Worcestershire sauce

LORELAI: But in spite of all that, I was kind of thinking, and you don’t have to, that maybe you could pull yourself away for a second.
LUKE: Ah, well I …
LORELAI: I mean, you know, finish the ketchup tonight, but maybe leave the Worcestershire sauce for tomorrow.

Worcestershire sauce, often just called Worcester sauce, is a fermented liquid condiment first created in the 1830s by English chemists John Lea and William Perrins, who went on to form the company Lea & Perrins, with the sauce first being sold to the public in 1838. Similar fermented anchovy sauces had been made since the 18th century in England, and fermented fish sauces go back to the Roman Empire. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce is now owned by Heinz, and other companies make it as well.

Non-Americans may be bemused by Lorelai’s pronunciation of the sauce’s name, as she says each syllable phonetically: war-SESS-ter-shy-er sauce, rather than the more usual WOOS-tuh-sheer sauce, or just WOOS-tuh sauce.

“Just as infatuated”

MAX: Will you still want me when I get back?
LORELAI: I think there’s a very good possibility that I will be just as infatuated with you then as I am now.

Max’s asking if Lorelai will still want when he returns from Toronto is a reminder of the song Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree, earlier discussed. It’s noteworthy that Lorelai still hasn’t told Max that she loves him, just as she admitted to Rory that she couldn’t say “I love you”, even as she urged Rory to say it to Dean. Here she only says she is “infatuated” with him, suggesting an intense but short-lived passion. Again, Max fails to pick up on this red flag.

“Every gift so far has been for you”

MAX: I don’t know if you’ve realised, but every gift so far has been for you.
LORELAI: Yes, well, in this town, I am the queen. You are simply my jester.
MAX: A position I happily accept.

For reasons which are not made entirely clear, Lorelai Gilmore is the queen bee of Stars Hollow, and has an almost celebrity status in the town. You can see that all the gifts are extremely girly, such as a matching Hello Kitty waffle iron, toaster, kettle, and lamp, floral chinaware, and lavender lamps. They are the kind of gifts you might give a young girl, rather than a mature woman who is already a mother, and about to be married. Max is almost superfluous at his own engagement party.

Lorelai does not say that Max will be her king, or stand beside her as her equal. She is making it clear that she is the boss in this relationship, and that Max is just there for her amusement. It doesn’t sound like a good basis for a marriage, and for Max to “happily accept” it is a warning that he’s either delusional or doesn’t take her seriously. Big mistake.

“I will not be ignored”

RORY: Time is ticking.
LORELAI (imitating Dean): “Rory, I love you, Rory. Rory, I will not be ignored, Rory…”
RORY: Leave.

Lorelai is slightly misquoting from the 1987 thriller film Fatal Attraction, directed by Adrian Lyne, and written by James Dearden, based on his short film Diversion. The film is about a married man named Dan (Michael Douglas) who has a brief affair with a woman named Alex (Glenn Close). Alex becomes obsessed, and stalks Dan and his family.

At one point, Dan confronts Alex at her apartment, and they end up in a physical altercation. Alex says to him, “Well, what am I supposed to do? You won’t answer my calls, you change your number. I mean, I’m not gonna be ignored, Dan!”

Fatal Attraction was a massive box-office hit, the #2 film of 1987 in the US, and the #1 film world-wide, leading to more psychological thrillers being made in the 1980s and ’90s. It received fairly good reviews, and much discussion around feminist and mental health issues.

It is notable that Alex’s surname is Forrest – very similar to Dean’s surname of Forester, as yet another hint of Dean’s obsessive stalker tendencies.

Lane’s Korean Name

Lane tells Rory her “Korean name” – it is unclear whether this is her legal name, and Lane is a name to be used among English-speakers, or whether Lane is her legal name, and her Korean name is a middle name given to help preserve her culture, and to be used when she is among people of Korean heritage. I suspect the latter.

The teletext says that Lane’s Korean name is Hyung-Hyung, which is highly improbable. Hyung is not a Korean name, but a title of respect given to address a male, literally meaning “older brother”. The Kims would have been completely nutty to choose that as Lane’s Korean name, and if done deliberately, must be a joke by the scriptwriter (Amy Sherman-Palladino).

It is possible that Lane actually says her Korean name is Hyun-Kyung, which can be translated as “virtuous respect”. It’s a reasonably common Korean name for girls, and there are several famous women with the name.

(Lane seems to have bought two lava lamps from Andrew’s bookstore, Stars Hollow Books).

“A study on rats”

MICHEL: I am weighing my turkey.
MICHEL: A group of scientists did a study on rats where they cut their daily calories by thirty percent.
SOOKIE: And you felt left out?
MICHEL: No, the rats lived thirty percent longer. And the scientists were so impressed that they cut their own calories just like the rats.

Michel is referring to a famous and oft-cited 1934 study, which found that when scientists cut the calories of mice by 30-40% but still gave them all the nutrients they needed, they lived longer than expected – sometimes twice as long as the expected lifespan.

It has been difficult to prove conclusively that this works on humans also, and sometimes it doesn’t even work on mice – the mice have to be young and well-fed to begin with for the calorie reduction to be of any use. Older and leaner mice died earlier than expected when on a calorie-restricted diet (which doesn’t seem like good news for Michel, who isn’t all that young, and already slim). Furthermore, mice on a calorie-restricted diet can find it harder to fight infections.

Since 1997, The Calorie Restriction Society has been collecting data on its 900 human members who are on calorie-restricted diets, but it may be decades before a definitive answer is reached. However, a 2012 study on monkeys found no difference in lifespan between subjects who ate a normal healthy diet and those who ate a calorie-restricted healthy diet.

It’s notable that Michel is eating turkey, since in the Pilot episode he said he didn’t eat meat. Possibly that was a dietary fad, or perhaps he only considers red meat to be “meat”.

Luke Hears Lorelai’s News

With great trepidation because everyone has made it seem like such a big deal, Lorelai tells Luke that Max proposed to her. He has already guessed (or heard it on the Stars Hollow grapevine), and deliberately behaves in a nonchalant manner.

She is already taken aback, when he begins questioning her about what her plans for married life with Max are. Of course she doesn’t have any – she hasn’t even decided whether to marry Max or not, let alone thought about the reality of it.

Luke’s questions, which are quite rude and intrusive, have the effect of making Lorelai realise in a panic that she and Max haven’t had even one conversation about where they will live as a married couple, whether Max expects Lorelai to keep working, if they plan of having children together, or even how they will manage their joint finances.

Incidentally in this scene, you can get a good look at the coffee brand that Luke uses in the diner. It’s Hills Bros. Coffee, a brand from San Francisco sold since the early twentieth century. It was owned by Sara Lee in 2001, and is now owned by Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA.

Hills Bros claim their coffee has a bold, smooth flavour, but reviews for it tend to say it smells better than it tastes, and is generally pretty mediocre, although very strong and good value for money. Somehow Luke manages to make this average, budget-wise coffee taste amazing – which is quite a feat for someone who doesn’t drink coffee and doesn’t approve of it. Perhaps Lorelai and Rory aren’t as fussy about coffee as they think they are, or they are heavily biased by their love for Luke.