Louie’s Funeral

Luke brought Louie home to be buried in Stars Hollow, next to his brother William, and this scene is set in Stars Hollow cemetery (it may be behind the church, and only seems to be a short walk from the centre of town, which is unusual for a cemetery, although not unheard of).

The minister conducting the ceremony is identified as Reverend Hackett in the credits (played by Brian McDonald). I’m not sure whether he and Reverend Nichols are both ministers in Stars Hollow, but of different religions, or if Rev. Hackett is a junior minister of some kind. Nor can I tell you if Rev. Hackett is the church minister who plays handball, although he looks young and fit enough for that to be believable. It’s all quite confusing.

The Romanovs

EMILY: I’ll see you for dinner tonight, Lorelai. And Luke, I’m sure I’ll see you again soon. What do you think of the Romanovs?

LUKE: They probably had it coming.

EMILY: A match made in heaven.

The House of Romanov, the reigning imperial family of Russia from 1613 to 1917. They became prominent after the first Tsar of Russia, Ivan the Terrible, married Anastasia Romanova, the first Tsarina. It is from Anastasia’s name that the family became known as the Romanovs.

The abdication of Tsar Nicholas II during the Russian Revolution on 15 March 1917 ended 304 years of Romanov rule and paved the way for the formation of the Russian Republic. In July 1918, Bolshevik officials executed Nicholas and his family.

Although Lorelai refers to their murder as “the firing squad”, they were shot and bayoneted, then the bodies taken to the forest to be stripped, buried, then mutilated with grenades to prevent identification. This is what Luke thinks they “probably had coming”.

The Romanov burial site was discovered in 1979 by an amateur sleuth, but not officially confirmed by Russia until 1989. The remains were identified by forensic and DNA analysis, assisted by British experts, and in 1998 the remains were re-interred in a state funeral in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St Petersburg. In 2000, Nicholas II was canonised as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church.

After the assassination of Nicholas and his family, the remaining 47 members of the Romanov family went into exile abroad, still claiming the former Russian throne. Since 1991, the line of succession has been in dispute.

[Picture shows Nicholas II of Russia with his wife Alexandra (Alix of Hesse), his son Alexei, and four daughters Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia].

EDIT: A date edited with the kind assistance of reader Omar.

Emily’s Wedding Plans for Lorelai

Imperial Russian Winter theme

Snow white roses

Trees with white lights and candles

Snow everywhere

Lorelai arrives in a silver sleigh pulled by white horses

This actually doesn’t seem like a totally crazy idea for Lorelai’s wedding. Lorelai loves the snow, and she adores horses. She organised a horse-drawn sleigh ride for the Bracebridge Dinner, sharing a ride with Luke. It does sound very beautiful and romantic, and I think Emily has picked up on a least a couple of things her daughter would like.

Emily’s Russian-themed winter wedding may have been influenced by the 1965 historical romance film, Dr Zhivago, directed by David Lean, set in Russia during World War I and the Russian Civil War, and based on Boris Pasternak’s autobiographical novel of the same name. The film is beautifully shot and features a sleigh ride through the snow, as well as an “ice palace”.

Dr Zhivago was highly popular, especially with female audiences, the #2 film of the year, and a big influence on mid-1960s fashion. It may have even been Emily’s dream for her own wedding, which she hoped to one day create for her daughter.

In this episode, Emily becomes the first person to predict that Lorelai and Luke will be married one day, showing that she knows her daughter better than Lorelai believes.

Yellow Pages

LUKE: So I got a Yellow Pages and I found the Big and Tall Casket Shop in Hartford.

The Yellow Pages are phone books which are for businesses, as opposed to the residential White Pages. They were originally printed on yellow paper, and came about in 1883 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, when a printer ran out of white paper and had to use yellow instead. The name and concept are now used globally.

In real life, Hartford does not have a Big and Tall Casket Shop, although it is certainly possible to order extra-large caskets for large people (or medium size people who want to be buried with all their worldly goods).

King Tut

LUKE: My uncle, King Tut, has to take all of them to the afterlife with him!

Tutankhamun, commonly referred to as King Tut, ancient Egyptian pharaoh who was the last of his royal family to rule during the 18th Dynasty (ruled circa 1332-1323 BC). His tomb was discovered in 1922, sparking a renewed public interest in ancient Egypt. He was buried with over 5000 artefacts, with some of his treasures being exhibited around the world at various times.

