[Paris comes back dressed as Romeo]
PARIS: What are you standing there for? Let’s go. You better start sucking on an Altoid.

Altoids are a brand of mints sold in metal tins. Created by the London business Smith & Company in the late 18th century, they became part of the Chicago-based firm Callard & Bowser in the 19th century. Their advertising slogan is “The Original Celebrated Curiously Strong Mints”. They are less widely available in the UK than in the US, although Marks & Spencer has an almost identical product called Curiously Strong Mints.

Why Rory had to suck on a breath mint when Paris didn’t even kiss her, I don’t know. Paris is very keen on hygiene though, and perhaps she wasn’t convinced Rory was clean enough.

(There is an odd sort of logic to Paris taking over as Romeo, because in Romeo and Juliet, Juliet was meant to marry Count Paris).

Military School in North Carolina

TRISTAN: The police are letting our parents handle it, and in my case that means military school in North Carolina.

A meta comment. Chad Michael Murray, who played Tristan, left the show in order to begin filming the teen drama One Tree Hill (2003-2012), shown on the same channel as Gilmore Girls (The WB); Murray had the lead role of Lucas Scott. One Tree Hill is set in the fictional town of Tree Hill in North Carolina, and mostly filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Amy Sherman-Palladino apparently planned for Tristan to become Rory’s boyfriend in high school/college and her “Christopher”, which, because Chad Michael Murray went to another show, was a role filled by the character of Logan Huntzberger instead. In this farewell episode, you can see the faint beginnings of the tenderness between Rory and Tristan which would have blossomed into eventual love. Anyone wishing to see what would have happened if Logan had been Tristan instead must turn to fanfiction.

In real life, there is only one one military school in North Carolina, and it is Oak Ridge Military Academy, so presumably that’s where Tristan is headed. It was originally founded in 1850, and was one of the first military schools to become co-educational, in 1972. It apparently had a reputation at one time of taking troubled youth, which it is working to overcome.

If Tristan turned up to Chilton in order to say he was leaving for military school, couldn’t he also have stayed to do the scene with them? Does everyone transfer schools on a Sunday night in this universe? (Maybe because they’re boarding schools?).

With Tristan out of the picture, the love triangle between Rory, Dean, and Tristan comes to an end, to make way for a new love triangle, which becomes clear in the very next episode.

“What about Brad?”

RORY: What about Brad?
PARIS: Brad transferred schools.

An explanation for why we don’t see Brad again for a while – Paris terrorised him until he had to move to a different school on the day their Shakespeare project was due. How he managed to transfer schools on a weekend, I don’t know. Even if he was starting at a new school on Monday, having secretly applied to another school as soon as he met Paris, couldn’t he at least have done the scene with them on the Sunday so they didn’t fail?

The Businessmen Scene

[Lane watches Henry in Act 3, interpreted as businessmen with cell phones]
HENRY: I am hurt. A plague on both your houses! Oh, I am sped. What, is he gone and hath nothing?

Henry’s speech is from Act 3, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet. He is playing Mercutio, a close friend of Romeo, and a relative of Count Paris, who Juliet is betrothed to. It is he who persuades Romeo to attend the Capulet’s party where he meets Juliet and falls in love with her.

Something of a wild party animal, Mercutio is lively and witty, making him a memorable scene stealer in the play. Romeo refuses to duel with Juliet’s cousin Tybalt, as he now sees Tybalt as one of his kin, through his secret marriage to Juliet.

Mercutio is incensed at the dishonourable way Romeo has refused to fight, and duels Tybalt himself, getting stabbed to death for his troubles. As he dies, he furiously denounces both the Montagues and the Capulets, crying, “A plague on both your houses!”.

A grief-stricken Romeo kills Tybalt to avenge his dearest friend, leading to him being banished from the city, and setting the tragic portion of the play in motion.

“You might want to hold a phone up to your face”

RORY: I think act three is starting up.

LANE: Henry’s act. Um, how do I look?
RORY: You might want to hold a phone up to your face so he’ll recognize you.
LANE: Okay. [walks away]

Quite a bitchy comment to your best friend from “the sweetest kid in the world“. I think we can now assume that Rory has had enough and isn’t going to be helping Lane and Henry any more.

The Caveman Scene

BOY: Ooh, ooh. He jests at scars that never felt a wound. But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

The quote is from Act 2, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet, the famous “balcony scene” where Romeo hides in the orchard after the Capulet’s party where he met Juliet, then sees her leaning out of her window. He compares her beauty to that of the sun, moon, and stars.

Chuck E. Cheese

LUKE: You running around with that kid.
LORELAI: I wasn’t running, he’s not a kid. We had dinner. You say Chuck E. Cheese, I’ll break your nose.

Chuck E. Cheese is a family restaurant chain specialising in pizza and entertainment such as arcade games and animatronic stage shows, founded in 1977 by a co-founder of Atari. The first restaurant opened in San Jose, California, and the mascot is a rat named Chuck E. Cheese. They are popular places to hold children’s parties.

Jerry Lee Lewis

LORELAI: I go on one stupid date, and suddenly I’m the female Jerry Lee Lewis.

Jerry Lee Lewis (born 1935), wild man pioneer of rock and roll and rockabilly music who shot to fame in 1957 with his worldwide hit, Whole Lotta Shaking Going On, followed by other hits such as Great Balls of Fire. His career was struck by international scandal when he married his thirteen-year-old cousin once removed, Myra Gale Brown, despite still being married to his first wife. After his divorce went through, he and Myra remarried (or … married?) in 1958. Myra filed for divorce in 1970, saying she had been subjected to every form of abuse imaginable.

Lewis has had a career spanning decades of success. His 2006 album Last Man Standing is his best-selling to date, he has a dozen gold records in both rock and country music, four Grammy Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Hall of Fame Award. He’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and the Memphis Hall of Fame. A film about him was made in 1989 starring Dennis Quaid (based on a book written by Myra), and he is considered one of the greatest musical artists of all time.

Doogie Howser

LORELAI: Business school has to indicate some kind of maturity, right?
LUKE: Doogie Howser was a doctor at sixteen.
LORELAI: Doogie Howser was not real.

Dr Douglas “Doogie” Howser (played by Neil Patrick-Harris) is the protagonist of the television medical comedy-drama, Doogie Howser, MD (1989-1993). A child genius, Howser graduated from Princeton at the age of ten, and completed medical school at fourteen. The show opens on Doogie’s sixteenth birthday, and shows the challenges he faces practising medicine as a resident surgeon while also coping with the usual teenage problems.

The show was abruptly cancelled due to low ratings, but has made its mark as a cultural reference, as anyone young and very smart is generally dubbed “Doogie Howser”. This year it was rebooted as Doogie Kameāloha, MD, about a sixteen-year-old Hawaiian girl working as a doctor, with Peyton Lee in the title role.

In real life, Balamurali Ambati has the Guinness World Record for obtaining his medical license at the age of 17, graduating from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City in 1995. He thus became the youngest qualified medical doctor in the world, so not too far off Doogie Howser. (Dr Ambati disliked comparisons to Dr Howser, and as he was six feet tall at age fourteen, fit in with the other medical students and was popular with his peers).