Rory warns her mother she doesn’t want her to make any jokes about James Dean when she meets Rory’s boyfriend Dean.
James Dean (1931-1955) was an American actor, an icon of teenage disillusonment and 1950s cool, best known for his 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause. His early death in a car accident meant that his youth and beauty remained intact forever, and he is regarded as one the great stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
James Dean may have been one of the influences on the choice of Dean’s name in Gilmore Girls, especially since James Dean was from the Midwest and loved cars and motorcycles, just like Dean Forester. Along with Dean Moriarty from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, the name suggests coolness and rebellion – nothing at all like Dean Forester really, but more what Lorelai feared Dean could be, as her comments about tattoos and motorcycles in the Pilot demonstrated.