Season One, Episode Four: “The Deer Hunters”

Season 1, episode 4: “The Deer Hunters”
Original air date: October 26, 2000
Directed by: Alan Myerson
Written by: Jed Seidel

IMDb summary: “Rory is still playing ‘catch up’ at a Chilton, and Max Medina gives her the first bad grade she has ever received; Rory yells at Paris and [Tristan]” (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: “The Deer Hunters”
The Deer Hunter (1978, dir. Michael Cimino) is an epic war drama film about the effect on the lives of three steelworkers (played by Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and John Savage) of the Vietnam War.
— The film features John Cazale in his final role and Meryl Streep in a supporting role, for which she received her first Academy Award nomination. The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and was selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1996.

mention – 00:25
RORY: I need legal pads. … Some number two pencils, three highlighters, an eraser, a staple remover, and a Pee-Chee folder.
— Pee-Chee folders are a stationery item for storing loose leaf papers, most commonly used by US students in the second half of the 20th century. The traditional Pee-Chee folder is a peachy yellow color and features illustrations (done by artist Francis Golden in 1964) of student athletes. Students typically doodle on the folders and modify the existing illustrations (Smithsonian Magazine).
— The folders were originally marketed as Pee-Chee All Season Portfolios by the Western Tablet and Stationary Company of Kalamazoo, Michigan. They were later produced, in a variety of colors, by the Mead Corporation.
— Number two pencils are a standard US school supply and are generally required for use in standardized testing. “Number two” is a grade indicating the relative hardness of the graphite; it is similar to an HB pencil in other countries (Mental Floss).

mention – 01:15
LORELAI: We’re gonna stage an intervention with the neon Post-its and make them give up their wacky, crazy ways.
— Post-it (previously mentioned in the last episode at 16:25) is a brand of sticky notes produced by the 3M Company. The term “Post-it” has become a genericized trademark, or proprietary eponym, in US English: “a trademark or brand name that, because of its popularity or significance, has become a generic term for, or synonymous with, a general class of product or service” (Wikipedia). Legally, “Post-it” is a registered trademark, but it is often used to refer to any sticky notes, regardless of brand.

reference – 03:10
MR. MEDINA: Look at the large red circles around various parts of your paper as friendly reminders that to err is human.
— The phrase “to err is human” originally appeared in An Essay on Criticism, Part II (1711) by English poet Alexander Pope, in the following context. “Ah ne’er so dire a Thirst of Glory boast, / Nor in the Critick let the Man be lost! / Good-Nature and Good-Sense must ever join; / To err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine.” The last of these four lines has been absorbed into the English lexicon, expressing the sentiment that “while anyone can make a mistake, we should aspire to do as God does…show mercy and forgive sinners” (Phrase Finder).

reference – 04:00
PARIS: A D, however… That would be cause for concern.
LOUISE: A cry for help.
PARIS: A job application at McDonald’s.
LOUISE: Would you like fries with that?
— The McDonald’s Corporation is a US chain of fast food restaurants specializing in hamburgers and french fries (British English: chips). The company has become a symbol of US globalization, so you are likely all too familiar with them regardless of where you live.
— McDonald’s employees are trained to ask customers if they would like to add french fries to their order, as an upselling tactic. The question has become so synonymous with the company that it has become a catchphrase all its own, usually used to mock low-income, low-status fast food workers as Louise does here.

reference – 05:15
MICHEL: Ah! You imbecile!
DRELLA: Back off, Chevalier.
— Drella may be referring to the surname of French actor and cabaret singer Maurice Chevalier (1888-1972), who when performing in English put on a heavy French stage accent.
— “Chevalier” is a French honorary title historically given to knights, or horsemen, and later to nobility (Encyclopaedia Britannica). It is also used for members of some modern orders such as the Légion d’honneur (English: Legion of Honor).

reference – 05:25
DRELLA: What a baby!
MICHEL: These are $300 Italian loafers.
DRELLA: I wonder if Versace makes a pacifier.
— Gianni Versace S.r.l. is an Italian luxury fashion brand founded by Gianni Versace in 1978. The company “produces upmarket Italian-made ready-to-wear and leather accessories” (Wikipedia).

