Season One, Episode Two: “The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton”

Season 1, episode 2: “The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton”
Original air date: October 12, 2000
Directed by: Arlene Sanford
Written by: Amy Sherman-Palladino

IMDb summary: “Rory’s first day at Chilton, where she has a confrontation with Paris. Emily tries to install an internet connection at Lorelai’s house without asking first” (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

mention – 00:40
LANE: Guys, guys! New CD! Apple Venus Volume 2!
Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) is the 14th and final studio album by English rock band XTC. It was released on May 23, 2000 as the followup to 1999 album Apple Venus Volume 1. The band eventually dissolved in 2006.

feature – 00:45
“I’m the Man Who Murdered Love” by XTC
Episode context: Lorelai, Rory, and Lane rush into the house to listen to XTC’s new album. Cut to opening credits.
— From the aforementioned 2000 album Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2).

feature – 03:35
“I Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye to You” by Sam Phillips
Episode context: Rory gazes wistfully at students convening at Stars Hollow High as she and Lorelai drive past on their way to Chilton.
— From the 1988 album The Indescribable Wow. The album version linked above is a different recording than the one used in the episode. The style of the episode version fits with the overall sound of the show’s score, so I assume that Phillips (the show’s composer, also featured in the pilot at 18:30) rerecorded the song for use in the show.

feature – 04:10
As Lorelai and Rory drive to Chilton, they pass an Italiante-style house with a sign that reads “Gelston House.”
— Gelston House is a restaurant and inn located in East Haddam, Connecticut. The house was built in 1853 on the site of an old tavern, the Riverside Inn, originally constructed in 1736. It is named for the Gelston family, who operated the property from 1776 to 1825 and whose hotel company built the current structure (Historic Buildings of Connecticut).

reference – 04:20
RORY: I remember it being smaller.
LORELAI: Yeah. And less…
RORY: Off with their heads.
— This isn’t necessarily a reference to a specific title, since the phrase “off with their heads” (or his or her head) has been used by multiple authors. In Shakespeare’s play, Henry VI, Part 3, Queen Margaret says, “Off with his head, and set it on the York gates; / So York may overlook the town of York” (Phrase Finder). However, the phrase is most associated with the Queen of Hearts, who screams it repeatedly in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865).

reference – 04:25
RORY: What are you looking at?
LORELAI: I’m just trying to see if there is a hunchback up in that bell tower.
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (originally Notre-Dame de Paris) is an 1831 French Gothic novel by Victor Hugo. One of the story’s principal characters, Quasimodo, is a disabled and physically deformed bell ringer at Notre Dame Cathedral.
— The novel has been adapted to film over a dozen times since the silent era. The ending of the original story is much darker than that of the 1996 animated Disney version with which most of us are familiar.

reference – 05:10
LORELAI: I look like that chick from The Dukes of Hazzard!
— Daisy Duke is one of the main characters from the US television series The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-1985). She is known for her scanty dress, specifically the tiny cutoff denim shorts that came to be known as “Daisy Dukes.”
— Daisy was originally portrayed by Catherine Bach. She has since been portrayed by Jessica Simpson and April Scott, but the 2005 and 2007 film versions of The Dukes of Hazzard did not yet exist when this episode aired.

reference – 10:10
LORELAI: Rory is not gonna be a problem. She’s totally low maintenance, you know, like a…Honda.
— Honda is a Japanese brand of automobiles and motorcycles. They are known for producing reliable, safe, and economical vehicles–all very practical qualities.

reference – 11:55
RORY: I was in the German club for a while, but there were only three of us, and then two left for the French club after seeing Schindler’s List.
Schindler’s List (1993) is a historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg. It tells the true story of Oskar Schindler, “a Sudeten German businessman who together with his wife Emilie Schindler saved more than a thousand Polish-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories during World War II” (Wikipedia).
— The film is based on the 1982 novel Schindler’s Ark by Australian writer Thomas Keneally.

mention – 12:05
RORY: I want to go to Harvard and study journalism and political science.
HEADMASTER CHARLESTON: On your way to being…?
RORY: Christiane Amanpour.
— Christiane Amanpour (Persian: كرستين امانپور, born 1958) is a British-Iranian journalist and television host. She was CNN’s chief international correspondent from 1992 to 2010, and is now chief international anchor. “Amanpour gained a reputation for being fearless during the Gulf and Bosnian wars [in the 1990s] and for reporting from conflict areas” (Wikipedia).

