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Season One, Episode Fourteen: “That Damn Donna Reed”

    Season 1, episode 14: “That Damn Donna Reed”
    Original air date: 22 February 2001
    Directed by: Michael Katleman
    Written by: Daniel Palladino

    Summary: Rory and Dean argue about gender roles after watching The Donna Reed Show. When Lorelai loses track of a baby chick Rory is hosting for a school project, she summons Luke for help.

    On this page: All References in Chronological Order | References Sorted by Category | Frequent References | Indigenous Land Acknowledgment

    All References in Chronological Order

    00:00 – ⭐ reference
    Episode title: “That Damn Donna Reed
    DEAN: So, who’s Donna Reed?
    RORY: What?
    LORELAI: You don’t know who Donna Reed is? The quintessential ’50s mom with the perfect ’50s family?
    RORY: Never without a smile and high heels?
    LORELAI: Hair that, if you hit it with a hammer, would crack?
    RORY: She did do the whole, like, milk-and-cookies, wholesome, big-skirt thing, but aside from that, she was an uncredited producer and director on her television show, which made her one of the first woman television executives.

    • Donna Reed (born Donna Mullenger, 1921-1986) was a US actor. In her career of over 40 years, she acted in more than 40 films, including Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) and Fred Zimmerman’s From Here to Eternity (1953), the latter of which earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She is also known for her television work on The Donna Reed Show (1958-1966). While Reed’s on-screen proxy, Donna Stone, fits the archetype of a 1950s housewife, she is actually considered to be “more assertive and complex than most other television mothers of the era” (Wikipedia). Responding to feminist critiques of the character in 1984, Reed said, “I felt that I was making, for women, a statement. This mother was not stupid. She wasn’t domineering, but she was bright and I thought rather forward-thinking, happily married.”
    • After Reed signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1941, a studio publicist changed her name from “Mullenger” to “Reed” due to the anti-German sentiment of the period. Reed, herself, never liked the stage name, saying, “It has a cold, forbidding sound.”

    00:05 – 📖 reference
    LORELAI: You come bearing pizza?

    • “I come bearing gifts” is an English-language phrase of indistinct origin. Though it is widely associated with the Biblical nativity narrative, in which the Magi bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the infant Jesus, the words “bearing gifts” do not actually appear in that text.
    • The phrase may have origins in another phrase, “beware of Greeks bearing gifts.” This phrase comes from the epic poem Aeneid, written by the Roman poet Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, and refers to the mythological Trojan Horse. According to the Aeneid, the Greeks offered a giant wooden horse to their military foes, the Trojans, who brought the horse into their city. The horse’s hollow interior concealed Greek soldiers, who were able to breach the city and win the Trojan war.
    • Though “I come bearing gifts” contains language similar to that of the Aeneid, the spirit of the phrase is more in keeping with the Bible story. Whereas the Trojan Horse was a trick disguised as a gift, “I come bearing gifts” is usually said in earnest.

    00:10 – 🎥 feature
    DEAN: What are we watching?
    LORELAI: The incomparable Donna Reed Show.
    RORY: My favorite episode…is when their son, Jeff, comes home from school, and nothing happens.
    LORELAI: Oh, that’s a good one. One of my favorites is when Mary, the daughter, gets a part-time job, and nothing happens.
    RORY: Another classic.
    DEAN: So, what’s this one about?
    LORELAI: This one is actually quite filled with intrigue. The husband, Alex, comes home late for dinner, and he didn’t call.

    Scenes from The Donna Reed Show are shown on the TV screen at 01:10 and 02:15.

    • The Donna Reed Show (1958-1966) is a US sitcom starring the aforementioned Donna Reed. Reed plays a middle-class housewife and mother of two teenagers, Mary and Jeff; her husband, Alex, is a pediatrician. Reed described the show as “a realistic picture of small-town life with an often humorous twist” (Wikipedia). It is considered distinct from other domestic sitcoms of the period for centering the mother rather than the father.

    00:20 – 📖 feature
    A copy of Business 2.0 magazine sits on the coffee table.

    • Business 2.0 was a business-focused monthly magazine first published in 1998. Despite initial success, the magazine failed to sell sufficient ad pages and ultimately shut down in 2007.

