“All this is yours”

LORELAI (to Luke): Yeah. Wow, it [the diner’s store room] really looks, um, different from back here, ya know? All this is yours, as far as the eye can see.

Possibly a reference to the 1975 British comedy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, written, performed, and directed by the Monty Python comedy team. The film is a parody of the legend of King Arthur and the search for the Holy Grail.

In one scene, a medieval king with a thick northern accent is speaking to his milksop son Prince Herbert, and says, “One day lad, all this will be yours … all that you can see, stretched out over the hills and valleys … as far as the eye can see and beyond … that’ll be your kingdom, lad”.

It is highly reminiscent of Genesis 13:14-15 in the Bible, where God gives Abraham the land of Canaan. God says,“Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your descendants forever.” (Which doesn’t actually seem like that much land, as you can only see a few miles to the horizon in each direction).

This is another possibility for what Lorelai is thinking of, and in both cases, it is a father (or our Father in Heaven) passing an inheritance on to his son, just as Luke’s father left him the hardware store. She is being humorous, but seems genuinely impressed by Luke’s little “kingdom”.

We later learn that The Holy Grail is one of Lorelai and Rory’s favourite films.

Gallup Survey

RORY: What was that? [her phone call from Emily]
LANE: Sounded like some sick take on the Gallup survey.

The Gallup Poll is a public opinion poll regularly conducted by Gallup Inc., a research-based consulting firm founded by George Gallup in 1935. The poll asks people for their opinions on social, economic, and political issues, based on telephone interviews.

The Backstreet Boys

EMILY: What about that other group? The Backside Boys?
RORY: You mean The Backstreet Boys?

The Backstreet Boys are an American boy band formed in 1993, consisting of AJ McLean, Howie D, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, and Brian Littrell. They rose to fame in 1996 with their self-titled debut album, while their 1999 album Millennium made them superstars; it was the best-selling album of the year. Their most recent album from Rory’s perspective was Black & Blue, which was released in 2000 and another massive commercial success. The band have gone on hiatus a few times, but are still performing and recording.

Balthazar’s

LANE: Then he [Henry] said, “It was fun meeting you the other night.”
RORY: What?
LANE: He didn’t say which night. Like he didn’t remember which night. Like he’s mixing me up with another girl from another night. For all I know, he thought he was calling the hot blonde he met at a hopped up night at Balthazar’s.

Balthazar is a French restaurant in SoHo, Manhattan which opened in 1997 and is owned by Keith McNally. Famed for both its food and atmosphere, it is a favourite place for celebrity-spotting. It is notable that Lane gets the name wrong, not being familiar with trendy New York eateries.

Rory points out the obvious implausibility of Henry, a sixteen-year-old private school student from Hartford, being hopped up (on drugs) at Balthazar and meeting hot blondes, but Lane is not in a logical mood.

Parsing for subtext

LANE: He [Henry] left a message. I listened to it eight-and-a-half times, but then my mom came home and I had to erase it. But I was so panicked that I broke it, which is better because now all evidence that a boy called me is in the trash.
RORY: Eight and a half times.
LANE: Well, it was a good message the first couple times. Then I started parsing it for subtext.

To parse a sentence means to analyse it by reducing it to its grammatical elements, while subtext is the underlying meaning of a particular text. In other words, Lane began picking apart everything Henry said to search for hidden meanings.

Gloomy Music

LANE: Like Joy Division gloomy? Nick Cave gloomy? Robert Smith gloomy?
RORY: Johnny Cash gloomy.
LANE: So kind of like a “San Quentin-y, it’s a long road home and my horse just got shot but I’ve still got my girl by my side” gloomy?
RORY: You read my mind.
LANE: I’m deep in a Charlie Parker gloomy … Now I’m a Lou Reed gloomy.

Joy Division were an English rock band formed in 1976 by Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris. Inspired by a Sex Pistols gig Curtis and Hook attended, they became pioneers in the 1970s post-punk movement. Their 1979 debut album, Unknown Pleasures, was released to critical acclaim. As the band’s popularity grew, singer-songwriter Ian Curtis suffered an array of personal problems, including depression, severe epilepsy, and a failing marriage. He found it increasingly difficult to perform live, as he sometimes had seizures while on stage. In 1980, just before the band’s first American tour, Curtis took his own life, aged 23. The band’s final album, Closer, was released two months later; the single Love Will Tear us Apart became their most successful release. The remaining members continued on under the name New Order, achieving further critical and commercial success.

