Lorelai says she could disrupt the town meeting further by doing a soft shoe.
Soft shoe dancing is a type of tap dancing performed in soft-soled shoes in a relaxed, graceful manner. It is particularly associated with vaudeville.
Rory says she could accompany Lorelai’s soft-shoe dance on the bongos.
Bongos are an Afro-Cuban percussion instrument consisting of a pair of small open bottomed hand drums of different sizes. They are struck with both hands.
Lane tells Jess that Rory has bunions from all the walking she has to do since he crashed her car.
A bunion, also known as a hallux valgus, is a deformity of the joint connecting the big toe to the foot. The big toe often bends towards the other toes and the joint becomes red and painful. The onset of bunions is typically gradual, and the causes are not clear, but tight shoes, high heel shoes, family history, and rheumatoid arthritis have been proposed as possible risk factors. Walking a lot doesn’t seem to be a problem (and indeed, Rory is quick to say she doesn’t actually have bunions).
Rory asks to set up an SOS signal with Lorelai in case she needs to leave Sherry’s early. Lorelai decides the SOS signal will be … SOS. Makes sense.
SOS is an international distress signal, made of the Morse code signals for the letters – three dots, three dashes, three dots, as a signal that is both distinctive and easy to remember. In official international use since 1906, it has popularly been imagined as standing for “Save Our Souls” or “Save Our Ship”, and in general use, indicates a crisis or need for action.
Lorelai says that any time Rory wants to leave, to send up a flare.
A flare is a type of pyrotechnic that produces a bright light without an explosion. They can be used as a distress signal.
Lorelai refers to several different ways she could say that Rory is going to Harvard. One of them is signing, by which she means American Sign Language, the sign language for the deaf used in North America.
Another way Lorelai could communicate. Miming means to act out a story using only the body motions, without speech. Mime as a theatrical performance has been used since ancient times.
Another way Lorelai could communicate. Morse code is a method used in telecommunication to encode text characters as standardised sequences of two different signal durations, called dots and dashes. Morse code is named after Samuel Morse, one of the inventors of the telegraph.
Rory quips that she can go from “zero to studying in less than sixty seconds”.
This is a riff on the term “zero to sixty”, meaning to accelerate from a standstill to sixty miles per hour. It’s used to indicate how quickly a vehicle can accelerate, and is often used more generally to indicate a rapid movement of some kind.
“Grind it till you find it”
Gypsy calls Jackson “Mr Grind-it-till-you-find-it” when she’s fixing his truck and finds the transmission is damaged.
This phrase “grind it till you find it” is used derisively to describe people who grind the gear stick while shifting gears in a manual vehicle, trying to find the correct gear. It does indeed ruin the transmission.
Taylor says that if birds land on the street lights, he will put sharp metal spikes on top and turn them into shish kabobs.
Shish kabobs is the North American term for shish kebabs, skewered and grilled cubes of meat, traditionally lamb, found in Mediterranean cuisine and originating in the Middle East. In North America, the word kebab nearly always refers to a shish kebab. The word kebab comes from Arabic, and means “frying, burning”, while the shish part means “skewer, pointed stick”.
Rory predicts that quiche will be served at Sherry’s baby shower.
Quiche is a French tart which is a pastry crust filled with savoury custard and pieces of cheese, meat, seafood, or vegetables. The word goes back to the 17th century in the Lorrain patois (quiche Lorraine, anyone?), but only to 1805 in French. It’s probably related to the German word for “cake, tart”. The basic premise of putting savoury custard into a pastry shell goes back to the 14th century in England, and the 13th century in Italy, so they are not uniquely French.
Maureen offers Lorelai a mojito at the baby shower, which she gratefully accepts.
Mojito is a traditional Cuban punch, made from white rum, sugar (or sugar cane juice), lime juice, soda water, and mint. It originated in Havana, but it’s origins are debatable – local South American Indians, Sir Francis Drake, and African slaves have all been given the credit for it. The name may come from mojo, meaning a spice made from mint, or from mojadito, the Spanish for “lightly wet”. It’s a popular drink for summer, but because it’s green, Sherry has it at her “green is the new pink” autumn baby shower.
Gail offers Rory a club soda at the baby shower.
Club soda is a manufactured carbonated water used as a drink mixer. English chemist Joseph Priestly discovered the method for making carbonated water in 1772, but commercial production was begun by Johann Jacob Schweppe, a Swiss jeweller and amateur chemist in 1783. It was first made commercially in the US by Benjamin Silliman, a Yale chemistry professor, who sold in New Haven, Connecticut. The original trademarked club soda was made by Cantrell and Cochrane in Ireland in 1877 – the “club” in the name refers to the Kildare Street Club in Dublin.
Susan guesses that horseradish is the smell in her diaper during a game at the baby shower.
Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) is a root vegetable in the radish and mustard family, cultivated since antiquity for use as a spice and condiment. You may remember that Emily enjoys horseradish on her steak.
Babette thinks that the Town Loner mentioned the word “Jello-O” in his protest.
LORELAI: Hey, maybe that’s the Town Loner’s point. That, like, he’s protesting man’s inability to communicate by not communicating and getting us all to talk about communication.
RORY: Whoa, you are blowin’ my mind here.
KIRK: I’m seeing trails.
Kirk refers to the chemtrail conspiracy theory, an erroneous belief that long-lasting condensation trails from aeroplanes are “chemtrails” consisting of chemical/biological agents, sprayed for nefarious purposes undisclosed to the general public. The claim has been dismissed by the scientific community.
This episode introduces the character of the Town Loner, a mysterious and eccentric hermit who is thought to live “in the hills” around the town. This has a bit of a “cabin in the woods” vibe, and the show has something of a fascination with eccentric loners, who are depicted as both dangerous and wise.
The Town Loner comes out of isolation to stage a protest in the church tower, but the words that he yells are seemingly meaningless babble, and the banner that he unfurls is backwards, so the words cannot be read. Lorelai (brilliantly?) interprets this as a statement on man’s inability to communicate.
The Town Loner is played by Daniel Palladino, in an uncredited cameo.
BABETTE: Yeah, Taylor, this protest is gonna be very mellow, very peaceful.
TAYLOR: Well, you can hang out in Haight-Ashbury and drink as much electric Kool-Aid as you want, Babette, but I’m preparing for the worst.
Haight-Ashbury, a district of San Francisco, named for the intersection of Haight and Ashbury streets. The neighbourhood is known as one of the main centres of the hippie counterculture of the 1960s, although it was also a centre for the Beat counterculture in the 1950s.
Seeing how upset Lorelai is over Sherry’s pregnancy, Rory suggests that they egg Jess’ car in order to make themselves feel better. This suggests that although Rory acted as if she was okay with Jess, the person who totalled her car, getting a car, she is in fact quite resentful over it. Finding Shane’s bra in the vehicle was no doubt quite a twist of the knife.
LORELAI: “Oh, and lots of cars stopped at a blue light on Garvey Avenue. Why a blue light? Well, ‘cause blue’s the new red.”
Garvey Avenue is a major road in the San Gabriel valley of Los Angles’ Eastside district [pictured]. For the purposes of fiction, there may be some confusion or conflation with Garvey Street, which is in the city of Everett in Massachusetts, three miles north of Boston, once a part of Charlestown and still bordering it. That might possibly be seen as confirmation that Christopher and Sherry live in the Charlestown area of Boston.