SOOKIE: What do you think, manly [holding up statue]?
LORELAI: In an Oscar Wilde sort of way, absolutely.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish poet and playwright, and one of the most popular playwrights in London in the early 1890s. Best remembered for his sparkling comedies, witty epigrams, and his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890).
At the height of his fame and success, while his play The Importance of Being Ernest (1895) was still being performed in London, Wilde prosecuted the Marquess of Queensberry (the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas) for libel, but the trial unearthed evidence that led to Wilde’s arrest for indecency with men and boys. He was convicted and sentenced to two years’ hard labour, and imprisoned from 1895 to 1897. On his release, he left for France, and never returned to Ireland or Britain.
The statue that Sookie holds up appears to be a cherub or some other sort of nude small boy. It certainly doesn’t look butch, but Lorelai seems to be saying, not so much that the statue seems “gay”, as slightly paedophilic, because of the subject matter.
Oscar Wilde did take teenagers as young as fourteen as his lover, although to my knowledge, not small children like the statue seems to be (Wilde’s trial was based on his activities with males because of their gender, not specifically with their ages). The full details of Wilde’s case had been published in 2001, with many people shocked, or at least uncomfortable, with how extensive Wilde’s interest in much younger males had been – something which would have seen Wilde imprisoned in our time as well. This may be what Amy Sherman-Palladino had in mind when she wrote this scene.