“Turning letters as a profession”

LANE: What I wanted to say was, “Janie Fertman, you are a vacuous bimbo who will be turning letters as a profession one day. And the only way you’ll know which letter to turn is when it dings and lights up.”

Lane is referring to the television game show Wheel of Fortune, which has aired since 1975. The hostess of the show turns letters so that contestants can solve word puzzles based on the guessing game of Hangman; the hostess only turns the letter when it gives a “ding” noise and lights up. Since 1982 the hostess has been Vanna White.

Rory Finds Her Dean Box

For some reason, Rory goes through the front hallway cupboard and finds her Dean box. Upon discovering that Lorelai didn’t throw it away after all, she is actually pleased, and kisses Lorelai to say thanks. She goes through the box, now ready to explore her memories and feelings of Dean, rather than push them away.

The items she is shown examining are her dress from the winter formal that she attended with Dean; Colonel Clucker, her stuffed toy rooster that Dean picked up the first time he was in her bedroom; the box of cornstarch she accidentally stole after Dean kissed her; and the home-made leather bracelet that Dean gave her for her sixteenth birthday.

Colonel Clucker may be a callback to the dream about Kentucky Fried Chicken, founded by Colonel Sanders, that Lorelai discussed with her. Perhaps Lorelai’s dream was mildly precognitive, especially as Rory found her Dean box at the back of the hall cupboard? Rory’s dream may have been precognitive as well, since her dream was about accepting her emotions – or perhaps it just showed she was psychologically ready to find the box, and so she did.

Stretch Cunningham and Dick Tracy

LORELAI: Hey, who was the guy who used to run the auto body shop?
(We pan up to see Luke lying on the roof with a hammer.)
LUKE: The Stretch Cunningham guy?
LORELAI: No, the Dick Tracy guy.

Jerome “Stretch” Cunningham was a recurring character on the 1970s sitcom All in the Family, played by James Cromwell. Stretch was a friend and co-worker of main character Archie Bunker. (Both Sally Struthers, who played Babette, and Liz Torres, who played Miss Patty, were also in All in the Family; possibly why it was referenced several times on Gilmore Girls).

Dick Tracy is a fictional police detective who first appeared in the Dick Tracy comic strips created by Chester Gould in 1931. The Dick Tracy stories have been adapted into radio serials, comic books, novels, and films – most recently in 1990, with Warren Beatty in the title role.

There is a real mystery as to what the barely-remembered auto mechanic actually looked like. Lorelai first says he is tall and skinny, then corrects herself to say he was short and fat, and that the tall, skinny guy was actually his employee. Then she decides that he looked like Dick Tracy, who isn’t short and fat. Did the auto mechanic (who we learn was named Jim Dunning) look like a short, stocky version of Dick Tracy?

Maven Hughes

RORY: I’m sorry, the oil vat guy [in your dream] was being mean.
(Rory sits down at the table.)
LORELAI: Yes. And we knew him. He used to live in town. He was that guy who used to run the auto body shop before Maven Hughes bought it. Remember him?

Maven Hughes sounds suspiciously like Maybin Hewes, the name of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s mother. You can see Maybin Hewes in the episode Rory’s Dance: when the yoga class comes in to Miss Patty’s and find Rory and Dean asleep, Maybin is the first student to enter (she’s billed as Yoga Woman #1, and in the picture, she’s the one wearing a red tartan scarf).

The auto body shop (garage mechanic’s) in Stars Hollow seems to have gone through a multitude of owners. In The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton, Derek, the valet at the Independence Inn, slightly damaged a car, and Lorelai told him to take it to Musky’s to be fixed. Well, before Musky there was Maven Hughes, and before that there was Jim Dunning, and who knows how many others. In the next season, the ownership of the garage will be settled once and for all.

Kentucky Fried Chicken

LORELAI: I had the weirdest dream last night. We were in our house, but it wasn’t our house, it was a Kentucky Fried Chicken.
RORY: I’m hooked.
LORELAI: I had to get dressed, but my clothes were in the back. And the guy manning the giant oil vat would not let me though.
RORY: Oh my God! That’s so weird. When you said oil vat, that just reminded me, I had this dream last night we were swimming in a pool, only it wasn’t water, it was like oil or honey or something.

Kentucky Fried Chicken (since 1991 branded as KFC) is a fast food restaurant chain specialising in fried chicken with a secret recipe of eleven herbs and spices. It is the world’s second-largest restaurant chain after McDonald’s. It was founded by Colonel Harland Sanders in 1930, who sold his chicken from a roadside restaurant in the Great Depression, with the first franchise opening in 1952.

There are several KFC outlets in Hartford, and two in Wallingford, near where Stars Hollow seems to be located.

Dreams often link food and sex, so I wonder if Lorelai’s dream of a fast food outlet is trying to tell her that she is moving too fast with Max, and perhaps that the relationship is cheap and unsatisfying because it’s mostly based on sexual attraction?

The fact that Lorelai doesn’t seem to have any clothes on in the dream seems telling, and also that a man is stopping her from putting her clothes on (in the back of the store!) could signify that on some level she feels that the passion she has with Max is stopping her from finding a relationship that is deeper and more meaningful (with Luke).

The name of the man who is stopping Lorelai from getting her clothes turns out to be someone she once knew named Jim Dunning, which sounds rather like, “I’m done in”. In a way, her relationship with Max has already come as far as it can.

Both Lorelai and Rory dreamed of oil on the same night (Lorelai’s featured a man in charge of a vat of cooking oil, while Rory went swimming in what seemed to be oil, or perhaps honey). Both of them seem to want things to go smoothly in their lives: Lorelai dreaming of cooking oil may mean she wants a transformation in her life, while Rory is obviously exploring her emotions.

“Thank you for last night”

LORELAI: Hi.
MAX: And thank you for last night.
LORELAI: It was a good night, wasn’t it?
MAX: Several novels will be written about it.
LORELAI: I say we do it again, and next time, I’ll be the gypsy queen.

It must be the morning after Max and Lorelai’s first date since they reunited, so it’s Sunday 22 April. Their entire conversation shows that if nothing else, the sexual side of their relationship works great.

A nice side effect is that Sookie sees Lorelai look happy, so immediately decides that she must be as well, just as she thought she must have ennui from being around Michel.

Prostate

LORELAI: Michel, you know that Sookie ends up thinking she’s coming down with whatever illness other people have.
SOOKIE: Nuh uh!
LORELAI: Oh no? What was that whole conversation last week when I had to convince you, you didn’t have a prostate.
SOOKIE: Oh. How is Al?

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system that secretes an alkaline fluid which makes about a third of the volume of semen. The fluids helps make the vagina less acidic during intercourse, improving the lifespan of sperm.

It seems as if Al from Al’s Pancake World has a problem with his prostate. Older men often have an enlarged prostate, which isn’t actually dangerous but can cause difficulties with urination. It is usually treated with medication.

If Sookie really thought she had an enlarged prostate, perhaps she imagined that she was also having difficulties urinating, based on Al’s description of his symptoms.