EMILY: I’m so sorry Rory isn’t feeling well. Is it that flu that’s been going around? … Horrible strain. Bunny Carlington-Munchausen has been bedridden for two straight weeks.
The show loves giving outrageous names to Emily’s society friends, and this one is pretty flamboyant. Bunny’s name seems to be an allusion to Munchausen Syndrome, a psychological disorder where people fake illnesses or deliberately make themselves sick in order to receive attention.
The name comes from the fictional character Baron Munchausen, created by German writer Rudolf Erich Raspe, in his 1785 book, Baron Munchausen’s Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia. The Baron’s story of his exploits focuses on his supposed fantastical and impossible achievements, and the Baron himself is modelled on a real person, the German nobleman Hieronymus Karl Friedrich, Freiherr von Münchausen, known for his tall tales of derring-do. The book was turned into a 1988 film, The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen.
The name of the illness came to seem flippant and rather heartless, and it is now known, less colourfully, as factitious disorder imposed on self.
There may be a suggestion that Bunny is likewise exaggerating her flu symptoms for sympathy and attention, but it is almost certainly highlighting the factitious nature of Rory’s illness! This is the second person named Bunny in the show, the first one was a Gilmore relative who passed away.