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

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

    Summary: Lorelai oversleeps on Rory’s first day at Chilton, leading to an awkward run-in with Emily. The day does not improve for Rory, who receives a hostile reception from her new classmates.

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

    All References in Chronological Order

    00:00 – 🏷️ feature
    On the porch of their house, Lorelai paints Rory’s toenails, and Rory eats Reddi-Wip directly from the spray can.

    • Reddi-Wip is a US brand of whipped cream founded in 1948 and currently owned by Conagra Brands. It is sold in a pressurized can and expelled from its container by nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas). It is the second-most purchased brand of whipped topping in the United States after Cool Whip.

    00:35 – 🎧 mention
    LANE: Guys, guys! New CD! XTC! 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 23 May 2000 as the followup to 1999 album Apple Venus Volume 1. The band eventually dissolved in 2006.

    00:45 – 🎧 feature
    Inside Lorelai and Rory’s house, Lane puts on the song “I’m the Man Who Murdered Love” by XTC. Lorelai and Rory rush into the house to join her, and the scene fades to opening credits.

    • This song is the 6th track from the aforementioned 2000 album Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2).
    Lorelai lies asleep in bed wearing a long-sleeved, sky-blue pajama top patterned with Julius the monkey's cartoon face.
    Lauren Graham as Lorelai. See image credits [1].

    01:50 – 🏷️ feature
    Before Rory bursts into Lorelai’s bedroom, Lorelai is asleep in bed. She is wearing a pajama top featuring the character Julius the monkey by Paul Frank Industries.

    • Paul Frank Industries is a US apparel company established in 1995 by Paul Frank (born Paul Frank Sunich, 1967), a US cartoonist and fashion designer. The brand features several cartoon characters on its products, the most famous being Julius the monkey, whose face was a common sight in the 2000s.

    03:35 – 🎧 feature
    “I Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye to You” by Sam Phillips plays as Lorelai and Rory drive through Stars Hollow on their way to Chilton. Rory gazes wistfully at students convening at Stars Hollow High.

    • This song comes from the 1988 album The Indescribable Wow. The album version linked above is different than the one used in the episode, so it’s possible that Phillips (the show’s composer, also featured in the pilot) rerecorded the song for use in the show.
    Lorelai's Jeep rounds a bend past a white Italianate structure with an arched sign reading "Gelston House."
    See image credits [2].

    04:00 – 🗺️ feature
    As Lorelai and Rory drive to Chilton, they pass an Italianate-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 (The Middletown Press).

    04:20 – 📖 reference
    RORY: I remember it being smaller.
    LORELAI: Yeah! And less…
    RORY: Off with their heads.

    • The phrase “off with their heads” has been used in some form by multiple authors over hundreds of years. In the Shakespeare play Henry VI, Part 3, for example, 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 probably most associated with the Queen of Hearts, who screams it repeatedly in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865).

    04:25 – 📖 reference
    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. 1482) 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 more than 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 many of us are familiar.

    05:10 – 🎥 reference
    LORELAI: I look like that chick from The Dukes of Hazzard!

    • Daisy Duke is one of the main characters from US television series The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-1985). She is known for her scanty attire, specifically the tiny cutoff denim shorts that came to be known as “Daisy Dukes.”
    • Daisy was portrayed originally 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.

    08:00 – 🏷️ reference
    LORELAI: This is my daughter, Lorelai Gilmore, ’cause I named her after me. I was in the hospital all whacked out on Demerol— Never mind.

    • Demerol is a brand-name opioid medication prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain. Like other narcotics, it can affect mood and behavior. It is also known by the generic names pethidine and, in the US, meperidine. It was mentioned in the pilot when Rory explained the origin of her name to Dean.

    10:00 – 🏷️ reference
    LORELAI: Rory is not gonna be a problem. She’s totally low maintenance, you know, like a…Honda. You know? They’re just easy. You just… Nice office.

    • Honda is a Japanese brand of automobiles and motorcycles. They are known for producing reliable, safe, and economical vehicles.

    13:45 – 🎥 reference
    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 US historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg. It tells the story of real-life figure Oskar Schindler, “a German industrialist who saved more than a thousand mostly 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.
    • The film won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 2004.

    13:55 – ⭐ mention
    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).

    14:00 – ⭐ mention

    • 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, was the first Louisianan woman elected to US Congress.

    14:05 – 🎥 mention
    HEADMASTER CHARLESTON: Not Oprah, Rosie, or one of the women from The View?

    • Oprah Winfrey (born 1954) is a US media mogul and television host. From 1986 to 2011, she hosted the talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, broadcast from Chicago. She was also mentioned in the pilot.
    • Rosie O’Donnell (born 1962) is a US comedian, actor, producer, and television personality. She hosted her own talk show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, from 1996 to 2002.
    • 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 24 permanent co-hosts) who discuss current events. Rosie O’Donnell moderated the show from 2006 to 2007, and both she and Winfrey have appeared as guests.

    16:45 – 🎧 reference
    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.

    18:15 – 🏷️ reference
    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.