Louie’s Items He Wants Buried With Him

Fishing Reel

Bowling Trophy

Flask

Antique Duelling Pistols

Personal Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891), general in the Union Army during the American Civil War, recognised for his military strategy and criticised for his harsh scorched earth policies against the Confederate States. His memoirs were published in 1875, becoming one of the best-known first-hand accounts of the Civil War.

Football signed by Johnny Unitas

John “Johnny Unitas (1933-2002) football quarterback from 1956 to 1973, primarily playing with the Baltimore Colts. He is consistently listed as one of the greatest NFL players of all time, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

Gas mask (from World War I or II?)

Pith helmet (safari helmet worn by European travellers and explorers, routinely issued to European armed forces in hot climates in both world wars)

Baseball card collection

Lou Gehrig (Henry Louis Gehrig, born Heinrich Ludwig Gehrig, 1903-1941), played with the New York Yankees from 1923 to 1939. Known as “The Iron Horse” for his durability, he still has the highest ratio of runs scored plus runs batted among Hall of Fame players, being inducted in 1939. His career was brought to a tragic end by motorneurone disease, still often called Lou Gehrig’s disease in the US.

Joe DiMaggio (born Joseph DiMaggio, 1914-1999), played for the New York Yankees from 1936-1951. Widely considered the greatest baseball player of all time, his 56-game hitting streak is a record which still stands. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. He is well known for his marriage to Marilyn Monroe, and lifelong devotion to her.

Willie Mays (born 1931), played for the New York/San Francisco Giants (1951-1972), before finishing his career with the New York Mets (1972-1973). Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

Louie’s interests seem to be fishing, bowling, drinking, watching baseball and football, and collecting war memorabilia and sporting memorabilia. Some of the items he’s being buried with are quite valuable.

Sookie’s International Wedding Connections

Prague, Czech Republic – big ceramic stands

Paris, France – giant papier-mache mushrooms

Belgium – the papier-mache from here was rejected as hack work

Oslo, Norway

Copenhagen, Denmark

Bora Bora, an island group in French Polynesia, popular honeymoon destination [pictured]

Hong Kong – acrobats

After a few words from Lorelai, Sookie suddenly understands that she’s wandered into Emilyland, and that she wants her nice simple wedding with Jackson back. A subplot which ran its course very quickly.

Toto

KIRK: He kicked my dog when I was a kid … Toto was always different after that.

Yet another reference to The Wizard of Oz. Toto is the name of Dorothy’s little dog in both the book and the film. In the film, Toto was a female dog played by a brown Cairn Terrier named Terry. In the original book, Toto is only described as a small, black, scruffy male dog, but the illustrations depict what looks like a Yorkshire Terrier. It’s possible Kirk’s pet dog Toto, a female, was likewise some sort of small fluffy terrier.

Uncle Louie is made even more unpleasant by not only kicking a dog, but probably a very small dog.

“We all hated Louie”

The Stars Hollow Revolutionary Battle Re-Enactors tell Luke that they don’t want to attend Louie’s funeral the next day because they hated him.

Louie always had a scowl on his face, and never said anything nice. He blew smoke from his cigar into people’s faces, and then spit after each puff. He repeatedly hit on Cy’s (crank in the hat) wife, until she lost interest in her favourite soap operas. He kicked Kirk’s pet dog Toto, and after that her mind was affected, so that she couldn’t fetch any more, but just lay down and went to sleep. He never participated in town functions, and when the battle re-enactors gathered (including his own brother, William), he’d throw rock and small tools at them. Unmarried and without children, he was a loner, and only got meaner with age.

When he retired to Florida, the town threw a big party to celebrate (somehow Luke never heard about this big party). Cy made love to his wife that night as never before, and Kirk’s dog gave a happy bark and died, as she was quite elderly by that stage.

Taylor Left Me Twistin’

TROUBADOUR: ‘Cause you left me twistin’ for a long time before you did, Taylor, and it didn’t feel good. I even wrote a song about the experience.

LORELAI: Oh, I heard it. It’s called “Taylor Left Me Twistin’.”

The Troubadour writes songs based on his own experiences in Stars Hollow, and Lorelai and Rory have listened to this one, even offering the Troubadour encouragement, feedback, and advice as to what to add to the song. Apparently they, and perhaps others, are on friendly speaking terms with the Troubadour, even though in the show people just walk right by him. We never see him perform this song in the street, or anything else so personal, but that might happen off camera.