IMDb summary: Lorelai is struck by two deaths; Lorelai decides to finally confront Max with her feelings for him, and he tackles his feelings as well (IMDb).
Indigenous Land Acknowledgment: In beginning my work on this guide, I’ve come to realize just how many references (however subtle) Gilmore Girls contains to the Revolutionary War and the colonial history of the United States. It is important and necessary to acknowledge the people whose lands were usurped when these events took place, though this is not a simple question. Please visit the main page to view the results of my research and read the full acknowledgment.
All References in Chronological Order
reference – 00:00
Episode title: “Cinnamon’s Wake”
— Finnegans Wake is a 1939 book by Irish writer James Joyce. Written over a period of 17 years, “it is significant for its experimental style and reputation as one of the most difficult works in the Western canon. … Owing to the work’s linguistic experiments, stream of consciousness writing style, literary allusions, free dream associations, and abandonment of narrative conventions, Finnegans Wake remains largely unread by the general public” (Wikipedia).
reference – 00:10
LORELAI: So where did you say dad was?
EMILY: Away on business.
LORELAI: Location’s top secret?
EMILY: Oh. Germany
LORELAI: Germany. Is dad’s firm insuring Nazis now?
— The National Socialist German Workers’ Party was the fascist political party, active in Germany from 1920 to 1945, that created the ideology of Nazism. Under party leader Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany instigated the Second World War and orchestrated the deaths of six million Jewish people, along with millions more Poles, Soviets, and Romani, gay and disabled people, and political dissidents.
— It is worth noting that Richard’s firm would not need to go to Germany to find Nazis, as there are several neo-Nazi groups active in the United States. And whereas Germany criminalizes Holocaust denial and the display of Nazi symbols, these activities are protected under US law.
+ mention – 00:50
EMILY: We went to her house in Groton to see the first moon landing. She had just gotten a new Philco.
— On July 20, 1969, US spaceflight Apollo 11 landed on the moon, making mission commander Neil Armstrong the first person to set foot on the lunar surface (on June 21). The launch, landing, and safe return of the mission were much celebrated events; the launch was broadcast live in 33 countries and garnered an estimated 25 million viewers in the US alone.
— Philco was a US producer of batteries, radios, and televisions. The company created several iconic models of radio and television, including the classic cathedral-style radios of the 1930s and the Predicta television sets of the 1950s.
— Groton is a town located on the Thames River in southeastern Connecticut.
feature – 02:40
“Time Bomb” by Rancid
— From the 1995 album …And Out Come the Wolves.
reference – 02:55
RORY: They expect things to be homemade.
LORELAI: I know.
RORY: By someone other than Dolly Madison.
— Dolly Madison is a US brand of prepackaged baked goods. It is named for Dolley Madison, wife of fourth US President James Madison. This has evidently led to some perceived, but mythical, association between the former first lady and baked goods. (What misconceptions exist, I’m not sure. Perhaps that she frequently served cupcakes at the White House, or was the first to do so?)
— The brand is also associated with Charles Schulz’s Peanuts due to a long-standing marketing relationship. Dolly Madison sponsored certain Peanuts television specials, and Peanuts characters were featured in Dolly Madison advertisements and on their packaging during the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.
reference – 03:25
LORELAI: Where does your mom think you are?
LANE: Oh, uh, on a park bench contemplating the reunification of the two Koreas.
LORELAI: Not here, skanking to Rancid?
— Korean reunification (Korean: 남북통일, Hanja: 南北統一) “refers to the potential reunification of North Korea and South Korea into a single Korean sovereign state” (Wikipedia).
— Skanking is “a form of dancing practiced in the ska, ska punk, hardcore punk, reggae, drum and bass and other music scenes” (Wikipedia). Rancid, the band Lane is dancing to, is considered punk rock, generally, or ska punk, more specifically.
reference – 06:45
MICHEL: That is why I left France.
LORELAI: Huh. I thought it had something to do with the torches and the villagers.
— In James Whale’s 1931 horror film, Frankenstein, a mob of angry, torch-wielding villagers seeks retribution against Frankenstein’s monster. Groups of vigilantes armed with torches (and sometimes pitchforks) have become a cinematic trope.
— The film is based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.
reference – 08:35
MR. MEDINA: Very Henry VIII.
LORELAI: Well, we’re not into subtle.
— Tudor banquets are known for having been lavish affairs, and feasts held by King Henry VIII of England (1491-1547) were no exception. Tudor chronicler Edward Hall wrote of Henry’s coronation banquet in 1509, “How can I describe the abundance of fine and delicate fare prepared for this magnificent and lordly feast, produced both abroad and in the many and various parts of this realm to which God has granted his bounty” (Tudor-History).
