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.
RORY: Are you all right? TRISTAN: Yeah, I think somehow I’ll recover from the great romance between you and the Beave.
Tristan references the sitcom Leave It to Beaver, broadcast from 1957 to 1963. It centres on an inquisitive, naive young boy, Theodore “The Beaver” Cleaver (played by Jerry Mathers), and his adventures at home, school, and around his neighbourhood. His parents, June and Ward Cleaver, and his older brother Wally also featured.
The show has an iconic status in the US, with the Cleavers the epitome of an idealised suburban family from the mid-twentieth century. Very popular at the time, it has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity from the 1970s onward, thanks to reruns, and two movies and a sequel series have been made. Although it never won an award or the ratings, it is considered one of the all-time greatest television shows.
Tristan covers up his hurt by to implying that Dean is not only old-fashioned and suburban, but also innocent and child-like compared to the supposedly more worldly and sophisticated Tristan.
RORY: Look, things are really good for me and Dean right now, and I don’t want anything to mess that up. Especially not something that meant nothing at all to me and I wished had never happened in the first place.
Ouch. That genuinely hurt. If Tristan wasn’t already hellbent on making things difficult for Rory and Dean, I think that definitely sealed the deal.
I don’t think Rory is being entirely truthful that her kiss with Tristan meant nothing at all – it brought up so much emotion that she cried and was able to begin grieving the loss of her relationship. But that would be an incredibly awkward conversation to have, might be more insulting than what she actually said, and not really helpful in setting boundaries with Tristan.
(I don’t think she’s correct that things are “really good” with Dean either – he’s jealous and controlling, she’s scared to be honest with him because of how he’ll react, they have few interests in common, they have different values, she’s slowly becoming intrigued by another boy. But she’s not being dishonest, she just doesn’t have the experience or perspective to see these things for herself).
TRISTAN: You don’t want me to tell Dean that we kissed. RORY: By George, I think he’s got it.
Rory is referencing the 1964 musical comedy-drama film My Fair Lady, adapted from the 1956 Lerner and Loewe stage musical of the same name, which was based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play, Pygmalion.
In the film, phonetics professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), has a bet that he can teach a Cockney flower girl named Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) to speak with an upper-class accent. At first she makes no progress, but one day has a sudden breakthrough, leading Higgins to exclaim delightedly, “By George, I think she’s got it”.
My Fair Lady was a critical and commercial success, becoming the #1 film of 1964, and won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director (for George Cukor). It is considered one of the greatest musicals, and one of the great films of all time.
LORELAI: Hey Dean. Do you want some fries? DEAN: No, I’m actually going home for dinner. My mom made fried chicken tonight and she saved me some. LORELAI: Oh, you have a cooking mom. RORY: That’s so nice.
That Dean had a mother who enjoyed cooking and cooked every weekend was established months ago during That Damn Donna Reed. Much of the plot hinged upon it. Dean and Rory had a huge fight because of it. Somehow Lorelai and Rory now react as if this is fresh news that they are barely concerned about, although they still do a little passive-aggressive sniping. Perhaps they are demonstrating they have mostly moved on from that.
LORELAI: So tell me about the big rehearsal. RORY: We got off to a shaky start, and Louise acts like she’s the priest in a Madonna video, but by the end, we were not half bad.
Rory may be thinking of the music video for Madonna’s 1989 song Like a Prayer, from the album of the same name. Much of the video’s action takes place in a church, and although there’s no actual priest, there’s a saint (I believe it’s St. Martin de Porres) in priestly-looking robes.
LORELAI: It was a totally casual date. I am now officially a casual dater.
On her first date with Max, Lorelai told him that until she met him, all her dating life was pretty casual. Now she acts as if this is something new to her. Perhaps she means it’s a skill she’s had to re-learn, or her previous dating life wasn’t quite as casual as she made it sound.
LORELAI: Remember that Meryl Streep movie where she and her family take a rafting trip and then psycho Kevin Bacon forces them to take ’em down the river?
Lorelai references The River Wild, a 1994 thriller directed by Curtis Hanson. It stars Meryl Streep as a woman on a whitewater rafting trip with her family, and Kevin Bacon as one of a group of men who join them, before it becomes apparent his character is a violent criminal who forces them at gunpoint into a terrifying trip down the river.
The film received lukewarm reviews, mostly for not being scary enough, but was praised for its cinematography and Streep’s performance. It’s one of the rare films which has a woman, in a cast of males, as the action hero protector.
It is confirmed here that Lorelai is a Kevin Bacon fan (presumably the reason she watched the film, although she’s a Meryl Streep fan as well), and that he is one of her celebrity crushes.
LORELAI: He’s never seen Ab Fab. RORY: Definitely not a soulmate.
Absolutely Fabulous (often called Ab Fab) is a British television sitcom starring Jennifer Saunders as Edina “Eddy” Monsoon, a heavy-drinking PR agent who spends all her time chasing the latest hip fad, and Joanna Lumley as her best friend Patsy Stone, a fashion editor whose drug abuse, alcohol consumption and promiscuity are at almost life-threatening proportions. Eddy’s studious daughter Saffron “Saffy”, played by Julia Sawalha, is the sensible one who tries to rein in her wayward mother’s worst excesses, taking on the parent role in their relationship.
The first three series were broadcast on the BBC in the UK from 1992 to 1994, with a special in 1996. In the US, it premiered in 1994 on Comedy Central. After receiving critical acclaim and being named one of the greatest British sitcoms of all time in 2000, it was revived in 2001 – Lorelai may have become a fan quite recently. It was shown on the Oxygen Network, which might be how she watched it, and became a cult hit in the US.
The revival continued until 2004, with a twentieth anniversary series of specials in 2011-2012. Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie was released in 2016.
Absolutely Fabulous‘ demographic was, broadly speaking, gay men and straight women over 35, so it’s hardly surprising that Paul has never seen it. I think it’s unrealistic to expect her “soulmate” to be a fan of the show.
The mother-daughter relationship between Eddy and Saffy is an exaggerated version of that between Lorelai and Rory, and Eddy’s outrageous outfits sometimes aren’t much worse than a few of Lorelai’s more questionable fashion choices. I think this would have been a show Lorelai and Rory would have enjoyed watching together, seeing something of themselves in the characters. Perhaps Rory is Lorelai’s true soulmate.