mention – 12:10
— Mary Martha Corinne “Cokie” Roberts (1943-2019) was a US journalist and author. In her decades-long career, she was known for her work as a political reporter and analyst for NPR and ABC News.
— Roberts’ nickname, Cokie, comes from her brother’s childhood mispronunciation of her given name, Corinne. Their mother, Lindy Boggs (born Marie Corinne Morrison Claiborne), was the first Louisianan woman elected to US Congress.

mention – 12:15
HEADMASTER CHARLESTON: Not Oprah, Rosie, or one of the women from The View?
— Headmaster Charleston refers to Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O’Donnell by their first names, but he’s pretty clearly alluding to their respective talk shows, The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986-2011) and The Rosie O’Donnell Show (1996-2002).
— Winfrey was also mentioned in the pilot at 23:30.
The View (1997-present) is a US daytime talk show conceived by broadcast journalist Barbara Walters. The program is hosted by a diverse panel of women (to date, there have been 22 permanent co-hosts) who discuss current events.

feature – 14:25
As Rory enters the Chilton administration office, we can see a photograph of Albert Einstein behind the administration desk.
— Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was a highly influential German mathematician and theoretical physicist. He became an icon of the 20th century, and his name and image remain synonymous with the concept of genius.

reference – 14:55
PARIS: Drive west, make a left at the haystacks, and follow the cows.
LOUISE: Ooh, a Dixie chick.
— The Chicks (formerly known as the Dixie Chicks) are a three-piece US country music band.
— The term “Dixie,” which the group dropped from their name in June 2020, serves as a nickname for the Southern United States, especially those states that seceded in the 1860s to form the Confederate States of America. (This includes the state of Texas, where all members of the Chicks were raised.) The term derives from the Mason-Dixon line, the pre-Civil War demarcation between Northern free states and Southern slave states.

reference – 16:25
LORELAI: This is a jumbo coffee morning. I need coffee in an IV.
LUKE: I can give you tea and a Balance Bar.
— Balance Bar is a brand of nutritional energy bars based on the 40-30-30 dietary principle, advocating a diet composed of 40% carbohydrates, 30% proteins, and 30% dietary fats.

feature – 17:15
“The Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa
Episode context: A piano rendition of this song plays in Miss Patty’s studio as she teaches baton twirling to young girls.
— This piece was composed in 1896, and an Act of Congress made it the official National March of the United States in 1987.
— In show business, particularly in theater and the circus, the piece is known as the “Disaster March.” In the early 20th century, when house bands were common, it was used to discreetly signal an emergency without causing panic in the audience.

mention – 17:20
MISS PATTY: Visualize, ladies. It’s the Thanksgiving Day Parade. You’re standing on 5th Avenue. There’s a hundred beautiful boys marching in place behind you.
— The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the world’s largest parade, presented by the Macy’s department store chain in celebration of the US holiday Thanksgiving. Miss Patty is referring to 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York City, where the parade has taken place every year since 1924 (though the route has varied over time). It has been televised on NBC since 1952, and I’m placing it in the Film & Television category for this reason.
Liz Torres, who plays Miss Patty, is best known for her role as Mahalia Sanchez on The John Larroquette Show (1993-1996). She also had a recurring role on All in the Family from 1976 to 1977. An interview that she did on American Bandstand in 1975 is available on YouTube.

mention – 20:00
ENGLISH TEACHER: English culture also had its impact. Tolstoy’s favorite author, for instance, was…
PARIS: Dickens.
ENGLISH TEACHER: As Tolstoy commenced writing both War and Peace and Anna Karenina, Leo would turn to…
PARIS: David Copperfield.
ENGLISH TEACHER: Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, Little Dorrit… All major influences on Leo Tolstoy.
— Lev Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой, 1828-1910) “was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time. … He is best known for the novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), often cited as pinnacles of realist fiction” (Wikipedia). He is commonly referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy.
— Charles Dickens (1812-1870) “was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era” (Wikipedia). In addition to David Copperfield (1850), Little Dorrit (1857), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), and Great Expectations (1861), he also wrote Oliver Twist (1839), A Christmas Carol (1843), Bleak House (1853), Hard Times (1854), and other widely known titles.