    02:00 – 🎥 reference + 🪶 reference
    RORY: [She’s] acting from a script.
    LORELAI: Written by a man.
    RORY: Well said, sister suffragette.

    • “Sister Suffragette” is a song from the 1964 musical-fantasy Disney film Mary Poppins. British actor Glynis Johns sings the song in her role as Mrs. Winifred Banks, a wife, mother, and advocate for women’s suffrage. The film is set in London in 1910, 18 years before women in the United Kingdom would secure the right to vote on equal terms with men. It is based on the Mary Poppins children’s book series by Australian-British writer P. L. Travers, though Mrs. Banks’s political activities do not feature in the books.
    • While “suffragist” refers generally to a campaigner for voting rights, the term “suffragette” refers specifically “to members of the British Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), a women-only movement founded in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst, which engaged in direct action and civil disobedience” (Wikipedia). The term was coined derisively by the press, but was reclaimed by activists.

    04:40 – 🎥 reference
    TAYLOR: You got trouble, my friends.
    LORELAI: Right here in River City!

    • “Ya Got Trouble” is a song from Meredith Wilson’s 1957 Broadway musical The Music Man and its 1962 film adaptation (dir. Morton DaCosta). In the play, a con man poses as a boys’ bandleader in order to dupe the people of a small Midwestern town into funding the formation of a new marching band, after which he plans to abscond with the money. In the number “Ya Got Trouble,” he plays on the community’s “fears of youth corruption, represented by a new pocket pool table in the local billiard hall” (Wikipedia), and convinces them they must invest in a wholesome alternative in order to prevent a slippery slope into degeneracy.

    06:00 – 🗺️ mention
    RORY: So, when do you guys leave for Martha’s Vineyard?
    LORELAI: What’s going on?
    RICHARD: Oh, your mother and I have just secured a place on Martha’s Vineyard.

    • Martha’s Vineyard is an island located south of Cape Cod in the US state of Massachusetts. It is the third-largest island on the US East Coast, after Long Island, New York and Mount Desert Island, Maine. It is known as a popular “summer colony,” a US term for “well-known resorts and upper-class enclaves” (Wikipedia) where affluent families might own summer homes. Like many other summer colonies, the island’s economy is driven largely by summertime tourism, and the standard of living for year-round residents is significantly lower than that of their seasonal counterparts.
    • The island “is said to be named after the daughter of the British explorer Bartholomew Gosnold, who led the first recorded European expedition to Cape Cod in 1602” (Wikipedia). It was originally inhabited by the Wampanoag people and called Noepe, the “land amid the streams.”
    • Martha’s Vineyard was also home to one of the earliest known Deaf communities in the US. It even had its own form of sign language – a “village sign language” distinct from the national form – used commonly by both Deaf and hearing residents. Use of Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language declined as residents migrated to the mainland, however, and no fluent signers remain today.

    06:20 – 🗺️ reference
    LORELAI: Well, you know, you could break the chain, Dad. Go to Paris. … Impressionism, poodles.
    RORY: Crème brûlée.

    • Paris is the capital city of France. It is the most populous city in the country, and the fourth-most populous in the European Union (after Berlin, Germany; Madrid, Spain; and Rome, Italy). “Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of the world’s major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, culture, fashion, and gastronomy” (Wikipedia). The city was mentioned previously in episodes three, eight, and eleven.
    • Impressionism was an art movement that originated in 19th-century Paris. The name derives from the title of a painting, Impression, Sunrise, by the seminal impressionist painter Claude Monet.

    06:35 – 📖 reference
    EMILY: We know that [Europe’s] there in the spring, but we never go in the spring because we always go in the fall.
    LORELAI: It’s getting a little too Lewis Carroll for me.

    • Lewis Carroll (born Charles Dodgson, 1832-1898) was an English author, illustrator, and poet best known for his 1865 children’s novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, its 1871 sequel Through the Looking-Glass, and the 1871 poem Jabberwocky. His works are commonly classified as literary nonsense, a genre of fiction “that balances elements that make sense with some that do not, with the effect of subverting language conventions or logical reasoning” (Wikipedia).

    07:20 – 🪶 mention
    RORY: Catherine the Great, 1729 to ’96. Empress of Russia, 1762 to ’96. Originally named Sophie Friederike Augusta von Anhalt-Zerbst. Married to Grand Duke Peter of Holstein in 1754. The marriage was an unhappy one.

