Nicole Leahy

NICOLE: Well, hello Luke Danes, I’m Nicole Leahy, I’m Taylor Doose’s attorney.

Nicole Leahy is portrayed by Tricia O’Kelley. She began her acting career in Chcago, starting out in television commercials, and running a service centre for actors. After moving to Los Angeles, she had minor roles in several TV shows, including Frasier, Suddenly Susan, The Young and the Restless, and Everybody Loves Raymond, before joining the cast of Gilmore Girls. She continues to find roles on TV.

Note that Nicole has the same surname as the writer of this episode, Janet Leahy, who was also a consulting producer on the show.

Kim Family Weddings

The Kim family are planning a wedding for Lane’s cousin James, said to be “quiet and skulky”, so the family arranged a marriage for him with a girl from Korea who “doesn’t speak a word of English”.

This sounds absolutely awful for the young woman, coming to a country where she doesn’t speak or understand the language, to marry someone she’s never met. Amazingly, Rory and Lane express zero sympathy or concern for her, Rory even quipping that she hopes they make air holes in the box she’s shipped out in, as if she’s an animal.

Dave will be playing at the wedding, and during the conversation, it turns out that Rory has attended many weddings at the Kim household – so many that Lane says she is accepted as an honorary member of the family. We don’t see Rory and Lane together that much, so this is a nice way to tell us that in fact they are very close and have shared many important times that aren’t shown onscreen. It doesn’t really gel with the way Mrs Kim treats Rory in the show – certainly not like a family member (mind you, she’s not very warm to her actual family members).

Notice that the book Rory is carrying in this scene is Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman. Rory is shown reading this book all the way back in “Red Light on the Wedding Night”, so eighteen months later she is either still reading it, or is re-reading it. Although re-reading books is common, is re-reading biographies all that common, I wonder? I feel as if they are getting a bit lazy in finding new books for Rory to read (or be shown reading).

Pamela Des Barres

LORELAI: Do you need any help, please?
RORY: I’m good, Pamela Des Barres.

Pamela Des Barres (born Pamela Miller in 1948), rock and roll groupie, writer, musician, and actress. She is also a former member of the experimental Frank Zappa-produced music group, the GTOs.

Des Barres is best known for her 1987 memoir, I’m with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, which details her experiences in the Los Angeles rock music scene of the 1960s and 1970s, and she was the model for the Penny Lane character, played by Kate Hudson, in Almost Famous.

Pamela was married to English actor and singer Michael Des Barres from 1977 to 1991. You may recall that Michael Des Barres played the role of Claude in “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving”.

Rory calls Lorelai this as a tease because Zack is flirting with her. Lorelai does everything she can to deflect this unwanted attention, even though she was flattered when Dean’s dimwitted friend Todd fancied her, and he was a few years younger than Zack is now. She must be feeling a lot more confident about herself now.

“Good lawyers make for good neighbors”

TAYLOR: All the more reason to have a professional take a little looksee, huh? I mean, there’s a reason they say good lawyers make for good neighbors.
LUKE: Who the hell said that?

Taylor (deliberately?) misquotes the famous 1914 Robert Frost poem “Mending Wall”, which says, “Good fences make good neighbours”. Although widely quoted as a pithy piece of commonsense wisdom, the person who actually says this line in the poem is not viewed sympathetically by the poem’s narrator. (Just as Taylor is not viewed very sympathetically by the writers of the show).

Originally published in Frost’s second collection, North of Boston, it is one of the most commonly analysed and anthologised poems in modern literature.

Fencing Class

In this episode, Rory, Paris, Louise, and Madeline have a fencing class. This may remind the viewer that Richard Gilmore was a keen fencing athlete when he was at Yale – something which Emily found very attractive about him.

It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that the James Bond film Die Another Day had come out the previous year, in 2002, directed by Lee Tamahori, and starring Pierce Brosnan as the title character.

It has a notable fencing scene in it [pictured], where James Bond has an unexpectedly aggressive fencing bout with the villain, Gustav Graves, played by Toby Stephens. The fencing instructor in the film is played by Madonna, one of Lorelei’s favourite celebrities (she also sings the film’s theme song). Less than a month after this movie’s release, UK fencing clubs saw an increase in the number of people interested in taking up the activity.