mention – 20:05
ENGLISH TEACHER: And of course last week we covered Dostoevsky’s main authorial influences…
PARIS: George Sand and Balzac.
— Fyodor Dostoevsky (Russian: Фёдор Михайлович Достоевский, 1821-1881) was a Russian writer best known for his novels Crime and Punishment (1866) and The Idiot (1869). His surname is sometimes transliterated as Dostoyevsky.
— Amantine Dupin (pen name: George Sand, 1804-1876) was a French writer and socialist. She is considered one of the most foremost writers of the European Romantic era.
— Honoré de Balzac (born Honoré Balzac, 1799-1850) was a French novelist and playwright best known for his novel sequence La Comédie humaine (English: The Human Comedy), published between 1829 and 1848.

reference – 20:55
TRISTAN: Looks like we’ve got ourselves a Mary.
RORY: They kept calling me Mary.
LORELAI: You’re kidding me. Wow, I can’t believe they still say that.
RORY: Why, what does it mean?
LORELAI: Mary, like Virgin Mary. It means they think you look like a goody-goody.
— Mary “was a first-century Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, the wife of Joseph, and the mother of Jesus, according to the canonical gospels and the Quran. … Mary has been venerated since early Christianity, and is considered by millions to be the most meritorious saint of the religion” (Wikipedia).
— Mary’s name in the New Testament is based on her original Aramaic name, מרים, transliterated as Maryam or Mariam.

reference – 21:45
PARIS: Are you going out for The Franklin?
RORY: The what?
PARIS: Nice innocent act. At least I know you’re not going out for drama club.
RORY: I’m confused.
PARIS: The Franklin, the school paper. Are you going out for it?
— The namesake of Chilton’s school paper, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), was a polymath and a Founding Father of the United States. “Franklin became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies, publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette at the age of 23″ (Wikipedia).
— Franklin was a central figure of the 18th century American Enlightenment and, as such, is known for many things. However, one of the most enduring cultural images we have of him in the US is as an inventor and scientist. His kite experiment, designed to prove that lightning is electricity, is particularly well known. His likeness also appears on the US one-hundred-dollar bill, hence the phrase “all about the Benjamins.”

reference – 25:00
LORELAI: Um, Drella. Drella! Please, a little softer!
DRELLA: Hey, do I look like I got Panasonic stamped on my ass?
— Panasonic is a Japanese electronics company. They have produced a wide range of consumer goods in their history, including stereos and radios.
Alex Borstein (who plays Drella in this scene) will reappear later in the series as a different character. She also played Sookie in the unaired pilot episode before Melissa McCarthy was cast. Outside of Gilmore Girls, she is known for her roles on MADtv (1997-2002), Family Guy (1999-present), and another Amy Sherman-Palladino show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017-present).

reference – 32:35
MISS PATTY: Now, walk smooth, that’s a new Harry Potter on your heads. If they should drop, Harry will die, and there won’t be any more books.
— The newest book in the Harry Potter series at the time of this episode was the fourth one, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, published in July 2000. The release of each installment was an eagerly awaited event, with some books selling millions of copies within the first 24 hours of their launch.
— The series author, British writer J. K. Rowling, has more recently become a controversial figure due to her expressed transphobic beliefs. I can’t mention Rowling or her works in good conscience without acknowledging this. If you are interested in understanding the situation more deeply, YouTuber Natalie Wynn (also known by her screen name ContraPoints) has a very thorough and thoughtful video on the topic.

reference – 35:50
BABETTE: Is there a problem?
LORELAI: Oh, nothing Shakespeare couldn’t have turned into a really good play.
— William Shakespeare (baptized 1564, died 1616) was an English poet and playwright “widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist” (Wikipedia). Familial conflict, often ending in death and tragedy, is a common theme in his works–for example, in Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and King Lear.
Sally Struthers, who plays Babette, is best known for her role as Gloria Bunker-Stivic, daughter of Archie and Edith Bunker, on All in the Family (1971-1979).