    • Catherine II (born Princess Sophie Augusta Frederica von Anhalt-Zerbst, 1729-1796), otherwise known as Catherine the Great, “was the reigning empress of Russia from 1762 to 1796. She came to power after overthrowing her husband, Peter III. Under her long reign, inspired by the ideas of the Enlightenment, Russia experienced a renaissance of culture and sciences” (Wikipedia) and emerged as a major European power.

    08:00 – 🗺️ mention
    BABETTE: Morey just got a call to play a gig at the Village Vanguard tonight, so we gotta go to New York.

    • The Village Vanguard is a jazz club located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. When it opened in 1935, “the club presented folk music and beat poetry, but it became primarily a jazz music venue in 1957. It has hosted many highly renowned jazz musicians since then, and today is the oldest operating jazz club in New York City” (Wikipedia).

    08:30 – 🎥 reference
    BABETTE: We got a kitchen full of food, and Morey just got cable, so you can watch those four girls talking dirty if you want to.

    • Sex and the City is a US romantic comedy-drama series that aired on HBO from 1998 to 2004. It is based on “Candace Bushnell’s newspaper column and 1996 book anthology of the same name. … Set in New York City, the series follows the lives of four women–three in their mid-thirties and one in her forties–who, despite their different natures and ever-changing sex lives, remain inseparable and confide in each other. … The series had multiple continuing storylines that tackled relevant and modern social issues such as sexuality, safe sex, promiscuity, friendship, and femininity” (Wikipedia).

    09:10 – ⭐ reference
    LORELAI: Paul and Linda McCartney only spent 11 nights apart their entire relationship.

    • Paul McCartney (born 1942) is an English singer, songwriter, and musician best known for his work as co-lead vocalist, co-songwriter, and bassist for English rock band the Beatles.
    • Linda McCartney (née Eastman, 1941-1998) was a US photographer and the first woman to have a photograph published on the cover of music magazine Rolling Stone, in 1968.
    • Paul and Linda were a devoted couple, by all accounts, and remained married from 1969 until Linda’s death from breast cancer in 1998. As to how many days and nights they spent apart during their relationship, there are a few answers floating around the Internet. The number 11 is corroborated by a 1993 interview in which Paul told People magazine, “The only 11 days we ever did not spend the night together was when I got put in jail in Japan for pot” (People).

    09:45 – 🎧 feature
    The town troubadour (played by Grant-Lee Phillips) leans against a lamppost and plays “Sunday Best” on an acoustic guitar while Dean waits for Rory at the bus stop.

    • According to Wikipedia, this song was released as an Australian bonus track on Grant-Lee Phillips’s 2001 album Mobilize. It does not seem to be available on YouTube or Spotify. Thanks to Gilmore Girls Soundtrack for the song identification.
    • US singer-songwriter Grant-Lee Phillips was heard previously with his band, Grant Lee Buffalo, in episode five. The current episode marks his first on-screen appearance as the Stars Hollow troubadour.

    10:10 – 🏷️ feature
    Dean appears to be wearing a Nike sweatshirt during his argument with Rory.

    • Nike, Inc. is a US multinational company and “the world’s largest supplier of athletic shoes and apparel” (Wikipedia). It was founded in 1964 in the Northwest state of Oregon as Blue Ribbon Sports. In 1971, the company changed its name to Nike, a reference to the goddess of victory from Greek mythology.

    11:05 – 🗺️ mention
    RORY: She made homemade doughnuts, chocolate cake, a lamb chop, mashed potato dinner, and enough stew to feed Cambodia all in one episode.

    • Cambodia, officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in Southeast Asia. At the time of this episode in 2001, the country had a population of 12.35 million; it has risen to 16.95 million today (Wikipedia).

    13:05 – 🎥 reference
    LORELAI: Hi. Your name is Stanley. Hi, Stanley.
    RORY: It’s a girl.
    LORELAI: Oh. Sorry about the Stanley thing. Your name is Stella. Stella’s nice, and Stella was married to Stanley!
    SOOKIE: I like that name.
    LORELAI: Oh, Streetcar Named Desire.
    SOOKIE: Vivien Leigh or Jessica Tandy?
    LORELAI: Hello? Tandy.

