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Episode: Ted Koppel's Big Night Out ...

Original Airdate: November 18, 2003

The girls are walking into Luke’s, discussing the stupidity of celebrities, when they discover that the place is packed. To free up a table -- or two -- they divide and conquer: Rory sneezes near an old couple, and Lorelai cozies up to a computer geek. They sit happily with their two tables pushed together, wondering how mad Luke will be. The Luke that appears to take their order doesn’t seem to notice, however, and offers pumpkin pancakes and homemade cinnamon butter. It seems Luke’s good mood is due to a new employee helping out, Brendon. Rory is horrified to recognize him as the guy who dissected a frog in junior high and then went on to eat a sandwich without washing his hands. The girls discuss Jason and whether or not Lorelai likes him, and Lorelai ponders how gorgeous Rory’s kids will be with “frog guy.”

Richard meets Rory and Paris for lunch at Yale and shares old stories of his college days. He assumes Rory will attend the Harvard/Yale game, as he and Emily have done for the past three decades, and she has no choice but to accept the invitation to go with them. Asher Fleming, renowned author and Yale professor, stops by to say hello to his old college friend. The girls are introduced, and Paris manages to rope the professor into an interview for the Yale newspaper.

Lorelai walks in the door and listens to the latest plea by Jason on her answering machine to go out with him. She calls him and turns him down, explaining all the complications related to their going out together, even though she is tempted by his dinner reservation at the hippest restaurant in town. He tells her he will keep the reservation just in case. Friday night dinner begins with the Gilmores complaining about their neighbors’ Griswold-like plans for holiday lighting, featuring a large Rudolph. Richard tells Rory what time they will be picking her up for the game, and Lorelai invites herself to go along, even though she hates football. She figures it is a chance to spend time with Rory before her final exams. The Gilmores reluctantly agree to free up one of their tickets so Lorelai can go. Lorelai is shocked to learn just how long football games last.

The day of the game, the girls start their day early at Luke‘s. Lorelai is concerned that when Brendon takes their order, he doesn’t write anything down. Rory, calculating her odds of receiving the correct order, keeps it simple and orders toast. Lane rushes in to replace the donuts she was given for the bagels she had ordered. When Kirk asks for a napkin, he receives a crumpled wad from Brendon’s back pocket. Lorelai complains to Luke about “Froggy“, but he blows her off, encouraging her to give the kid a chance. While doing so, he tells Brendon to give her coffee. Brendon eventually forgets what he was supposed to do and leaves the diner area altogether.

The girls are waiting at Yale for Emily and Richard when they hear a snooty “Yoo-hoo” ring out across the campus. Lorelai wonders who the awful yoo-hooer is and discovers it to be her own mother. Emily immediately chastises Lorelai for wearing Harvard colors and covers her up. She and Richard proceed to spend the first of the next four hours before the game showing the girls the ins and outs of Yale football game day, including “Dan,” the original Yale mascot, and the “fun flask,” whose appearance brightens Lorelai’s hopes for the day. Richard starts the bulldog cheer and others surrounding him join in. Lorelai is shocked to find out they will be tailgating, but even more shocked that the Gilmores know what tailgating is. When they arrive at a camper with tablecloth-covered tables complete with personal chef and maid, Lorelai decides she likes the Yale game tradition after all. Richard proudly shows Rory off to his friends and Emily inquires about Lorelai’s love life. Lorelai tells her there is no one in her life at the moment. Paris arrives briefly to have Rory document her attendance at the Yale game with her camera, not wanting to actually attend the game. Richard’s college sweetheart, Pennilyn Lott, walks by and Emily is cordial but short, mortified when Lorelai refers to Pennilyn as her “almost-mommy”. Emily instructs Lorelai in no uncertain terms to stay away from the woman.

Luke returns from an errand to find most of the town waiting in line to have lunch at Weston’s. They pass the buck on explanation, but finally, the reverend tells Luke that they can’t go to the diner while Brendon still works there. Luke rants about how once upon a time, he was once the loner kid who someone decided to take a chance on, just like Brendon. He tells them to go ahead and eat and Weston’s, only to turn and find Brendon in the window of the diner, standing on a table and playing air guitar. He tells everyone to give him five minutes.

The current “Dan” makes an appearance at the Yale tailgate party and Lorelai encourages him to flee for his life. Rory introduces her family to Marty, who bonds with Richard. Lorelai and Emily then head to the ladies’ room, where Lorelai runs into Pennilyn waiting in line. When Pennilyn asks Lorelai about the inn she has heard about, Emily walks out of the restroom and sees them together. When they return to their camper, Emily becomes angry over the slightest things: celery for the Bloody Marys, the arrangement of Rory’s cookies on a plate. Richard is in a playful mood but Emily will have none of it. After he returns from singing with the Yale Whiffenpoofs, Emily wonders aloud: how did Pennilyn know about Lorelai’s inn when they only see her once a year at the Yale game? Richard admits they have been having a secret lunch together once a year every year since he has married Emily. She tells him to go for a walk. Lorelai tries to smooth things over, and Emily blames her for ruining the day by talking to Pennilyn in the first place. Lorelai leaves and calls Jason, accepting his dinner offer and heading out.

Jason and Lorelai walk into the restaurant and Lorelai excitedly hunts for stars. She is excited to spot Ted Koppel and disappointed when the couple is led to a table secluded in a private room away from the crowd. When Lorelai inquires about their quarantine, Jason is obviously hurt and dismisses her offer to sit at the bar and suggests they just leave. The two awkwardly agree to call it a night in the car, but Lorelai caves and admits she is starving. She has a spontaneous idea to pig out at the Taco Barn, but plans are again ruined when Jason refuses to eat Mexican. The two end up at a grocery store to save Lorelai from death by starvation, and she is aggravated when Jason starts shopping for personal items. She gives up and starts to grab her own. Jason is able to get clearance from the stock boy for them to enter the backroom, where Lorelai is able to retrieve her much-sought-after mini box of Pringles. They wreak havoc on the food in bulk and end up finally eating dinner at a picnic table outside the store. Lorelai pulls out the fun flask and evades Jason’s question as to why she changed her mind to have dinner with him. They agree to go out the next night. Rory happens to call when Jason heads back in for more egg rolls, and Lorelai admits she likes the guy. Rory reports that the game was a slow and quiet one with the grandparents, and then hangs up and spots something frightening: Asher Fleming making out…with Paris.
Credit: Andee

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