KC’s Annex

Before leaving for Hartford, Lorelai grabs a burger from a take-out place that is just a window in a wall, called KC’s Annex. It’s next to an art gallery that I don’t think we ever hear about. The burger is disgusting, according to Lorelai, and she is going to starve to death if Luke doesn’t get back soon (even though Stars Hollow has more food options than is economically plausible!).

This looks like the same take-out window where Lorelai bought fiesta burgers for herself and Max when they were on a date in Stars Hollow. (The menu is identical, and they both have a green window frame in a red brick wall). It might be where Lorelai and Rory buy their hotdogs, fries, and thickshakes that they bring to town meetings, as they aren’t from Luke’s.

It seems the food from KC’s is fine, as long as you know Luke’s is available as a regular option. The idea of being stuck eating nothing but KC’s is a horrible one. Lorelai drives past Luke’s, which is still closed, just as a reminder of what she is missing.

Hava Nagila

The song which plays when the rabbi doll is moved so Rory can get pizza money.

Hava Nagila is a modern Jewish folk song traditionally sung at Jewish celebrations. It was composed in 1918 to celebrate the Balfour Declaration and the British victory over the Ottomans in 1917; there are competing claims over who wrote the simple lyrics, but the tune is a traditional Hasidic religious song. Hava Nagila translates as “Let us rejoice”, and the song is all about being happy.

Notice that the photo from Rory’s sixteenth birthday party is across from the rabbi doll with nodding head, and just behind it is the monkey lamp that Lorelai swapped for Baccarat candlesticks she received as a gift from Emily.

White Lines

This is the song Kirk dances to in his film – Miss Patty did the choreography.

White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It) is a 1983 song by hip hop artist Mel Melle, written by Melle and Sylvia Robinson, and released as a single. On original release, it was credited to Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel, but by that stage Flash and Melle had stopped touring together and were in a legal disagreement.

Originally it was an ironic celebration of the cocaine-fulled party lifestyle, but for commercial reasons was abridged with the “don’t do it” message to warn against the dangers of cocaine. It has an unofficial music video directed by Spike Lee and starring Laurence Fishburne. The song went to #9 on the US Hot Dance Club Play charts, but did best in the UK, where it made #7 on the charts.

Lorelai says that Kirk raps in the film (presumably to the song), but we never hear that happen. Kirk also tells Lorelai he needs to keep the word “damn” in his film to maintain his street cred, but we never hear him say that, either.

A Film By Kirk

Kirk’s short film is reminiscent of a section of the 1977 surrealist horror film Eraserhead, written, directed and produced by David Lynch, previously discussed as Amy Sherman-Palladino’s favourite director. Shot in black and white, it was Lynch’s first feature-length film. Starring Jack Nance in the lead role, it tells the story of a man left to care for his grossly deformed child in a desolate industrial landscape.

Upon release, Eraserhead received negative reviews, being described as “pretentious”, in “sickening bad taste” and “unwatchable”, and opened to small audiences, with little interest shown in it. It gradually gained a cult following as a midnight movie, and today is critically lauded as a film that is both beautiful and nightmarish. It was the favourite film of Stanley Kubrick, and an influence on The Shining.

Note that the poster advertises the film as “A film by David Lynch” – Kirk seems to have used the tagline as the inspiration for his film’s end title.

The other actors in Kirk’s film are Mary Lynn Rajskub and Jon Polito as the girlfriend and the father respectively. Rajskub had been in the sitcom Veronica’s Closet and has since gone on to numerous other shows, such as 24 and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Polito was a veteran actor who worked with the Coen Brothers several times, and appeared in the TV shows Crime and Homicide: Life on the Streets. Neither actor includes Gilmore Girls on their filmography!

If they are supposed to be other people from Stars Hollow helping Kirk out, we never see them again. Perhaps Kirk actually hired professional actors for his film. It doesn’t seem out of character.

Christopher Arrives

Lorelai wakes up to find that after their phone call, Christopher drove to Stars Hollow from Boston and let himself in, falling asleep in a chair next to her. Lorelai wonders if driving interstate in the middle of the night is okay with Sherry, but Christopher deflects this by saying that “Rory comes first”. (Lorelai has no hesitation in throwing herself into the arms of another’s woman’s boyfriend).

Hm, maybe Lorelai should have asked a few more questions! She doesn’t, because she’s so relieved to have someone there to share the parenting with in an emergency, for a change. She even calls Christopher a “superhero”, just for showing up. Lorelai’s excitement over this small effort is a sad indictment of how rock bottom her expectations of Christopher are (and with justification).

In their shared relief that Rory is okay, and mutual hatred of Jess, Lorelai and Christopher easily make up their fight from “It Should’ve Been Lorelai”. Lorelai is very forgiving of Christopher – probably too forgiving.