Nicholas “Nick” Cave (born 1957) is an Australian singer, songwriter, musician, author, screenwriter, composer, and actor, best known as the front man for the rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Based in England since 1980, Cave is pale and emaciated with longish dark hair, and described as a poster boy for Gothic rock. Most of Nick Cave and the Bad Seed’s early material is set in a mythical American Deep South, and draws on biblical themes. His 1997 melancholic love ballad Into My Arms is one of his best known songs, and his 1996 duet with Kylie Minogue, the murder ballad Where the Wild Roses Grow, his most commercially successful single.

Robert Smith (born 1959) [pictured] is an English singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the lead singer, lyricist, and lead guitarist for the rock band The Cure, previously mentioned, and founded in 1976. He was also lead guitarist for Siouxsie and the Banshees, earlier discussed, from 1982 to 1984. He is known for his distinctive singing style and trademark stage image of pale complexion, eyeliner, smeared red lipstick, dishevelled black hair, and black clothes, which became iconic in the Goth subculture, and highly influential on popular culture in general, such as the films of Tim Burton. It’s become almost a cliche in pop culture for a teenager to like The Cure as a sign of them being “troubled”; Gilmore Girls averts this, as both Rory and Lane are fans, while not being Goths or having significant personal problems (although Lane did play The Cure as a sign something was wrong in her life).

John “Johnny” Cash (1932-2003) was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, and is best known as a country music icon, although he has embraced multiple genres – this has led to him being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Gospel Music Hall of Fame. His trademark all-black stage ensemble earned him the moniker of “The Man in Black”, and his songs tend to have themes of sadness, suffering, and redemption. His signature song was the 1953 Folsom Prison Blues, which is probably what Lane is thinking of by “San Quentin-y” – San Quentin is the largest prison in California, and Johnny Cash performed there a couple of times, including singing a song named San Quentin. The rest of her line is a collection of sad country music tropes.

Charles “Charlie” Parker, also known as “Yardbird” Parker and “Bird” Parker (1920-1955) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. A highly influential jazz soloist, and leading figure in bebop, he was a hipster and Beat Generation icon, personifying the jazz musician as an artist rather than an entertainer. He suffered from depression, heroin addiction, and alcoholism, and twice attempted suicide; however only some of his pieces are sombre in tone.

Lewis “Lou” Reed (1942-2013) was an American singer, songwriter, and musician. He was the lead guitarist, singer, and main songwriter for the rock band The Velvet Underground, previously discussed as one of Lane’s favourite musical artists. He had a solo career spanning five decades, with the 1972 album Transformer bringing him mainstream recognition, and his 1989 album New York regarded as his greatest work. He has a gloomy singing style, and many of his songs feature themes of grief, horror, and fear.

Child Psychology

This 1998 song by English indie rock band Black Box Recorder is the song which Rory and Lane listen to in Rory’s bedroom. Rory says she likes it because it makes her gloomy.

Child Psychology is from the band’s album England Made Me. It features a mixture of spoken word with a sung chorus, and the spoken word part describes negative incidents from childhood, such as refusing to talk, getting expelled from school, and parents arguing at Christmas.

The chorus has the line, “Life is unfair; kill yourself or get over it”, which led to it being banned on radio and on MTV. Released in the US just after the 1999 Columbine school massacre, the “kill yourself” part was played backwards to hide its content.

Once again, this shows Rory gaining satisfaction from the idea of suicide as an artistic and romantic solution, which is really starting to seem quite worrying. Perhaps it is supposed to be a typically teenage reaction to life, or just a streak of black comedy in the show, as suicide seems to be mentioned so often.

Rachel Shows Lorelai Luke’s Apartment

As a counterpart to Rory showing her grandmother the potting shed, Rachel shows Lorelai Luke’s apartment when she comes over. Like the potting shed, it was never designed to be used as living quarters (it was Luke’s father’s office for the hardware store), and is impractical for a couple to live in together. This shows an affinity between Luke and Lorelai – both will settle for a cheap, uncomfortable living space if they need to save money; both are willing to wait in order to reach long-term goals. (And how they wait!)

Lorelai is amused to discover that the supposedly curtain-hating Luke picked out some floral curtains for his own apartment. She is clearly very intrigued to see where Luke lives.