Blue Velvet

LANE: What are you doing here?

DAVE: Uh, well, you mentioned this thing last time we talked and it sounded very Blue Velvet so I figured I would come by and check it out.

Blue Velvet, 1986 neo-noir mystery thriller directed by David Lynch. Blending psychological horror with film noir, the film stars Kyle McLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, and Laura Dern, and is named after the 1951 song of the same name. The film is about a college student who returns home to visit his ill father, and makes a grisly discovery in a field. This leads him to uncover a vast criminal conspiracy, and into a relationship with a troubled lounge singer.

The film initially received a divided response from critics, with many stating that its explicit content served little artistic purpose. However, David Lynch won Best Film and Best Director at that year’s National Society of Film Critics Awards. It came to achieve cult status, and is now widely regarded as one of Lynch’s major works, and one of the greatest films of the 1980s. It has been ranked as one of the best films of all time, and one of the greatest mystery films ever made.

Dave has come to see Lane just because he missed her, a clear sign to her that he returns her feelings. Strangely, he decides to arrive at the marathon around 5 am, when the marathon is just about to end! This episode doesn’t have a confusing timeline (it’s all made very clear), it’s simply an unbelievable one.

“If I ever happen to meet the right person”

LORELAI: You don’t have to want kids, Luke. Or like kids. It’s not for everybody.

LUKE: I know, but . . . although I’m quite happy going an entire day without having to deal with somebody else’s bodily functions, if I ever happen to meet the right person . . . well, it would be a discussion.

Luke is letting Lorelai know that if he was in a relationship, he would be open to discussing having children. And Lorelai tells him that she would be open to having a second child if the right person came along. They both gaze at each other, and the subtext couldn’t be clearer for the viewer – Luke and Lorelai may one day have a child together. Unfortunately, the scriptwriters never allowed this to happen.

Lorelai’s Shoe Breaks

LORELAI: My heel just broke off. Damn, these are brand new shoes, too.

RORY: They were made in 1943.

In the final hour of the marathon, the heel breaks off one of Lorelai’s vintage shoes. The rules of the contest didn’t require participants to wear shoes, and as they have less than an hour to go, Lorelai and Rory could have kicked their shoes off and finished the marathon in bare feet.

Instead Lorelai uses her yellow emergency card, which allows her a ten minute break to get her shoe repaired. During this time, her partner must stay on the floor and keep moving. However, Rory has been dancing for twenty-three hours, and is far too exhausted to stand upright and keep moving on her own.

Lorelai gets Dean to hold onto Rory and keep her moving until Lorelai returns. We know that Dean doesn’t care for dancing, but this is the third time in three seasons he dances with Rory – the other two times were at her school dance, and for her debutante ball (including the dance practice before the ball). There isn’t much involved this time, all he has to do is keep her upright, and he soon says he’s quite enjoying the experience.

When Taylor announced the rules, he never said it was possible to get someone else to dance with your partner during their break if they were physically incapable of standing without assistance. However, he never says it is actually forbidden, either. As usual, Lorelai is very ready to exploit a loophole in the rules if it is to her advantage. (And Kirk has been shown to be playing dirty as it is).


TAYLOR: Have you ever levitated a rottweiler? … Not easy. But in a cape with a wand and a shiny black top hat . . .

Rottweiler, a large powerful breed of dog which is one of the oldest surviving dog breeds in the world, going back to ancient Roman times. The name comes from the German city of Rottweil, where the original breed interbred with native dogs to produce the modern breed we know today.

Rottweilers are highly territorial and protective, meaning that they can sometimes be aggressive towards strangers if they are not properly trained and socialised.

As Rory predicted, Taylor begins talking about his dream of becoming a stage magician in the final hour of the marathon.

Music at the Dance Marathon

In the Mood

A popular big band era jazz standard recorded by Glenn Miller. It’s based on the 1930 composition “Tar Paper Stomp” by Wingy Manone, in a new arrangement by Joe Garland, with lyrics added by Andy Razaf. First released by Edgar Hayes and His Orchestra in 1938, the 1939 Glenn Miller version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1983. It is considered one of the most important musical works of the 20th century.

Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)

A 1936 song by Louis Prima, who first recorded it with the New Orleans Gang. It’s been recorded many times, most notably by Benny Goodman. Part of the big band and swing eras, it’s a favourite for film and television soundtracks.