Die Another Day was a box-office smash, and the #6 film of 2002. It received reasonable reviews at the time, but is now considered one of the worst of the films in the series. It was heavily criticised by Pierce Brosnan.

The fencing instructor at Chilton is played by Teigh McDonough, whose background was in the Chicago theatre scene.

The Great Gatsby

LORELAI: He’s liked you for ten years? … Wow. That is some serious Great Gatsby pining … You’re his Daisy.

The Great Gatsby, 1925 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set in the Jazz Age on Long Island, near New York City, the novel depicts first-person narrator Nick Carraway’s interactions with mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby, and Gatsby’s obsession to reunite with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan. The novel was inspired by a youthful romance Fitzgerald had with a socialite named Ginevra King, and the riotous parties he attended on Long Island’s North Shore in 1922.

The novel received generally favourable, if restrained, reviews, but was a commercial disappointment, selling less than 20 000 copies in the first six months. When F. Scott Fitzgerald died in 1940, be believed himself a failure, and his work forgotten.

During World War II, the novel experienced an abrupt surge in popularity when the Council on Books in Wartime distributed free copies to American soldiers serving overseas. This new-found popularity launched a critical and scholarly re-examination, and the work soon became a core part of most American high school curricula and a part of American popular culture. Numerous stage and film adaptations followed in the subsequent decades.

Gatsby continues to attract popular and scholarly attention. Contemporary scholars emphasise the novel’s treatment of social class, and its cynical attitude towards the American Dream. The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be a literary masterwork and a contender for the title of the Great American Novel.

The 1974 film version of The Great Gatsby, starring Robert Redford as Gatsby, featured Richard Hermann, who plays Richard Gilmore, in the minor role of Ewing Klipspringer, the mooching party guest who decides to simply never leave.

Joe Mastoni and Alex Lesman

Just as Lorelai and Sookie are leaving their night class and at the cookie table, they run into Joe, an old friend of Sookie’s, and his business partner Alex, who are there to learn about starting their own chain of coffee shops.

Joe is played by Joe Fria. He may be recalled by some viewers as the actor who played the waiter at the French restaurant on the double date Sookie and Lorelai had with Jackson and Rune. Joe Fria has more recently done voice work, including for the Goosebumps series, and for Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir.

Alex is played by Billy Burke. He had several small roles in film and television before this, and has become best known for playing Charlie Swan, the father of Bella Swan, in the Twilight film series.

Bob Merrimam

ANSWERING MACHINE: Ms. Gilmore, it’s Bob Merrimam, your mother’s lawyer. I’m calling about the little matter of this lawsuit she’s involved in. We’d like it if you could give a deposition . . .

The voice of Bob Merrimam is supplied by Seth MacFarlane, friend and colleague of Daniel Palladino from Family Guy. Seth MacFarlane had already had a role on Gilmore Girls.

Bob asks Lorelai to give a deposition in support of her mother’s case against Gerta, the unfairly dismissed German maid. This is where the episode title, “I Solemnly Swear” comes from, because that’s the beginning of the oath taken in legal contexts.

Eloise at the Plaza

PARIS: I knew that suggestion box was a bad idea. Watch Choate get Joan Didion while we’re being read “Eloise at the Plaza”.

Paris refers to Eloise: A Book for Precocious Grown-Ups, a 1955 book by Kay Thompson, illustrated by Hilary Knight. Originally marketed to adults, in 1969 it was released as a children’s book as Eloise, with no changes to the text or illustrations.

Eloise is a mischievous six-year-old girl who lives in the penthouse of the Plaza Hotel in New York City with her nanny, pet pug dog and pet turtle. Thompson based Eloise on an imaginary friend she had in childhood, although it has been speculated that her goddaughter Liza Minelli may have been a possible model. There are several books in the Eloise series, but Eloise never ages. In April 2003, a Disney television film was broadcast called Eloise at the Plaza, with Sofia Vassilieva in the title role.

A fan theory, which you may take with as many grains of salt as you wish, is that Louise was named after the character Eloise. I cannot think of any way that could be confirmed or denied, but it doesn’t seem that implausible. Louise and Eloise both have blonde hair, are rich and spoiled, rather bratty, and have unavailable, neglectful parents.

Kay Thompson died in 1998, so could not have been the commencement speaker, and famously hated her fans, so would be unlikely to agree to it anyway. Hilary Knight is still alive, but it doesn’t seem likely that he would have done it either.