Garfield

LUKE: Read your note … It was very well-written … I also enjoyed the Garfield stationery. That’s one funny cat.

Garfield, a comic strip created by Jim Davis featuring a lazy, fat, cynical orange tabby cat named Garfield, noted for his love of lasagne, coffee, and sleeping. Originally published as Jon (the name of Garfield’s owner) in 1976, it was syndicated nationally from 1978. It holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most syndicated comic strip, being published in more than 2000 newspapers and journals.

Garfield has been turned into comic books, TV shows, films, and video games, and been used for merchandise (such as the stationery) which earns up to $1 billion per year.

“Angry girl for an angry arm”

LANE: Okay. Here – angry girl for an angry arm.

RORY: Oh, cool! Thank you.

LANE: You’re welcome. [Lane puts a sticker on Rory’s cast]

The sticker Lane puts on Rory’s cast is one of Emily the Strange, a fictional character from graphic novels, comic books, and merchandise. She is a Gothic little girl with long black hair, a short black dress, and white Mary Jane shoes.

Often accompanied by four black cats, Emily is frequently depicted with crossed arms or her hands on her hips, and has cynical sayings such as “Get lost”, or “Glad you’re not here”. The sticker Lane gives Rory says, “I want you to leave me alone” – possibly the message Lane wants Rory to send to Jess.

Emily the Strange was created in 1991 by Rob Reger for his company Cosmic Debris Etc Inc, in San Francisco, and designed by Nathan Carrico for Santa Cruz Skateboards. The first Emily the Strange graphic novella was released in 2001, the year previous to this episode.

Emily the Strange bears a marked resemblance to a character named Rosamund from the 1978 children’s book Nate the Great Goes Undercover by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, but after several years of protracted legal wrangling, both sides resolved their differences.

Mac and Tosh

LORELAI: We certainly are entertaining, Mac.

RORY: Indubitably, Tosh.

Mac and Tosh are the names of the two Goofy Gophers in the Warner Bros cartoons, created by Bob Clampett, and originally appearing in the 1947 short film The Goofy Gophers. The cartoon features the two gophers making frequent raids on a vegetable garden while tormenting the guard dog. They both speak in high-pitched stereotypical upper-class British accents.

They may have been intended as a spoof on the Disney chipmunk characters, Chip ‘n’ Dale, and their mannerisms and speech were patterned after the 1900s comic strip characters Alphonse and Gaston, drawn by pioneering cartoonist Frederick Burr Opper, where the jokes came from the ridiculous over-politeness of the French characters as they got on with each task. Another suggestion is that they were influenced by the British film Great Expectations, based on the Dickens novel, which was released in 1946, the year before the Goofy Gophers were created.

The pair’s dialogue is peppered with such over-politeness as “Indubitably!”, “You first, my dear,” and, “But, no, no, no. It must be you who goes first!”. They also tend to quote Shakespeare and use humorously long words.

The gophers only received names in a 1961 episode of the TV show, The Bugs Bunny Show – an obvious pun on the word mackintosh, meaning a raincoat.

Beanie with a Propeller

RORY: How much older could [Paul] possibly look?
LORELAI: A lot! He’s usually a little scruffy, and then the baseball cap hides the funky hair thing.
RORY: He should’ve been holding a yo-yo and a lollipop and wearing a beanie with a propeller on it.

Rory is describing a stereotypical little boy as depicted by cartoonists in the 1960s and ’70s in particular, although it’s never quite gone away.

The helicopter beanie comes from the 1962 animated television show Beany and Cecil, based on the puppet show Time For Beany (1949-1955). Beany was a cherubic-faced blonde boy who wore a cap with a propeller on it that allowed him to fly, and as a result, similar caps became popular marketing novelties. Beany and Cecil had a revival in 1988, The New Adventures of Beany and Cecil, by the same people who made Ren and Stimpy.

