Weeping Willow

DEAN: I like it [Stars Hollow]. It’s quiet, but nice. I like all the trees everywhere.
LORELAI: Yeah, the trees are something. When Rory was little, she found out that one was called a Weeping Willow so she spent hours trying to cheer it up. You know, like telling it jokes and – No, I’m sorry that was me.

Another vignette from the childhood of the mysteriously fey and naif Rory. It’s amazing that at the same time she was talking to trees and waiting for fairies to arrive, her favourite TV show was Saved by the Bell, in which episodes sometimes covered issues such as drug abuse and homelessness.

Chuck Heston

BABETTE (referring to Dean): Oh, he’s so cute … And that Chuck Heston chin of his.

Charlton Heston, sometimes known by the nickname Chuck, (1923-2008) was an American Hollywood star who appeared in one hundred films in a career spanning sixty years. He is famous for playing Moses in The Ten Commandments (1956), for starring in Ben-Hur (1959), and for the central role in Planet of the Apes (1968). During the 1980s he became an activist in conservative politics. Like Dean, Charlton Heston was from the Chicago area.

Mister Kelly’s

BABETTE (to Dean): There used be a great club there called – what was it called baby?
MOREY: Uh … Mr. Kelly’s.
BABETTE: Oh, yeah – Mr. Kelly’s. You ever go there?

Mister Kelly’s was a nightclub in Chicago, which began in 1953. From 1956 onward it became a place where many entertainers, especially jazz singers and comedians, began their careers, including Barbra Streisand, Lenny Bruce, Eartha Kitt, and George Carlin. The nightclub closed in 1975, so it isn’t possible for Dean to have ever gone there.

Miss German train

RORY: Maybe something happened. Maybe he’s not coming.
LORELAI: Maybe he’s just late, Miss German train.

Despite the common perception that German trains must be extremely punctual, in fact delays are common on long-distance trains in Germany, as the infrastructure is overstretched. However commuter trains in cities are generally pretty good, although nothing remarkable.

Note that this is yet another reference to someone running late on the show.

Elsa Klensch

LORELAI: Dab on some lip gloss, clear but fruity. Maybe a little mascara. Wear your hair down and your attitude high.
RORY: You’re like a crazy Elsa Klensch.

Elsa Klensch (born 1933) is an Australian-American journalist and author with a background in fashion. From 1980 to 2001 she was the producer and host of Style with Elsa Klensch, a weekly fashion and design show on CNN.

“How the mighty have fallen”

LORELAI: You’re comparing me to my mother? … I’m Emily Gilmore? My, how the mighty have fallen.

A common expression meaning that those who were once powerful have now been reduced to a lowly status. The idiom comes from the King James version of the Bible, and is first found in Samuel 2 1:19, where it laments, The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!

Lorelai always prided herself on being a “cool mom”, and now she discovers she’s actually a mother. A mother just like her own mother, Emily. Rory could hardly have said anything more hurtful to her. Bring on the tourniquet, her heart is bleeding.

Niagara Falls

RORY: I can’t believe you did this. I’m so humiliated.
LORELAI: You’re totally overreacting. I invited him to a movie and pizza, not to Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls are three impressive, beautiful waterfalls which are on the border between the United States and Canada (between upstate New York and Ontario). They are a popular honeymoon destination.


Amish country

LORELAI: I’m sorry. I thought you would be happy about this [that Lorelai invited Dean to their movie night].
RORY: In what universe would I be happy? This isn’t Amish country. Girls and boys usually date alone.

In conservative Amish groups, teenage couples might be expected to date each other with groups of friends, or even with their parents accompanying them. However some Amish teenagers do go on dates alone, at least sometimes. The most conservative Amish of all practice a form of dating where the boy and girl talk all night in the same bed, fully clothed, and with no touching. (Yet when Rory and Dean tried that, all hell broke loose!)

When people say Amish country, they usually mean south-eastern Pennsylvania.