Jerry Lee Lewis

LORELAI: I go on one stupid date, and suddenly I’m the female Jerry Lee Lewis.

Jerry Lee Lewis (born 1935), wild man pioneer of rock and roll and rockabilly music who shot to fame in 1957 with his worldwide hit, Whole Lotta Shaking Going On, followed by other hits such as Great Balls of Fire. His career was struck by international scandal when he married his thirteen-year-old cousin once removed, Myra Gale Brown, despite still being married to his first wife. After his divorce went through, he and Myra remarried (or … married?) in 1958. Myra filed for divorce in 1970, saying she had been subjected to every form of abuse imaginable.

Lewis has had a career spanning decades of success. His 2006 album Last Man Standing is his best-selling to date, he has a dozen gold records in both rock and country music, four Grammy Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Hall of Fame Award. He’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and the Memphis Hall of Fame. A film about him was made in 1989 starring Dennis Quaid (based on a book written by Myra), and he is considered one of the greatest musical artists of all time.

Doogie Howser

LORELAI: Business school has to indicate some kind of maturity, right?
LUKE: Doogie Howser was a doctor at sixteen.
LORELAI: Doogie Howser was not real.

Dr Douglas “Doogie” Howser (played by Neil Patrick-Harris) is the protagonist of the television medical comedy-drama, Doogie Howser, MD (1989-1993). A child genius, Howser graduated from Princeton at the age of ten, and completed medical school at fourteen. The show opens on Doogie’s sixteenth birthday, and shows the challenges he faces practising medicine as a resident surgeon while also coping with the usual teenage problems.

The show was abruptly cancelled due to low ratings, but has made its mark as a cultural reference, as anyone young and very smart is generally dubbed “Doogie Howser”. This year it was rebooted as Doogie Kameāloha, MD, about a sixteen-year-old Hawaiian girl working as a doctor, with Peyton Lee in the title role.

In real life, Balamurali Ambati has the Guinness World Record for obtaining his medical license at the age of 17, graduating from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City in 1995. He thus became the youngest qualified medical doctor in the world, so not too far off Doogie Howser. (Dr Ambati disliked comparisons to Dr Howser, and as he was six feet tall at age fourteen, fit in with the other medical students and was popular with his peers).

“It makes me think about our first kiss”

TRISTAN: Well, it’s just, with this being our last kiss and all, it makes me think about our first kiss. You know, at the party.
RORY: What? …
TRISTAN: You remember the kiss. In Act 1 at the Capulet’s masked party?

Tristan promised not to say anything to Dean about the kiss he and Rory shared at Madeline’s party. However, he finds a fiendish way to allude to it, by talking about the first kiss their characters shared at the Capulet’s masked ball in Act 1, and suggesting that perhaps Juliet should cry during their kiss. This serves to delay the actual kiss, as he leaves Rory dangling while he pops up to ask for opinions. She’s clearly dreading being kissed in front of Dean, and he doesn’t let her get it over with quickly.

Rory naturally panics at where this slow reveal may be going, and begs Dean to leave, as he is making rehearsal more difficult. This situation is basically all Dean’s fault. He shouldn’t be at rehearsal – Rory is doing schoolwork, and he is at best a massive distraction. Dean knows perfectly well that he and Tristan get on each other’s nerves, they almost had a fist fight the first time they met. The rehearsal could never be anything but a disaster with Dean there.

Once Dean is gone, Tristan ends up storming out of the rehearsal in a temper, ready for trouble, and they have lost their Romeo the night before they have to perform the scene. By doing so, Tristan never does kiss Rory again. On some level, was he quitting as Romeo in order to protect Rory from a kiss she never wanted to have, to save his own pride if nothing else?

Beanie with a Propeller

RORY: How much older could [Paul] possibly look?
LORELAI: A lot! He’s usually a little scruffy, and then the baseball cap hides the funky hair thing.
RORY: He should’ve been holding a yo-yo and a lollipop and wearing a beanie with a propeller on it.

Rory is describing a stereotypical little boy as depicted by cartoonists in the 1960s and ’70s in particular, although it’s never quite gone away.

The helicopter beanie comes from the 1962 animated television show Beany and Cecil, based on the puppet show Time For Beany (1949-1955). Beany was a cherubic-faced blonde boy who wore a cap with a propeller on it that allowed him to fly, and as a result, similar caps became popular marketing novelties. Beany and Cecil had a revival in 1988, The New Adventures of Beany and Cecil, by the same people who made Ren and Stimpy.

