Cujo

MAX: She’s [Lorelai’s] right there with you isn’t she?
RORY: What? No.
MAX: No, I thought I heard her bark.
RORY: No, that’s just a wild jackal that hangs out here sometimes.
MAX: Mm hmm. Put Cujo on the phone please.

Cujo is a 1983 horror film, directed by Lewis Teague and based on the 1981 Stephen King novel of the same name. It is about a rabid St. Bernard dog named Cujo who traps a mother and son in a car without food or water during a heat wave. Cujo was a modest success, and despite receiving mixed reviews not only has a cult following, but is one of Stephen King’s favourite adaptations of his own work.

Ranger Bob

LORELAI: Everything about me repulses that man [Luke]. My coffee drinking, my eating habits. Remember when I called him Ranger Bob last week? He hated that!

Lorelai may be referring to Forest Ranger Bob Erickson (Jack De Mave) from the family television series Lassie, which follows the adventures of a long-coated collie dog, and aired from 1954 to 1973.

The show was inspired by the 1943 movie Lassie Come Home, about a dog who travels from Scotland to Yorkshire to be reunited with the boy she loves (Roddy McDowall), based on the 1940 novel of the same name by Eric Knight. Sequels followed, and so did appearances by Pal, the dog who played Lassie, at fairs and rodeos throughout the US in the 1950s. All the subsequent Lassies were played by Pal’s descendants, and like Pal, they were all male.

Ranger Bob was from the years between 1964 and 1970 where Lassie helped the US Forest Service, with Bob Erickson becoming part of the show in 1968 as one of Lassie’s carers. Ranger Bob worked alongside Forest Ranger Scott Turner (Jed Allen), but it would be perhaps too self-referential for Lorelai to call Luke “Ranger Scott”, as Luke is played by Scott Patterson. Calling Luke “Ranger Bob” may have been referencing his healthy outdoor lifestyle and love of camping.

Reruns of Lassie were shown on Nickelodeon from 1984 to 1996, and the show is still on American television today.

Paris

While suggesting that Richard and Emily go to Paris instead of Martha’s Vineyard, Lorelai and Rory mention some of the things associated with this city.

Impressionism: A 19th century art movement associated with small, thin brushstrokes; an emphasis on light and movement; unusual angles; and ordinary subject matters. The movement arose in Paris during the 1870s and 1880s with a number of independent art exhibitions. Famous impressionist artists include Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro.

Poodles: A stereotypical image of Paris is an elegant middle-class woman taking her poodle for a walk. Although poodles were very fashionable in France some decades ago, they have fallen out of favour and are no longer chic. (The photo used was taken by American photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe, and first published in 1940).

Crème brûlée: A rich, creamy custard dessert with a hard caramel topping. It originated in Spain, and was first given its French name (which means “burnt cream”) in the 17th century. It wasn’t common until the 1980s, and was popularised by Italian chef Sirio Maccioni at his New York restaurant Le Cirque. It isn’t particularly Parisian, although you can certainly eat it while in Paris.

It’s in keeping with their lack of travel experience that Lorelai’s and Rory’s visions of Paris are distinctly dated and second-hand.

Bouvier des Flandres

The dog Buttercup is an interesting mixture of Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Rottweiler, and Bouvier des Flandres. (The actual dog does not resemble this description very closely).

Bouvier des Flandres is a large woolly herding dog breed from Belgium; its name means “cowherd of Flanders” in French. President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy owned a dog of this breed named Lucky.