    19:05 – 🎧 feature
    A piano rendition of “The Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa plays in Miss Patty’s studio as she teaches baton twirling to a class of 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 a panic in the audience.

    19:10 – 🗺️ mention
    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 an annual parade presented by the Macy’s department store chain in celebration of US Thanksgiving. It has been televised on NBC since 1953, and “more than 44 million people typically watch the parade on television on an annual basis” (Wikipedia). 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).

    19:45 – 🗺️ reference
    MISS PATTY: Oh! Ladies, what do I see? Naked girls! No, no. Keep those leotards on. This is not Brazil.

    • Brazil is the largest country in South America and in Latin America. It is the world’s fifth-largest and seventh-most populous country, and the only country in the Americas with Portuguese as an official language. While public nudity is not accepted in Brazil, as a rule, the country does have eight sanctioned nude beaches, the highest number in Latin America (Wikipedia). This may be explained, at least in part, by the fact that Brazil borders the Atlantic Ocean, with a coastline of 4,655 miles (7,491 kilometers). Rory has a travel poster promoting historic Brazil, discussed in the pilot episode.

    21:50 – 📖 mention
    MR. REMMY: English culture also had its impact. Tolstoy’s favorite author, for instance, was…
    PARIS: Dickens.
    MR. REMMY: As Tolstoy commenced writing both War and Peace and Anna Karenina, Leo would turn to…
    PARIS: David Copperfield.
    MR. REMMY: 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 “regarded as one of the greatest and most influential authors of all time. He received nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1902 to 1906… Tolstoy’s notable works include the novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1878), often cited as pinnacles of realist fiction, and two of the greatest books of all time” (Wikipedia). He is commonly referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy.
    • Charles Dickens (1812-1870) “was an English novelist and social critic who created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters, and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime and, by the 20th century, critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius” (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.

    21:55 – 📖 mention
    MR. REMMY: 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 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.

    22:40 – 🕊️ reference
    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 Jewish woman of Nazareth, the wife of Joseph and the mother of Jesus. … The gospels of Matthew and Luke describe Mary as a virgin who was chosen by God to conceive Jesus through the Holy Spirit” (Wikipedia). She holds the highest status of all women in Islam and “is mentioned numerous times in the Quran, including in a chapter named after her.” She is a central figure in Christianity and is often venerated as “the holiest and greatest saint,” though some denominations assign her higher status than others.
    • Mary’s name in the New Testament is based on her original Aramaic name, מרים, transliterated as Maryam or Mariam.

    23:30 – 🪶 reference
    PARIS: Are you going out for The Franklin?
    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 age 23″ (Wikipedia). He was also a drafter and signer of the Declaration of Independence and the first US postmaster general.
    • 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.”
    • Like George Washington (whose portrait appeared in the pilot), Franklin claimed ownership over enslaved people at points in his life. “By the late 1750s, he began arguing against slavery [and] became an active abolitionist.”

    26:50 – 🏷️ reference
    LORELAI: Um, Drella. Drella! Please, a little softer!
    DRELLA: Hey, do I look like I got Panasonic stamped on my ass?

    • Panasonic Holdings Corporation is a Japanese electronics company founded in 1918 as Matsushita Electronics Housewares Manufacturing Works. They became the world’s largest producer of consumer electronics, including stereos and radios, by the late 20th century. According to their website, the name Panasonic “comes from the root words ‘Pan,’ meaning universal, and ‘Sonic,’ referring to sound.”
    • 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 before Melissa McCarthy was cast. Outside of Gilmore Girls, she is known for her roles on MADtv (1997-2002), Family Guy (1999-present), and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017-2023), another Amy Sherman-Palladino show.

    30:20 – 🗺️ mention
    IAN: Okay. I’ll tell you what. I’m going to China for a week on business, and when I get back, I’m going to try again.
    LORELAI: China. Wow.
    IAN: Impressed?
    LORELAI: No. Rome, I’d be impressed. China, I’m just, “China. Wow.”

    • The People’s Republic of China is a country in East Asia. It is the world’s second-most populous country after India, and the world’s second-largest economy, measured by nominal GDP, after the United States. As the world’s largest trading nation, it makes sense as a business destination for Ian (otherwise known as the Chilton dad).
    • Rome (Italian: Roma) is the capital city of Italy. It is the most populous city in the country and the third-most populous city in the European Union (after Berlin, Germany and Madrid, Spain). Known for its ancient history, “Rome is generally considered to be the cradle of Western civilization” (Wikipedia).

    34:25 – 📖 reference
    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 J. K. Rowling’s 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 a much anticipated event, with some books selling millions of copies within the first 24 hours of their launch.

    37:45 – 📖 reference
    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 pre-eminent dramatist” (Wikipedia). Familial conflict, often ending in death and tragedy, is a common theme in his works, including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and King Lear.
    • In addition to her role as Babette on Gilmore Girls, Sally Struthers is best known for her role as Gloria Bunker-Stivic, daughter of Archie and Edith Bunker, on All in the Family (1971-1979). Liz Torres, who plays Miss Patty, had a recurring role on the same show from 1976 to 1977.