feature – 07:50
NEWS ANCHOR (on the television): And the “Person of the Week” segment.
— “ABC Person of the Week” is a segment of the ABC World News Tonight broadcast. Since 1986, it has provided “a short biography or story of an interesting person, at the end of the Friday night broadcast” (Wikipedia).
— Canadian-born journalist Peter Jennings was the sole anchor of ABC World News Tonight from 1983 to 2005. I’m not sure the voice we hear in this audio clip sounds like his, but he would have been anchor at the time this episode aired.

reference – 09:50
RORY: Marco!
LANE: Polo!
— Marco Polo is a call-and-response game typically played in swimming pools. In the game, one player closes their eyes and shouts, “Marco!” and tries to locate the others based on their responses of, “Polo!”
— The game shares its name with 13th-century Italian explorer Marco Polo (1254-1324), though it is unclear whether any substantive connection exists between the two. “According to one whimsical explanation [on the now-defunct Retroland], ‘legend has it that the famed explorer didn’t really have a clue as to where he was going'” (Wikipedia), like the main player in the game.

feature – 10:10
RORY: What’s that?
LANE: Twelve calories.
RORY: Here.
LANE: Oh, my god, bless you.
— Lane is eating a rice cake, and Rory offers her a Snickers bar as an alternative. Snickers is a brand of candy bar, consisting of peanuts, caramel, and nougat in a milk chocolate coating, produced by the US company Mars, Incorporated.

feature – 11:45
“Iron Man” by Black Sabbath
Episode context: Drella plays a rendition of this song on the harp at the inn, and Lorelai objects.
— From the 1970 album Paranoid.

mention – 11:55
LORELAI: No Black Sabbath.
DRELLA: No one is listening.
LORELAI: No Black Sabbath, no Steely Dan, no Boston, and no Queen.
— Black Sabbath, Steely Dan, Boston, and Queen are all rock bands that were primarily active in the 1970s. Steely Dan and Boston originated in the United States, Black Sabbath and Queen in the United Kingdom.

mention – 12:00
LORELAI: We like that Mozart.
DRELLA: I am the Artie Shaw of harpists.
— Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (baptized Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, 1756-1791) “was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical period” (Wikipedia). His 600+ compositions include some of the most widely known works in Western music.
— Artie Shaw (born Arthur Arshawsky, 1910-2004) was a US “clarinetist, composer, [and] bandleader. … Throughout his career, Shaw had a habit of forming bands, developing them according to his immediate aspirations, making a quick series of records, and then disbanding. He generally did not stick around long enough to reap his bands’ successes” (Wikipedia). Drella may be alluding to her own musical restlessness, or to Lorelai’s underappreciation of her musical achievements.

reference – 12:05
LORELAI: Sookie, I need coffee to go.
SOOKIE: There’s fresh over there.
LORELAI: …Fresh in my first lifetime as Joan of Arc.
— Joan of Arc (modern French: Jeanne d’Arc, born circa 1412, died 1431) “is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War, and was canonized as a Catholic saint” (Wikipedia). She is one of the most enduring cultural figures of the Middle Ages, known for her religious visions, masculine military attire (which led to the criminal charge of cross-dressing), and martyrdom after being burned at the stake.

mention – 14:40
MR. MEDINA: We are gonna be focusing on Elizabethan literature: Shakespeare, Marlowe, Bacon, Ben Jonson, John Webster.
LORELAI: Ooh, a test! Great.
RORY: On Shakespeare.
LORELAI: The Bard with a beard. Love it!
— William Shakespeare (baptized 1564, died 1616), Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Ben Jonson (born c. 1572, died c. 1637), and John Webster (born c. 1580, died c. 1632) were all writers, mostly playwrights and poets, who lived during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England.
— Shakespeare (who was also mentioned in episode two at 35:50) is sometimes referred to as the Bard, a historical term for a poet.

mention – 14:45
CHILTON PARENT: Yes, but will he [Marlowe] be included on the Advanced Placement test?
MR. MEDINA: We can’t know exactly what will be on the AP test, but it will definitely be important for future studies when your kids hit their universities.
— “Advanced Placement (AP) is a program in the United States and Canada created by [US non-profit organization] the College Board… Colleges and universities may grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores on the [AP] examinations” (Wikipedia).

mention – 15:45
LORELAI: Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and the camel! … This is really bad coffee.
— “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” is an exclamation, often used by Catholics, to express shock, surprise, or frustration. It refers to Jesus’s earthly parents, Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary (who was referenced in episode two at 20:55 and 39:20). In Lorelai’s version, she includes the camel popularly depicted in nativity scenes.

