RORY: Hey Kirk, there are a couple of little kids over there and they’re, uh, looking at this tape cover that’s kind of mature. You might wanna put that stuff on a higher shelf or something.
KIRK: Mature? How mature?
RORY: Uh, it’s a half-naked woman just standing there.
KIRK: Is she a blonde?
The video that the boys are looking is Showgirls, a 1995 erotic drama directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Elizabeth Berkley and Kyle MacLachlan (who played Dale Cooper in the 1990-91 David Lynch television series, Twin Peaks, a secret touchstone for Gilmore Girls). Showgirls is a about a street-smart drifter who goes to Las Vegas and climbs the seedy ladder from stripper to showgirl.
It was the first, and so far, only, NC-17 film given wide release in mainstream cinemas. Critically panned, it was a box office bomb, but a success on the home video market, despite being named as one of the worst films ever made. It’s often cited as a guilty pleasure, a camp classic, or a “so bad it’s good” film. It was made into a stage musical in 2013. (Amy Sherman-Palladino commented on the film Glitter, “It was no Showgirls“.) Some critics now believe it is a brilliant satire.
The video is correctly catalogued under Drama by the video store, and Showgirls was cut to an R rating for video store rentals. R rated videos were not kept in a separate section from other films, so Rory comes across as more of a meddlesome prude than a concerned citizen. The cover doesn’t actually show anything very salacious – just a leg and a tiny bit of side boob.
The woman on the cover is actually a blonde.