The purpose of the road trip to Harvard was to allow Rory to see something of college life, and see herself as a future college student. For Lorelai, the purpose of the trip was to stay at a working B&B – and even though she didn’t like it, it was a successful concern with happy customers. She can begin to see herself running an inn, and from this moment forth, begins seeking out Luke as a business mentor.
Her dream of running her own inn begins to firm into a reality, and when she leaves Luke’s, she immediately phones Sookie to let her know it’s time they started seriously working towards their goal.
LORELAI: Lewis and Clark have returned.
Captain Meriweather Lewis and his close friend Second Lieutenant William Clark were American explorers who formed an expedition which ran from 1804 to 1806. It was the first American expedition to cross the western portion of the United States, beginning in St. Louis, Missouri, and ending on the Pacific Coast.
RORY: How did you get them [bootleg albums] past customs?
LANE: Well, I strapped them to my body like in Midnight Express.
Midnight Express, previously discussed as a film that Lorelai and Rory had seen; apparently Lane watched it with them at least once. In the film, Billy Hayes is caught while trying to smuggle hashish out of Turkey, with the drugs strapped to his body.
That Billy’s plan didn’t work and he was sent to prison doesn’t seem to have deterred Lane. She’s almost certainly joking, as it doesn’t seem to be particularly difficult to get bootleg albums through US customs. It seems to be one of those things that are technically illegal, but rarely enforced.
LANE: Yeah, some of the food’s not so bad, and then my cousins were actually pretty interesting, and the best part, Korea is bootleg heaven. I totally scored in Seoul. Elvis Costello at the Marquee in 1978. A barely coherent Nico doing Doors songs in 1974, and even more barely coherent, Iggy Pop doing David Bowie songs naked in 1981.
I think the Elvis Costello reference contains a mistake, but whether by a jet-lagged Lane or the scriptwriter (Daniel Palladino) is unclear. Costello did not perform at The Marquee in London in 1978, and I’m pretty sure Lane means Live at the El Mocambo, a live album recorded in March 1978 from a live radio broadcast at the El Mocambo club in Toronto. It was heavily bootlegged, and only made legally available in 1993 as part of a box-set; the album was released as a mainstream issue in 2009.
The Nico album that Lane refers to is The End …, Nico’s fourth studio album which was released in 1974, her fifth collaboration with John Cale from The Velvet Underground. It was her first album since the death of her former lover Jim Morrison from The Doors, previously discussed, and one song You Forget to Answer, describes her misery when she was unable to get Morrison on the phone, only to learn later he had died. She also performs a cover of The Doors song The End. The album received some very positive reviews, but was commercially unsuccessful.
I think the Iggy Pop album Lane refers to is Nude & Rude, a 1996 compilation album. One of the songs on it is China Girl, written by David Bowie and Iggy Pop, and first appearing on Iggy Pop’s 1977 debut solo album The Idiot. It became far better known when David Bowie recorded it for his commercially successful album Let’s Dance in 1983, which went to #10 in the US and #2 in the UK. So Lane is only partially correct that he’s performing a David Bowie song – they both wrote it, and Iggy Pop recorded it first. She also may have taken the album’s title a little too literally.
LANE: It’s so amazing to be back. When I got off the plane, I kissed the tarmac.
LORELAI: Just like the Pope.
LANE: It was hot and I burned my lips.
RORY: Maybe that’s why the Pope always looks so grumpy.
Pope John Paul II, previously discussed, made a point of always kissing the ground when he arrived in a country as a sign of love and respect for the nation and its people.
LORELAI: Hey, am I too far from the curb?
RORY: Oh, you’re within five feet.
LORELAI: Close enough for jazz.
Close enough for jazz is American slang meaning “near enough, good enough”. It comes from musician’s slang meaning that a particular tuning, for example, would be “good enough (to play) jazz”. It is of course an immensely annoying phrase for jazz musicians.
While Lorelai and Emily are talking, Rory takes out a copy of this book, and reads it. It is the second work by Virginia Woolf we have seen Rory read – the first one being A Room of One’s Own.
Mrs Dalloway, published in 1925, is one of Woolf’s best known novels. Based on a short story she wrote called “Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street”, it details one day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a high-society woman, with the action taking place in June 1923. It is often compared with James Joyce’s Ulysses, another modernist work from the 1920s set on a single day in June, and this is a natural progression for Rory after reading the novel by Joyce.
EMILY: You know what, I’m not returning the gift. I’m going to put it away in a closet and you won’t know what it is until you do get married someday.
LORELAI: Tell me now!
LORELAI: Come on! Mom, I may never get married. I may be a free spirit my whole life, or fall in love with a separated Catholic guy like Katharine Hepburn did, and then not get to go to his funeral when he dies.
Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003) was an American actress who was born and grew up in Hartford; like Rory, she attended a private school there. A leading lady in Hollywood for more for 60 years, she received four Academy Awards for Best Actress – a record number for any performer. In 1999 Hepburn was named the greatest female star of Classic Hollywood Cinema by the American Film Institute.
After beginning her career in theatre, success on Broadway brought Katharine Hepburn to Hollywood, and she received her first Academy Award for her third film, Morning Glory (1933). This was followed by a series of failures, but she arranged her own comeback by buying the rights to the film The Philadelphia Story (1940), only selling them on condition of starring in itself. The film was a massive success, and is regarded as one of the best screwball romantic comedies of all time.
In the 1940s Hepburn was contracted by MGM, where she frequently played opposite film star Spencer Tracy (1900-1967); their screen partnership lasted 25 years, and produced nine movies. Hepburn and Tracy maintained a private relationship for 26 years, lasting until his death. Spencer Tracy was married, but had been separated from his wife for several years before beginning his relationship with Katharine Hepburn.
Spencer Tracy was a Catholic, but it is not clear if this was the reason for not divorcing his wife (who was an Episcopalian). From comments he made, it seemed more as if he was going along with the wishes of his wife, while Hepburn didn’t interfere and never pushed for marriage. After his death, Katharine Hepburn did not attend his funeral out of consideration for his wife and children.
EMILY: And why would you go out of town now so soon before your wedding? Didn’t your fiancé mind?
LORELAI: Oh, well …
EMILY: I mean, you act as if this coming weekend is just going to be business as usual and not the most important day of your life.
As it’s Friday Night Dinner, Lorelai and Max were actually meant to be getting married the very next day – Lorelai leaves it until almost the last minute to tell her mother the wedding is off.
EMILY: Focus the picture Lorelai … It’s hurting my eyes … It’s like I have glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases in which the vision becomes clouded due to damage to the optic nerve. Vision loss and blindness can ensue if not treated.
We discover that Lorelai has had her camera for six years, so since 1995, and still can’t focus it.