— Henry VIII is primarily known for the fact that he married six times, in pursuit of political alliances and a healthy male heir. Two of these marriages ended in annulment, and two ended in the execution of his wives. His daughter, Elizabeth I, ascended the throne in 1559 and reigned until her death in 1603.
mention – 11:55
RORY: Philadelphia? If you could live in any city in the world, you’d pick Philadelphia?
LANE: M. Night Shyamalan lives there.
LANE: The guy who directed The Sixth Sense?
— The Sixth Sense (1999) is a psychological thriller about a child psychologist (Bruce Willis) whose patient (Haley Joel Osment) can speak to the dead (hence the famous line, “I see dead people”). “The film established [director M. Night] Shyamalan and introduced the cinema public to his traits, most notably his affinity for surprise endings” (Wikipedia).
— Manoj Nelliyattu “M. Night” Shyamalan was born in India in 1970 and raised in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania. His family resides at the Rosewood estate near Philadelphia.
feature – 13:25
Dean is working in Doose’s Market, and he waves to Rory as she enters. Advertising for Planter’s Peanuts is prominently displayed behind him.
— Mr. Peanut has been the logo and mascot of US snack food brand Planters since 1916. “He is depicted as an anthropomorphic peanut in its shell dressed in the formal clothing of an old-fashioned gentleman: top hat, monocle, white gloves, spats, and a cane” (Wikipedia).
— I’m not going to discuss all of the many brand names visible in Doose’s Market, but I’m making an exception for Mr. Peanut because he features so prominently in this shot.
mention – 16:30
MR. MEDINA: I think we should date.
MR. MEDINA: ‘Cause I think we both want to.
LORELAI: Well, I want to be in the Bangles, but that doesn’t mean I quit my job and get a guitar and ruin my life to be a Bangle, does it?
— The Bangles are an all-female pop rock band from Los Angeles, California. They released a number of hit singles in the 1980s, including “Manic Monday” (1986), “Walk Like an Egyptian” (1986), and “Eternal Flame” (1989).
reference – 17:20
MR. MEDINA: Do you have any hemlock back there? Arsenic, something quick.
— Hemlock (conium maculatum) is a highly poisonous plant native to Europe and North Africa. In ancient Greece, hemlock was used as a means of execution. Its most famous victim, the philosopher Socrates, was found guilty of impiety and corrupting the minds of Athens’ youth, and died after ingesting hemlock in 399 BC.
reference – 20:20
LORELAI: Life’s a funny, funny thing, huh?
SOOKIE: *laughs* I love that Jim Carrey.
— Jim Carrey (born James Carrey, 1962) is a US-Canadian actor and comedian. At the time this episode aired, he had appeared on the US sketch comedy series In Loving Color (1990-1994) and in comedy films like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber (all released in 1994).
— Carrey had also starred in a more dramatic role in The Truman Show (1998), but his career was still better defined by slapstick comedy.
reference – 20:30
LORELAI: He is funny. But I don’t mean funny-funny. I’m being philosophical.
SOOKIE: Oh. Very serious face. Jean-Paul Sartre.
— Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was a French philosopher and writer. He was a key existentialist thinker and “one of the leading figures in 20th-century French philosophy and Marxism” (Wikipedia).
— Sartre was also husband to French writer, intellectual, and feminist Simone de Beauvoir.
reference – 22:30
LUKE: The counter is a sacred space. My sacred space. You don’t do yoga on the Dalai Lama’s mat, and you don’t come behind my counter. Period!
— The Dalai Lama (Standard Tibetan: ཏཱ་ལའི་བླ་མ་, Tā la’i bla ma) is the title of the foremost spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. A 2013 Harris Interactive poll found the 14th and current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, to be the most popular world leader (tied with Barack Obama) among the US and European public.
reference – 25:05
MICHEL: Hello? Where is Lorelai? I’m dropping something off. Yoo-hoo, Hee Haw man. Where is Lorelai Gilmore?
— Michel addresses a passing man wearing a thermal, flannel shirt, and overalls as “Hee Haw man,” in reference to the US variety television show Hee Haw (1969-1971). The show presented country music and comedy sketches set within the fictional, rural “Kornfield Kounty.”
reference – 31:05
LORELAI: Wow. It’s like a scene from the kitty version of The Valley of the Dolls.
— The Valley of the Dolls is a 1967 drama film directed by Mark Robson. The story follows three women (played by Barbara Perkins, Patty Duke, and Sharon Tate) as they pursue careers in show business and ultimately succumb to alcohol and barbiturate addiction.
— The film is based on Jacqueline Susann’s 1966 novel of the same name.
mention – 32:50
BABETTE: I saw an Oprah a few weeks ago. She had on couples who lost a child.
