Tiki Bar

RORY: Hey, how come we don’t have a tiki bar?

Once inside Dwight’s home, which Lorelai has done her best to turn into a place of imagined horrors, the Gilmore girls naturally love it at once. It has the same kitschy taste that they like, and I think they appreciate that Dwight has decorated the house completely for his own comfort and amusement, a design aesthetic that is in harmony with Lorelai and Rory’s own.

Dwight’s home bar is a tiki bar – that is, a bar inspired by tiki culture décor. Tiki culture is an American movement inspired by a romanticised view of tropical island cultures, mostly Polynesian, catering to American views of the South Pacific. The name comes from Tiki, the Māori name for the first human, often represented in the form of a pendant and frequently appropriated by Europeans as a commercialised good luck charm.

Although tiki bars are generally of broadly South Pacific influence, they tend to serve cocktails from the Caribbean. Because of its colonial nostalgia, and the simplistic view of the Pacific taken by the aesthetic, Tiki culture has been perceived as controversial, culturally insensitive, or racist.

Tiki culture became fashionable during the 1930s as a Hollywood-style image of a leisurely, exotic island lifestyle. It had an explosion of popularity after World War II, as American servicemen returned from tours of duty in the South Pacific, often with souvenirs. It began to decline in the late 1970s but there was a revival in the late 1990s and early twenty-first century, so Dwight is surprisingly on trend in owning a tiki bar.

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