets up at 5:30 every morning. Oh dear, thatís got to change! Lorelai orders food but Richard lectures her on the benefits of eating grapefruit. Thus begins their very first fight. To shut him up, Lorelai tells Luke to go next door, buy a grapefruit, come back and serve one to Lorelai.
At Chilton, Paris tells Rory that in order to win this Oppenheimer Award they are going to have to have a human interest story. And Paris knows just what they should do: a story on yuppies who flee the big city for the simple life of a small town but find that small town life isnít so pretty after all. Nothing is perfect, right? So, Paris wants to uncover the seedy underbelly of small town life. The seedy underbelly of Stars Hollow to be exact. Rory tries to tell Paris that Stars Hollow doesnít have a seedy underbelly. They donít even have a parking meter. Paris doesnít care. Sheís on a mission and she demands that Rory meet her after school and find that seedy underbelly! Rory protests (sheís supposed to meet her mom), but Paris can be pretty persuasive, so it looks like Rory and Paris are going to be the Woodward and Bernstein of Stars Hollow.
At the inn later, Lorelai thinks sheís getting a break from Richard, but his little tour of Stars Hollow ended a lot sooner than she wouldíve liked. So he arrives at the inn to see Lorelai at work. Great! Richard is quick to criticize Lorelaiís outfit (she looks too casual to be in charge), making Lorelai a little more crazy than before. But if she thinks thatís bad, then just wait for Roryís phone call. Rory says she is sorry because she can no longer meet her mom and grandpa after school. Paris is forcing her to work on the paper and thatís the end of that. Rory swears she will be home by dinner.
Rory and Paris arrive in Stars Hollow and go straight to Lukeís diner. Paris immediately starts giving Luke the third degree, asking if his place is a breeding ground for hookers and drug dealers. Luke thinks Paris is insane, but that doesnít mean Paris will stop looking for the underbelly of Stars Hollow. Rory then drags Paris out of there before Luke strangles Paris.
Meanwhile, Lorelai is having problems at the inn Ė no tablecloths, no towels Ė and her dad isnít making things any easier. As Richard watches Lorelai work, he continues to criticize her techniques. He thinks she doesnít know how to conduct herself in a position of authority. Lorelai thinks sheís going to slit her wrists by the end of the day.
As Paris bemoans the lack of bad stuff in Stars Hollow, Taylor stops Rory and thanks her for saving the town from smut. Huh? Well, when Rory was in the video store with her mom the other night, she noticed young boys looking at a video box that had a half-naked woman on the cover. Rory thought it would be more appropriate if such a video were on a high shelf. But Franklin took her suggestion to a whole new level. He has taken every possible offensive video and put them behind a red curtain. Itís now called the Rory curtain. Rory is outraged Ė this is not what she wanted at all. It is, however, just what Paris is looking for; ďcensorship in small town America.Ē And, how ironic considering that Rory hates censorship and she is the one who instigated it all.
That night, Lorelai and Richard arrive home and, thankfully, Rory is there too. Rory entertains Richard, giving Lorelai a much needed break. As Lorelai goes to order a bunch of Chinese food, Richard criticizes her again and itís a wonder someone doesnít tell him to shut his trap. Then, Richard starts in on Roryís obsession with Harvard, especially considering he went to Yale and could help her get in there. Before Lorelai and her dad get in a raging fight, they are interrupted by one spectacular sight. Dean has arrived and he is driving a car. Not just any car. The car he built for Rory and has finally finished. She is ecstatic, Lorelai is ecstatic, everyone ecstatic. Heís the possibly the best boyfriend in the world. Richard, however, doesnít believe that Dean could actually build a car and tells Rory that she canít accept this gift because it couldnít possibly be safe.
Dean starts to freak out, but remains calm and tries to convince Richard that he does indeed know what he is doing and that the car is indeed safe. Richard will not back down but neither will Dean. They are both very stubborn. So, the only way that Dean can convince Richard the car is safe is to take it to a certified mechanic to check it out. The local mechanic looks it over with a fine tooth comb and finds nothing wrong. But Richard isnít satisfied. He makes the mechanic look at it over and over again, giving Dean and Richard a chance to bicker even more. Dean knows he canít make Richard like him; however, Richard does agree that perhaps heís been too hard on Dean. Finally, the mechanic convinces Richard the car is safe, but he still doesnít think itís an appropriate gift for Rory. Poor Dean.
Back at home, Richard tells Rory that the car is all good and she can have it. She takes off to pick up Chinese food, leaving Lorelai and Richard to finally have it out. She tells her dad, flat out, that she doesnít want any criticism about her life. Rory is her kid and she will decide what is right for her. They fight and fight until it comes out that Richard knows exactly why he was invited to Lorelaiís house for the day. And he doesnít like it one bit. After all, Lorelai has never in her life invited Richard to her house, so how is that supposed to make him feel? Heís having a hard time with retirement. Heís annoying to his wife and a burden to his daughter. For the first time in his life, he doesnít know what to do or how to be. Then, he bails on dinner and goes home.
As Rory walks home from the Chinese restaurant, she runs into Jess and discusses the infamous Rory curtain. Jess tells her not to worry Ė the curtain wonít be up long. Why? Letís just say that Jess has replaced a Disney video with something more, ahem, adult-oriented. If Paris was looking for an underbelly, she shouldíve interviewed him.
Meanwhile, Richard arrives home and Emily is in a fantastic mood because sheís had the day to herself and sheís ready to be with her husband. Richard, however, lies about his day and says he had a great time. Emily is so glad to hear it. Claiming heís still energized from the day, Richard pretends to go organize some stamps in his study. But instead, he just sits alone by himself.
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