— The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986-2011) is a US daytime talk show hosted by media mogul Oprah Winfrey. In addition to celebrities and public figures, the show’s guests included everyday people whom Winfrey interviewed about the issues affecting their lives.
— Winfrey and her show are also mentioned in the pilot at 23:30 and in episode two at 12:15.
mention – 33:20
BABETTE: You’ll find him. It might even be that stud that drove out of here in a Mustang.
— The Ford Mustang is a series of automobiles produced by US Ford Motor Company. The Mustang is an example of a pony car, a US “car classification for affordable, compact, highly stylized coupés or convertibles with a ‘sporty’ or performance-oriented image” (Wikipedia).
feature – 33:50
“I Thought About You” by Jimmy van Heusen and Johnny Mercer
Episode context: Morey performs this song on the piano before the assembled guests, and Miss Patty accompanies on the bongos. The song plays as Lorelai searches the party for Rory and talks with Sookie, and it continues faintly in the background as Dean and Rory talk outside.
— This is a 1939 song composed by van Heusen, with lyrics by Mercer. It has been recorded by Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, and Frank Sinatra.
feature – 35:20
“Truly, Truly” by Grant Lee Buffalo
Episode context: As Dean is walking away, Rory jumps up to reassure him that, in spite of her awkward behavior, she is, in fact, interested in him.
— From the 1998 album Jubilee.
— The band’s singer and guitarist, Grant-Lee Phillips, plays the town troubadour later in the series, making his first on-screen appearance in episode 14 at 09:40.
reference – 36:30
RORY: Information that I should have had!
LORELAI: Information that would have come out eventually, like the Iran-Contra scandal.
RORY: So you’re Oliver North.
LORELAI: No, I’m Fawn Hall.
LORELAI: Well, she was much prettier.
— The Iran-Contra scandal (or Iran-Contra affair, among other names) was “a political scandal in the United States that occurred during the second term of the Reagan Administration,” between 1985 and 1987. “Senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to the Khomeini government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was the subject of an arms embargo. The administration hoped to use the proceeds of the arms sale to fund the Contras in Nicaragua” (Wikipedia) despite the fact that such funding had been prohibited by Congress.
— Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, a military aide to the National Security Council, was a participant in this plan. His secretary, Fawn Hall, was also implicated when she assisted him in transferring funds and destroying confidential documents.
reference – 37:15
LORELAI: You can’t always control who you’re attracted to, you know? I think the whole Angelina Jolie-Billy Bob Thornton thing really proves that.
— Actors Angelina Jolie (born Angelina Jolie Voight, 1975) and Billy Bob Thornton (born 1955) had a highly publicized marriage from 2000 to 2003. “The marriage became known for the couple’s eccentric displays of affection, which reportedly included wearing vials of each other’s blood around their necks; Thornton later clarified that the ‘vials’ were actually two small lockets, each containing only a single drop of blood” (Wikipedia).
mention – 38:20
MOREY: Let’s stay outside a while, baby. Look for the Big Dipper?
BABETTE: Okay, I’d like that.
— The Big Dipper is a group of seven bright stars that, together, form a rectangular body with an extended handle. It is considered an asterism (a prominent group of stars, smaller than a constellation) and is part of the constellation Ursa Major. It is known as the Big Dipper in the US and Canada, and is referred to as the Plough in the UK and Ireland.
References Consolidated by Category
- 00:50 – Philco
- 02:55 – Dolly Madison
- 13:25 – Planter’s Peanuts
- 33:20 – Ford Mustang
- 11:55 – M. Night Shyamalan
- 20:20 – Jim Carrey
- 20:30 – Jean-Paul Sartre
- 22:30 – the Dalai Lama
- 37:15 – Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton
Film & Television
- 06:45 – Frankenstein (1931)
- 11:55 – The Sixth Sense (1999)
- 25:05 – Hee Haw
- 31:05 – The Valley of the Dolls (1967)
- 32:50 – The Oprah Winfrey Show
Geography & Politics
- 03:25 – Korean reunification
- 36:30 – Iran-Contra affair
- Fawn Hall
- Oliver North
- 00:10 – National Socialist German Worker’s Party (Nazism)
- 00:50 – 1969 moon landing
- 08:35 – King Henry VIII
- 17:20 – poison hemlock
- 00:00 – Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
- 02:40 – “Time Bomb” by Rancid
- 16:30 – the Bangles
- 33:50 – “I Thought About You” by Jimmy van Heusen and Johnny Mercer
- 35:20 – “Truly, Truly” by Grant Lee Buffalo
- 38:20 – Big Dipper