EMILY: You did not see me twitching.
LORELAI: Mom, when Dad was talking about the vase, you were pulling a full-on Tabitha.
A reference to the sitcom Bewitched, broadcast 1964-1972, and continuously televised in syndication since then. It stars Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha, a witch married to a mortal named Darrin, who vows to lead the life of an ordinary suburban housewife. However, her disapproving family often meddle in their lives, forcing Samantha to use her magic to fix the situations they get them into it.
Popular for its snappy dialogue, great cast, and special effects, it offered a critique of women’s roles as well as providing an example of a happy and successful mixed marriage during the era of segregation. Many episodes touch on issues around prejudice against race and religion, and it can also be read as an allegory of closeted homosexuality, or anyone unable to be their real self. Samantha’s meddling mother Endora, played by Agnes Moorehead, is not a million miles away from Emily herself.
Tabitha is the daughter and eldest child of Samantha and Darrin, who went from a baby to a toddler, then a young child during the series run. She has supernatural powers, and could perform magic by twitching her nose (like her mother). Her parents would tell her, “Mustn’t twitch”, in an effort to teach her to control her magic.
Unlike with other references that Emily doesn’t get, she knows who Tabitha is. Perhaps she and Lorelai even watched it together during Lorelai’s childhood.