Prince William

RORY: Paris, how did you get this number?

PARIS: Oh, relax. I won’t call you on Prince William’s precious phone again.

Prince William (born 1982), member of the British royal family, and since birth, second in the line of succession to the British throne. In 2002, Prince William was enrolled at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and considered one of the most eligible young bachelors in the world. (By the next year, he was dating fellow student Catherine Middleton, who would eventually become his wife).

Paris never says how she got Dean’s cell phone number. Presumably she had a snoop at Rory’s pager some time.

Paris and Rory Win the Election

Paris rings Rory on Dean’s cell phone while they are at Sookie and Jackson’s wedding to tell her that they have won the election. It’s a rather strange scene, because it shows Paris at Chilton, with what looks like students and teachers busily counting the votes for the school President elections.

But the election was on Friday, and it’s now Sunday – have they been counting votes all weekend? Couldn’t this have waited until Monday? And why does it take all weekend – surely Chilton doesn’t have that many students?

Also, they clearly haven’t finished counting votes, they are still working at it. And this isn’t a recount either, because the scrutineers are taking the votes straight from the original boxes. How does Paris know she has won already? Is there a tally board up somewhere, so Paris can see that she already has an unbeatable lead?

And Paris says the real clincher was that they got the votes from the school band, which was always a wild card, as the academic clubs were something they could count on. Do all the clubs vote en bloc, or does each particular club get one collective vote (which is obviously very undemocratic?). And how does Paris know all this? Isn’t the voting a secret ballot?

Writing Letters to Jodie Foster

LUKE: You know what people told me when I said you were coming here to live with me? They told me I was crazy, they told me I was insane, they told me to start writing letters to Jodie Foster.

Luke references John Hinckley Jr. (born 1955), a college drop-out from a wealthy family who attempted to assassinate president Ronald Reagan. Hinckley was reportedly seeking fame in a misguided effort to impress actress Jodie Foster (born Alicia Foster in 1962), with whom he had been obsessed since the 1976 film Taxi Driver, where Foster plays a sexually-trafficked twelve-year-old child – in the film, the disturbed protagonist plots to assassinate a presidential candidate (it’s based on a true story).

When Jodie Foster began attending Yale University, Hinckley moved to New Haven in order to stalk her, sending her dozens of letters and poems, and leaving messages on her answering machine. Believing that assassinating the president would somehow make him Foster’s equal, Hinckley fired a revolver six times at Ronald Reagan on March 30 1981, as he left the Hilton Hotel in Washington DC. Although Hinckley did not hit Reagan, he was wounded when a bullet ricocheted and hit him in the chest. He also wounded a police officer and a Secret Service agent, and critically injured a press secretary, who died from his wounds in 2014.

John Hinckley Jr. was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982, and transferred to psychiatric care. He was released from hospital in 2016 into his mother’s care under numerous restrictions. As of June 2022, Hinckley will be living freely in the community. He has a YouTube channel, where he self-publishes his own songs; they are also available on Spotify and other streaming sites.

Senior Ditch Day

PARIS: Not that the person who actually wins will even know who Hubert Humphrey is, but hey, I bet they’ll organize one boffo senior ditch day.

Ditch Day, previously discussed.

Boffo, US slang meaning “very good”. It originated from the film trade magazine, Variety.

Note that Paris is wearing one of the 400 campaign buttons that Lorelai made for them, showing Rory’s and Paris’ faces, against what looks like the US flag (as if it’s a real presidential election, not just one for school).

Junior Leadership Program in Washington

RORY: But if I win then I have to be vice president next year. Plus, I’ll have to spend my summer in Washington for some junior leadership program, which means six straight weeks of me and Paris together in a dorm room.

The program that Rory and Paris will be attending in Washington DC during their summer vacation seems to be similar to the real life Global Young Leaders Conference, where high school students from the US and around the world learn communication, decision-making, and negotiation while interacting with real life leaders, diplomats, lobbyists, and journalists. There are also visits to embassies and cultural landmarks.

Unlike the six weeks Rory has in front of her, the real life program only lasts for ten days, students are housed in a hotel, not a dormitory, and it costs thousands of dollars to attend. Rory never even mentions paying, so perhaps Chilton are footing the bill, or Rory and Paris will be offered scholarships.

Connecticut State

PARIS: Harvard loves this kind of crap. Being vice president is just one more thing to put you ahead of the rest of the hundreds of thousands of straight A students who are applying for the same spot you are. Think about it. You say no, then comes the day when the letter from Harvard arrives. They’ve turned you down. Enjoy Connecticut State, sucker.

There isn’t actually a Connecticut State University in real life. There’s a Central Connecticut State University in New Britain (about half an hour from Hartford), an Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic (about an hour from Hartford), a Western Connecticut State University in Danbury (about 40 minutes from Washington Depot), and a Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven (where Yale is).

It’s hard to know which of them, if any, Paris could be talking about, as the location of Stars Hollow kept moving about, but I suppose the most likely candidates are Central, which would be closer to Stars Hollow than Chilton, and Southern, which is in the city where Rory ends up attending college. Both of them are considered only average as educational institutions, and easy to get into. Even a Rory who failed to get into Harvard could probably aim higher.

Tough Love

DEAN: Why don’t we just bring [Lorelai] something out?

RORY: No. She and Luke have been in this fight for too long, she’s gotta do this.

DEAN: You’re cruel.

RORY: Tough love, baby.

Tough love is the act of treating a person harshly or sternly with the intent to help them in the long run. It is thought that the phrase originated with the 1968 book Tough Love by Christian community activist Bill Milliken, who worked with at-risk youth to keep them engaged with the education system.

Dean describing Rory as “cruel” seems quite apt, considering the dishonest basis of their relationship at this point.

Annie Sullivan

SOOKIE: Oh, who listens to the lyrics?

LORELAI: Anybody not hanging out with Annie Sullivan by the water pump.

Anne Sullivan (1866-1936), the visually impaired teacher and lifelong companion of deaf, blind and mute student Helen Keller (1880-1968). She was the only person able to get through to Keller and help her learn to communicate with the outside world, and a result, both women became inspirational figures.

At first Sullivan made little progress with her student, until a breakthrough occurred when Sullivan held Keller’s hand under the water pump and repeatedly spelled out W-A-T-E-R into her palm. With great effort, Keller hesitantly said, “Wah-wah”, her first spoken word. Keller then touched the earth, asking for its name as well, and by the end of the day she had learned thirty words. It was the beginning of her learning to read, write, and speak.

These events are depicted in the film The Miracle Worker, previously discussed [pictured].