RORY: I do however reserve the right to change my mind.
LORELAI: That’s your prerogative as long as you remain a woman.
Lorelai is referring to the saying that “It is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind”. The proverb may come from law: from the Middle Ages onward, if a man broke off an engagement, he could be sued for breach of promise since he had broken a contract. But a woman was allowed to back out of an engagement with no legal repercussions, although there might be significant social ones.
Even though today both men and women are legally allowed to change their minds when it comes to marriage, the old saying remains.
LORELAI: I’m talking about – did it start with me? Or did it start with you? Was it my dream that you go to Harvard? … Because I never got to do the big fancy college thing? Maybe all this time I’m thinking it’s all for Rory, when really it wasn’t.
Lorelai is being disingenuous – she knew perfectly well that Harvard was her dream for Rory when she discussed this with Mr. Medina. However, she does tell Rory that she doesn’t want her to go to Chilton and Harvard if it makes her unhappy. Rory says that however it started, Harvard is her dream now, and she won’t give up on it.
LORELAI: So what does the deer look like? Huh? Does it have any distinguishing marks – besides the word Jeep imprinted on it’s forehead?
Jeep is a brand of American automobile, made by Chrysler; their range is in sport utility vehicles and off-road vehicles. The original Jeep was made in 1941 for the military, and was the primary four-wheel drive vehicle used by the Allies; after the war they were produced for civilian use. Lorelai’s car is a 2000 Jeep Wrangler (although in the show it is said to be a 1999 model).
A couple of episodes ago, a connection was made between Lorelai and Daisy Duke from The Dukes of Hazzard when Lorelai chose to wear denim shorts to Chilton. Another thing they have in common is that they both drive Jeeps – but Daisy’s was white, while Lorelai’s is tan. Gilmore Girls was filmed on several of the same sets at Warner Brothers as The Dukes of Hazzard – Stars Hollow High School was previously the Hazzard County Courthouse, for example.
After Gilmore Girls run ended, Lorelai’s Jeep was auctioned off in 2011, and sold to the highest bidder. It was bought by someone from Deep River, Connecticut – a small town with a selectman, a strong sense of community, a day devoted to colonial history, a quaint main street, and a town square with a gazebo. In fact, it’s gone to somewhere rather like Stars Hollow!
RORY: Well stay in the car.
LORELAI: It’s dangerous in the car with all the kamikaze deer running around [getting out of car]
During World War II, Japanese kamikaze pilots were those who took part in suicide attacks against Allied forces in the Pacific campaign. The word kamikaze means “divine wind, spirit wind”.
LORELAI: Rules can change, you can change them.
Time and again on the show, Lorelai demonstrated that she believed that rules were for other people, not for Gilmores. She was usually successful in her attempts to get special treatment – just as she is here: Rory isn’t given a zero on the Shakespeare test, but is allowed to make it up with other work.
Flashdance is a 1983 romantic drama film directed by Adrian Lyne, about a working class teenage girl (Jennifer Beals) who dreams of being a professional dancer. Flashdance was panned by critics, but a commercial success and the #3 movie of 1983.
The “Flashdance phase” is another time Lorelai believes she was wrong. In the movie, Jennifer Beals wears 1980s dancewear, such as a leotard and leg warmers topped with an oversized sweatshirt falling off her shoulders; her other iconic outfit is jeans with ripped knees and a white singlet top falling off her shoulders. These were popular fashion choices in 1983 (when Lorelai was 15) because of the film. For a while there, nobody could keep clothes on their shoulders or knees.
Lorelai identifies gauchos as being one of the times in her life she was wrong. Gaucho pants are a women’s fashion item: very wide-legged trousers with a cuff ending mid-calf – basically long culottes. They are named after the trousers favoured by South American gauchos (“cowboys”).
They were in style in the early 1970s as something of a feminist statement, and soon went out of favour because they are rather unflattering. They have never quite gone away, due to being practical and comfortable.
Lorelai refers to Headmaster Charleston as “Il Duce” during her meeting with Mr. Medina and the headmaster. Il Duce (“the duke”) was the title given to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) as leader of the National Fascist Party.
LORELAI: We have stretched ourselves as thin as humanly possible without going completely postal.
In American slang, “going postal” means to become uncontrollably angry to the point of violence, especially in a workplace situation. The expression comes from a series of incidents from the mid-1980s onward in which over-stressed United States Postal Service workers committed mass murder as a result of workplace rage. The earliest known use of the phrase is 1993.
MICHEL: There is a man with a funny accent on the phone asking for you.
LORELAI: Really? Did you guys exchange the secret handshake?
A secret handshake is any non-standard handshake used to signify fellowship within a certain group. The most famous organisation with a secret handshake is The Freemasons.
It is not clear who the man with the funny accent is: it is presumably either Mr. Medina or Headmaster Charleston, neither of whom has an especially hilarious accent. Maybe all Americans sound funny to Michel.