“Oy with the poodles already”

LORELAI: Huh. You know what I just realized? Oy is the funniest word in the entire world … I mean, think about it. You never hear the word oy and not smile. Impossible. Funny, funny word.

Oy, a Yiddish interjection expressing surprise and dismay. Often combined with vey, an interjection expressing distress or grief, to make oy vey (“oh no, woe is me”, more or less).

With the, a characteristic in Ashkenazi Jewish mode of speech in the US, meaning “in regard to, about, in the manner of”, generally in a disapproving tone to suggest that it’s too much or too often eg “You’re always with the jokes”, “Enough with the new house talk”.

Poodle, a curly-coated game dog which probably originated in Germany, first bred to retrieve wildfowl from water after hunting. It’s German name Pudel means “splash”, and it’s related to the English word puddle.

Already, a characteristic in Ashkenazi Jewish mode of speech in the US. At the end of a sentence, it expresses a frustrated impatience with a situation which should have been dealt with long ago eg “Will you two stop fighting and get a divorce already?”.

So Lorelai’s catchphrase means (roughly translated), “Oh no, there is a surfeit of poodles – this situation needs to be dealt with immediately, as it should have been rectified a long time ago!”.

Fans are divided as to whether Lorelai’s off-the-cuff catchphrase is actually funny. It’s certainly very Jewish.

“Hey, is Jackson in the house?”

LORELAI: Hey, is Jackson in the house? Let me hear you say “unh”.

JACKSON: Unh.

“Jerome is in the house” is a catchphrase from the sitcom Martin (1992-1997), starring comedian Martin Lawrence in the title role as a free-spirited radio DJ in Detroit, and also as a host of supporting characters, including his own mother Edna, an annoying neighbourhood child named Roscoe, and a stereotypical white surfer-redneck named Bob (performed in whiteface with a blond wig).

Jerome was another of Lawrence’s characters, a loudmouth, once-flashy, now aging pimp who runs an illegal casino and sports a gold tooth. His signature spiel and personal theme song was, “Ooh, I say, Jerome is in the house … I say, watch your mouth!”. The catchphrase “in the house” quickly became highly popular.

Martin won numerous awards and was one of the highest-rated shows on the Fox Network at the time. It went into syndication, and is still on cable television and streaming services.

“I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”

[Jackson moans]

LORELAI: Now say, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”.

A reference to a 1970 Alka-Seltzer commercial, shown on television. It shows a newly-wed couple (played by Alice Playten and Terry Kiser) in the bedroom where the wife has served her husband a giant dumpling. The husband says, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!”, which becomes the commercial’s tagline. He quickly and secretly takes some Alka-Seltzer antacids so his wife won’t know how indigestible her cooking is.

The commercial was created by Howie Cohen, who was inspired by a real life incident where he ate everything he was given at a photo shoot out of politeness. When he said to his wife, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”, she replied, “There’s your next Alka-Seltzer commercial”.

The commercial won a CLIO Award, and its tagline quickly became a popular catchphrase.

One of Terry Kiser’s acting roles was playing comedian Vic Hitler in the television series Hill Street Blues. Vic was known as “Vic the Narcoleptic Comic”, which seems a bit similar to Jackson being “Narcoleptic Nate”. Lorelai nicknamed Dean “Narcolepsy Boy” after he fell asleep with Rory at Miss Patty’s, so it seems like an insult she likes to dish out.

“Hold an envelope up to your head”

RICHARD: No, no, they’ve already hung up. [phone stops ringing]

LORELAI: Okay, next time hold an envelope up to your head before you do that.

Lorelai refers to Carnac the Magnificent, a comedy role played by Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, previously discussed. Carnac the Magnificent, dressed in a feathered turban and a cape, was a “mystic from the East”. When a sealed envelope with an unseen question was placed against his forehead, he would pretend to psychically give the question to that answer.

The humour would come from an unexpected question which followed a seemingly straightforward answer. For example, Carnac would give the answer, “Sis boom bah”, and the question would be, “Describe the sound made when a sheep explodes”.

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.

Buster Keaton

PARIS: Did you see the brilliant hose hook idea over at table five? A hook on your belt for your garden hose. There’s a Buster Keaton routine waiting to happen.

Joseph “Buster” Keaton (1895-1966), actor, comedian, and filmmaker. He is best known for his silent films of the 1920s, in which his trademark was performing comedy stunts with a stoic, deadpan expression – his stunts were so physical he once broke his neck without noticing. The General (1926) is regarded as his masterpiece [pictured]. Keaton received an Academy Honorary Award in 1959.

Jerry Lewis in “The Diner Guy”

LUKE: Yeah, I can’t serve and be on the phone.

LORELAI: But your reenactment of Jerry Lewis in The Diner Guy is gonna wow the critics.

Jerry Lewis, born Joseph Levitch (1926-2017), comedian, director, actor, screenwriter, singer, humanitarian and producer. Nicknamed “The King of Comedy”, Lewis is regarded as one of the most significant American cultural figures of the 20th century, was widely known for his “kid” and “idiot” persona and his contributions to comedy and charity, making him a global figure in popular culture over an eight-decade career. He debuted professionally in 1946 working with Dean Martin as Martin and Lewis, and they performed together until 1956.

Although Jerry Lewis never did a film called The Diner Guy, several of his films had titles such as The Geisha Boy, The Ladies Man, and The Errand Boy, so The Diner Guy would actually fit right in.

Mel Brooks

LORELAI: What do you mean, why? The 2000 Year Old Man, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie – you don’t think Mel has earned the right to have his face on my butt?

Mel Brooks (born Melvin Kaminsky in 1926), actor, comedian, and film-maker, with a career spanning over seven decades. He is known as the creator of broad farces and parodies, considered some of the greatest comedy films ever made, and was one of the most successful film directors of the 1970s. As well as winning an Emmy, a Grammy, and an Oscar, in 2001 he won a Tony Award for The Producers, previously discussed. He has been awarded a Kennedy Center Honor, a Hollywood Walk of Fame star, an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, a British Film Institute Fellowship, a National Medal of Arts, and a BAFTA Fellowship.

The 2000 Year Old Man is a comedy sketch created by Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks in the 1950s and first publicly performed in the 1960s. Brooks plays a 2000-year-old man, interviewed by Reiner in a series of comedy routines that were turned into a collection of records and also performed on television.

Young Frankenstein, 1974 comedy horror film directed by Mel Brooks, and co-written by he and Gene Wilder, who stars in the title role. It’s a parody of the various classic horror film adaptations of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, Frankenstein, in particular, the 1931 film version. Young Frankenstein was the #3 film of 1974 and received critical acclaim. It is considered one of the funniest comedies ever made, and was later made into a stage musical. Mel Brooks considers it his best, but not his funniest, movie.

Silent Movie, 1976 satirical comedy film co-written, directed, and starring Mel Brooks as a Hollywood director down on his luck. He and his sidekicks, played by Dom DeLuise and Marty Feldman, come up with a plan to make the first silent movie in forty years. The film itself is silent, with intertitles instead of spoken dialogue. The film received positive reviews, and remains highly-regarded.