    • A Streetcar Named Desire is a 1947 play written by Tennessee Williams. “The story revolves around Blanche DuBois, a fragile and troubled woman who moves in with her sister, Stella, and her brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski” (SparkNotes). A film adaptation directed by Elia Kazan was released in 1951, with Marlon Brando and Kim Hunter reprising their roles as Stanley and Stella. Jessica Tandy, who originated the role of Blanche on Broadway, was replaced by Vivien Leigh, her counterpart from the London production; a producer for the film insisted Tandy lacked the requisite box-office draw, despite the fact that she had won a Tony Award for her stage performance. “In Brando’s autobiography, he praised Tandy but felt that Vivien Leigh ended up being the definitive Blanche” (Wikipedia).
    • When Lorelai calls for Stella, she is referencing this scene in which Stanley screams his wife’s name in the street. Like many iconic scenes, it has been referenced widely, including in a 1991 episode of Seinfeld and a 1992 episode of The Simpsons.
    • The work of Tennessee Williams was referenced indirectly in episode nine.

    14:05 – 🗺️ reference
    LORELAI: Now, if you wanted to do more warm, golden Tuscan countryside–
    LUKE: Then I’d go to Italy.

    • Toscana (English: Tuscany) is a region in central Italy known for its scenic landscapes of rolling hills, olive groves, and vineyards. Widely regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, it is also recognized for its “history, artistic legacy, and its influence on high culture” (Wikipedia).

    14:20 – ⭐ reference
    LORELAI: Do you even know what stenciling is?
    LUKE: Does Martha Stewart do it?
    LORELAI: Yes.
    LUKE: No stenciling.

    • Martha Stewart (born Martha Kostyra, 1941) is a US author, television personality, and entrepreneur in the home and lifestyle space. Her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, offers “recipes, DIY projects, gardening ideas, easy entertaining tips, beauty advice, and wedding inspiration” (Martha Stewart) through a variety of media channels.

    20:10 – 🪶 mention + 🎧 mention
    LANE: I have discovered that, in addition to my lameness in geometry, I also will not become a biologist, French translator, or Civil War buff.
    RORY: Well, I guess that just leaves bass player for the Foo Fighters.
    LANE: I also wouldn’t rule out keyboardist in the Siouxsie and the Banshees reunion tour.

    • Lane is referring to the American Civil War, waged between the Union (states loyal to the federal union, or “the North”) and the Confederacy (states that voted to secede, or “the South”) from 1861 to 1865. The central cause of the war was the status of slavery, especially the expansion of slavery into western territories. The Confederacy was ultimately defeated, and the United States’ population of four million enslaved Black people won emancipation.
    • US rock band the Foo Fighters (mentioned previously in episode 12) was founded by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl in 1994. They became a global success in their own right, winning 12 Grammy Awards and gaining induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility, in October 2021. Nate Mendel has been their bass player continuously since 1995.
    • Siouxsie and the Banshees are a widely influential British post-punk band founded in 1976. Bassist Steven Severin and drummer Peter Edward Clarke, known professionally as Budgie, have also played keyboards for the band. The band broke up in 1996 but reunited briefly for the Seven Year Itch tour in 2002.

    20:40 – 🎧 mention
    LANE: We have classic rock, progressive rock, pretty-boy rock–
    RORY: Excuse me?
    LANE: Bon Jovi, Duran Duran, the Wallflowers, Bush
    RORY: Got it.

    • Bon Jovi is a US rock band variously characterized as glam metal, arena rock, pop rock, and heavy metal. It was founded in 1983 and named for its vocalist Jon Bongiovi, known professionally as Jon Bon Jovi. Bongiovi has also had acting roles in film and on television shows like Sex and the City (1998-2004), Ally McBeal (1997-2002), and The West Wing (1999-2006). He was ranked among the “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” and named “Sexiest Rock Star” by People magazine in 1996 and 2000, respectively.
    • Duran Duran (featured previously in episode six) is a British new-wave band formed in 1978. “Emerging as members of the New Romantic scene, Duran Duran were innovators of the music video and a leading band in the MTV-driven Second British Invasion of the US in the 1980s. By 1984, the band had achieved levels of fame similar to Beatlemania” (Wikipedia).
    • The Wallflowers is a rock solo project of US singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jakob Dylan, formed in 1989. Dylan is the son of singer-songwriter Bob Dylan and model Sara Lownds.
    • Bush is an British rock band formed in 1992. They became one of the most commercially successful rock groups of the 1990s, though mainly outside their country of origin; their debut album is certified 6x multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). “One of the first bands to be described as post-grunge, Bush were labeled almost pejoratively as such” (Wikipedia) and were dismissed by some as Nirvana imitators. Though the band acknowledges Nirvana as a key influence, they maintain their style is their own.

