Taffy is a type of candy from the US, made by stretching or/and pulling a sticky mass of soft candy base, made of boiled sugar, butter, vegetable oil, flavorings, and colorings, until tiny bubbles form, resulting in a light, fluffy and chewy candy. The word dates to 1817, and the origin is not known. In the UK, this kind of candy is known as “chewy sweets”.
Lorelai and Rory may have binged on taffy they bought at a candy store, possibly on one of their road trips, as it is a specialty of New England. It isn’t difficult to make at home, and if they ate home made taffy, I’d think Sookie would have made it for them. This sickly binge occurred in 1997, when Rory was 12-13.
LUKE: So, how did the four dinners work out? You guys must feel more stuffed than you’ve ever been.
LORELAI: I don’t know. Is this more stuffed than the great Six Flags hot dog consumption of ’99?
Six Flags is an amusement park corporation founded in the 1960s in Arlington, Texas, and headquartered in Manhattan. It has 27 theme parks in the US, Canada, and Mexico, more than any other amusement park company, and has more than 30 million guests each year. The name Six Flags refers to the flags of the six nations which have governed Texas over the years – Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the USA, and the Confederate States of America.
The nearest Six Flags to Lorelai and Rory is Six Flags New England, in Agawam, Massachusetts. It is just north of the Connecticut border, about an hour’s drive away. They went to the theme park in 1999, possibly during the summer vacation, when Rory was nearly 15.
DEAN: This is my town, I’m not hiding. And I don’t have be remotely calm around you anymore, and I like that feeling. I like it a lot. Happy Thanksgiving, Jess.
Dean arrived in Stars Hollow only a year before Jess did, and Jess has family connections in the town, yet Dean now takes possession of the town – it’s his town, and Jess is the interloper. He warns Jess in no uncertain terms that he is not going to gracefully step aside and give Rory and Jess the space they need to form a good relationship.
I don’t think Jess did have a good Thanksgiving, really. He only saw his girlfriend for a short time, and she was too shy to give him more than a peck. When she came back, it was just to kiss him and say, “Later”. Both his girlfriend’s mother and his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend have let him know he’s been watched by them. And he gets stuck with garbage duty.
Dean’s Thanksgiving wasn’t great either. He has no girlfriend, he had to work on Thanksgiving, and may have taken the shift to avoid his family, because he either hasn’t told them about Rory yet, or doesn’t want their pity.
Rory and Lorelai have a pretty rotten Thanksgiving as well, and Sookie’s is a nightmare. Only Lane and Dave have a happy Thanksgiving in this episode, and it’s about time Lane gets a happy story line!
DEAN: You know, when all this happened with you and me and Rory, I figured I’d just stay out of everyone’s way, that that would be easiest. But now, I’m looking at you and I’m thinking, I’m gonna run from him? The Glad Man.
I think Dean is referring to “The Man from Glad”, a mascot for the Glad Products Company, which specialises in trash bags – as a dig at Jess for taking out the garbage. The mascot is a white-haired man in a white suit who arrives to save housewives from domestic challenges, with the help of spy paraphernalia, as a nod to The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
JESS: I’m not gonna fight you, Dean … ‘Cause if I fight you, Rory’s gonna think it’s my fault, so just forget it, okay? Just forget it. Go home. Let it rest.
DEAN: So Rory’s got a nice little hold on you now, huh?
Any ideas that Dean might just be a nice boy who has been pushed to his limits by the shenanigans of Rory and Jess are well and truly put to bed here. In his first confrontation with Jess since he broke up with Rory, Dean shows himself to be mean and spiteful, playing mind games with Jess to try to convince him that he is as manipulated by Rory as Dean was.
Dean seems to take relish in the role reversal that he and Jess have now. Just as Dean had to keep his jealousy and irritation in check when Rory hung out with Jess, so Jess now has to behave himself around Dean, lest Rory blame him.
[Luke and Jess walk out of the diner; Jess is carrying a garbage bag] ….
LORELAI: Hi, Saint Nick.
Saint Nicholas of Myra (270-343), a bishop in the early Christian church of Greek descent, living in Myra in Asia Minor (now Demre in Turkey). Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of (among other things) children and students, and his feast day is December 6.
The saint’s legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional Christian icon of Santa Claus, through the Dutch figure Sinterklaas. On December 6, his feast day is celebrated with gift-giving, and the saint is portrayed as an elderly, serious man with long white hair and a beard, wearing red vestments over a white bishop’s robe.
Saint Nick is an English translation of Sinterklaas, and the American Santa Claus and Christmas traditions which arose in the 19th century seem to be a nostalgic revival of earlier Dutch folklore from immigrants to New York. Santa Claus is called Saint Nick in the Christmas poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, previously discussed.
Lorelai calls Jess “Saint Nick” because he is carrying a garbage bag, which Lorelai likens to Santa’s sack of presents. This is the second time that Lorelai has sarcastically referred to Jess as Santa Claus or Saint Nick – the first time was to accuse him of stealing Rory’s bracelet. Using the reference again seems to be a veiled barb, and a reminder to Jess that she is watching him.
Jackson’s relatives are played by Sean Everett, Danny Buday, Kristin Caruso, Lynne Garbet, Monty Bane, John Jabaley, and DeVera (Dee) Marcus.
Most of them have only had limited acting experience, with the first two having more experience working in the props department or as a writer or producer for film and TV. John Jabaley had previously had roles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. Dee Marcus had previously had roles onWho’s the Boss?, Full House, and The Larry Sanders Show.
SOOKIE: Mm, about a half-hour ago they set the lawn on fire … But Phil says it’s okay and everything ’cause it’ll grow back twice as lush. Though that’s what he said when he broke my salad bowl that I brought back from Belgium. That’ll maybe grow back, too, huh?
Sookie travelled to Belgium at some point, bringing back a salad bowl with her as a souvenir. Possibly she went there to study some particular culinary art – Belgium is famous for its chocolate-making, for example. It’s just as likely it was a foodie’s tour, allowing her to sample the local produce. It may also have been as part of a trip to Europe. It’s just possible that Sookie and Jackson went to Europe for their honeymoon, although Sookie doesn’t say that we brought the salad bowl back from Belgium. Mind you, she’s pretty drunk by now.