The Puffs Break into the Headmaster’s Office

The Puffs break into the Headmaster’s Office as part of their initiation ceremony into the Puffs, and also seems to serve as a hazing ritual at the same time, as it’s the sort of harmless prank that inductees to a secret society might have to go through to prove their sincerity. It’s very mild compared some of the things real sororities get up to, but has the same cult-like feel.

The Puffs seem to have been doing this ritual for at least fifty years without ever being caught or reprimanded, so it makes you wonder how Rory got so unlucky that Headmaster Charleston will very soon come in and bust them. Presumably it was common practice to turn a blind eye to the Puffs and their activities. The only thing that could explain it is if Headmaster Charleston is relatively new to the job, and has decided to crack down on sororities at school.

“Maybe someday I’ll stumble into a Disney movie”

RORY: This is the headmaster’s office. How did she get the keys? I’m sure he didn’t give them to her.
PARIS: Stop it. We are making very important social contacts here.
RORY: Hey, I’m not looking for social contacts. I have friends. I’m fine.
PARIS: Well, how nice it must be to be you. Maybe someday I’ll stumble into a Disney movie and suddenly be transported into your body, and after living there awhile, I’ll finally realise the beauty of myself. But until that moment, I’m going to go in there and I’m going to become a Puff. Now get out of my way.

During the show, Paris several times refers to Rory being like a Disney princess – something which has surely helped fuel all that Rory/Paris fanfiction! Rory is also referred to as another Disney character a few times – Bambi.

It is at this point that Rory, who seems to be joining the Puffs almost by default, good-naturedly but without being particularly interested (like playing golf or making her debut), has her first serious doubts about what she’s let herself in for. She knows the Puffs are doing something wrong, but is unable to stand up for herself against Paris and the other girls.

Rory doesn’t have many options to escape at this point. She’s half an hour from home, in the middle of the night, in her pyjamas, with no transport, and no money for a payphone. There was no Plan B in case things went wrong. Rory seems to be hoping Paris, who at least lives in Hartford, will be equally horrified and take charge of the situation. Unfortunately, Paris is determined to be Puffed.

“That’s how you look?”

PARIS: So, that’s how you look when you’ve just woken up?
RORY: Um, yeah.
PARIS: Nothing in my life is fair.

Of course, the viewer knows that this isn’t how Rory looks when she first wakes up. Lorelai warned her the Puffs would be coming over, and told her to put on cute pyjamas, brush her hair, and wear lip gloss. Instead of going to bed, she stays up reading, then quickly jumps into bed when she hears the Puffs at the door, so she hasn’t even been asleep, let alone woken up.

Liza Weil is attractive, so they had to work quite hard to make her look frumpy for these scenes, including putting on a skin treatment which she obviously didn’t need. She still ends up looking pretty cute.

Nancy Reagan

RORY: You look like Nancy Reagan.

Nancy Reagan (born Anne Robbins, 1921-2016) was an American film actress, and as wife to Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the US, First Lady from 1981 to 1989.

Nancy Reagan had a strong interest in fashion and was often compared to former First Lady, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, previously discussed. She favoured the colour red, and wore it so often that fire-engine red became known as “Reagan red”. Her clothing choices did actually resemble Lorelai and Emily’s outfits, and I think they must have been based on Reagan’s signature style.

Memoirs of A Dutiful Daughter

This is the book Rory is reading on the couch when Lorelai gets home from the fashion show.

Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter is a 1958 memoir by French author, existentialist philosopher, and feminist, Simone de Beauvoir, previously mentioned. It’s a beautifully-written, intimate portrait of her life growing up in a privileged, sheltered, upper middle class French family, rebelling as an adolescent against their conventions, and striking out on her own with intellectual ambition and a ceaselessly questioning, philosophical mind.

Rory often reads Lorelai’s books (they both have an interest in female biography and memoir), and this feels like one Lorelai would have been drawn to. She and de Beauvoir both had the same urge to escape a wealthy, claustrophobic background (Lorelai had Rory as part of her escape, while de Beauvoir had Sartre), and Lorelai spoke of always wishing she could use the word existentialist in a sentence.

The title of the memoir is ironic, but Rory really is a very dutiful daughter to Lorelai. Later on, she too will rebel against her mother.

“Funny, isn’t it?”

EMILY: Funny isn’t it?
LORELAI: What’s funny?
EMILY: How nicely you seem to be fitting into the world that you ran away from. Well, goodnight Lorelai. Congratulations.

Emily is given a glimpse into the type of life Lorelai might have had, if she hadn’t had Rory at such a young age. She was a popular teenager, and is capable of making herself popular in the world of Hartford society as a grown woman. Emily’s efforts to make Lorelai and Rory fit in with her own world are often surprisingly successful, which makes it harder for her to comprehend why they don’t really want that life for themselves.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

This is the song which plays while Lorelai and Emily do their turn on the catwalk.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun was written and first recorded by Robert Hazard in 1979, but is best known for the version performed by Cyndi Lauper, released as the lead single from her 1983 debut album, She’s So Unusual. It became her breakthrough hit, signature song, and a feminist anthem, reaching #2 on the charts, and promoted by a quirky, Grammy-winning music video.

The song describes a girl or young woman telling her parents that she needs to have some fun in her life in order to express herself. It’s something that Lorelai would have wanted to say to Emily and Richard when she was growing up, so the song must have resonated with her. Lorelai later says she chose all the music for the fashion show, and the chances are very high that this song is in her personal music collection.

(Note that Cyndi Lauper wears a red dress on the record cover and in the music video, just like Lorelai and Emily!).