Population Control in Europe

PARIS: . . .shouldn’t even be taken into account. This dovetails nicely into my feelings about population control. It’s a little hot in here, can we do something about that? Anyway, population control has been dramatically successful in most European countries to the detriment of some, especially Italy, which is experiencing a marked drop.

The birth rate declined in Italy in the 1970s, which, coupled with postwar mass migration, led to a rapidly ageing population. However, recently the birth rate has grown significantly, and since the 1980s, Italy has attracted migrants, particularly from Eastern Europe and North Africa, helping their population grow.

Paris’ interest in population control does seem to continue – her beliefs verge on eugenics, and in A Year in the Life, she is head of a fertility clinic.

92nd Street Y or Brick Church

PARIS: It’s partly my parents’ fault, they didn’t brand me properly. I should’ve been at the 92nd Street Y or Brick Church.

RORY: Prep schools?
PARIS: Preschools. It decides everything.

The 92nd Street Y and the Brick Church School are both upmarket faith-based preschools on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City – this may suggest that Paris lived there when she was a small child, her parents moving to Hartford later.

Does this provide a hint of why Paris never quite fit in at Chilton? The other alternative is that she believes her parents should have moved to New York for her preschool education, which is just selfish and impractical enough to be believable for Paris’ character.

The 92nd Street Y [pictured] is a secular Jewish cultural centre which offers a diversity of programs, including a nursery school. The Brick Church is a Presbyterian church which has offered early childhood programs since 1940, and members of the congregation receive preference in the highly competitive application process.

The fact that Paris considers both these preschools as options she could have had suggests that Paris’ mother may be or originally was Presbyterian. Either that, or she has no idea how preschools actually work.

The Adventures of Gumby and Pokey, Pee-Wee Herman

PARIS: I was flipping through Harvard class schedules when you were still delighting to the adventures of Gumby and Pokey.
RORY: I was more of a Pee-Wee Herman kind of gal.

Paris refers to Gumby Adventures, a clay animation children’s show centred on a green clay humanoid figure named Gumby, with a sidekick named Pokey. Gumby was created by Art Clokey in the 1950s, and after becoming a hit on Howdy Doody, had his own show which ran from 1957 to 1969. It was revived in 1988 and lasted until 2002, when Rory and Paris were aged four to nine, as Gumby Adventures.

Pee-Wee Herman, previously discussed as Rory’s favourite childhood show.

Mira Sorvino

RORY: Well, you not moving out might be a tip-off [that you didn’t get into Harvard].
PARIS: I’ll get an apartment in Cambridge, buy a Harvard sweatshirt, talk about Mira Sorvino a lot.

Mira Sorvino (born 1967), actress who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the 1995 film Mighty Aphrodite, and is also known for the 1997 cult classic comedy, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. She graduated from Harvard in 1989 with a degree in East Asian Studies. Apparently this alumna from more than 14 years ago is considered to still be a hot topic among Harvard students.

Howard Hughes

PARIS: I’ve had Nanny hold all my calls, and the mail. My parents are away, so I’ve been totally Howard Hughes-ing it.

Howard Hughes (1905-1976), business magnate, record-setting pilot, engineer, film producer, and philanthropist, known during his lifetime as one of the most influential and richest people in the world. He first became prominent as a film producer, and then as an important figure in the aviation industry.

Later in life, he became known for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle—oddities that were caused in part by his worsening obsessive-compulsive disorder, chronic pain from a near-fatal plane crash, and increasing deafness.

“She’s been gone for five days”

RORY: Have you guys heard from Paris? … She’s been gone for five days.

Paris had her very public meltdown on a Friday, so if she’s been missing for five days, it would be Wednesday. Or Friday, if Rory isn’t counting the weekend. However, it actually appears to be Thursday, which isn’t five days from Friday, no matter how you count it. Yes, Daniel Palladino is not so hot on timelines.

On Acid, Oy Vey

BABETTE: Hey Michel, I just hit F4 and the num lock key and the one with the little apple on it and it’s freaking out like it’s on acid or something.

MICHEL: Oy vey.

On acid, slang for taking the hallucinogenic drug LSD. (Babette seems to have hit the dashboard, the number lock, and the command key all at once, so the screen starts scrolling).

Oy vey, interjection used to express dismay, frustration, or grief. It is borrowed from Yiddish, loosely meaning “Oh woe is me”.