RORY: At one point Miss Patty thought Dean was gonna get hurt, she made me sit in the corner and watch.
LORELAI: Hey! Nobody puts Baby in the corner.
A reference to the 1987 dance film, Dirty Dancing, starring Jennifer Grey as Frances “Baby” Houseman, a girl who falls in love with her dance instructor Johnny Castle, played by Patrick Swayze, while on vacation with her parents at a resort. (Faithful reader lujza0317 has reminded me that Baby’s mother is played by none other than Kelly Bishop, aka Emily Gilmore!).
At one point, Johnny stands up for Frances when her parents stop her from dancing by forcing her to sit at a table in a corner, saying, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”. He then pulls out her out of the corner so they can perform together on the dance floor. He lets Frances know that she doesn’t deserve to be hidden away, but should be in the spotlight so that her talents can shine. It’s commonly misquoted as “Nobody puts Baby in the corner”, as Lorelai does.
Although reviews were mixed and the studio had serious doubts about releasing the film, it became one of the highest-grossing of 1987, and the #1 film in the US, with many audience members going back to see it again and again. That re-watch value made it a hit on home video and DVD, and it still sells over a million DVDs a year. It is the #1 on the list of films watched by women, earning it the title, “Star Wars for girls”.