River City

TAYLOR: When standards slip, families flee and in comes the seedy crowd. You got trouble, my friends.
LORELAI: Right here in River City!

A reference to the 1962 musical film The Music Man, adapted from the hit 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, written by Meredith Willson. Directed by Morton DaCosta, and with Robert Preston in the title role, the film is set in River City, Iowa (based on Mason City) in 1912.

The film is about a conman named Harold Hill who tries to swindle a town by claiming he is raising funds to pay for a marching band. In the song Ya Got Trouble, Harold convinces the townspeople that the pool hall is seducing their boys into sin and vice so that they will sink money into the marching band to save them. The song says repeatedly, “Ya got trouble right here in River City!”.

The Music Man was the #5 film of 1962, and won an Academy Award for its score. Critically acclaimed, it is regarded as one of the best musical films of all time. It was filmed on the same Warner Brothers lot as Gilmore Girls.

Roller Disco

LANE: I’m gonna get a soda, anybody want anything?
LORELAI: Yes, the night of my 14th birthday back so I can right the green-hot-pant-roller-disco outfit wrong.

A roller disco is a skating rink where the dancers wear roller skates to move to disco music (or any modern dance music). The concept originated in the 1970s and peaked around 1980, although they are still held now as retro entertainment.

Lorelai’s 14th birthday was in 1982, so she was already slightly behind the trends when she chose her roller disco outfit (it actually fits better with Amy Sherman-Palladino’s 14th birthday in 1980). It’s not clear whether her birthday was celebrated at a roller disco, or she just thought it would be a good outfit to wear to her party. Let’s hope the first one.

Jess and Sean’s Apartment Building

When the scene cuts to the exterior of Jess and Sean’s apartment building, sharp-eyed viewers will notice it is the same one used for Monica’s apartment building in the sit-com Friends. In real life, this building is at 90 Bedford Street, on the corner of Grove Street in Greenwich Village, and two college students could only live there thanks to rent control – just like Monica and Rachel.

“1000”

LORELAI: We must be getting close, we’re running out of rows.
SOOKIE: And 1000. Okay, we’re here.

In real life, the theatre the concert scenes were filmed at, The Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, is a small intimate venue, and not 1000 rows high (in fact nothing is 1000 rows high). Sookie is just joking – we can see they are only in Row 22.

“Big sister”

LOUISE: I find your mother completely fascinating.
RORY: Funny – so does she.
LOUISE: It’s almost more like having a big sister.

Amy Sherman-Palladino reportedly wrote Lorelai and Rory to have a relationship that was more sisterly than like mother-and-daughter. Sherman-Palladino had a sister who died very young, and her imaginings of what their relationship might have been like (best friends who looked alike) was part of the basis for that between Lorelai and Rory. She also thought that if she ever had a child, she would want to be more like a friend than a parent, so that was another imagining which went into the relationship between Lorelai and Rory.

Measles

Madeline says that they can’t study at her house because her brother has measles.

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection causing fever, cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, and a red rash. It can be fatal. Madeline must be vaccinated against the disease or she would have it herself, and the household should have been quarantined so that Madeline shouldn’t be (and possibly isn’t) living at home while her brother is infectious.

Measles were declared to be eliminated in the US in 2000 by public health officials (this doesn’t mean nobody got measles that year, just that there were so few cases and such high vaccination rates that they weren’t any threat to the general population).

Madeline’s brother getting measles in 2001 is highly unusual, and it really makes you wonder why vaccination rates are so low in the Gilmore Girls universe – in real life, Connecticut has one of the highest rates of child vaccination in the world. It seems more in line with California, where Gilmore Girls is filmed, where vaccination rates tend to be lower.

Pastorella Theatre

The Bangles concert takes place at the Pastorella Theatre in New York City, a fictional entertainment venue. In Italian, pastorela means “shepherdess”, and a pastorella can mean any musical or literary work with a pastoral theme, a church composition for the Christmas season, or a medieval poem or song involving love for a shepherdess. The Pastorella Theatre therefore has a name connected with music.

In real life, The Bangles appeared at the Irving Plaza at 17 Irving Place in Union Square, Manhattan when they played in New York during their reunion tour; the date was October 2 2000. For the concert venue in this episode, the exterior shots are from the Warner Bros. Theater in Burbank, while the interior shots are from The Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles.