Bees

EMILY: How did this [Rory’s fractured wrist] happen?

LORELAI: Bees.

An amusing callback to the previous episode, when Lorelai was trying to think of excuses she could use on her parents to explain why Rory was wearing a cast. All she had come up with was, “Really big bees”. Notice that Rory has a cute bee sticker decoration on her cast, the possible inspiration for this ridiculous lie (or the lie inspired the sticker?).

KC’s Annex

Before leaving for Hartford, Lorelai grabs a burger from a take-out place that is just a window in a wall, called KC’s Annex. It’s next to an art gallery that I don’t think we ever hear about. The burger is disgusting, according to Lorelai, and she is going to starve to death if Luke doesn’t get back soon (even though Stars Hollow has more food options than is economically plausible!).

This looks like the same take-out window where Lorelai bought fiesta burgers for herself and Max when they were on a date in Stars Hollow. (The menu is identical, and they both have a green window frame in a red brick wall). It might be where Lorelai and Rory buy their hotdogs, fries, and thickshakes that they bring to town meetings, as they aren’t from Luke’s.

It seems the food from KC’s is fine, as long as you know Luke’s is available as a regular option. The idea of being stuck eating nothing but KC’s is a horrible one. Lorelai drives past Luke’s, which is still closed, just as a reminder of what she is missing.

Hava Nagila

The song which plays when the rabbi doll is moved so Rory can get pizza money.

Hava Nagila is a modern Jewish folk song traditionally sung at Jewish celebrations. It was composed in 1918 to celebrate the Balfour Declaration and the British victory over the Ottomans in 1917; there are competing claims over who wrote the simple lyrics, but the tune is a traditional Hasidic religious song. Hava Nagila translates as “Let us rejoice”, and the song is all about being happy.

Notice that the photo from Rory’s sixteenth birthday party is across from the rabbi doll with nodding head, and just behind it is the monkey lamp that Lorelai swapped for Baccarat candlesticks she received as a gift from Emily.

Rory’s Letter to Dean

DEAN: What happened? What’d you do to your arm?

RORY: [hands him an envelope] Here.

DEAN: What is this?

RORY: Just read it.

Rory waits for Dean to come home from Chicago that evening, sitting on the porch, in a mirror image of when Dean waited fruitlessly for Rory to come home from Friday Night Dinner. When his dad brings Dean home, presumably from the airport, Rory hands him a letter where she has written down what happened to the car.

It’s a quick way to avoid lots of superfluous dialogue, but it makes Rory look a little cowardly that she couldn’t talk to Dean directly. Are we meant to think that she was too scared to talk to Dean, or that she didn’t feel confident Dean would listen to her all the way through?

Dean does read the letter all the way through, while yelling and kicking a duffle bag, which seems a bit threatening. However, once he is assured that Jess has really and truly left town, he just asks Rory to join he and his family for dinner. Later they watch TV with Dean’s sister, Clara.

It seems odd that Dean doesn’t have any other questions or comments about the accident or about the car – he seems to think the only thing wrong with his relationship with Rory was Jess, and now he’s gone, they can get back to normal.

Rory didn’t seem to have met Dean’s family in the first six months or so of them dating, but she is obviously very familiar with them now.

The Contessa and the House Wench with the Talking Mice

LORELAI: And over here you have a tiny but annoying bell in case there’s something here that you need but you don’t have and you want to summon the common but lovely house wench who will promptly leave her talking mice and come to fetch the Contessa whatever she may require.

Lorelai compares Rory to The Barefoot Contessa, a 1954 drama film written and directed by Joseph F. Mankiewicz about the life and loves of a Spanish sex symbol named Maria Vargas, who is known as “the Barefoot Contessa”. Ava Gardner plays the title role as the glamorous Contessa. The film received mixed reviews, but made a big impact on popular culture.

Presumably Lorelai means that Rory, being in bed, has bare feet, yet will be waited on hand and foot like a great lady. Interestingly, the film has a major plot around infidelity and a love triangle, like that between Rory, Dean, and Jess. Like so many of these references, it ends in violence.

Lorelai compares herself to Cinderella, previously discussed. In the 1950 film, Cinderella is friends with a number of talking mice. Lorelai is saying that she is Rory’s humble servant and will get her anything she needs, just as Cinderella slaved away in the kitchen.

Lorelai behaves absolutely absurdly towards Rory. She has the most minor of injuries, and yet Lorelai acts as if she has two broken legs, at the very least. She not only gives Rory a bell to call her with, as if Rory is crippled, but actually sleeps in Rory’s room.

