“Dressed in a clown suit”

PARIS: I tried to stay home and study myself but I can’t. I don’t know what anything means anymore. I mean, I can’t even read my own handwriting. What does this say? The person who wrote this should be dressed in a clown suit, stuffing bodies under their porch.

Paris is referencing John Wayne Gacy (1942-1994), serial killer and sex offender who assaulted and murdered at least 33 boys and young men. Gacy regularly performed at children’s hospitals and charitable events as “Pogo the Clown” or “Patches the Clown”, personas he had devised. He became known as the “Killer Clown” due to his public services as a clown prior to the discovery of his crimes. He buried most of his victims beneath his house, usually in the crawl space.

His conviction for thirty-three murders (by one individual) then covered the most homicides in US legal history. Gacy was sentenced to death in 1980, and executed by lethal injection in 1994.

Paris talks about her work as if it looks as if it was done by a mental case, but although he pleaded insanity, John Wayne Gacy was deemed to be sane and in complete control of his faculties when he committed his crimes.

(This is yet another mention of clowns on Gilmore Girls).

[Picture shows John Wayne Gacy dressed as a clown].

Floating Craps Game

LORELAI: Rory, you have to do something bad when Mommy’s out of town … . how about a floating craps game or something?

Craps is a dice game where players wage bets based on the outcome of rolling a pair of dice. A “floating craps game” is an illegal operation, so called because operators use portable tables and equipment to quickly move the game’s location, thus staying ahead of legal authorities. The 1950 musical Guys and Dolls features a floating craps game.


LUKE: And even if he does stay, it’ll be only for another year, and then he’ll go off to college or Attica or whatever, and it’ll just be me again.

Attica Correctional Facility, a maximum security state prison located in the town of Attica, New York. Constructed in the 1930s, it has held some of the most dangerous convicts of the times. Prisoners are often here because of disciplinary problems in other institutions.

Some of its past infamous inmates include serial killer David Berkowitz “Son of Sam”, and Mark Chapman, the assassin of John Lennon (both now held elsewhere). Ironically, John Lennon and Yoko Ono released a 1972 song called “Attica State”, lamenting the loss of life in the 1971 Attica State prison riots, as well as the poor living conditions and humans rights abuses in the US prison system. It appears on the album Some Time in New York City.

This is a very harsh comment from Luke about Jess, even as a joke. Before Jess arrived, Luke seemed to think he was nothing more than a slightly wayward teen only in need of a stable home. After six months, he seems to think it’s a toss-up whether Jess will go to college or prison (perhaps under Lorelai’s influence, who was saying that before she even met Jess). In fact, Jess will do neither.

Interestingly, the historic region of Attica in ancient Greece was the location of the city of Athens, a centre for learning and culture during its Golden Age. Jess will end up working in a job where his mind is put to good use. He’ll also live in an American city with a Greek name!


PARIS: The debate’s Friday and we need more preparation.
RORY: More preparation? Paris – no two people know more about assisted suicide than the two of us. Kevorkian called today for a couple of tips.

Murad “Jack” Kevorkian (928-2011), pathologist and euthanasia proponent. He publicly championed a terminally-ill patient’s right to die by doctor-assisted suicide. He said that he assisted at least 130 people to die, many of whom were not terminally ill, and some of whom had no physical ailment at all. He was convicted of murder in 1999, serving eight years in prison, and was released in 2007. The media often dubbed him “Dr. Death”. There was support for his cause, and he helped set the platform for reform to the law.

Dr Dre Ankle Bracelet

RORY: So I guess you’re still grounded over that whole Henry thing, huh?
LANE: Are you kidding? It’s the mother of all groundings. My mom’s done everything but slap a Dr. Dre ankle bracelet on me.

Dr. Dre, professional name of Andre Young (born 1965), rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. He found fame as a member of the gangsta rap group N.W.A., became president of Death Row Records, and brought out a Grammy-winning single “Let It Ride”, from his debut 1992 album, The Chronic. In 1993 he left Death Row Records to establish his own label, Aftermath Entertainment, which signed Eminem, and his most recent album at this point was the 1999 solo album, 2001.