reference – 17:15
MR. MEDINA: I apologize for the behavior of some of our guests tonight. It’s a tense time for some people.
LORELAI: The SAT season?
MR. MEDINA: The waking hours.
— The SAT is a standardized test owned and created by the US non-profit organization the College Board, and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). It was originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, but is now simply SAT. SAT scores are commonly used by US colleges and universities as admissions criteria.
— While the College Board and the ETS are officially designated non-profits, they both charge hefty exam fees, heavily market their proprietary tutoring services and training materials, and pay their leadership six- and seven-figure salaries. The SAT has been continuously revised over time, but involved eugenicist and white supremacist theory in its origins (Wikipedia).

feature – 18:20
MR. MEDINA: So, are you a B-52’s girl?
— The B-52s are a US new wave band that produced a number of hit songs in the 1970s and ’80s. Their name comes from a Southern slang term for a particular beehive hairstyle that resembles the nose of a B-52 aircraft.

reference – 21:05
RORY: It was too humiliating.
LORELAI: Oh, honey. You once told me you loved Saved By the Bell. What could be more humiliating than that?
Saved By the Bell is a US teen sitcom that aired on Saturday mornings from 1989 to 1993. It is known for a particular aesthetic (contemporary to its time, but now considered retro) featuring bold geometric designs in pastel and neon colors, and for its cheesy, and occasionally moralizing, tone.

reference – 23:00
PARIS: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments. Love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds, / Or bends with the remover to remove. / O no! It is an ever-fixed mark / That looks on tempests and is never shaken; / It is the star to every wand’ring bark, / Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.”
— Paris mocks Rory by reciting part of Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 116” (Poetry Foundation).

mention – 24:45
LORELAI: The Comedy of Errors. Written?
RORY: 1590.
LORELAI: Published?
RORY: 1698.
LORELAI: Ooh, 1623, close.
The Comedy of Errors is one of Shakespeare’s early plays, and the shortest in the Shakespearean canon. It is also “one of his most farcical comedies, with a major part of the humour coming from slapstick and mistaken identity, in addition to puns and word play” (Wikipedia). It is uncertain in what precise year the play was written.
— The phrase “a comedy of errors” has been adopted into the English lexicon to refer to a sequence of events made ridiculous by a series of errors committed throughout.

mention – 24:55
LORELAI: Okay. Richard III.
RORY: 1591.
Richard III is a play by William Shakespeare. Alternatively considered a history or a tragedy, it chronicles “the Machiavellian rise and subsequent short reign of King Richard III of England. It is the second longest play in the Shakespearean canon” (Wikipedia). Again, it is uncertain in what precise year the play was written, but Rory’s answer is close to the estimated range. The earliest known performance took place in 1633.

feature – 25:00
When Rory sits down, we can see a copy of Who’s Who & What’s What in Shakespeare, a reference guide by Evangeline M. O’Connor, resting open and face down on the arm of her chair.
— According to The Annotated Gilmore Girls, The Oxford Shakespeare (a volume of the complete works of Shakespeare, published by Oxford University Press) is also visible in the scene, though I’m not sure where.

mention – 25:15
RORY: The sonnets are 154 poems of 14 lines.
LORELAI: Except?
RORY: Except for 126, which is 12 lines.
RORY: They’re written in iambic pentameter.
LORELAI: Except?
RORY: Except for 145, which is in tetrameter.
— William Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets that were published together in 1609. When someone refers to “Shakespeare’s sonnets,” it is almost always this collection of 154 that is being discussed.
— A sonnet is a poem of 14 lines that is written according to a formal rhyme scheme. Iambic pentameter and tetrameter both refer “to the pattern or rhythm in a line of poetry or verse and [have] to do with the number of syllables in the line and the emphasis placed on those syllables” (Your Dictionary).

feature – 26:00
Rory leaves the living room to study in the kitchen, and Lorelai flips open a copy of Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2000) by US chef Anthony Bourdain.
— Once again, I defer to The Annotated Gilmore Girls on this one. The cover is visible so briefly, and Netflix’s image quality leaves so much to be desired, I wouldn’t have been able to guess what this book was.