Walkin’ My Baby Back Home

A 1930 jazz song written by Fred E. Ahlert, with lyrics by Roy Turk. It charted in 1931, with highest-charting versions of that year by Nick Lucas, and Ted Weems, with both reaching #8. Nat King Cole’s 1951 version also went to #8, and it was most successful in 1952, when Johnnie Ray took it to #4.

I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby

Previously discussed.

By the Beautiful Sea

A 1914 popular song by Harry Carroll, with lyrics by Harold R. Atteridge. Originally recorded by the Heidelberg Quintet, it topped the charts for six weeks during the outbreak of World War I.

These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)

A 1935 song by English songwriters Eric Maschwitz (under the name Holt Marvell), lyricist and Jack Strachey, the composer. It is said to have been inspired by a youthful romance with cabaret singer Jean Ross. The song wasn’t an immediate success, even after featuring in the 1936 London revue Spread It Abroad, until famous West Indian pianist and singer Leslie Hutchinson found the music on top of Maschwitz’s piano, and liked it. He recorded it the same year, and after this it became a great success, recorded by musicians all over the world, including Benny Goodman, and Billie Holliday, whose version peaked at #5 in 1936.

A String of Pearls

A 1941 song composed by Jerry Gray, with lyrics by Eddie DeLange. It was recorded by Glenn Miller becoming a #1 hit. It is a big band and jazz standard.

All the music at the dance marathon is provided by the band, The Swingin’ Deacons, a band from Lynchburg, Virginia. They have a 1999 album, House of the Blues Swings!

Winona Ryder

JACKSON: Does anyone here understand that a man has a right not to have his personal life debated in a public forum? I am not Winona Ryder.

Winona Ryder, professional name of Winona Horowitz (born 1971), actress. Her first role was in Lucas (1986), and she came to attention in Beetlejuice (1988). She rose to prominence with major roles in quirky films such as Heathers (1989), Mermaids (1990), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Reality Bites (1994), and Girl, Interrupted (1999). She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000.

After a performance in the critically panned Mr Deeds (2002), he career went into a decline for a while; at this time, her most recent film was the minor hit Simone, which had come out the preceding summer. Her career recovered in 2009, and since 2016 she has starred in the Netflix series, Stranger Things.

Ryder’s high-profile relationship with actor Johnny Depp from 1989 to 1993 made her easy tabloid fodder, as did her 2001 arrest for shoplifting, accused of stealing more than $5000 worth of designer clothing from Saks. Ryder explained she was clinically depressed and using painkilling drugs at the time. Sentenced in December 2002, she had to serve 480 hours of community service, and pay $3700 in fines, as well as paying Saks $6355 in restitution. This what Jackson is referring to – as it’s only a month before the verdict, the media would have been in a frenzy by this stage.

[Picture shows Ryder during her court case in 2002]

“Get in there and make me my supper”

DEAN: Rory, get your stuff and let’s go.

JESS: Ooh, that was good. Now say ‘then get in there and make me my supper.’

Jess is doing his absolute best to needle Rory and Dean at the dance marathon, and with this comment, he gets in a very sharp criticism about the behaviour he’s seen from Dean in his treatment of Rory. This harks back to Dean’s praise for 1950s housewives, which brought about the first fight Rory and Dean ever had.

Bobby Brady

RORY: The food is for the dancers.

SHANE: Who are you, Bobby Brady? Get a life.

Bobby Brady, portrayed by Mike Lookinland on the TV show, the youngest boy on The Brady Bunch, previously discussed.

Also, how ridiculous is it that the refreshments are only for the dance contestants, and not the spectators? They have to sit in the bleachers for sixteen hours or more with nothing to eat or drink? I’m with Shane – butt out, Rory!

“It’s just a saying”

SHANE: Where did you go? I’ve been sitting out there for twenty minutes.

JESS: The break’s only for ten.

SHANE: It’s just a saying.

I think we’re meant to look down on Shane for thinking that “I’ve been waiting twenty minutes” is a “saying” (rather than a hyperbole or an exaggeration). But Rory and Lorelai seemed to think fifteen minutes was “just a saying” for six hours, so I’m not sure they are any better.