LORELAI: Ugh, every great relationship has its obstacles. You’d know that if you weren’t dating Andy Hardy.
Andrew “Andy” Hardy, fictional character played by Mickey Rooney in 16 films made by Metro-Goldwyn between 1937 and 1946 (and another in 1958, trying unsuccessfully to continue the series). The Hardy films, enormously popular in their day, were sentimental comedies set in a Midwestern town, celebrating ordinary American life.
The Hardy family first appeared in the 1928 play Skidding by Aurania Rouverol, with Charles Eaton as Andy. The first film was A Family Affair, based on the play, with Mickey Rooney as Andy, and he continued in the role from the ages of 16 to 25.
Andy Hardy soon became the central character, with the films focusing on the relationship between he and his father, Judge Hardy (a bit like Gilmore Girls focusing on Rory and Lorelai). The plot typically involved Andy getting in trouble with money or girls because of selfishness or trying to fudge the truth. He would then have a man-to-man talk with his father, a man of absolute integrity, and end up doing the right thing (very different to Gilmore Girls).
Lorelai seems to be teasing Rory about Dean, suggesting that she’s dating a wholesome, inexperienced teenage boy from the Midwest, like Andy Hardy. Meanwhile, Lorelai is looking for a real man, like William Holden.
Interestingly, the cast of A Family Affair were plucked straight from the 1935 comedy, Ah, Wilderness! The plot involves a well-read teenage boy named Richard (played by Eric Linden) from a Connecticut town, graduating as valedictorian and going to Yale, just like Rory. The film also features a box social!
[Picture shows Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in Love Finds Andy Hardy, 1938].