Child Protective Services

LORELAI: Yeah. I’ve cursed in front of them twice and Miss Patty already tried to hit on my dad, and I’m sure my mom is going to call Child Protective Services.

The state government agency in charge of monitoring and providing support in cases of child neglect or abuse is called the Department of Children and Families. They have branches all over Connecticut, including in Hartford.

Holiday Inn

LORELAI: Oh, no, Mom, you’re going to need one [a drink] and I have wine glasses that say Holiday Inn on them.

Holiday Inn is an American chain of hotels, founded in 1952, and one of the largest hotel chains in the world. They were named after the successful 1942 musical Christmas film Holiday Inn, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Lorelai presumably stole the glasses from a hotel while on vacation.

Lorelai’s Joke

LORELAI: All right, everybody, I need your attention, your attention please. This is a very serious moment. Two priests, a rabbi, and a duck —
RORY: Mom.
LORELAI: All right, I’m kidding.

The old joke Lorelai pretends to start telling goes: Two priests, a rabbi, and a duck walk into a bar. The bartender says, “What is this, a joke?”. The punchline is because priests, rabbis, and/or ducks in bars are a common feature in jokes.

Happy Birthday to You

Everyone sings this traditional birthday song to Rory when her birthday cake is brought out. The song dates back to the 19th century, when Kentucky sisters Patty and Mildred Hall wrote a kindergarten song called Good Morning to All, publishing it in 1893. At some point (and by someone) the lyrics were changed to Happy Birthday to You, and early in the twentieth century the words and lyrics were published together.

Happy Birthday to You is said to be most recognisable song in the English language, and the highest-earning song in history, having made perhaps fifty million dollars. After a protracted legal battle, the song was declared to be in the public domain in the US in 2016, and copyright ended in Europe in 2017.

You can see in this scene that Rory’s cake has 16 candles – 8 on each side of the cake – confirming that this is her sixteenth birthday.

Rory’s Present

Lorelai’s birthday present to Rory is an indigo iBook Apple Macintosh laptop. The iBook line of laptops first came out in 1999, and were discontinued in 2006. The model Rory has was released in September 2000, and cost about $1500 at the time. Lorelai most likely bought it from the Apple store in Hartford, located in the mall. Throughout the show, Rory was shown to have remained loyal to Apple products.

So Lorelai bought Rory a hip $1500 Apple Mac laptop that would be helpful for school for her birthday, and somehow convinced her wealthy, generous mother Emily that it would be a great idea to buy Rory a junky useless $12 bracelet for her birthday. Well played Lorelai, well played.

This Ole House

This popular 1954 song is on in the background at the start of Rory’s second birthday party as she opens her presents surrounded by friends and neighbours. Written by Stuart Hamblen, it was a hit for Rosemary Clooney that year.

The version played on the show is from 1998 by the Brian Setzer Orchestra, from their successful album The Dirty Boogie. Brian Setzer was in the rockabilly band Stray Cats in the early 1980s, and his orchestra revived swing in the 1990s.

Brandeis

PARIS: You can go somewhere else. Go to Brandeis. Brandeis is nice.

Brandeis University is a private university in the city of Waltham, Massachussetts, just outside Boston. It was founded in 1948 as a secular, non-sectarian, co-educational university, sponsored by the Jewish community.

It has a strong focus on the liberal arts, and promotes tolerance on its campus. About half the student population is Jewish, and Jewish culture is strongly in evidence. It has a reputation (I don’t know how earned or how accurate) for being slightly quirky and accepting of social misfits.

It is amusing that Paris suggests Rory attend a Jewish-sponsored university near Boston while she strives to get into a Christian-sponsored university near Boston. Perhaps Brandeis is a “nice” (i.e. liberal, tolerant, accepting) school that others (staff at Chilton?) have suggested Paris might like to attend if she doesn’t get into Harvard, or even prefer to Harvard, (since she’s a Jewish social misfit), so she turns it back on someone else.

“Ten generations of Gellers”

PARIS: Ten generations of Gellers have gone to Harvard. I have to go to Harvard.

According to Paris, the Geller family have been attending Harvard University since the 18th century. This doesn’t seem possible, as the Gellers are Jewish, and at that time Jews weren’t permitted to attend Harvard (and tended to be excluded from higher education, and many other institutions). The first Jewish student at Harvard in 1720 had to convert to Christianity, and still wasn’t really accepted. Even in the twentieth century, there were heavy restrictions on Jews attending Harvard.

It is possible that Paris is lying in a desperate attempt to persuade Rory that she “deserves” to go to Harvard more than Rory does. Of course later on Paris and Rory do attend the same university together.