    21:00 – 🎧 mention
    LANE: Punk, new wave, German metal bands, Broadway soundtracks.

    • There are 41 professional theaters on Broadway, a road in Manhattan, New York City. As a genre, “Broadway theatre” refers to productions presented in these theaters. Together, “Broadway and London’s West End…represent the highest commercial level of live theater in the English-speaking world” (Wikipedia).

    21:05 – 🎧 mention
    LANE: Over there, we have jazz, jazz vocals, classical, country, rockabilly, Sinatra: the Capitol years

    • Frank Sinatra (born Francis Sinatra, 1915-1998) was a US actor and singer ranked among the best-selling music artists of all time. He rose to fame in the 1940s, but lost relevance in the early ’50s as his teen “bobby-soxer” audience matured and lost interest. “The Capitol years” refers to a period of revival that occurred in Sinatra’s career from 1953 to 1961, when he was signed to Capitol Records. During this time, he recorded In the Wee Small Hours (1955) and Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! (1956), two of his most noted releases. A compilation album titled The Capitol Years was released in 1990, coinciding with Sinatra’s 75th birthday.

    21:15 – 🎧 mention
    RORY: William Shatner. Is this the one where he sings “Tambourine Man”?
    LANE: And “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

    • William Shatner (born 1931) is a Canadian actor best known for his role as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek franchise. Rory and Lane may be discussing Shatner’s 1968 debut album The Transformed Man, which includes covers of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” and the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” These songs also appear on the 1997 compilation Spaced Out: The Best of Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner.
    • Nimoy appeared alongside Shatner in Star Trek, portraying the Vulcan character Spock. The series was referenced previously in episodes six, eight, and thirteen.

    22:10 – ⭐ reference
    LORELAI: This is unbelievable. All day long, just chirps like a maniac at the top of her lungs, and now nothing. Silence. Marcel Marceau chicken.

    • Marcel Marceau (born Marcel Mangel, 1923-2007) “was a French mime artist and actor most famous for his stage persona, ‘Bip the Clown’. He referred to mime as the ‘art of silence’, performing professionally worldwide for more than 60 years” (Wikipedia). A sampling of his noiseless performances can be seen here.
    • “As a Jewish youth, [Marceau] lived in hiding and worked with the French Resistance during most of World War II, giving his first major performance to 3,000 troops after the liberation of Paris” in 1944.

    22:30 – 🎥 reference
    LORELAI: Stella got out, and I don’t know. Do I put seed on the floor, do I make cheeping sounds, or do I pull a Lucy Ricardo and walk like a chicken so she thinks I’m her mother?

    • In the final season of US television sitcom I Love Lucy (1951-1957), Lucy and Ricky Ricardo (played by real-life married couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz) relocate from New York City to Connecticut. Once settled, they’re surprised by the high cost of living, and in the 1957 episode “Lucy Raises Chickens,” Lucy tries to supplement their income through the sale of chickens’ eggs. Mishaps ensue, and before long, there are 500 baby chicks roaming loose around their home. Lucy squawks and walks like a chicken in an attempt to coax the chicks from their hiding places and corral them to one room.
    • I Love Lucy was referenced previously in episode six.

    23:10 – 📖 mention
    LORELAI: The last sighting was here by the InStyle magazine, but then she burrowed through the Glamour and jumped over the Cosmo and knocked over a brand new bottle of nail polish.

