DEAN: So, who’s Donna Reed?
LORELAI: You don’t know who Donna Reed is? The quintessential ’50s mom with the perfect ’50s family?
RORY: Never without a smile and high heels?
LORELAI: Hair, that if you hit it with a hammer, would crack?
Donna Reed, born Donna Mullenger (1921-1986) was an American actress and producer, with a career lasting over 40 years, and roles in more than 40 films. She is well known for her role as Mary Bailey in the 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life, and in 1953 won Best Supporting Actress playing Lorene Burke in From Here to Eternity.
The Donna Reed Show made her a household name and earned her a Golden Globe for Best Female TV Star, and several Emmy nominations. She also appeared on television in The Love Boat, and as Miss Ellie Ewing on Dallas from 1984-85, her final role.
As Lorelai and Rory only talk about Donna Reed in regard to her role on The Donna Reed Show, it suggests that they are ignorant about her life and career otherwise, or simply discount it. You can’t help but feel that the writer is setting them up as straw feminists.