He committed a number of violent crimes in the 1990s. In 1992, he was found guilty of breaking the jaw of aspiring rap producer, Damon Thomas, and placed under electronic house arrest for 90 days with a tagging device around his ankle. He served a further 30 days after pleading guilty to the battery of a police officer during a brawl in a New Orleans hotel lobby. There was another period of house arrest in 1994 after leading police on a 90 mph car chase with a blood alcohol reading double the legal limit.

Amusingly, Dr. Dre brought out a line of highly successful headphones called Beats in 2008, so that Lane’s comment now sounds as if it is referring to a piece of technology made by Dr. Dre, rather than for him.

“Leave the gun, take the cannoli”

RORY: Whack you with a cannoli? Oh, because he left the gun and took the cannoli.

In another scene of The Godfather, a Corleone bodyguard named Clemenza (Richard S. Castellano) is asked to kill Paulie (John Martino), a perceived weak link in the crime family. As Clemenza leaves after performing his task, he tells his accomplice, “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli”. This scene takes place in a car on a deserted road, the cannoli was food packed for the trip.

“The Mafia table”

LORELAI: Hm. Or we could sit in the corner – you know, the Mafia table so that no one can come up behind you and whack you with a cannoli.

A reference to the 1972 film The Godfather, previously and frequently mentioned. There is a famous scene in the film where the young Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) becomes a made man (full member of the crime family) by taking out a rival mob boss and a corrupt chief of police in an Italian restaurant.

Lillian Hellman, The Children’s Hour, and Julia

RORY: You said you wanted to read The Children’s Hour.
RORY: The other night when we were watching Julia, and Jane Fonda was playing Lillian Hellman.

The Children’s Hour, 1934 play by Lillian Hellman. It is set in a girl’s boarding school run by two women, and when an angry student runs away, she tells her grandmother the women are having a lesbian affair to avoid being sent back. This false accusation destroys the women’s careers, relationships, and lives.

The play is based on an incident which occurred in Scotland in the 19th century, which Hellman read about in a 1930 true crime anthology called Bad Companions by William Roughead. The Children’s Hour was a financial and critical success, and was adapted into a film called These Three in 1936, then again under its original title in 1961; both versions were directed by William Wyler.

Julia, 1977 period drama film [pictured] directed by Fred Zinnemann, based on a chapter in 1973 Lillian Hellman’s controversial book Pentimento: A Book of Portraits. It is about Hellman’s alleged friendship with a woman named Julia, who fought against the Nazis prior to World War II. Jane Fonda plays Lillian Hellman, and Vanessa Redgrave is in the role of Julia. An image of the real Lillian Hellman is shown at the end.

Julia performed well at the box office and received generally positive reviews. However, it was felt, with good reason, that the supposedly true story must have been, at best, heavily fictionalised. At the time of her death, Lillian Hellman was still in the process of suing the writer Mary McCarthy for libel after she cast strong doubt on the story’s veracity.

In 1983, New York psychiatrist Muriel Gardiner claimed that she was the person the “Julia” character was based on. Lillian Hellman had never met Gardiner, but had heard about her through a mutual friend, so they couldn’t possibly have had the relationship or adventures together that Hellman had written about. This does seem the most likely explanation, however.

Muriel Gardiner wrote about her anti-Fascist activities in Vienna of the 1930s in a 1983 book, Code Name Mary: Memoirs of an American Woman in the Austrian Underground.

Patricia Krenwinkel

LORELAI: Rory’s my kid and I make the rules, so if she comes home one day and says, ‘Hey, uh, I’m gonna spend the weekend with Patricia Krenwinkle’ and I say, ‘Okay, grab a sweater’, you just have to deal.

Patricia Krenwinkel (born 1947), murderer and member of the Manson Family. She is now the longest-incarcerated female inmate in the Californian penal system. Krenwinkel was on death row in 1971, but in 1972 her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after all death sentences were invalidated prior to that date. She has expressed remorse for her crimes, and is a model prisoner, having received a Bachelor degree in Human Services from the University of La Verne.