Gilmore Girls

Season 1 Episode 11

Paris is Burning

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Jan 11, 2001 on The WB

Episode Recap

Lorelai and Rory are walking down the street playing the alphabet game for diseases. All of a sudden, Lorelai calls out 'puppies'. Rory is a bit confused at first but sees Lorelai dash across the street to the pet fair. She joins Lorelai while she gushes over the puppies. Luke approaches them and warns the proprietor not to let the mother and daughter duo near the puppies, explaining that they can barely feed themselves let alone a puppy. Lorelai protests this characterization but Rory tells the story of how Lorelai abandoned Skippy, their pet hamster. She explains that Skippy would bite Lorelai every time she put her hand in the cage. Lorelai eventually stopped cleaning the cage. She just kept throwing Kleenex in the cage until it was a smelly ball of moving tissue. Finally, she abandoned the cage at the pet store when the clerk had his back turned. Again, Lorelai protests but finally gives up trying to explain and leaves the pet fair complaining that she wanted to have a pet. Rory tells her that she doesn't need a pet; she has her.
Lorelai and Max have become practically inseparable and Lorelai is happy for the first time in a long time. She is sitting on his counter eating voraciously out of a pot of osso bucco. Max is confused to see her eat after dinner that which she didn't eat at dinnertime. Lorelai offers the simple explanation that watching him clean up the dishes has made her hungry. When she finishes, Max offers her coffee. While he makes it, Lorelai walks over to his desk. She asks him if he has read Rory's paper. She volunteers to help him out and grade it for him. Max suggests it wouldn't be fair to the other students. Lorelai agrees but argues that life isn't fair. Lorelai then turns her attention to some beautiful leather bound books on the bookshelf. She takes Marcel Proust's Swann's Way and tells him that she had always wanted to read Proust but never got around to it. Max encourages her to take the book. She initially declines, worrying that the book is too valuable but Max insists. Lorelai begins to leaf through the book. Max embraces her telling her to read the book later. She giggles as he backs her into the bedroom.
Later, Lorelai sneaks quietly into the house only to find Rory studying on the couch. Roles are reversed and Rory jokingly chastises her mom for coming in so late. She is impressed to see her attempting Swann's Way. Rory tells her mom that she spent the evening studying with the exception of five calls from Dean. Rory is pleased to see her mom so happy.
The next day at Chilton, after their English Rory overhears Madeline and Louise talking about Mr. Medina. They speculate on who his girlfriend might be. Paris walks by and pipes in that whomever his girlfriend is, she has to be a loser to settle for a teacher working in their ridiculous school, making a ridiculously low teacher's salary. After Paris leaves, the girls gossip about how Paris' parents' nasty divorce was making life difficult for Paris. As Rory leaves the oom, Madeline and Louise greet her very casually and to her surprise no animosity or sarcasm is evident.
At Friday night dinner, Lorelai is trying to figure out why Emily is smiling so mysteriously. Lorelai listens carefully to the small talk, waiting to hear what Emily has to hold over her head. She soon finds out that Emily has read the Chilton newsletter and she asks Rory about Parents' day at Chilton. She explains that the parents spend the day going to s with their children. Lorelai tries to defend her ignorance of the event, suggesting she just hadn't had time to read the newsletter. Acknowledging how busy Lorelai is, Emily smugly volunteers to go to Parents' day in place of Lorelai. Of course, Lorelai declines the offer telling her that she will go.
The next day, Lorelai is frantically running around getting ready for a date with Max. Rory is anxious to leave the house before Max arrives in order to avoid any awkwardness between her and her English teacher. Lorelai is preventing her departure by asking for fashion advice. When the doorbell rings, the panic escalates. Neither Lorelai nor Rory can understand why anyone would show up at eight o'clock for an eight o'clock date. While they are having this discussion, Max is outside the door listening. Rory starts to leave the back way but Lorelai calls her back. Her slip is stuck in her zipper and she needs Rory to answer the door. Rory is not pleased that she is being asked to break the first rule of the The Gilmore Dating Handbook but does as she is told. Rory invites Max in. The awkwardness between student and teacher is significant. They engage in small talk but they both agree that the situation is a little uncomfortable. Max tells Rory that she can call him Max when they are out of school but Rory feels it may be a little disrespectful. Max suggests they choose non-Chilton names for when they aren't in school. Rory becomes Rebecca and Max becomes Norman.
Sookie and Jackson enter the diner arguing about produce, as usual. When the argument is done, Jackson leaves and Sookie sits down to chat with Rory. Shortly after, Lorelai rushes into the diner with a pair of dirty, rusty skates over her shoulder. She excitedly explains that she and Rory are having a skating date and that she is Tonya Harding to Rory's Nancy Kerrigan. Luke enters and chuckles about the old rusty skates. Lorelai complains that he is always trying to ruin her fun. Luke decides to take the skates and sharpen them up for her. Sookie rushes off to a yeast emergency back at the Inn leaving Rory and Lorelai to plan their outing. Rory suggests they invite Max skating. Lorelai is a little surprised to hear Rory call Max by his first name. Rory explains that when he was over they decided that at school he is Mr. Medina and outside school he is Max. Lorelai seems reluctant to include him in their outing. She reacts strangely when Rory jokingly says that she and Max are obsessed with one another.
After the skating date, Sookie is making tea for Lorelai while she nurses her aching feet. Sookie casually asks Lorelai if she has a date with Max. Lorelai seems a bit defensive when she says she doesn't see him every night. Sookie reminds Lorelai that she and Max are approaching the dreaded two-month mark that spells disaster for her relationships. Lorelai argues that Rory seems to be getting close to Max. She suggests that Max isn't necessarily the one for her and Rory will get hurt in the crossfire if she stays in the relationship. Sookie continues to tease Lorelai by singing "La Vida Loca" until Lorelai lashes out at her best friend asking her how she became a relationship expert when she hasn't had a relationship in years. She realizes immediately how hurtful she has been and apologizes. She begs for Sookie's forgiveness. Although Sookie recovers from the slight, her songs don't have quite the same enthusiasm.
At Chilton, Rory bumps into Mr. Medina in the hallway. They greet each other formally as the environment dictates. He tells Rory he enjoyed her paper on Dickenson but it seems clear that Mr. Medina has more to say. Finally, he asks Rory if Lorelai is coming to Parents' day, ostensibly so he can take a cookie count but clearly he has a greater interest in her attendance than providing an accurate cookie count. He comments that he hadn't heard from her in a while. Rory assures him that her mom will be at Parents' day and that they will require four cookies.
Later that evening, while Lorelai is clearing out the fridge, Rory tells Lorelai about how Paris' parents are the talk of Chilton because of their very nasty divorce. Although Paris has been absolutely miserable to her, Rory actually feels sorry for her. She also relates how things at school have gotten a bit better for her, explaining that Madeline and Louise actually said hello to her the other day. Rory asks Lorelai how Swann's Way is going. To Rory's amazement, Lorelai tells her that she is finished. When Rory tells her that it took her forever to read it, Lorelai clarifies that she has finished reading the first sentence. She then asks Rory is she could return it to Max for her. Rory tells her to just take it to school when she goes to Parents' day tomorrow. Lorelai stammers out several rather pathetic excuses as to why she can't go to the event. Rory accepts her excuses but tells her to give back the book the next time she sees him. Lorelai hems and haws until it dawns on Rory that Lorelai is avoiding Max.

