Labor Day, Memorial Day, Hanukkah

RORY: And we can split up holidays evenly. Like, I’ll be with you on Labor Day…
LORELAI: Okay.
RORY: … her on Memorial Day.
LORELAI: Enough.
RORY: I’ll have to find out about her religion though to see how Hanukkah will factor into this, unless you want to convert to Judaism and then take over Hanukkah for yourself.

Labor Day: a federal holiday in the US celebrated on the first Monday in September to honour the trade union and labour movement, first made official in 1894. Culturally, it is the unofficial last day of summer.

Memorial Day: previously discussed.

Hanukkah [pictured]: a Jewish festival, also known as The Festival of Lights, commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem and re-dedication of the Temple during the second century BC. It is observed for eight days and eight nights, and festivities include lighting candles, singing songs, and eating fried foods such as potato cakes and doughnuts. Although a minor festival, it has taken on great cultural significance in the US and elsewhere, as it takes place around the same time as Christmas.

Lorelai Tells Rory About Christopher

LORELAI: Because I have dibs on this time of year with you, not him! Me! And yes, he acknowledged that, and that was cool and all, but still – it stinks! Because he put me in a very difficult position because we were supposed to watch a lot of movies and make fun of Godfather 3, and the thing that I really, really hate about this is … is the idea of you not hanging out with me because you’re hanging out there with your stupid stepmother.

It is now revealed that Lorelai never told Rory that Christopher rang, inviting her to stay in Boston for a couple of days during the Christmas holidays. As is often the case with Lorelai, she’s being quite unreasonable by insisting that she has dibs on Christmas, when Lorelai has dibs on Rory every day of every year! It’s quite normal for children of separated parents to spend major holidays with the parent they don’t live with, and Christopher was only asking for a couple of days out of a school holiday break that lasts for weeks.

The real reason is that she is jealous of Sherrie, and hates the idea of Rory having another mother figure in her life. Rory quite rightly calls her out on it, and teases her about her attitude. It is not revealed at this point whether Rory does spend time with Christopher and Sherrie in her Christmas break, but it is later strongly implied that she didn’t. Knowing of Lorelai’s insecurities, it seems likely that Rory decided not to visit Christopher after all (with homework and the newspaper providing a plausible excuse, as usual).

Hotel California

RORY: Most people didn’t notice anything.
LORELAI: I guess. Bootsy singing Hotel California accompanied by spoons drew people’s attention away.

Hotel California, the 1977 song by the Eagles, and the title track from their album of the same name. It is considered to be the best-known of the band’s songs, often performed live, and won the 1978 Grammy for Record of the Year. It reached #1 in the US and was an international hit.

Richard Announces His Retirement

RICHARD: No, what you meant was that people in the insurance industry are drones. Well I agree. They are a dull, dull lot, and I am glad to be rid of them …

TAYLOR: Oh, are you retired Richard?
RICHARD: Well, uh …
EMILY: Of course he’s not. Richard? Richard?
RICHARD: Actually, I am.

After at least three months of unhappiness in his job, with the knowledge it was only going to get worse, Richard has unexpectedly retired, explaining his abnormally cheerful mood. Without planning to, he announces it at the Bracebridge Dinner, so that Rory’s plan of cheering up Richard and Emily doesn’t quite work out. They arrived cheerful, and wind up in a bitter row when Emily discovers that Richard has announced his retirement publicly without ever mentioning it to her.

Battle of the Bands

LORELAI: A bizarro Battle of the Bands.

A Battle of the Bands is a contest in which bands, usually rock or metal, but not always, compete for the title of best band, with the winner usually chosen by popular vote from the audience. They are often held as part of live music events, and sometimes at schools and universities. Their history goes back to at least the big band era of the 1930s.

Mozart’s Prague Symphony

RICHARD: Well, I was appalled. Prague has played host to some of the greatest composers in history. Mozart named a symphony after it, for heaven’s sake. So what did I do?
EMILY: I have tried so hard to forget this.
RICHARD: I stood beside them and their boombox and I hummed Mozart’s Prague Symphony as loud as I could. [starts humming]

Symphony No. 38 in D major (K. 504), was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, previously discussed, in late 1786. It premiered in Prague in 1787, during Mozart’s first visit to the city. Because of this, it is popularly known as the Prague Symphony. Mozart didn’t actually give it this name, and it’s not certain that Mozart wrote it in honour of Prague, although there is some evidence that he might have done.

The Year of “Do You Believe in Life After Love?”

RICHARD: Oh, that awful woman. Who is she? The tall bony one, married to the deceased mustachioed congressman.
RORY: Cher?
EMILY: That’s the one!
LORELAI: The year of “do you believe in life after love?”.

Cher’s single Believe was released in October 1998, the title track from her album of the same name. The chorus begins: “Do you believe in life after love?”. A departure from her usual style, it’s an upbeat dance-pop number which heavily features Auto-Tune, then a new software; for some time Auto-Tune was known as “the Cher effect”.

The song went to #1 world-wide, making Cher (then 52) the oldest female artist to reach the Billboard Hot 100, while Believe was the highest-selling single by a female artist in the UK. One of the best-selling singles of all time, Believe won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording that year. It is considered to be one of the most iconic songs of the 1990s, and one of the best dance tracks ever released. Rolling Stone has it listed as both one of the greatest songs of all time, and one of the most annoying.

Cher is tall with a strong bone structure, and from 1964 to 1975 was married to Sonny Bono, a Republican congressman in California from 1995 until his death in 1998.

Lorelai’s statement tells us that Richard and Emily went to Prague in December 1998. Although Richard cannot identify the song by Cher, Lorelai can guess because she knows it was such a huge hit that year.

Charles Bridge

RICHARD: So there we are, it’s a beautiful moonlit Prague night, and we’re strolling across the Charles Bridge when we come across this group of kids blasting this song …

Charles Bridge is a medieval stone arch bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the early 15th century. Originally called Stone Bridge, it has been referred to as “Charles Bridge” since 1870. It’s been restricted to pedestrian traffic only since the late 1970s, hence Richard and Emily stroll across it while teenagers could congregate listening to music.

Emily earlier talked about Prague as if she had never been, saying it was “supposed to be lovely”. Now we discover she and Richard had already been there on one of their traditional December trips.

Nylon and DuPont

PARIS: And your servers are wearing nylon blend shirts, and nylon was invented by a scientist at Dupont in the 1920s. It shattered the illusion.

Paris isn’t quite correct. While the DuPont Experimental Station began their research into polymers in 1927, the first example of nylon was synthesised in 1935, by their leading chemist, Wallace Hume Carothers [pictured]. Sadly, Carothers, who suffered from depression and had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital in 1936, committed suicide in 1937 by ingesting chemicals.