RORY: The coffee machine was jammed so I got us some chicken soup and some Pez.
Pez is an Austrian candy sold in dispenser machines around the world. The first factory in the US was in Orange, Connecticut, founded in 1973. The dispensers themselves have become cultural icons and valuable collectibles.
RORY: I’d like to do something?
LORELAI: Like Rollerblade?
Rollerblade is a brand of inline roller skates, started in the US in 1982. In the beginning, Rollerblade was the only brand of inline skates that had worldwide distribution, allowing them to grab a huge share of the global market, and gain almost total dominance in North America. The brand name is used as both a noun and a verb. The brand is now owned by Italian company Nordica.
RORY: Where’s Grandma?
LORELAI: Kicking some patient out of the room with the good view.
LORELAI: I hope they get him unhooked fast, otherwise he’s going without the life support machine.
Emily’s behaviour at the hospital tells us where Lorelai got her unwavering belief that Gilmores deserve special treatment.
EMILY: That’s what I’ve been trying to find out but this woman keeps pestering me with idiotic questions like “What’s the number of my insurance policy and how long have we had it.”
NURSE: I need to get this information.
The US does not have a nationalised healthcare system, and before anything can happen in a US hospital, multiple insurance forms need to be filled out.
EMILY: My great uncle founded this hospital – You insensitive paper peddler! His portrait is hanging in the lobby, go look. It’s right above the sign that says “Founder”!
There are a number of hospitals in the Hartford area Richard could have been taken to, but they are either too old or too new to be founded by Emily’s great-uncle. Also, none of them had a single founder, being started by universities, religious organisations, or civic committees.
Emily’s great-uncle founding the hospital lets us know that her family must have been both wealthy and important, and that they were connected with the Hartford area.
LUKE: Okay, we’re supposed to follow the blue line, around the corner and then we should be –
LORELAI: Where’s the scarecrow when you need him?
Lorelai is referring to the 1939 musical fantasy film The Wizard of Oz, produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and based on L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It was the #9 film of 1939, and a critical success on release, although so expensive to make that it didn’t make much of a profit for MGM. It won two Academy Awards for its music. After being broadcast on TV in 1956, and annually from 1959 to 1991, the film became one of the most famous in history, and is recognised as a cultural icon and one of the best films ever made.
Luke’s comment about following the blue line seems to remind Lorelai of the song Follow The Yellow Brick Road, where Dorothy (Judy Garland) is sent on her journey to find the Wizard by the diminutive Munchkins, after she is given the instruction to follow the Yellow Brick Road by Glinda the Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke). The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger) makes his appearance in the next scene, when the Yellow Brick Road branches off in two different directions, just as the hospital’s blue line does.
There will be many more references to the movie throughout the run of Gilmore Girls, and it serves as an inspiration for the show. Like The Wizard of Oz, Gilmore Girls creates a specifically American fantasy land which is both cosy and uncomfortable, with a story line which contains comedy and drama. Like Gilmore Girls, The Wizard of Oz is a quirky journey of growth where the lesson to be learned is that you already have everything you need before you even set out.
NURSE: I know this is difficult for you, but if you don’t fill out these forms –
EMILY: What? You’ll do what? I’d like to hear in your most condescending tone what my punishment will be for not filling out these forms in a timely manner. Are there bamboo shoots involved? Some sort of dark deep hole in the ground? Rats nibbling at my toes?
The tortures that Emily describes are from the movie The Deer Hunter, earlier discussed.
NURSE: Ms. Gilmore, uh, I need you to –
EMILY: It’s not “Ms. Gilmore”, it’s Mrs. Gilmore! Mrs. Gilmore, I’m not a Cosmo Woman!
Emily is referring to Helen Gurley Brown (1922-2012), who became editor of Cosmpolitan magazine in 1965 after the success of her best-selling 1962 advice book Sex and the Single Girl. She championed glamorous, fashionable, and sexually liberated women, who became known as “Cosmo Girls”.
It’s possible that Emily, in her state of distress, has somehow confused Helen Gurley Brown and feminist Gloria Steinem (born 1934) – Steinem became the editor of Ms. magazine in 1972, which featured Wonder Woman on its first cover.
Emily would have been a wife, and then a mother, at the time of the rise of Gurley Brown and Steinem – very proud to be “Mrs. Richard Gilmore”, and the opposite of the independent career woman in Cosmpolitan, and of the woman speaking out against the restrictions of marriage and family in Ms.
I’m not sure whether she says “Cosmo Woman” via mixing up Cosmo Girl and Wonder Woman from Ms. Magazine, or whether she simply can’t bear to refer to herself as a “girl” when she’s a mature-aged woman.
One of the newspapers that Emily suggests Rory buy for her grandfather in the hospital; the other being The Wall Street Journal, earlier discussed.
Barron’s is an American weekly financial information newspaper published by Dow Jones & Company, now owned by News Corp; they also publish The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper was founded in 1921 by Clarence W. Barron, the founder of modern financial journalism.
Richard’s doctor is Dr. Joshua Reynolds (Brian Evers) – for some reason he has the same name as the famous 18th century English portrait painter Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792).