Rory and the rest of the town tease Lorelai mercilessly for dating someone who is, at most, ten years younger than she is. Fans often say they wouldn’t have teased her for dating someone ten years older, which I think is correct, except in the case of Luke. He told her Ian Jack, the Chilton dad, was “too old” for her, and the actor playing him is ten years older than the age Lorelai is supposed to be. As Luke never even saw Ian, I’m pretty sure he would have objected to him whatever his age!

Powerpuff Girls

LORELAI: All right, that’s it. This afternoon we are going to engage in some intensive retail therapy to bring you out of this funk.
RORY: No thanks.
LORELAI: I mean it. Today is the day we finally spring for the Powerpuff Girls shot glasses.

The Powerpuff Girls is an animated television series on the Cartoon Network about three kindergarten-aged girls with superpowers named Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup. The girls live in the fictional city of Townsville with their father and creator, Professor Utonium.

The plot of each episode is a humorous take on superhero shows, with the girls having to defend their city from villains and monsters, while also dealing with typical little kid issues, like loose teeth and bedwetting. The original series was broacast from 1998 to 2005, but had various specials, a movie, and a range of spin-off media.

Episodes often contain hidden references to older popular culture, with sly tributes and parodies, and has been praised as both pop culture and high art, suitable for small children and adults. You can see why Lorelai and Rory love it.

The Powerpuff Girls have a wide range of merchandise, and you can indeed buy Powerpuff Girls shot glasses.

Monster Truck Rallies

LORELAI: Maybe Dean won’t even come tonight.
RORY: Oh, he’ll be there. There aren’t enough monster truck rallies in the world to keep him away from Miss Patty’s tonight.

A monster truck is a specially modified truck for competition and entertainment, given heavy duty suspension, four-wheel drive, and oversized tyres. Monster trucks developed in the late 1970s, and by the early 1980s were popular side acts at motocross events. Today monster trucks take centre stage at rallies, usually having races and stunt driving. In real life, there are regular monster truck rallies in Hartford and Bridgeport, so Dean wouldn’t have any trouble getting to one.

Somehow Dean has devolved from being a big city boy who liked classic films, Hunter S. Thompson, and Nick Drake into a country boy who likes BattleBots and monster truck rallies. How did he go from seeming pretty perfect for Rory into someone we barely recognise?

“You’re gonna kill yourself in a couple of hours”

LORELAI: Taking pity on your burger?
RORY: Not hungry.
LORELAI: Honey, you’ve got to eat. You’re gonna kill yourself in a couple of hours, you really need your strength.

The timeline of this episode, already fairly wonky with a week that seems to have gone missing, goes completely bazonkers on the day of the final rehearsal. Rehearsal starts at 5 pm, and Lorelai says Rory has to kill herself “in a couple of hours” (yet another suicide joke in the show). So it seems as if it is 3 pm, and they are eating mid-afternoon burgers, perhaps a late lunch.

Yet not long afterwards, Lorelai makes plans for them to go shopping that afternoon, as if it’s midday, then Paul and his parents come in for breakfast. Lorelai and Rory are eating burgers for breakfast??? They always have eggs or pancakes on a weekend (muffins if they’re not hungry), they’ve never had breakfast hamburgers before. Is this brunch or a second breakfast or an early lunch? What the dink time is it?

“I’m gonna have to bail”

RORY: Maybe Duncan and Bowman aren’t the best people to be hanging out with. They’re not as smart as you Tristan, they don’t have what you have going for you. They …
TRISTAN: You know, I’m gonna have to bail before we get to the whole hugging part. And ask your boyfriend to remind me when it’s coupon day, okay?

Rory tries doing a bit of bad boy renovation, but it doesn’t work on Tristan the way it seemed to on Jess. Unlike Jess, I don’t think Tristan is doing the bad boy act to impress Rory – they hardly seem to have interacted this term until now.

The major difference between her talk with Jess and this one with Tristan is that there is no anger (no passion) like there was when she berated Jess for making things harder for Luke. I think Rory does care for Tristan, otherwise she wouldn’t try talking to him seriously and telling him how smart he is, but it’s gentler and more pitying than the way she is with Jess, or even Dean. Tristan resents this, and is quick to leave (a foreshadowing of his final “bailing”).

Jess has had a much tougher life than Tristan, but Rory never pities him, mentions his past, or gives him a sweet sisterly talking-to, and I think Jess probably appreciates that.