Terms of Endearment

LORELAI: Hey, do you remember in Terms of Endearment, that scene where Shirley MacLaine is in the hospital and freaks out because they won’t give her daughter a shot? She got that from me and she toned it down a little.

Terms of Endearment, a 1983 family comedy-drama film directed, written and produced by James L. Brooks, and adapted from the 1975 novel of the same name by Larry McMurty. The film covers thirty years of the relationship between Aurora Greenway, played by Shirley MacLaine, and her daughter Emma, played by Debra Winger.

Terms of Endearment received critical acclaim and was the #2 film of 1983. It received five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and a Best Actress Award for Shirley MacLaine.

In the film, Aurora and Emma have a difficult but very close relationship. Emma is diagnosed with a terminal illness, and Aurora stays by Emma’s side throughout her treatment and hospitalisation, proving to be a fierce advocate on her behalf. There is a memorable scene where Aurora screams at a nurse, insisting that her daughter receive a shot (of pain relief) immediately when she felt they were being too slow to administer it.

Note that Lorelai does the same thing Emily did at the hospital when Richard was admitted, even using a movie reference to get her point across.

Car Song

This song plays while Jess and Rory are in the car, driving back from buying ice cream cones (because Luke’s only serves ice cream in bowls, which doesn’t count).

“Car Song” is a 1995 song by Britpop group Elastica, written by Justine Frischmann, the band’s lead singer. From their self-titled debut album, it was only released as a single in North America and Australia in 1996, and went to #106 in Australia, while it charted on the US Alternative Songs Chart at at #33, and #14 on the Canadian Alternative Rock Chart. The song was well-reviewed, described as sexy and charming.

The song is about having sex in a car, to make it clear where Jess and Rory’s minds are going, and the subtext of them being in a car together. Although there’s no suggestion that they actually had sex in the car offscreen, or even kissed, their car trip is a symbolic lovemaking experience as it is so emotionally intimate. Compare it to the first time Rory was in the car with Dean, when she couldn’t even tell him how she felt, after dating for months.

Here we go again
I’m riding in your car
Let me count to ten
‘Cause it’s gone way too far
Up my street to nowhere
You know what detours are
Here we go again
And it’s gone way too far

The lyrics are a good description of what’s going on – they’ve taken a detour on a street to nowhere (driving aimlessly), and going around in circles (“here we go again”). And although they’ve gone nowhere much, they have “gone way too far” – because they should never have got in the car to begin with.

Kurt Cobain and Courtney

RORY: Do not give me that whole ‘I’m so misunderstood, Kurt Cobainy’ thing. You are way stronger than that and I don’t even wanna hear it. You have to go to college …

JESS: So, Courtney, what about you?

Kurt Cobain (1967-1994), singer, songwriter, and musician, frontman of the grunge rock band Nirvana, serving as the band’s lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter. Through his angst-fuelled songwriting and anti-establishment persona, Cobain’s compositions challenged the conventions of rock music. He was often heralded as a spokesman for Generation X and is considered one of the most influential musicians in the history of alternative rock.

Cobain struggled with depression, heroin addiction and the pressure of fame, and was found shot dead at the age of 27, apparently by his own hand. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with his fellow band members, in 2014.

Courtney (Love), Cobain’s wife, previously discussed.

Rory pretty much gives Jess the same talk that Lorelai did when he arrived in Stars Hollow – if anything, she is less sympathetic, telling him to quit the “misunderstood act”, and saying he is way too strong to be dragged down by his circumstances.

Jess is far more receptive to hearing this from Rory. He probably appreciates not being pitied, and likes the suggestion he is tough enough to survive anything. Rory may be the first person to openly tell Jess he can achieve anything he wants, and once again, she is very keen to urge a male love interest to attend college.

Note that as Rory casts Jess in the role of Kurt Cobain, he is equally quick to cast her as Kurt’s wife – an obvious suggestion that Jess considers her to be his “other half” that Rory surely cannot miss. As Kurt and Courtney were something of a doomed, destructive couple, it doesn’t feel like a good omen for Jess and Rory.

“I’m dripping”

JESS: I’m dripping here, hold the wheel.

Could they have made this any more sexual? Even the choice to buy ice cream cones seems like a deliberately erotic choice.

Out the back window, you can see a set of traffic lights, and multiple cars behind them. I think they are still supposed to be driving around Stars Hollow, which only has one traffic light, on the main square, and almost no traffic. It really doesn’t look like Stars Hollow!

I can accept this scene as believable if Jess drove to a nearby larger town to buy ice cream cones and then back to cone-less Stars Hollow, but I’m not sure this is what the show actually wants us to think. My understanding is that Jess was just circling the main square.