“Does she ever sleep?”

RORY: Paris wants the first issue back to be a double issue, so we have to prep over break and she says the news never sleeps.
LORELAI: What about Paris, does she ever sleep?
RORY: I think she periodically makes a whirring noise and then just shuts down.

Paris is an extremely hard-working, driven, and passionate editor of the school newspaper – and she doesn’t even want to be a journalist. It would be nice to see Rory show some of this enthusiasm for her chosen future profession. Without Paris, how much would Rory even care about the paper?

I think it’s meant to show us that Paris is an overly demanding lunatic with no life, while Rory is rational and relaxed about life-work balance. However, it just makes it seem as if Rory isn’t that interested, and is willing to let Paris set the pace for her.

“You might want to hold a phone up to your face”

RORY: I think act three is starting up.

LANE: Henry’s act. Um, how do I look?
RORY: You might want to hold a phone up to your face so he’ll recognize you.
LANE: Okay. [walks away]

Quite a bitchy comment to your best friend from “the sweetest kid in the world“. I think we can now assume that Rory has had enough and isn’t going to be helping Lane and Henry any more.

Powerpuff Girls

LORELAI: All right, that’s it. This afternoon we are going to engage in some intensive retail therapy to bring you out of this funk.
RORY: No thanks.
LORELAI: I mean it. Today is the day we finally spring for the Powerpuff Girls shot glasses.

The Powerpuff Girls is an animated television series on the Cartoon Network about three kindergarten-aged girls with superpowers named Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup. The girls live in the fictional city of Townsville with their father and creator, Professor Utonium.

The plot of each episode is a humorous take on superhero shows, with the girls having to defend their city from villains and monsters, while also dealing with typical little kid issues, like loose teeth and bedwetting. The original series was broacast from 1998 to 2005, but had various specials, a movie, and a range of spin-off media.

Episodes often contain hidden references to older popular culture, with sly tributes and parodies, and has been praised as both pop culture and high art, suitable for small children and adults. You can see why Lorelai and Rory love it.

The Powerpuff Girls have a wide range of merchandise, and you can indeed buy Powerpuff Girls shot glasses.

Monster Truck Rallies

LORELAI: Maybe Dean won’t even come tonight.
RORY: Oh, he’ll be there. There aren’t enough monster truck rallies in the world to keep him away from Miss Patty’s tonight.

A monster truck is a specially modified truck for competition and entertainment, given heavy duty suspension, four-wheel drive, and oversized tyres. Monster trucks developed in the late 1970s, and by the early 1980s were popular side acts at motocross events. Today monster trucks take centre stage at rallies, usually having races and stunt driving. In real life, there are regular monster truck rallies in Hartford and Bridgeport, so Dean wouldn’t have any trouble getting to one.

Somehow Dean has devolved from being a big city boy who liked classic films, Hunter S. Thompson, and Nick Drake into a country boy who likes BattleBots and monster truck rallies. How did he go from seeming pretty perfect for Rory into someone we barely recognise?

“I don’t want anything to mess that up”

RORY: Look, things are really good for me and Dean right now, and I don’t want anything to mess that up. Especially not something that meant nothing at all to me and I wished had never happened in the first place.

Ouch. That genuinely hurt. If Tristan wasn’t already hellbent on making things difficult for Rory and Dean, I think that definitely sealed the deal.

I don’t think Rory is being entirely truthful that her kiss with Tristan meant nothing at all – it brought up so much emotion that she cried and was able to begin grieving the loss of her relationship. But that would be an incredibly awkward conversation to have, might be more insulting than what she actually said, and not really helpful in setting boundaries with Tristan.

(I don’t think she’s correct that things are “really good” with Dean either – he’s jealous and controlling, she’s scared to be honest with him because of how he’ll react, they have few interests in common, they have different values, she’s slowly becoming intrigued by another boy. But she’s not being dishonest, she just doesn’t have the experience or perspective to see these things for herself).

Ab Fab

LORELAI: He’s never seen Ab Fab.
RORY: Definitely not a soulmate.

