A Foggy Day (In London Town)

This is the song playing on the stereo when Richard returns home from Stars Hollow. It plays over him looking sad while alone in his study, until the end of the episode.

The opening lyrics are in tune with Richard’s melancholy mood:

I was a stranger in the city
Out of town were the people I knew
I had that feeling of self pity
What to do, what to do, what to do?
The outlook was decidedly blue

A Foggy Day was composed by George Gershwin, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin. It was introduced by Fred Astaire in the 1937 musical comedy film A Damsel in Distress, loosely based on the 1919 novel of the same name by P.G. Wodehouse, and the 1928 stage play written by Wodehouse and Ian Hay. Astaire’s recording was very popular in 1937.

The song has been covered numerous times, and Richard listens to a Frank Sinatra version. Richard may be listening to his 1954 album Songs for Young Lovers, produced by Voyle Gilmore (!), or from the 1961 Ring-a-Ding-Ding! The second one, which was well-reviewed and went to #4 in the charts, seems more likely, as Richard would been about eighteen when it came out.

Richard’s Criticisms of Lorelai

She drinks too much coffee

She doesn’t eat grapefruit with breakfast (she has a banana instead)

She doesn’t wear sensible shoes to work

She doesn’t dress appropriately for work (how does Lorelai not have a jacket? It’s winter!)

She didn’t have any tablecloths in the dining room due to an issue with her linen delivery

She spoke flirtatiously to her linen delivery guy in order to get better service

She got out of the car before it had completely come to a stop

She ordered Chinese food that wasn’t authentically Chinese

She buys more food for dinner than she can eat in one sitting (they eat leftovers)

She pushed Rory into wanting to go to Harvard without even investigating Yale

She allowed Rory’s seventeen-year-old boyfriend to rebuild her an old car

A few of Richard’s criticisms are reasonable. The ones about Rory are instigated by genuine concern for his granddaughter, and wanting her to be safe. Many of them are based on an old-fashioned view of the workplace, and a complete lack of understanding of the hospitality industry and female management styles. Some of his criticisms are ridiculous and extremely petty.

None of them are appropriate for him to share with Lorelai on a day that he is coming to visit her home and workplace as her guest. She is a woman in her thirties with a teenage daughter, her own home and car, and a good job. No matter what Richard’s opinions are, he shouldn’t berate Lorelai for her lifestyle choices, and especially not in front of her colleague, Michel.

The show focuses especially on Lorelai’s fraught relationship with Emily, but Richard and Lorelai certainly have their issues.

“Gets a little surprise”

RORY: I’ll give you an eggroll.
JESS: Yes?
RORY: What did you do?
JESS: Nothing much. Just wanted to make sure whoever rented Dumbo or Bambi gets a little surprise.

One of Jess’ more icky pranks – putting (presumably) pornographic films inside the cases for children’s movies. Rory complained about young boys seeing a bit of leg, now toddlers watching porn doesn’t seem to bother her too much!

Bambi, Dumbo, Babe

RORY: The only videos not behind that curtain are Bambi and Dumbo. I mean, they actually had a meeting earlier about whether or not Babe should be behind the curtain so as not to offend people who keep kosher.

Bambi, previously discussed.

Dumbo [pictured], 1941 animated fantasy film produced by Walt Disney. It is about a young circus elephant named Jumbo who is bullied with the nickname Dumbo, and mocked for his very large ears. However, it turns out he can actually fly with the help of his ears. It was a financial success and received positive reviews. It won an Academy Award for its musical score. It was the first Disney movie to be released on home video, in 1981. A live-action remake was released in 2019, directed by Tim Burton.

