The Ritz

ZACH: Enjoy your champagne and caviar at The Ritz, Your Highness.

Zach refers to the Ritz-Carlton chain of luxury hotels, first begun by Swiss hotelier César Ritz, and perhaps most famously, the founder of the celebrated Hôtel Ritz in Paris, opened in 1898. The name was bought and franchised by Albert Keller in the US, with the first Ritz-Carlton hotel opening in New York in 1911.

Zach may be specifically thinking of the Ritz Hotel in Manhattan at 50 Central Park South. Originally the Hotel St. Moritz, it was bought in 1999 and had just opened the previous month to this episode, in April 2002.

Baz Luhrmann

ZACH: It’s like a Baz Luhrmann movie out there.

Mark “Baz” Lurhmann (born 1962), Australian director, writer and producer of films, television, opera, theatre, music and recording. He is the most commercially successful Australian director, with four of his films in the top ten highest worldwide grossing Australian films of all time. He is best known for his “Red Curtain” trilogy of films: Strictly Ballroom (1992), William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996), and Moulin Rouge! (2000). His films are known for their eccentric and flamboyant style, lavish sets, bright colours, fast-paced camera cuts and zooms, and highly choreographed, hyperbolic sequences.

Ermenegildo Zegna

JACKSON: Oh, thanks to my best new friend Ermenegildo Zegna.

Ermenegildo Zegna (born 1955), Italian entrepreneur and CEO of the luxury fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna, founded in 1910 by Zegna’s grandfather, after whom he is named. Ermenegildo Zegna Group is the largest menswear group in the world by revenue. Although there are only a few Zegna boutiques in the USA, Jackson could have bought his suit at any number of department stores, including Saks, Bloomingdale’s, and Neiman Marcus.

Statue of Liberty

SOOKIE: Oh, my God, look at that gown. You look just like the Statue of Liberty.

LORELAI: Ah, all big and stony?

The Statue of Liberty, previously discussed.

Sookie only means that Lorelai is wearing dignified flowing robes, like the ones on the statue, but it’s not very tactful, because Lorelai has become sensitive about her height since Rune, and being compared to an enormous statue clearly doesn’t please her.

“Between the lines”

LIZA: Between the lines.

Liza flashes three fingers at Zach when she says this – if he “reads between the lines” of her fingers, there will be only one, to mean she’s “giving him the finger”.

The finger, otherwise known as the flip off, the bird, or the highway salute, is one of the most widespread obscene gestures throughout the Western world. It is thousands of years old, and most likely originated in Ancient Greece.

Bush League

ZACH: This place stunk. It’s Bush League.

Bush League is American slang for something which is of an inferior standard; unsophisticated, unprofessional, mediocre.

The slang comes from baseball, where the small-town teams below the minor league became informally known as the “bush league”, because of their rural origins, and because they often played on rough fields bordered by bushes. The slang dates to the very early twentieth century.

Note that the role of the repellent Zach is portrayed by Seth MacFarlane, who Daniel Palladino (the writer of this episode) worked with on his animated television sitcom, Family Guy.

Florida State and U. Mass

LIZA: Of course, we’re breaking up ’cause we’re transferring to different schools. He’s going to Florida State, I’m going to U. Mass . . . although I’m kinda going to miss this place.

Florida State University [pictured], a public research university in Tallahassee, Florida. Founded in 1851, it is the oldest higher education institution in Florida. It’s student activism in the 1960s and ’70s earned it the epithet, “the Berkeley of the South”.

University of Massachusetts, the only public research university system in Massachusetts. It has five campuses (Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and a medical school in Worcester), a satellite campus in Springfield, and 25 campuses in California and Washington. The campus in Amherst is the largest, and the oldest, dating back to 1863, when it was called Massachusetts Agricultural College. It became Massachusetts State College in 1931, and was granted university status in 1947.