School Pageant

RORY: I had a school thing once, and I wasn’t sure if Mom would want to go so I didn’t invite her. It was my kindergarten “Salute to Vegetables” pageant and I was broccoli and I did a tap dance with a guy that was playing beets and the entire number I was just thinking, “Mom’s not here” and it was my fault that she wasn’t there and, well, it was kind of a life lesson for me.

We already know that Rory studied ballet with Miss Patty when she was a little girl, but apparently she did tap dancing even in kindergarten! I’m guessing Miss Patty also taught tap to the kindergarten class. In A Year in the Life, Rory takes up tap dancing again as a way to relieve stress.

Rory’s little anecdote about the school pageant is actually one of the more plausible things we hear about her childhood. Most things make her seem either too old for her age or too young, but it’s perfectly believable that the thoughtful young child of a single, working mother who’s a maid at an inn would be hesitant at asking her mother to come to a school pageant.

Little Rory would know how hard Lorelai works and that there’s no other parent to fall back on if she’s unavailable. I can imagine her feeling that a school pageant isn’t important enough to pull Lorelai out of work for, yet missing her horribly when the moment arrives, and seeing all the other mothers there.

The fact that she blamed herself entirely for the situation shows that even as a young child, she was already placing herself as the responsible person in the relationship with her mother, and taking on the parental role.

Vassar

LORELAI: Rory, I was supposed to graduate from high school. Go to Vassar. Marry a Yale man.

Vassar, previously discussed.

We now discover that Richard and Emily wanted Lorelai to attend Vassar, a private liberal arts college. The beautiful campus, flexible curriculum, small class sizes, and strong encouragement to study abroad sound like things Lorelai would have actually enjoyed.

Vassar and Yale have a historic relationship, making marriage to someone from Yale seem an obvious choice (for people of Richard and Emily’s generation, when Vassar was a women’s college only, and when women had fewer career options).

“My stupid conservative high school”

RORY: You’ve never been a part of an actual graduation ceremony.

LORELAI: I know. That’s because my stupid conservative high school wouldn’t let me be in the ceremony and nurse you at the same time.

We discover here that Lorelai did not graduate from her private high school. Although she jokes they wouldn’t let her graduate while nursing a baby, most likely she was actually asked to leave once her pregnancy became obvious. Her former classmate Mitzi said she hadn’t seen Lorelai since “her seventh month”, suggesting that she didn’t return to school after the summer vacation of 1984.

Mickey Hargitay

BABETTE: I met this guy once – gorgeous, tan, looked just like Mickey Hargitay. We had coffee, he gave me a pamphlet. Next thing you know, I’m wearing a muumuu, playing a tambourine, jumping up and down at the airport.

Miklós “Mickey” Hargitay (1926-2006), Hungarian-born bodybuilder, actor and the 1955 Mr Universe. He was married to actress Jayne Mansfield from 1958-1964, and they made four films together, including Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957). He is the father of actress Mariska Hargitay.

Babette sometimes alludes to the terrible experiences she had with men before fortunately meeting Morey, which she has no compunction about sharing with Rory. The previous season, she told Rory about the time she got pushed out of a car, and this season she tells Rory about how she was lured into a cult! For such a bright and bubbly character, she has a very dark past.

I think the cult that Babette is describing are the Hare Krishnas, who tended to recruit new members at airports in the 1970s, and often used tambourine music and dancing to attract interest. They didn’t actually wear muumuus, but Babette might have thought their orange robes looked like muumuus.

The Yearling

LORELAI: You chose The Yearling again?

TAYLOR: It is a fine, wholesome motion picture. Moving story, lovely scenes of nature.

The Yearling, 1946 dramatic family film directed by Clarence Brown, based on the 1938 novel of the same name by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. It stars Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman, and was filmed on location in the Ocala National Forest in Florida. The film is about a young boy, played by Claude Jarman Jr, who adopts a troublesome deer, the “yearling” of the title.

The Yearling was praised by critics as a heart-warming family film, and was the #9 film of the year at the box-office. However, high production costs meant that it didn’t actually make a big profit. It won three Academy Awards, including a Juvenile Award for Claude Jarman Jr. A television adaptation was released in 1994.

Note that we later learn in this episode that when Taylor says, “Moving story, lovely scenes of nature”, he is quoting from the description given in the film catalogue.

After Lorelai complains that Taylor has chosen The Yearling for the past three years for Movie Night in the Square, Taylor unexpectedly gives her the job of choosing the movie instead, saying she has never volunteered once to help with this event (which is surprising to learn, since Lorelai loves film, and volunteers for most community festivals).

“Ah! Mon Dieu”

GISELLE: Ah! Mon dieu, you are gorgeous! Come, come! Embrassez maman!

MICHEL: Maman, j’aime ton visite.

Giselle says, “Ah! My God … Give Mom a hug!”.

Michel replies, “Mom, I love your visits”.

Giselle has apparently visited Michel several times before, but this seems to be the first time she has ever been to his workplace, as Lorelai and Sookie have never met her before. Michel was going to pick his mother up from the airport, but she came on an earlier flight so she could buy him presents, which seems to explain why she has turned up at the Independence Inn unannounced.

Hartford Natural History Museum

BRAD: My mom works. She’s a curator at the Hartford Natural History Museum.

In real life, Hartford doesn’t have a natural history museum. The Connecticut State Museum of Natural History was at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, about half an hour’s drive east of Hartford; it closed in 2016. A more famous collection is the Peabody Museum of Natural History, at Yale University [pictured].

No Parent Available to Mentor the Group

Their group has to find a parent with experience in business to act as an adviser and mentor for the business fair. Chip’s father has scheduling issues. Paris’ father is in Hong Kong for a month, but could possibly video conference – an idea Rory says no to. Madeline says her father is travelling; she doesn’t mention her stepfather, so I’m not sure if she still has one, or if she now refers to him as her dad? Her stepfather was in Japan last time he was mentioned.

Louise’s father is in court for the next six weeks on a mysterious charge. Oddly enough, when Paris’ dad was involved in some shady activity, it was a major, major scandal, she was a laughing stock at school, and her parents separated for a time. But now Louise’s father is in legal trouble, and nobody cares at all. Louise hasn’t even bothered finding out what he did!

Luke’s Family

LUKE: Randy and Barbara don’t wanna miss their brat kid’s rugby semifinal … My sister never even called back. My cousins Paul and Jim, who my dad helped put through college, said they were too exhausted from a fishing trip. And slightly disturbed cousin Franny said she can’t leave because her Petey’s sick.

Randy and Barbara, a married couple with at least one child, who plays rugby, not sure whether Randy or Barbara is Luke’s cousin.

Liz, Luke’s sister

Paul and Jim, cousins, presumably brothers

Franny, cousin, possibly a sister to Paul and Jim? (and yet another Fran/Francine/Franny!)

Uncle Louie didn’t have any children, but Luke seems to have several cousins, although he doesn’t mention any other uncles or aunts. Perhaps they are already dead. It’s possible all the cousins mentioned are siblings, and only one uncle/aunt died before Louie.

Luke booked nine rooms at the Independence Inn for his family to attend Louie’s funeral. He only seems to have needed five rooms for the named family members, suggesting that the other four were for the unnamed relatives who said they couldn’t get out of work for the funeral.