Rory and the rest of the town tease Lorelai mercilessly for dating someone who is, at most, ten years younger than she is. Fans often say they wouldn’t have teased her for dating someone ten years older, which I think is correct, except in the case of Luke. He told her Ian Jack, the Chilton dad, was “too old” for her, and the actor playing him is ten years older than the age Lorelai is supposed to be. As Luke never even saw Ian, I’m pretty sure he would have objected to him whatever his age!

“In heels, yet”

LORELAI: Yes, I have. I’ve also done the ‘chip on my shoulder’ bit. Ooh, and the surly, sarcastic, ‘the world can bite my ass’ bit, and let me tell you, I mastered them all, in heels yet.

Lorelai is referencing a famous saying about Ginger Rogers, who was Fred Astaire’s dancing partner in many musical films: “Sure [Fred Astaire] was great, but dont forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did … backwards and in high heels”. If it did not originate with him, it was at least popularised by Bob Thaves in a 1982 Frank & Ernest cartoon.

The quote is used to imply that women often have to work harder than men to gain a similar recognition, or have to do so while maintaining a “feminine” image which requires a lot of discipline and upkeep.

In this context, it doesn’t quite make sense, unless Lorelai thinks that being a snotty ungrateful teenager counts as some sort of “work” that gets you somewhere in life, and which is made harder for girls than boys.

Yogi Berra

LORELAI: [giggle] Good one … Baseball the size of a cantaloupe … ‘Cause a baseball can only be one size, so it’s a Yogi Berra type thing.
SOOKIE: Yogi Bear?

Lawrence “Yogi” Berra (1925-2015) was an American professional baseball catcher who later became a manager and coach. He played 19 seasons of Major League Baseball between 1946 and 1965, nearly all of them with the New York Yankees. Berra was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, and is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

Yogi Berra was known for his malapropisms, paradoxical statements, and seemingly unintentional witticisms, known as Yogi-isms. Yogi’s nickname came from a friend thinking that the way he sat with his legs crossed made him look like an Indian yogi.

Sookie mixes him up with cartoon character Yogi Bear, previously discussed. Yogi Berra sued Hanna-Barbera for use of his name, but they claimed the similarity of names was a coincidence. Berra withdrew his suit, although Hanna-Barbera’s defense was considered implausible.

“Blah blah blah Ginger”

RORY: You’ve never tried [to talk to Emily].
LORELAI: Oh no, that’s not true. I have tried. I have tried my whole life. But my mother and I, we speak a different language. I talk, I think I’m being clear, and all she hears is “Blah blah blah Ginger.”

Lorelai is referring to a cartoon from Gary Larson’s The Far Side comic series. It shows a man scolding his dog Ginger, thinking that he is giving him very detailed instructions on what not to do, but all the dog can understand is, “Blah blah Ginger blah blah blah blah Ginger blah blah”. (For dog owners – it’s just a cartoon, of course dogs can understand more than their own name).

The Far Side ran from 1980 to 1995 and was syndicated to over 1900 newspapers worldwide. The quirky cartoons were also collected into a series of books, made into calendars, and printed on greeting cards, mugs, and tee shirts, so they were extremely well known. The “Blah blah Ginger” one seemed to be especially popular as a greeting card, and Lorelai may even have received it, or bought it for others.

(There was a cat counterpart to Blah Blah Ginger, where the cat didn’t listen to a single word, not even recognising its own name or hearing “blah blah” – the speech balloon was a total blank).

Happy dance

RORY: I just thought if she saw how we lived, and how pretty it was with the lake and the swans …
LORELAI: That she’d do a happy dance?

In slang terms, a “happy dance” is any spontaneous dance done in celebration, or in order to gloat at personal success.

It’s especially known from the Peanuts cartoons by Charles M. Schulz, where Snoopy does an excited happy dance whenever Charlie Brown brings him food. This may have been part of Lorelai and Chris’ performance when they sang Suppertime, from the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.