Emily shows Rory the guest room she has had redecorated to be Rory’s bedroom any time she stays with her grandparents. Even though Rory said her favourite colour was probably blue, Emily has chosen pink for the accessories (with one blue blanket on a chair), and despite saying that she preferred NSYNC, there is a 98° boy band poster on the wall – there might be another poster on the wall we can’t see, though. From this you can see the very limited choices that Emily allows others to make, and that she is all too ready to override them.
Emily did take notice of the sunflowers, however, which Rory said were her favourite flower. Sunflowers are symbolic of platonic love between family members, and strong bonds between two people, reminiscent of Rory’s relationship with Lorelai. They are happy, positive flowers, and symbols of good luck, which make sense because Rory leads such a charmed life.
The room is obviously Emily’s way of showing how much better cared for Rory would have been had she and Lorelai remained living with Emily and Richard. She is still angry and distressed that Lorelai took Rory to live in a shed rather than with her parents, and believes that Lorelai must have hated them to have chosen a shed over her own home.
(Lorelai and Rory ring the doorbell. Emily answers the door.)
EMILY: Hello, hello, hello.
LORELAI: Wow, Mom, hi. (to Rory) Uh, check the rubbing alcohol.
Rubbing alcohol is an American term for those types of alcohol, such as methylated spirits, which are used as an antiseptic in domestic and industrial uses. They are often used as cleaning products, and their name comes from the fact that in the past, they were used in the same way we use heat rubs, to relieve pain and stiffness.
Lorelai appears to think her mother seems so cheerful she must be drunk, but in fact you can’t drink rubbing alcohol – they put bitter poisons in it to stop people abusing it that way. It would taste awful, and you would most likely become very sick before you got drunk. Lorelai is just joking though.
LORELAI: So if Rachel turns out to be an evil fembot and murders Luke in his sleep, I’m not responsible am I?
RORY: Only in an intergalactic court.
Lorelai is probably referring to the 1997 comedy film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, directed by Jay Roach and starring Mike Myers in the title role. In the film, a parody of spy movies, a mad scientist named Dr. Evil has a gang of sexy female robots (fembots) who wear silver outfits and have weapons in their breasts that can kill: they are just one of the many traps that Austin Powers and his assistant must get through.
The fembots are taken directly from the 1965 comedy film Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, directed by Norman Taurog and starring Vincent Price in the title role. However, in this case the female robots are programmed to seduce and rob wealthy men, rather than murder anyone. In the 1966 sequel Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs, they are rather more explosive.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery was a commercial success and received good reviews. Susanna Hoffs from The Bangles (married to the director) performed on two songs from the film’s soundtrack, which seems like one reason why Lorelai would have wanted to see the film.
Galactic (and intergalactic) law courts are a common trope in science fiction film and television. Some of the earliest examples can be found in the original series of Star Trek, previously and freqently mentioned.
Lorelai and Rory’s exchange seems inspired by the sci-fi film they are watching.
(Kirk, sitting behind them at the cinema, clears his throat loudly. They turn around to look.)
LORELAI: Oh hey Kirk. You getting a cold? You know you should try that dinametichemphemital. Knocks it right out. Don’t drive a forklift though, ’cause it’ll make you drowsy.
A fictional cold and flu remedy invented by Lorelai as a joke.
This is the film that Lorelai and Rory go to see together, and which Luke and Rachel also attend on a date (another clue that Lorelai and Luke share an interest in vintage science fiction cinema). In the first shot showing the audience filing into the Black-White-Read Bookstore, you can see Todd is one of them; maybe he got a taste for vintage sci-fi at the film he went to with Lane (or is stalking Rory’s hot mother).
Queen of Outer Space is a 1958 science fiction film directed by Edward Bernds. It is about a group of astronauts who crash land on the planet Venus, and find it is run by a cruel Queen Yllana (Laurie Mitchell), who has banished men from the planet in disgust at their wars and violence. Zsa Zsa Gabor plays her courtier Talleah, a scientist who helps the astronauts, as the beautiful women of Venus wish the queen to be overthrown so they can enjoy the love of men as they did before.
Queen of Outer Space received very poor reviews, but is enjoyed as a campy, so-bad-that-it’s-good, fun B-Grade film.
LORELAI: I sat her [Emily] down to listen to a Prince song once, and she looked like she was having a stroke.
Prince, born Prince Nelson (1958-2016) was an American singer, songwriter, and musician, previously mentioned. His first album, For You, was released in 1978, and his breakthrough was the 1982 double album, 1999, with hit singles such as his signature song 1999, and Little Red Corvette. His most successful album is the 1984 Purple Rain, the soundtrack to the musical film of the same name. When Doves Cry, the first single from the album, became his first #1 hit.
It is unclear which of Prince’s songs the teenaged Lorelai might have played for Emily, but it’s most likely one from 1999, which came out when Lorelai was fourteen (it was possibly the title track). By the time Purple Rain was released in late June 1984, Lorelai would have been six months pregnant, and probably past the point of trying to bond with Emily over pop music.
The incident is one based on Amy Sherman-Palladino’s own life – her mother was likewise horrified when Amy played a Prince song for her.
LORELAI: So here it is, right in front of you. Just take it. Take the plunge. She [Rachel] could be ready. Just jump in and believe her. Unless, you know, there’s some other reason you don’t want to [commit].
LUKE: Like what?
LORELAI: Like I … I don’t know.
LUKE: There’s no other reason.
LORELAI: Okay, well, fine. Then there’s no other reason.
Lorelai is giving Luke an opportunity to tell her, in private and on his own turf, that the reason he doesn’t want to commit to Rachel is because he has feelings for Lorelai. He fails to take this fairly generous hint, so they are left as friends.
It is unclear whether Lorelai is pushing Luke to commit to Rachel so he can recognise his true feelings for her, or because she wants him safely in a relationship so she can stop thinking about him, or whether, as his friend, she truly wants him to be happy. Maybe all three, although she thinks it’s the last one.
LORELAI: But she [Rachel] seems sincere.
LUKE: How do you know?
LORELAI: Her nose didn’t grow.
Lorelai is referring to the 1940 animated film Pinocchio, produced by Walt Disney and based on the 1883 children’s book The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Italian author Carlo Collodi.
In the story, Pinocchio is a wooden puppet who is magically brought to life, and promised that he can become a real boy if he is brave, truthful, and unselfish. At one point, Pinocchio’s nose grows longer and longer every time he lies, until he promises to do better and has his nose restored. Ever since, it is common for people to talk about your nose getting longer if you lie.
Pinocchio received good reviews, and won the Academy Awards for Best Original Song (When You Wish Upon a Star) and Best Score – the first Disney film, and the first animated film, to win a non-honorary Oscar. It was a box office failure at first, but made a profit on its 1945 re-issue; it is now considered one of the greatest animated films of all time.
LORELAI: Well, I don’t know exactly what’s going on in Rachel’s head because I’m not a Vulcan, but from the way she talks about you and the way she smiles when your name comes up, I’m pretty sure that she’s serious about staying in Stars Hollow this time.
Vulcans are an alien species in the Star Trek universe, from the plant Vulcan. Noted for their logic and reason, they were the first alien species to make contact with human beings. Many Vulcans are telepaths, and can perform a “Vulcan mind meld” to read someone’s mind, which explains Lorelai’s comment.
LUKE: Okay, I don’t mind if you hang out with her [Rachel], but you will not talk about me.
LORELAI: Why? It’s fun. We wear plaid, take turns not shaving.
Lorelai is joking that she and Rachel copy Luke’s style of plaid shirts and facial stubble as if he is their hero or icon.