Rory: Are you breaking up with him? Lorelai: What are you talking about? Rory: Well he hasn't heard from you and now you're asking me to give him the book back. Lorelai: How do you know he hasn't heard from me? Rory: He wanted to know if you were going to Parent's day and then he mentioned that you guys hadn't talked lately. Lorelai: He shouldn't be asking you about me. Rory: Why are you breaking up with him? Lorelai: Because it's not working out. Rory: But you seemed so happy. Lorelai: It's not right - that's all. Rory: So that's why you're not going tomorrow? Lorelai: No, I'm not going tomorrow because of the thing at the inn. Rory: That's crap and you know it (She is becoming upset) Lorelai: Hey… Rory: There is no thing at the inn, you're avoiding Mr. Medina and you're trying to lie to me and you promised you would go and - hey, do whatever you want. I don't care, just leave me out of it. And give him the book back yourself. (Rory goes to her room and slams the door.)

The next day at Chilton, Rory is still annoyed because she knows Lorelai has chosen Parents' day to break up with Max. As Rory gets some books from her locker, they see Paris and her mom arguing. Rumors of the Geller divorce continue to circulate throughout the school. Paris is begging her mom to stay for her Literature but Paris' mom doesn't want to deal with the gossip. After criticizing Paris' complexion, she leaves in a fit of pique. Lorelai suggests she probably doesn't seem as bad after seeing Paris' mom and Rory has to agree. They head off to Rory's first To Lorelai's chagrin it is Mr. Medina's Literature
After the English Lorelai tells Rory to go ahead so that she can speak to Max. Rory warns her to be nice. They greet each other awkwardly. Max senses something is wrong and tries to find out what Lorelai is thinking. Max is confused as to why Lorelai is insisting on giving back Swann's Way. Max continues question her until he finally realizes what she is doing.

Max: Wai-wait a minute...Oh my God! I cannot believe what an idiot I am. Lorelai: What? Max: You're breaking up with me aren't you? Lorelai: I don't know. Max: Not only are you breaking up with me, you're doing it really badly. Lorelai: Am I being graded? Max: No, I'm a little disappointed. I would've expected a better dumping from you. Lorelai: Nobody's dumping anyone. Max: Really? Then what is this? Lorelai: I just need space. Max: Well I don't. In fact I want as little space as possible. 100 clowns crammed into a Volkswagen. That's the kind of non-space I'm talking about. Lorelai: It's not working. Max: It was working pretty good the other night. Lorelai: Look it is what I've been trying to tell you all along. This is a family. Rory and I, you walked into a family, but you weren't listening and now she's getting attached and I'm afraid she's gonna get hurt.

Max challenges her reasoning suggesting she is using Rory as an excuse to protect herself from getting hurt. They continue their discussion while Lorelai tries to get Max to take the book until the discussion ends in a passionate kiss. Unfortunately, Paris is walking by the oom and witnesses their embrace. Paris seizes this perfect opportunity to move the spotlight from her family conflict to the Gilmore girls by telling everyone in the cafeteria what she saw. She taunts Rory with the news and walks off. Rory dashes out to speak to her mother. She asks Lorelai if it is true. Lorelai is horrified to find out that her liaison with Max is now common knowledge. She apologizes to Rory but the damage is done.
The news has gotten back to Emily and on Friday she questions Lorelai's judgment. Lorelai endures another disapproving lecture from her mother. A few days later, Lorelai meets Max at a coffee shop. She has had a chance to think about things and she admits that she was probably more scared that she would get hurt than that Rory would get hurt. The whole experience has convinced Max that Lorelai's first impulse may have been right. They need some time apart.
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