Absolutely Fabulous (often called Ab Fab) is a British television sitcom starring Jennifer Saunders as Edina “Eddy” Monsoon, a heavy-drinking PR agent who spends all her time chasing the latest hip fad, and Joanna Lumley as her best friend Patsy Stone, a fashion editor whose drug abuse, alcohol consumption and promiscuity are at almost life-threatening proportions. Eddy’s studious daughter Saffron “Saffy”, played by Julia Sawalha, is the sensible one who tries to rein in her wayward mother’s worst excesses, taking on the parent role in their relationship.

The first three series were broadcast on the BBC in the UK from 1992 to 1994, with a special in 1996. In the US, it premiered in 1994 on Comedy Central. After receiving critical acclaim and being named one of the greatest British sitcoms of all time in 2000, it was revived in 2001 – Lorelai may have become a fan quite recently. It was shown on the Oxygen Network, which might be how she watched it, and became a cult hit in the US.

The revival continued until 2004, with a twentieth anniversary series of specials in 2011-2012. Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie was released in 2016.

Absolutely Fabulous‘ demographic was, broadly speaking, gay men and straight women over 35, so it’s hardly surprising that Paul has never seen it. I think it’s unrealistic to expect her “soulmate” to be a fan of the show.

The mother-daughter relationship between Eddy and Saffy is an exaggerated version of that between Lorelai and Rory, and Eddy’s outrageous outfits sometimes aren’t much worse than a few of Lorelai’s more questionable fashion choices. I think this would have been a show Lorelai and Rory would have enjoyed watching together, seeing something of themselves in the characters. Perhaps Rory is Lorelai’s true soulmate.

“I’ve grown fond of my cage”

RORY: So I’m guessing that you’re not any closer to telling your parents about Henry.
LANE: I mean, what are the options if I tell them? They hate him, and it’s over. They love him, and he therefore becomes odious to me and it’s over. Things are working out fine the way they are.
RORY: You mean calling him Rory on the phone in case your mom’s listening?
LANE: I’ve grown fond of my cage, Rory.

Caught in between the choice to either be forced to break up with Henry, or have her parents approve him so that she loses all interest, Lane has made the choice to maintain a tenuous connection with Henry based on phone calls. The little that Rory has been asked to do to help Lane and Henry is already irritating her, most likely because she can’t see any end in sight.

Lane is aware that she has created the situation out of fear – not so much that she’s fond of her cage, as that she’s scared of going outside it. Rory knows Lane’s background and situation, and could be a bit more understanding, but her patience has clearly run out.

Destiny’s Child

SOOKIE: Swear. Raise your right hand and say, ‘May Destiny’s Child break up if I count these blueberries.’
MICHEL: Pick another group.

Destiny’s Child, a girl group founded in Texas in 1990 under the name Girl’s Tyme, with a final and best-known line-up of Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams. They signed to Columbia in 1997 under the name Destiny’s Child, and gained mainstream recognition with the release of their hit song, No, No, No, and their 1999 best-selling album, The Writing’s On the Wall. Their most recent album at this stage was Survivor, which came out in April 2001, apart from their Christmas album in October of that year.

The reason Michel might be particularly concerned that Destiny’s Child could break up is because the band announced they were going on hiatus to pursue solo careers in 2001. They reunited in 2004 for their fourth and final album, Destiny Fulfilled. After their 2005 tour, the group did indeed break up.

Somehow Michel is more worried about eating one or two extra blueberries on his pancakes because of the calories than he is with eating actual pancakes! Michel’s relationship with food is even unhealthier that Lorelai and Rory’s, and is certainly weirder.

Brad Langford (Adam Wylie)

BRAD: I’m Brad. From the third period Shakespeare.
LOUISE: He’s the answer to our lack of boys problem. Isn’t that swell?

This is the first time we meet Rory’s schoolmate Brad Langford, played by Adam Wylie. Although uncredited for this episode, Wylie was already an experienced actor with a lengthy CV. Brad was a gentle soul who lived in terror of Paris, and seemed to get along fairly well with Rory.

Brad is roped in to provide a male character for their group project, even though he tends to throw up from nerves when speaking in public. This leaves the role of Romeo open for Tristan.