    • InStyle is a US monthly fashion, beauty, and lifestyle magazine published by Dotdash Meredith (formerly the Meredith Corporation) since 1994. It was featured previously in episode seven.
    • Glamour is a US magazine published by Condé Nast and marketed toward women. It was originally published in 1939 under the name Glamour of Hollywood before rebranding in 1943. It ceased print editions in 2019 and is now a solely digital publication.
    • Cosmopolitan (or Cosmo, for short) is a US fashion and entertainment magazine marketed toward women. It was founded in 1886, though its content has shifted over time. Today, it includes dating and relationship advice and is especially known for its explicit sex tips. It has been referenced or featured previously in episodes six, seven, and ten.

    24:05 – 🎧 feature
    “Flower Girl From Bordeaux” by Esquivel! plays at Babette and Morey’s house when Rory greets Dean wearing her Donna Reed outfit.

    • Rory goes to Lane in search of a CD she describes as “the weird one,” and we catch a glimpse of the cover around 21:25. The CD in question, Music From a Sparkling Planet, is a compilation by Mexican bandleader and composer Juan García Esquivel, better known as simply Esquivel! Though the album was released in 1995, the music represents a late 1950s/early 1960s genre variously described as easy listening, lounge music, or space age pop.

    24:15 – 🎥 reference
    RORY: Honey, you’re home!

    • “Honey, I’m home!” is a stereotypical television catchphrase harking back to the domestic sitcoms of the 1950s and ’60s. Though Rory reverses it, the greeting is usually made by a husband to his stay-at-home wife upon his return from work. (The fabled I Love Lucy variation, “Lucy, I’m home!” was discussed in episode six.) The phrase is so evocative of this era of television, it was used as the title of classic-sitcom spoof, Hi Honey, I’m Home!, which aired on ABC from 1991 to 1992 as part of its TGIF lineup.

    24:20 – 🗺️ reference
    RORY: Well, say something!
    DEAN: Trick or treat?

    • Halloween (or All Hallows’ Eve) is a cultural holiday celebrated on 31 October. On the evening of the 31st, revelers (usually children) observe the custom of trick-or-treating by dressing in costume and going door to door, using the phrase “trick or treat” as a request for candy. “The ‘trick’ refers to a threat, usually idle, to perform mischief on the resident(s) or their property if no treat is given” (Wikipedia). The practice of trick-or-treating can be traced to the Scottish and Irish tradition of guising, which involves performing in exchange for treats.
    • Halloween was referenced previously in episode six.

    26:30 – 🎧 feature
    “Johnny Angel” by Shelley Fabares plays in the background as Rory and Dean finish eating dinner. Dean attempts to clarify his earlier comments about housewives, and Rory shares the results of her research on Donna Reed.

    • This song was written by Lyn Duddy and Lee Pockriss. It was recorded twice before 17-year-old Fabares recorded her version in 1961, and it was her version that made the song a success; it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart when it was released as a single in 1962. Fabares is also known for her role as Mary Stone, Donna Reed’s daughter on The Donna Reed Show.

    27:10 – 🏷️ mention
    DEAN: What’s for dessert?
    RORY: Lime fantasy supreme.
    DEAN: Which is?
    RORY: Green Jell-O and Cool Whip.

    • Jello is a brightly colored, translucent gelatin dessert that retains its shape after being fitted to a mold; other ingredients like fruit or marshmallows are sometimes suspended within the jello. The word “jello” is the generic form of the brand name Jell-O, from which the word is derived. The dessert was mentioned previously in episode 11.
    • Cool Whip is a US “brand of whipped topping manufactured by Kraft Heinz” (Wikipedia) since 1966. It is sold in plastic tubs rather than aerosol cans, does not require whipping, and resists melting over time. It is the most purchased brand of whipped topping in the United States.

    28:50 – 🪶 reference
    RORY: I’d better get these dishes cleaned up.
    DEAN: Oh, well, I’ll help.
    RORY: Sorry, you’re a man. You can’t help for another 15 years.

    • Rory is alluding to the shift in gender roles that occurred in the United States in conjunction with second-wave feminism in the 1970s. During this period, women enrolled in universities and entered professions in unprecedented numbers. As the public and domestic spheres became less rigidly sex segregated, it became more permissible, and desirable, for men to contribute to household chores and child-rearing. Of course, an imbalance still exists: women outnumber men in today’s paid workforce but still perform almost twice as much unpaid domestic labor (Harvard Business Review).

