“They grow up so fast”

While talking with Lorelai, Babette mourns the death of her elderly cat Cinnamon, remembering the time when she was a tiny kitten. As she and Morey are a childless couple, Babette speaks of Cinnamon’s passing as if she and Morey have lost a child, even mentioning an Oprah episode about bereaved parents whose marriages didn’t survive.

Babette’s feelings for Cinnamon serve as a parallel to Lorelai’s for Rory’s (the cat and the girl are probably even of similar ages). I believe Cinnamon was changed from a male cat to a female one to make this parallel more obvious.

Lorelai must also face “losing Rory” one day – not to death, but to adulthood. She knows that Rory is growing up, and that she has to learn to let her go, and to find a way to make a life for herself that isn’t based around caring for Rory.

This helps to inform her decision about dating Max: Rory is growing up, and Lorelai can’t put her own life on hold forever.

Valley of the Dolls

[Babette goes through Cinnamon’s old medications].
LORELAI: It’s like a scene from a kitty version of Valley of the Dolls.

Valley of the Dolls is a 1967 drama film, based on the best-selling 1966 novel of the same name by Jacqueline Susann. The story is about three women, whose high-flying career paths keep coming down into the “valley” of addiction to prescription drugs (known as “dolls”). It receceived scathing reviews, but was a box-office hit and the #6 film of 1967. The film has since gained a cult following as a camp classic.

Hee Haw

(A bearded customer from the diner walks by as Michel comes through the door.)
MICHEL: Yoo-hoo, Hee Haw man, where is Lorelai Gilmore?

Hee Haw was an American television comedy variety show, which aired from 1969 to 1992, then continued in reruns throughout the 1990s. The show centred on country music and rural culture, and was set in fictional Kornfield Kounty.

It seems an unlikely TV show for Michel to watch – perhaps he thought it would help him learn about American culture, or adjust to life in regional Connecticut.

260 Year Old Cat

BABETTE: Oh, Morey, don’t do this to yourself. He thinks it was the clams …
VET: It wasn’t the clams. Morey, in human years this cat was 260 years old.

There are two things wrong with the vet’s statement. First, 260 “human years” is just 260 years – the vet actually means “cat years”. Second, for a cat to be the equivalent of a 260 year old human, it would need to live to 60. There is no way Cinnamon is 60 years old – a cat might survive into its early twenties if kept indoors and well cared for. The oldest cat on record lived to 28.

The vet is confused, exaggerating, not good at mathematics, not good with English, and/or doesn’t understand how long cats live.

Soufflé

LORELAI: This is a very delicate, fragile situation. It’s like one of your soufflés. If you don’t do it right it’s a disaster.
SOOKIE: And you have to order it 45 minutes in advance.

A soufflé is a classic French baked egg dish which can either be savoury or sweet; its name is from the French for “breathe, puff”. After being cooked, a soufflé will be fluffy and puffed-up, but it will go down after a few minutes, so the serving must be timed with great precision.

Dalai Lama

LUKE: The counter is a sacred space. My sacred space. You don’t do yoga on the Dalai Lama’s mat and you don’t come behind my counter, period.

The Dalai Lama is the title of the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people; part of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, and a symbol of Tibetan nationalism. The title was created in the 16th century, and literally means something like “great guru”.

The current Dalai Lama is the 14th, named Tenzin Gyatso (born Lhamo Thundup in 1935). Living in exile from his country in India, the Dalai Lama has become not just a Tibetan or Buddhist figurehead, but a global spiritual leader.