mention – 36:05
HISTORY TEACHER: Let’s try another passage. “The Romanists have, with great adroitness, drawn three walls around themselves with which they have hitherto protected themselves so that no one could reform them, whereby Christendom has fallen terribly.” Who said this?
RORY: Martin Luther.
HISTORY TEACHER: Very good, Miss Gilmore. And what year did Martin Luther address the Christian nobility?
RORY: 1520.
— Martin Luther (1483-1546) “was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, and Augustinian monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation” (Wikipedia). In 1517, he wrote the “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” also known as the Ninety-five Theses, expressing his objection to certain religious practices of his time. He is popularly described nailing his Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany, though the accuracy of this account has been disputed by historians. He came into conflict with the Roman Catholic Church over his proposed reforms, and his refusal to renounce his writings ultimately resulted in his excommunication.
— Luther expressed antisemitic views in his later writings, as well as negative views of Roman Catholics, Anabaptists, and nontrinitarian Christians.

reference – 37:20
LORELAI: It’d be all work and no play. Have you not seen The Shining, mom?
The Shining (1980) is a psychological horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick. It tells the story of a family who moves into an isolated mountain resort, the Overlook Hotel, to act as caretakers during the winter off-season. The hotel is beset by malevolent supernatural forces, and the sanity of the father (Jack Nicholson) begins to deteriorate. At one point, his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), approaches his workspace to find that he has been typing, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” over and over again, on sheet after sheet of paper, on his typewriter.
— The film is based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel of the same name, though neither this phrase nor the scene described above appears in the book. The scene was famously parodied on The Simpsons in 1994. King was also mentioned in the pilot at 17:15.
— The proverb “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” first appeared in 1659 in James Howell’s Proverbs in English, Italian, French and Spanish. “It means that without time off from work, a person becomes both bored and boring” (Wikipedia).

reference – 39:40
RORY: Well, what would they have called me if they thought I looked like a slut?
LORELAI: Well, they might have added a Magdalene to it.
RORY: Wow, Biblical insults. This is an advanced school.
— Mary Magdalene “was a Jewish woman who, according to the four canonical gospels, traveled with Jesus as one of his followers and was a witness to his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection” (Wikipedia). The popular image of Mary Magdalene, passed down through the centuries, is of a “repentant prostitute,” but this characterization is spurious. The misconception began in 591 and was simply “compounded across time as her image was conscripted into one power struggle after another” (Smithsonian Magazine).
— Mary’s epithet Magdalene may indicate that she came from the fishing town of Magdala.

reference – 41:20
LORELAI: Do you want me to talk to anybody? A parent? A teacher? A big guy named Moose?
— Marmaduke “Moose” Mason is a character in the Archie Comics universe. Because he is large and exceptionally strong, other characters sometimes ask him for help with problems that can only be solved by means of strength or intimidation.

References Consolidated by Category

Brand Names

  • 10:10 – Honda
  • 16:25 – Balance Bar
  • 25:00 – Panasonic

Famous Figures

  • 14:25 – Albert Einstein

Film & Television

  • 05:10 – The Dukes of Hazzard
  • 11:55 – Schindler’s List (1993)
  • 12:15 – The Oprah Winfrey Show
  • 12:15 – The Rosie O’Donnell Show
  • 12:15 – The View
  • 17:20 – Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
  • 37:20 – The Shining (1980)


  • 04:10 – Gelston House
  • 21:45 – Benjamin Franklin
  • 36:05 – Martin Luther


  • 12:05 – Christiane Amanpour
  • 12:10 – Cokie Roberts


  • 04:20 – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • 02:25 – The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo
  • 20:00 – Lev Tolstoy (aka Leo Tolstoy)
    • Anna Karenina
    • War and Peace
  • 20:00 – Charles Dickens
    • David Copperfield
    • Great Expectations
    • Little Dorrit
    • A Tale of Two Cities
  • 20:05 – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • 20:05 – George Sand
  • 20:05 – Honoré de Balzac
  • 32:35 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
  • 35:50 – William Shakespeare
  • 41:20 – Archie Comics



  • 20:55 and 39:20 – the Virgin Mary
  • 39:40 – Mary Magdalene

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