Why? Is she worried Rory will die in the night without her there, or does she think Rory needs help to go to the toilet with a cast on her wrist? It’s a callback to the years mother and daughter spent sharing a bed, their boundaries completely merged.

It’s almost as if Lorelai thinks she can justify her over-the-top demonisation of Jess by acting as if he has done terrible injury to Rory. She is also trying to make up for her failure to “protect” Rory from Jess by overcompensating now, when it is too late.

Lorelai’s instinct is always to smother Rory when she feels their relationship is threatened; whether this is good for Rory or not is never questioned. Her fussing over a barely injured Rory seems like confirmation that Jess was right – Rory is not cut out for the tough life of a foreign correspondent.

(Note that Rory has a Powerpuff Girls glass next to the bed, a callback to when Lorelai said they were going to buy some. Although they didn’t buy them that day, it’s confirmed they did eventually make the purchase).

Rory’s CDs

Stan Frerberg

Stan Frerbeg (1926-2015), actor, comedian, musician, puppeteer, and radio personality. He was one of the talents recruited by Capitol Records in 1951 for their spoken word division, doing satirical recordings about popular culture. He also did musical parodies of popular songs.

Rory’s CD might be The Stan Frerberg Show: Direct from the Famous CBS Broadcasts, which was released as a four-disc box set on CD in 1997, published by Smithsonian Historical Performances. The other possibility is that it is The United States of America Volume 2, The Middle Years, comedy sketches based on figures from American history, released on CD by Rhino in 1996.

Ash

Ash, Northern Irish rock band formed in 1989 by vocalist and guitarist Tim Wheeler, bassist Mark Hamilton, and drummer Rick MacMurray. Their first full-length album was released in 1996, and titled 1977 [pictured]; it is regarded by NME as one of the greatest albums of all time.

Their song “Girl from Mars” from the album has already been used in Gilmore Girls, appearing at the end of the episode “Nick and Nora, Sid and Nancy” to illuminate Jess’ attraction to Rory. It’s a little sign that Jess and Rory might share a favourite band, or that Jess might have got Rory interested in the band. It’s also a callback to the moment that Rory and Jess first made a real connection with each other.

Sinéad O’Connor

Sinéad O’Connor, now named Shuhada Sadaqat (born 1966), Irish singer-songwriter. Her 1987 debut album, The Lion and the Cobra, charted internationally, while her 1990 second album, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, received glowing reviews and was her most successful album – the lead single, “Nothing Compares 2 U” (written by Prince) was the #1 song of 1990.

O’Connor has released ten studio albums, many of them going gold in the UK or US. Her most most recent album at this point was Faith and Courage, released in 2000. It received positive reviews and was a commercial success.

“I love the blue collar work”

KIRK: Don’t get me wrong, I love the blue collar work. I enjoy the plight of the everyman. But as much as the mail letter delivered and the DSL line installed and the latest J. Lo flick rented fills me with a deep sense of pride …

Although something of an inside joke, this does provide confirmation that the “Mick” who was going to install a DSL line for Lorelai was in fact Kirk. Perhaps he got the job using a fake name, or stole/was given someone else’s name tag?

It also confirms that Kirk is doing all his jobs simultaneously, as he refers to delivering mail, installing DSL lines, and working at the video store as all jobs he is currently doing. Although he mentions it now, we don’t see Kirk working as a mailman until a later season.

Reasons Jess is Going to Fail Junior Year

His grades are poor

He doesn’t do homework

He doesn’t participate in class

His attendance record is erratic

His attitude to teachers ranges from indifference to hostility

He shows no interest in school activities or fellow students

He stole all the baseballs

Principal Merton only tells Luke about all these issues one month before the end of semester! I don’t think it’s just Jess who’s been indifferent to his teachers – they sound like they’ve been indifferent to him as well. It’s almost as if the school has just been waiting for Jess to fail, rather than intervening to help or trying to engage with him – or talking to Luke about all these problems a lot earlier.

Schools really are quite useless in Gilmore Girls. Even if Jess was a model student for the next month, surely that wouldn’t be enough for him to pass, considering he’s had an entire year of doing nothing?

By the way, notice that Principal Merton’s observation that Jess isn’t interested in social activities or making friends at school is very similar to the criticism Mrs Verdinas had of Rory not socialising at Chilton. One might be failing while the other is maintaining a straight A average, but Rory and Jess have more in common academically than people think.