Babe, 1995 comedy-drama directed by Chris Noonan, produced by George Miller, and written by both, based on the 1983 novel The Sheep-Pig, by Dick King-Smith. The human stars of the film are James Cromwell and Magda Szubanski, and the animal characters are played by real animals and animatronic puppets. Christine Cavanaugh provides the voice of Babe, a pig who can talk to sheep and works as a sheep-dog. The film was a box-office success and critically acclaimed, winning numerous awards internationally. It was initially banned in Malaysia in order to avoid upsetting Muslims, but the ban was overturned a year later. The film helped to increase rates of vegetarianism, with star James Cromwell becoming a vegan himself.

Pat Buchanan, Jerry Falwell, Kathy Lee Gifford

JESS: I don’t know, bet you have a lot of supporters on this. Pat Buchanon, Jerry Falwell, Kathie Lee Gifford.

Patrick “Pat” Buchanan (born 1938), right-wing political commentator, politician and broadcaster. He was an assistant and consultant to Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, and one of the original hosts of CNN’s current events program, Crossfire. He has expressed sympathy for Nazi war criminals and support for eugenics, denied the Holocaust, and called for the lynching and horse-whipping of the young men of colour wrongly convicted in the Central Park jogger case. In 1990, he argued the case for music censorship in a debate on Crossfire.

Jerry Falwell Sr (1933-2007) [pictured], Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and conservative activist. He was pro-segregation and pro-apartheid, and a supporter of Anita Bryant’s campaign to oppose equal rights for gay people (he denounced Tinky Winky from the Teletubbies as a gay icon). He sued both Penthouse and Hustler magazine in the 1980s for an article and an advertisement that he believed had defamed him or caused him distress; the courts ruled in favour of free speech.

Kathie Lee Gifford (born Kathryn Epstein in 1953), television presenter, singer, songwriter, and author. She is best known for her fifteen-year run as co-host of Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee. She became a born-again Christian at the age of 12, and was a secretary/babysitter to Anita Bryant. I’m not actually aware of any censorship she has advocated for.

“Nice picture”

[Rory walks past the video store, which her picture is in the window. As she stares at it, Jess walks over to her.]
JESS: Nice picture.

Oh, very smooth. We already know how much you like Rory’s pictures, Jess!

Rory has been named Citizen of the Month in Stars Hollow, which is why her photo is up in the window of the video store. It shows her in her Chilton uniform against a blank background, and may be from school photo day.

Rory wonders where Taylor and Kirk got the photo from. Good question!

“Suddenly I realize what it feels like to be obsolete”

RICHARD: I am an annoyance to my wife and a burden to my daughter. Suddenly I realize what it feels like to be obsolete. I hope that you never have to learn what that feels like.

Richard has always been so focused on his job and career, he never thought about what would happen when he retired. And he’s rather young to retire as well, making it even harder for him. Just as Emily’s visit to Stars Hollow is soured by her discovery that Lorelai was so unhappy she preferred to live in a shed rather than at home, Richard is left with the unhappy realisation that Lorelai has only bothered to see him as a favour to Emily, to get him off her hands for one day.

Patricia Krenwinkel

LORELAI: Rory’s my kid and I make the rules, so if she comes home one day and says, ‘Hey, uh, I’m gonna spend the weekend with Patricia Krenwinkle’ and I say, ‘Okay, grab a sweater’, you just have to deal.

Patricia Krenwinkel (born 1947), murderer and member of the Manson Family. She is now the longest-incarcerated female inmate in the Californian penal system. Krenwinkel was on death row in 1971, but in 1972 her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after all death sentences were invalidated prior to that date. She has expressed remorse for her crimes, and is a model prisoner, having received a Bachelor degree in Human Services from the University of La Verne.

Kirk or Spock

RICHARD: I guess you can’t take constructive criticism.
LORELAI: Nothing that came out of your mouth today might, in any universe visited by Kirk or Spock, be construed as constructive.

A reference to the original series of Star Trek, previously and frequently mentioned. In the episode “Mirror, Mirror”, Captain Kirk and other members of his crew visited a parallel universe they called the Mirror Universe, where they meet alternate versions of themselves. It is regarded as one of the best episodes of the original series, and the Mirror Universe was explored further in subsequent Star Trek shows.