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.

Bloomingdale’s

LORELAI: So I’m at the mall, and I’ve already found Rachel’s gifts, and I’ve had two sugar cinnamon pretzels, and I’m buzzed on the sugar, and jazzed about the purchases, and I decide to take a victory lap through Bloomingdale’s, and it just so happens that there was an amazing sale in the men’s department.

Bloomingdale’s is an American department store founded in New York in 1872 by Joseph and Lyman Bloomingdale. The stores are now owned by Macy’s, and are well known for their sales.

Lorelai speaks of going to “the mall” as if she means going shopping in Hartford. However, in real life there is no Bloomingdale’s in Hartford, or anywhere else in Connecticut (there used to be one in Stamford, but it closed in 1990).

In real life, if Lorelai had wanted to shop at Bloomingdale’s, she would have had to drive to the city of White Plains, New York – over an hour’s drive away. That isn’t possible, as she completed her shopping trip in two hours; she would have needed more than that for travel time alone.

Hello Kitty

LORELAI: You bought boy band posters and Hello Kitty notepads.
EMILY: A lovely young girl at the store helped me pick them out.

Hello Kitty is a fictional character created by the Japanese company Sanrio, and originally created by Yuko Shimizu in 1974. Perpetually in third grade and living somewhere outside London, her creators insist she is not a cat despite having cat ears and whiskers (she even has a pet cat). She is recognisable from her ribbon on her head, and lack of a mouth.

Hello Kitty products include dolls, greeting cards, stationery, clothes, accessories, appliances, and computer equipment. There are also Hello Kitty restaurants, a TV series, comic books, and video games. First marketed to pre-teen girls, the market base gradually widened to young adult. It was particularly fashionable in the late 1990s.

“Whopper over kimchi”

LANE: No, they’d [Henry’s parents] know.
RORY: Know what?
LANE: Know that I listen to the wrong music and wish I could go blonde without looking like an idiot. Or that I’d take a Whopper over kimchi in a heartbeat.

The Whopper is the signature hamburger at the American fast food chain Burger King. It’s a hamburger patty on a sesame seed bun with lettuce, tomato, sliced onion, mayonnaise, ketchup, and pickles. You can add optional ingredients such as cheese, bacon, or mustard at your request. There is a Burger King in New Britain, just south of Hartford – presumably Lorelai and Rory took Lane to Burger King at least once.

Kimchi [pictured] is a traditional Korean side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly cabbage or radishes, combined with seasonings such as chilli, garlic, and ginger. A staple food in Korea, the origins of kimchi date back at least 2000 years, although the chilli wasn’t added until the 17th century. It is the national dish of North and South Korea.

Ichiro Motors

This is the Japanese business whose employees are staying at the Independence Inn in Stars Hollow for a conference in this episode.

It is a fictional motor manufacturing company which may have been named after Ichiro Suzuki (born 1937), the Japanese engineer who worked for Toyota and designed the first Lexus, as not only was he involved in the car industry, but his surname is that of a Japanese motor manufacturer.

Sears

RACHEL: See, I might consider doing the whole mom thing if I could be guaranteed that I could get one just like her [Rory].
LORELAI: Oh you can, you just have to go to Sears.

Sears, Roebuck and Company, usually just known as Sears, is an American chain of department stores founded by Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck in 1892. Originally based at the Sears Tower in Chicago, it began as a mail order company and opened its first retail store in 1925. It was the largest retailer in the US until it was overtaken by Walmart in 1989, and merged with Kmart in 2005.

If Rachel had wanted to go to Sears, there is a store in Manchester, Connecticut, just a few minutes drive north of Hartford.