    32:40 – 🎥 reference
    LORELAI: It started with Rory’s baby chick getting loose in the house and ended with Rory and I up at one in the morning looking for Morey and Babette’s new kitten, who we found asleep in the piano.
    SOOKIE: Wow. That’s very Wild Kingdom of you.
    LORELAI: Yeah. I’m like the Marlin Perkins of Stars Hollow.

    • Wild Kingdom is a US wildlife and nature program that aired from 1963 to 1988. Zoologist Marlin Perkins (born Richard Marlin Perkins, 1905-1986) hosted the show for most of its original run before retiring due to ailing health in 1985. The show is also known as Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom in reference to its sponsor, insurance company Mutual of Omaha.

    35:05 – ⭐ reference
    LORELAI: All of a sudden, I’m trying to get any poor, unsuspecting person in bed with me! I’m like Michael Douglas!

    • Michael Douglas (born 1944) is a US actor best known for his roles in Fatal Attraction (1987), Wall Street (1987), and Basic Instinct (1992). In 1992, Douglas began a 30-day treatment program for alcoholism; tabloid rumors persisted for years that he was treated for sex addiction, though he has consistently denied this.

    37:15 – 🏷️ mention
    EMILY: The two of you must come up for the weekend. It is so lovely. Rory would just love it.
    RORY: Can we go for a weekend?
    LORELAI: We’ll see how much Valium Auntie Sookie can lend Mommy.

    • Valium (generic: diazepam) is a brand-name medication commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, seizures, insomnia, and other disorders. Despite the potential for abuse and addiction, “it has been one of the most frequently prescribed medications in the world since its launch in 1963. In the United States it was the best-selling medication between 1968 and 1982” (Wikipedia).
    • Sookie’s slightly concerning use of pharmaceuticals was first made apparent in episode nine.

    37:40 – ⭐ reference
    LORELAI: Joan and Melissa Rivers here think I’m being morbid.

    • Joan Rivers (born Joan Molinsky, 1933-2014) was a comedian, writer, producer, and actor. In 1986, she became the first woman to host a late-night network talk show with the premiere of The Late Show with Joan Rivers. Her blunt, often abrasive style of humor was sometimes criticized as insensitive, and her material sometimes touched on controversial subject matter, such as the Holocaust. (It is worth noting that Rivers, herself, was Jewish.)
    • Actor and television host Melissa Rivers (born Melissa Rosenberg, 1968) is the only child of Joan’s marriage to Edgar Rosenberg, who died by suicide in 1987. In 1994, Joan and Melissa portrayed themselves in the television docudrama Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story, which depicts the aftermath of Rosenberg’s suicide and is described by Entertainment Weekly as “ghoulishly creepy.”

    38:30 – ⭐ reference
    RORY: Each of us have to follow a chick through its entire growth process. Everything has to be logged: eating habits, sleeping habits…
    LORELAI: Houdini habits.
    RORY: She got out.

    • Harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz, 1874-1926) was a Hungarian-born “escape artist, illusionist, and stunt performer, noted for his escape acts” (Wikipedia). His stage name is a tribute to the French magician and illusionist Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin.

    38:55 – 🗺️ mention + 🪶 mention
    RORY: So, Grandpa, when’s your next trip?
    RICHARD: Uh, Madrid. The 12th. … I think there’s a nice edition of Cervantes in it for you.
    RORY: Gracias.

    • Madrid is the capital of Spain and its most populous city. It is the second-most populous city in the European Union, after Berlin, Germany.
    • Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) “was an Early Modern Spanish writer widely regarded as the greatest writer in the Spanish language and one of the world’s pre-eminent novelists. He is best known for his novel Don Quixote” (Wikipedia), which came up briefly in the post for episode seven.
    • Although Rory tells Richard, “Thank you,” in Spanish with a US accent, Alexis Bledel has Latin American heritage (her father is Argentinian, and her mother was raised in Mexico), and Spanish is her first language.

    40:25 – 🎧 feature
    The town troubadour (played by Grant-Lee Phillips) plays “Beautiful Dreamers” on an acoustic guitar while crossing a street. He passes Luke and Lorelai as they unload paint cans from Luke’s truck.

    • This song was released on Phillips’s 2001 album Mobilize.

