Pat Benatar

DRELLA: Hey what do you think about Pat Benatar?
LORELAI: Great idea, can she play the harp?

Pat Benatar (born Patricia Andrzejewski in 1953) is an American rock singer, songwriter, and actress. She is best known for her 1980s hits, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Love is a Battlefield, and We Belong.

Lorelai is adding Pat Benatar to the list of music Drella is banned from playing.

“I know his birthday”

RORY: I know everything there is to know about Shakespeare … I know his birthday and his mother’s name and that kind of –

In fact William Shakespeare’s birthday is not known, just that he was baptised on April 26. His birthday is traditionally commemorated on April 23 – this is because it is both the day he died, and St. George’s Day, the national saint of England.

William Shakespeare’s mother was Mary Arden.

Rory and Lorelai’s Study Session Junk Food

Take-out fried chicken and French fries (maybe from Al’s Pancake World); the Gilmore girls add horseradish sauce to the fries

Pepperidge Farm chocolate chunk cookies

Lay’s potato chips

Starburst soft candy

Rolo caramel-filled chocolates

… and more!

This may be the first time we see the Gilmore girls indulging in junk food: it will not be the last. The constant eating of junk food by the slender and healthy Lorelai and Rory is something which sticks in the craw of many fans, who either see it as a ridiculously unrealistic cheap gimmick, or an outright slap in the face to the audience.

But one of the themes of Gilmore Girls is a celebration of American culture. Rory reads classic American literature (like Moby Dick and Huck Finn), they watch classic American TV shows (like I Love Lucy and The Odd Couple), they watch classic American films (like The Shining and The Wizard of Oz), they reference American popular music (such as Elvis Presley and Barbra Streisand), so of course they eat classic American food – which is mostly junk. This in itself isn’t all that unrealistic – 25% of Americans eat junk food every day, just like Lorelai and Rory, and 80% of them eat junk food regularly (the numbers are even higher for children and teenagers, and Lorelai is stuck as a perpetual teen).

Yes it’s a joke, and not entirely a nice one – but there’s some real love there too.  The brand names of the food themselves are raised like totems, and can sound almost like poetry. If America means Mark Twain, Judy Garland, Jack Nicholson, and Lucille Ball, it also has to mean burgers, chili fries, Pop-Tarts and Jello-O.

Just as Rory can read an unbelievable number of book (six at once is normal for her), and she and Lorelai watch an unrealistic amount of TV and movies while still having plenty of time for work, school, and a social life, of course they can also eat insane amounts of junk food. It’s just that we tend to praise the first types of unreality as smart and savvy, and decry the last. In the Gilmore Girls universe, there is both not enough time to get everything done, and plenty of time for books and movies – and plenty of room for all the food you can eat.

Kitchen Confidential

While Rory is studying, Lorelai reads Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain, first published in August 2000. The book is a humorous behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant industry, both a confessional and a commentary. It provides many hints and tips for the consumer, which may be what drew Lorelai to read it. The book received good reviews and became a best-seller, giving Bourdain a large following and making him a celebrity.

Rory’s Study Books

The Oxford Shakespeare. Published by Oxford University Press, it contains all of Shakespeare’s poems and plays, with each work given a short introduction, and a glossary at the back of the book.

Who’s Who and What’s What in Shakespeare: A Complete A to Z Reference Guide with Over 6000 Entries by Evangeline M. O’Connor. This reference guide was first published in 1887; Rory has the newest edition which came out in June 2000.

Rory’s Study for the Shakespeare Test

The Comedy of Errors is one of Shakespeare’s early plays, and a farce involving two pairs of twins and mistaken identity. It was written around 1594, so Rory’s statement that it was written in 1590 is just an estimate – the exact date isn’t known. It was published in 1623 though, as that was the first collection made of Shakespeare’s plays.

Richard III is one of Shakespeare’s historical plays. It was written around 1592, so Rory’s guess of 1591 is within the acceptable time-frame and not actually wrong. In real life, it would be very unusual for students to be tested on their knowledge of the dates of Shakespeare’s plays, as they are usually not known for sure. As we never see the actual test, Rory could be studying all the wrong things anyway.

Shakespeare’s Sonnets are a 1609 collection of love sonnets, most of which are addressed to either a Dark Lady or a Fair Youth. It is not known whether these figures are fictional or based on real people. It is not even known for certain whether the sonnets were written by William Shakespeare.

During the study session, Lorelai makes a buzzer noise when Rory gets a question wrong, as if she is on a game show.

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds”

PARIS: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. Love is not love which alters when it alterations finds, or bends with the remover to remove: O no! It is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken; it is the star to every wandering bark, whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken”.

Paris is quoting from William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, first published in 1609, and one of his most famous love sonnets. She is demonstrating how well she has studied for the test, although only Paris could recite a love poem to someone as a threat.

Saved by the Bell

LORELAI: You couldn’t tell me [about getting a D]? You tell me everything.
RORY: It was too humiliating.
LORELAI: Oh, honey, you once told me that you loved Saved by the Bell. What could be more humiliating than that?

Saved by the Bell was a popular teen sitcom which aired on NBC from 1989 to 1993. The story follows a group of friends at high school, and their relationship with their school principal.

Rory would have loved watching Saved by the Bell when she between five and ten – a possible hint of her precocity. It seems typical of Rory that her favourite childhood TV show revolved around school.