    37:50 – 🕊️ mention
    MRS. NESS: 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.
    MRS. NESS: Very good, Miss Gilmore. And what year did Martin Luther address the Christian nobility?
    RORY: 1520.

    • Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a German priest, theologian, Augustinian friar, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Rory’s teacher is quoting Luther’s 1520 tract To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation.
    • In 1517, Luther wrote the Ninety-five Theses or Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, in which he expresses 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.
    • Protestantism was also mentioned in the pilot episode.

    39:20 – 🎥 reference
    LORELAI: It’d be all work and no play. Have you not seen The Shining, mom?

    • The Shining (1980) is a US-British psychological horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick. It tells the story of the Torrance family, who act as caretakers of the Overlook Hotel, an isolated mountain resort, during the winter off-season. The hotel is beset by malevolent supernatural forces, and the sanity of the father, Jack, begins to deteriorate. At one point, his wife, Wendy, 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 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 referenced in the pilot.
    • The proverb “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” appeared first in James Howell’s Proverbs in English, Italian, French and Spanish in 1659. It means that “without time off from work, a person becomes both bored and boring” (Wikipedia).

    41:30 – 🕊️ reference
    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 woman who, according to the four canonical gospels, traveled with Jesus as one of his followers and was a witness to his crucifixion and resurrection” (Wikipedia). The popular image of Mary Magdalene, passed down through the centuries, is of a “repentant prostitute,” but this is a spurious characterization. According to historians, the misconception originated 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 be a toponymic surname (a name derived from a place name) indicating that she came from the fishing town of Magdala.
    • According to Freudian psychoanalytic theory, a man with a Madonna-whore complex categorizes women as either pure, untouchable Madonnas (Madonna being the term for the Virgin Mary in Medieval Italian) or debased, contemptible “whores.” Culturally, the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene are positioned on opposing sides of this false (and misogynistic) dichotomy.

    43:15 – 📖 reference
    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. Due to his size and exceptional strength, other characters sometimes ask him for help with problems that can only be solved by means of intimidation or force. “He is always willing to help somebody in need, and he constantly protects his friends from bullies (often without using punches)” (Wikipedia). His character was first introduced in 1949.

    References Sorted by Category

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

    🏷️ Brand Names

    • 00:00 – Reddi-Wip (whipped cream)
    • 01:50 – Paul Frank Industries (apparel), Julius the monkey (character)
    • 08:00 – Demerol (prescription drug)
    • 10:00 – Honda (automobile)
    • 18:15 – Balance Bar (energy bar)
    • 26:50 – Panasonic (electronics)

    ⭐ Famous Figures

    • 13:55 – Christiane Amanpour (journalist and television host)
    • 14:00 – Cokie Roberts (journalist and author)
    • 14:05 – Oprah Winfrey (media executive and talk show host)
    • 14:05 – Rosie O’Donnell (comedian and talk show host)

    🎥 Film, Television & Theater

    • 05:10The Dukes of Hazzard (television show), Daisy Duke (character)
    • 13:45Schindler’s List (1993 film)
    • 14:05The View (television talk show)
    • 39:20The Shining (1980 film)

    🗺️ Geography & Politics

    • 04:00 – Gelston House (historic structure)
    • 19:10 – Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (cultural event)
    • 19:45 – Brazil (South American country)
    • 30:20 – China (Asian country)
    • 30:20 – Rome, Italy (European city)

    🪶 History

    • 23:30, 23:35 – Benjamin Franklin (Founding Father and publisher)

    📖 Literature

    • 04:20Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (book)
    • 04:25The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo (book)
    • 21:50, 22:00, 22:20 – Lev (Leo) Tolstoy (author)
      • 22:00 – War and Peace (book)
      • 22:00 – Anna Karenina (book)
    • 21:50, 22:00, 22:20 – Charles Dickens (author)
      • 22:00 – David Copperfield (book)
      • 22:20 – Great Expectations (book)
      • 22:20 – A Tale of Two Cities (book)
      • 22:20 – Little Dorrit (book)
    • 21:55 – Fyodor Dostoevsky (author)
    • 21:55 – George Sand (author)
    • 21:55 – Honoré de Balzac (author)
    • 34:25Harry Potter (book series) by J. K. Rowling
    • 37:45 – William Shakespeare (playwright and poet)
    • 43:15Archie Comics (comic series), Marmaduke “Moose” Mason (character)

    🎧 Music

    🕊️ Religion

    • 22:40, 41:15 – the Virgin Mary (religious figure)
    • 37:50To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation by Martin Luther (religious tract)
    • 41:30 – Mary Magdalene (religious figure)

    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.

    Image Credits

    Images [1] and [2] are stills taken from this episode. Episode citation: “The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton.” Gilmore Girls, created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, cinematography by Teresa Medina, season 1, episode 2, Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, Hofflund/Polone, Warner Bros. Television, 2000.

    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 the about page to view the results of my research and read the full acknowledgment.

    Published 5 January 2021 (updated 14 April 2024)

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