    42:00 – 🏷️ feature
    RORY: What is it, a Harley?
    LORELAI: That is a 2000 Indian – 80-horsepower, five-speed, close-ratio Andrews transmission – and I wanna get one.

    • Harley-Davidson, also known as simply Harley, is a US motorcycle manufacturer. “Founded in 1903, it is one of two major American motorcycle manufacturers to survive the Great Depression along with its historical rival, Indian Motorcycles” (Wikipedia), founded in 1901.
    • Andrews Products is a US auto parts manufacturer specializing in camshafts and transmission gears.

    References Sorted by Category

    Jump to category: Brand Names | Famous Figures | Film, Television & Theater | Geography & Politics | History | Literature | Music

    🏷️ Brand Names

    • 10:10 – Nike, Inc. (athletic apparel)
    • 27:10 – Jell-O (gelatin dessert)
    • 27:10 – Cool Whip (whipped topping)
    • 37:15 – Valium (prescription drug)
    • 42:00 – Harley-Davidson (motorcycle)
    • 42:00 – Indian Motorcycles (motorcycle)
    • 42:00 – Andrews Products (auto parts)

    ⭐ Famous Figures

    • 00:00, 00:25, 28:25 – Donna Reed (actor)
    • 09:10 – Paul McCartney (musician)
    • 09:10 – Linda McCartney (photographer)
    • 14:20 – Martha Stewart (lifestyle entrepreneur)
    • 22:10 – Marcel Marceau (mime and actor)
    • 35:05 – Michael Douglas (actor)
    • 37:40 – Joan Rivers (comedian and actor)
    • 37:40 – Melissa Rivers (actor and television host)
    • 38:30 – Harry Houdini (escape artist and illusionist)

    🎥 Film, Television & Theater

    • 00:10, 00:40The Donna Reed Show (television show)
    • 02:00Mary Poppins (1964 film), “Sister Suffragette” (musical number)
    • 04:40The Music Man (1957 stage musical, 1962 film), “Ya Got Trouble” (musical number)
    • 08:30Sex and the City (television show)
    • 13:05, 21:50, 33:10A Streetcar Named Desire (1947 stage play, 1951 film)
      • 13:05 – Stanley Kowalski (character)
      • 13:05, 21:50 – Stella Kowalski (character)
      • 33:10 – Vivien Leigh (actor), Jessica Tandy (actor)
    • 22:30I Love Lucy (television show), Lucy Ricardo (character)
    • 24:15 – “Honey, I’m home!” (television catchphrase)
    • 32:40Wild Kingdom (television show), Marlin Perkins (host)

    🗺️ Geography & Politics

    • 06:00, 36:50 – Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts (US island)
    • 06:20 – Paris, France (European city)
    • 08:00 – Village Vanguard (jazz club)
    • 11:05 – Cambodia (Asian country)
    • 14:05 – Toscana, Italy (European region), Tuscany (also known as)
    • 24:20 – Halloween (holiday)
    • 38:55 – Madrid, Spain (European city)

    🪶 History

    • 02:00 – suffragettes (voting-rights advocates)
    • 07:20 – Catherine II (monarch), Catherine the Great (also known as), Peter III (husband and predecessor)
    • 20:10 – American Civil War (military conflict)
    • 28:50 – 1970s gender roles

    📖 Literature

    • 00:05Aeneid by Virgil (epic poem)
    • 00:20Business 2.0 (magazine)
    • 06:35 – Lewis Carroll (author and poet)
    • 23:10InStyle (magazine)
    • 23:10Glamour (magazine)
    • 23:10Cosmopolitan (magazine)
    • 38:55 – Miguel de Cervantes (author)

    🎧 Music

    Frequent References

    A few things come up so routinely in the show, I am not going to include an entry for them every time they do. I wrote about the following people, places, and things when they first appeared or were mentioned.

    Indigenous Land Acknowledgment

    In beginning my work on this guide, I’ve come to realize just how many references (however subtle) the show 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 matter. Please visit my land acknowledgment page to view the results of my research.

    Episode citation: “That Damn Donna Reed.” Gilmore Girls, created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, season 1, episode 14, Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, Hofflund/Polone, Warner Bros. Television, 2001.

    Posted 10 July 2022 (updated 10 July 2024)

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