feature – 26:25
“My Darling” by Wilco
Episode context: Rory finds her mother asleep on the couch and covers her with a blanket. Later, Lorelai wakes up and spots Rory slumped over asleep at the kitchen table. She joins her, covers them both with a blanket, and goes back to sleep. Morning dawns, and the song ends.
— From the 1999 album Summerteeth.

feature –  28:40
“Wendy” by Wesley Yang and Gavin McNett
Episode context: Rory makes a frantic phone call to Lane as she (Rory) is driving to school. Lane is sitting in her closet, which she has fashioned into a music den, and this is the song she is listening to when she receives the call.
— This song does not seem ever to have been released commercially, but rather licensed to film and TV productions. (The Gilmore Girls Soundtrack came to the same conclusion.)

mention – 31:20
DRELLA: Hey, what do you think about Pat Benatar?
LORELAI: Great idea. Can she play the harp?
— Pat Benatar (born Patricia Mae Andrzejewski, 1953) is a US singer-songwriter known for hit songs like “Heartbreaker” (1979), “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” (1980), “Love Is a Battlefield” (1983), and “We Belong” (1984). In 2020, she was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

reference – 35:45
MR. MEDINA: I didn’t call this place a rathole.
LORELAI: Oh, no, that’s true. I added that. Wouldn’t want you to get in trouble with Il Duce, here.
— Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) was founder and Duce (English: Leader) of Italy’s National Fascist Party. He was the dictatorial Prime Minister of Italy “from the Fascist coup d’état in 1922 to his deposition in 1943” (Wikipedia). Mussolini’s Italy was one of the three Axis powers (along with Germany and Japan) during World War II.

reference – 35:50
LORELAI: I thought this place was gonna be so great, and now I guess this goes on the “boy, was I wrong” list, right below gauchos, and just above the Flashdance phase.
Flashdance (1983) is a US “romantic drama film directed by Adrian Lyne and starring Jennifer Beals as a passionate young dancer who aspires to become a professional ballerina” (Wikipedia). Its period soundtrack, stylized dance sequences, permed hairstyles, and wardrobe (including leg warmers and Beals’ iconic off-the-shoulder sweatshirt) make it a quintessentially ’80s film.
— Gauchos are a style of flowing, wide-leg, cropped pants that became popular in the 1970s.

mention – 38:55
LORELAI: So what does the deer look like? Huh? Does he have any distinguishing marks? Besides the word Jeep imprinted on his forehead.
— Jeep is a US brand of automobile, and the model that Lorelai owns is a 2000 Jeep Wrangler. The vehicle used in the show was auctioned off to the public in 2011, and in 2016, a writer for Autotrader tracked it down to the small town of Deep River, Connecticut.
— The Jeep also has long-standing military associations in the US. While the term “jeep” had prior use in military slang, “the World War II ‘jeep’ that went into production in 1941 specifically tied the name to this light military 4×4… The Jeep became the primary light 4-wheel-drive vehicle of the United States Armed Forces and the Allies during World War II, as well as the postwar period” (Wikipedia).

References Consolidated by Category


  • 14:45 – Advanced Placement
  • 17:15 – SAT testing

Brand Names

  • 00:25 – Pee-Chee
  • 01:15 – Post-it
  • 04:00 – McDonald’s
  • 05:25 – Versace
  • 10:10 – Snickers
  • 38:55 – Jeep

Famous Figures

  • 05:15 – Maurice Chevalier

Film & Television

  • 00:00 – The Deer Hunter (1978)
  • 07:50 – ABC Person of the Week
  • 21:05 – Saved By the Bell
  • 35:50 – Flashdance (1983)


  • 09:50 – Marco Polo
  • 12:05 – Joan of Arc
  • 35:45 – Benito Mussolini


  • 03:10 – An Essay on Criticism, Part II by Alexander Pope
  • 14:40 and 22:35 – William Shakespeare
    • 23:00 – Sonnet 116
    • 24:45 – The Comedy of Errors
    • 24:55 – Richard III
    • 25:15 – Shakespeare’s sonnets
  • 14:40 – Christopher Marlowe
  • 14:40 – Francis Bacon
  • 14:40 – Ben Jonson
  • 14:40 – John Webster
  • 25:00 – Who’s Who & What’s What in Shakespeare by Evangeline M. O’Connor
  • 26:00 – Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain



  • 15:45 – “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph”

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