“Strict rules about dating”

When Max goes to Lorelai’s house, she tells him that she has always kept her dating life completely separate from her life with Rory, and that although she has dated men, and had a sex life, none of the men have ever been to her house.

From this we know that Lorelai has tried to put Rory’s needs before her own, and that she has to some extent used Rory as an excuse to keep men at a distance and avoid commitment.

The logistics of how she kept the men completely away from her house are something of a puzzle – I’m guessing she never dated men who lived in Stars Hollow, the relationships never progressed very far, and that she must have had reliable babysitters who could care for Rory while she was out on a date (Babette, Sookie, and Miss Patty seem like good candidates).

Someone to Watch Over Me

This is the song which plays while Luke sadly watches Lorelai and Max together on their date in the snow.

Someone to Watch Over Me was written by George and Ira Gershwin, for the 1926 stage musical Oh, Kay!, where it was sung by Gertrude Lawrence. It went on to become a jazz standard, recorded numerous times, and several times used in films – including What’s Up Doc? (1972), referred to earlier.

The version used on the show is sung by Rickie Lee Jones, from her 2000 album It’s Like This.

Errol Flynn

RICHARD (to Emily): You also knew that you wanted to marry Errol Flynn.
RORY: Really? Grandma had a thing for the pirate guy?

Errol Flynn (1909-1959) was an Australian-born American actor. First appearing in the 1933 Australian film In The Wake of the Bounty as mutineer Fletcher Christian, he got his first leading role in Hollywood in the 1935 film Captain Blood, where he played the rebellious buccaneer Peter Blood. After this he tended to be cast in romantic swashbucklers, often opposite Olivia de Havilland.

Flynn had a reputation as a womaniser and a voyeur, and in 1942 he was accused of statutory rape. Even though he was acquitted, his reputation was damaged. (Flynn actually picked up a teenage girl at the trial, and ended by marrying her; later he had a serious relationship with a 15 year old girl, adding some weight to the statutory rape accusations).

Emily’s attraction to a star seen as a hell-raiser and a rogue, dangerous for girls to be around, hints at a rather steamy side to her own sexual nature.

Hopie

Rory, Richard and Emily look at photos. Among them is one of Emily’s younger sister “Hopie”, presumably a pet name for Hope. She lives in Paris, so Rory has never met her; what she does in Paris remains a mystery. She is described as the family’s “great expatriate”, although we later find Richard mother lives in London.

Hopie is never mentioned again; even though Richard and Emily travel to Europe later, and so does Emily and Rory, nobody ever talks about visiting Hopie. The photo of Hopie shown is Kelly Bishop, who plays Emily.

Foie gras

RORY: Frozen pizza is a staple at our house. Mom’s become a major doctoring genius. She’ll put anything on it. One time Sookie came and brought us some foie gras, and Mom stuck it on a pizza.
EMILY: How was it?
RORY: Pretty good once we took the foie gras off.

Foie gras is a luxury food originating in France. It is made from the liver of a duck or goose which has been force-fed corn through a tube, giving it a rich texture and more delicate flavour. Due to the animal cruelty involved, many countries have banned the production or importation of foie gras, but it is still available in most of the US.

“Potato, po-tah-to”

RICHARD: Perhaps instead of that horrible salmon that keeps showing up.
EMILY: That salmon is a fine delicacy.
RICHARD: Mm, potato, po-tah-to.

Richard is referring to the song Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off, written by George and Ira Gershwin, where the lyrics say, “You like potato and I like po-tah-to, You like to-may-to and I like to-mah-to”. The characters decide that their differences, such as the way they pronounce certain words, are not worth ending their relationship over.

The song was written for the 1937 musical comedy film Shall We Dance?, directed by Mark Sandrich and starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The film wasn’t a raging success, but the song has proved enduring, being often re-recorded and used in other films.

When people say “potato, po-tah-to” (or “to-may-toe, to-mah-to”), they mean that the difference of opinion they are having with someone is trivial and not worth arguing about.

Fiesta Burger

Lorelai gets fiesta burgers for she and Max to eat at the movies – the bookstore is clearly more relaxed about the audience bringing their own food compared to a standard movie theatre. The burgers are bought from a takeaway place with a pickup window; we later learn this establishment is named JoJo’s.

A fiesta burger is a hamburger which includes chilli peppers amongst the ingredients. Fiesta is Spanish for “festival, party”.