LORELAI: Oh my God, George Lucas wishes he had this sound system.
George Lucas (born 1944) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter, one of the most financially successful in history. He is best known for the Star Wars film franchise, which features a stirring musical theme composed by John Williams.
The song playing in car Christopher’s car when he turns the sound system up. It’s a song by German electro-industrial metal band Rammstein, from their 1997 album Sehnsucht. The song was a #5 hit in Germany, and went to #20 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart in the US.
The song’s title translates to “You have” in English, but in German is a play on words with the homophone Du hasst, meaning, “You hate”. Possibly a slightly threatening song to arrive with, although it’s another reminder that Lorelai and Chris are both heavy metal fans.
LORELAI: Oh yeah. A Volvo sedan, are you kidding? CHRISTOPHER: This is a great car. LORELAI: For driving to bingo.
CHRISTOPHER: I’ve got Alpine head units, two subs, and two twelves. In exchange, no passenger-side airbag.
Volvo is a Swedish brand of luxury cars founded in 1927; the name is Latin for “I roll”. It was founded upon the concept of safety, and their cars have long been marketed as safe and reliable; many of the Volvo’s safety innovations have now become standard or even compulsory. Lorelai sees it as an old person’s car, because of its staid and rather boring image.
I think Christopher’s car is a 2001 Volvo S80, an executive sedan. He describes the car’s sound system as Alpine brand head units, with two sub woofers, and two twelve-inch sub woofers (maybe he means two amplifiers and two twelve-inch sub woofers?), which means he had to give up passenger-side airbags, a major feature of the S80. So he’s bought a safe car, and made it less safe (for the person who’s not him), so he can enjoy music.
As Lorelai notes, Christopher has given up his cool motorcycle for a sensible car, but the old (selfish) Christopher still lives. Take warning!
(There is an immediate shot of the Massachusetts license plate, to remind us Christopher has moved to Boston. It begins with 169, which seems like a naughty joke, although it’s not a vanity plate, so not deliberate on Christopher’s part).
RORY: The Compact Oxford English Dictionary! CHRISTOPHER: I promised you I’d get it. I’m just sorry it took so long. RORY: That’s okay. CHRISTOPHER: On the bright side, this is the new edition. If I’d gotten you the old one, you wouldn’t have the word ‘jiggy’ in it. RORY: Thank you. I love it, I’m gonna go look things up right now. CHRISTOPHER: Wait, wait. [hands her magnifying glass]
The Compact Oxford English Dictionary, previously discussed as Rory’s dream book, which Christopher couldn’t buy her six months ago because his credit card was declined.
This time he is able to buy her the 2001 edition, which contains the American slang word “jiggy”. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “Excitedly energetic or uninhibited, often in a sexual manner; to get jiggy: to engage in sexual activity”.
The Compact Oxford English Dictionary has such fine print that it comes with its own reading glass.
CHRISTOPHER: Whoa! Hold it right there. A lady never runs out to meet a gentleman caller who hasn’t been announced.
A callback both to The Glass Menagerie, previously discussed, and to the advice Emily gave Rory, when she wanted to run out to Dean before he’d knocked at the door. Christopher lets Rory know that he’s lived in Emily’s world, and knows its rules, but that he also takes an ironic, playful attitude to them. He’s letting Rory know that he understands exactly how to behave at her debut, but will be an ally for her in not taking it too seriously, so that she’s relaxed about it rather than stressed.
Then again, Lorelai is running right behind Rory – is his teasing comment secretly aimed at Lorelai?
RORY: Remember that I’ll be watching BattleBots with you for a month.
BattleBots is an American robot combat television show, where competitors design and operate by remote control their own armoured machines, which fight in an elimination tournament. It first aired in 2000.
Here we discover this is a favourite TV program of Dean’s, and that Rory needs a bribe to induce her to watch it with him. Considering that Dean tamely watches everything Lorelai and Rory do, with no complaint, it seems a bit much she can’t put herself out to watch something he enjoys unless he does her a favour.
On the other hand, Dean is Rory’s boyfriend – he shouldn’t really need any “payment” to be her escort for her debutante ball. It should be something he wants to do for her, especially considering that Emily would be more than happy to organise a suitable escort for Rory in his stead. I feel as if Dean is having things both ways: going to the ball only reluctantly and with a lot of moaning, yet if Rory went with someone else, he’d be very jealous and sulky about it.
While discussing preparations for the ball, it transpires that Rory will be wearing a crinoline under her dress, and Dean will need to wear a cummerbund.
A crinoline is another word for a hoop skirt, previously discussed.
A cummerbund is a broad sash worn around the waist, these days usually with a dinner jacket or tuxedo. Originating in Persia, they were adopted by British officers stationed in India, and adopted as an alternative to the waistcoat. A cummerbund is worn for black tie events in North America.
DEAN: It’s the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. RORY: And doesn’t Neil Young look cool? … If you’ll notice, he’s wearing a tux. DEAN: Neil Young looks cool because he’s Neil Young, not because he’s wearing a tux.
Neil Young (born 1945) is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter, musician, and activist. His career started in the 1960s, and includes membership of critically-acclaimed rock band Buffalo Springfield, folk-rock supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and solo work backed by his band Crazy Horse. His distorted electric guitar playing has earned him the nickname “Grandfather of Grunge”. He has won several Grammy and Juno Awards, and been named one of the great musical artists in history, defined by his guitar work, deeply personal lyrics, and signature high tenor vocals.
Neil Young has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – in 1995 as a solo artist, and in 1997 as a member of Buffalo Springfield. He has served to induct others into the Hall of Fame six times: The Everly Brothers (1986), Woody Guthrie (1988), Jimi Hendrix (1992), Paul McCartney (1999), The Pretenders (2005), and Tom Waits (2011).
However, Neil Young doesn’t seem to have worn a tuxedo for any of his appearances at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, preferring a more casual (and occasionally more cowboy) look. When he was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1982, he did dress in evening wear: not a tuxedo, but tailcoat, ruffled shirt, waistcoat and bow-tie [pictured].
It seems awfully unlikely, but just possibly they are watching an old video of this somehow (or it appears in a documentary or clip show???), and Dean mistakes it for the Rock and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. It feels as if Rory and Lane might have put it on expressly to persuade Dean that men can still look cool in formal wear.
We never see Rory ask Dean to be her escort for the ball, but we can safely assume he agreed with the greatest reluctance, because the first time we see him in this episode, he seems bewildered, dismayed and rather sulky as he discovers just what escorting Rory to her debut entails.
In real life, it is not recommended debutantes ask their boyfriends to be their escorts. Not only would a break-up put everything in jeopardy, but relationship dramas can create an unwelcome distraction. Some debutante committees even ban them outright, and it’s common for the committee to pair girls up with a suitable escort of their choosing – usually a boy or young man who has experience of cotillions and debutante balls. The DAR would have probably chosen someone rather like Tristan to be Rory’s escort (which could have been an interesting take on the episode).
As Rory is a very late entry, perhaps she has organised her own escort, along with her own dancing lessons and so on.