A woman stands grandly at the middle of the staircase and welcomes everyone to the Daughters of the American Revolution Annual Debutante Ball. Lorelai sees that Emily and Richard are still fighting in the back of the room. She walks over and tells them that the ball has started. Richard says he'll sit down when he's ready to sit down. Emily tells him to lower his voice. Richard says that he paid a lot of money to be there, and that he doesn't have to lower his voice or do anything he doesn't want to do. Emily says that he's being embarrassing, and he's embarrassing Rory. Richard points out that this wasn't Rory's idea, and that this is all about Emily. Emily asks whether Richard doesn't want Rory to be sent out into society. "To hell with society!" Richard shouts. He turns to the table of onlookers and says, "Yes, I'm talking about you!"
Lorelai shoos Richard and Emily into a slightly more private room just inches away, giving the illusion of privacy. She chastises Richard's and Emily's behavior. She says that there are young girls in fancy dresses and fans parading around in a circle for no reason, and that Emily and Richard are ruining it. Richard says that he didn't want to come here. Emily says that they have a social obligation. Richard's tired of hearing about social obligations. Emily explains that people expect certain things from them, for them to be places and do things and that they can't withdraw from all of it. Richard says that he's going through lots of things at work. Emily yells that his entire life can't be about his job. Richard says that he's talked about what's happening at work to her before, but that Emily doesn't listen to a word he says. Richard asks Lorelai whether Emily's ever listened to a word Lorelai's said. Lorelai stammers that people listen in different ways, and that some people listen with their ears and some don't but that some actual listening may have taken place. Emily says that she knows what happened to him, and that he lost an account. Lorelai looks concerned. Richard says that he didn't just lose an account, he was taken off an account he's been working on for a very long time. They're just screaming in this room and it's echoing and I can't believe nobody's shushing them. Richard says he's being phased out. Emily is doubtful, and Richard explains that he invented the concept of being phased out. He says he did the same thing to Alan Parker. Emily says that Alan Parker retired. But he went on to do The Wall and Angel Heart and Evita and Angela's Ashes, and maybe each of his movies is systematically less successful, but he's still working, so there's really no reason to worry about him. Richard explains that he's going to have to take on a younger person and be a mentor and eventually that younger person will be given more and more accounts until Richard's moved into a new, pretty office where he doesn't actually do any work and just serves as a symbolic figurehead. Richard says that then one day he'll be asked to leave. Emily says, "Well, so what?" She says that there are other options. Richard says that he doesn't want other options. He wants to get up, put on a suit, and go to work like he's done every day of his life. Rory pokes in here and announces that she's next. I guess you can hear them shouting out there.