Impeachment

PARIS: I move to put to a vote the impeachment of Rory Gilmore.

Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body or other legally constituted tribunal initiates charges against a public official for misconduct. In the US, impeachment at the federal level is limited to those who may have committed “Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”—the latter phrase referring to offenses against the government or the constitution, grave abuses of power, violations of the public trust, or other political crimes, even if not indictable criminal offenses.

The US House of Representatives has impeached an official 21 times since 1789: four times for presidents, 15 times for federal judges, once for a Cabinet secretary, and once for a senator. Of the 21, the Senate voted to remove 8 (all federal judges) from office.

The four impeachments of presidents were: Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998, Donald Trump in 2019 and again in 2021. All four impeachments were followed by acquittal in the Senate. An impeachment process was also commenced against Richard Nixon, but he resigned in 1974 to avoid likely removal from office.

As the student advisor says, school councils don’t have the authority to impeach anyone.

Senior Prom

LANE: Rory! Rory! The numbers are all adding up, the planets are aligning, and I am going to my senior prom!

In American English, a prom is a ball or formal dance held by a school or college, especially at the end of the academic year for final year students – that is, the senior class. It is is considered one of the essential milestones in a young person’s life, given great weight and significance in US culture. Prom is short for promenade, and the word has been in use since since the late 19th century.

Joan Didion

PARIS: Watch Choate get Joan Didion …

Joan Didion (1934-2021), journalist and author, considered one of the pioneers of New Journalism, along with such figures as Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson. Didion’s career began in the 1950s when she won an essay contest sponsored by Vogue.

Her writing in the 1960s and ’70s focused on the counterculture, Hollywood lifestyle, and Californian culture and history. In the 1980s and ’90s, her writing concentrated on the subtext of political and social rhetoric. In1991, she wrote the earliest mainstream media article to suggest the Central Park Five, previously discussed, were innocent.

She won the 2005 National Book Award for her memoir about the year following the death of her husband, The Year of Magical Thinking. In premiered as a Broadway play in 2007. In 2013, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama.

At this time, Didion had just won the St Louis Literary Prize in 2002, and had recently released her 2001 book of essays, Political Fictions. Her essays on the history and culture of California, Where I Was From, was due to be published in September 2003.

Joan Didion was the first woman to give the commencement address at the University of California in 1975, which is presumably why Paris thinks of her. Her address began with a few charming anecdotes about her own youth, before she launched into a blistering attack on her generation in the 1960s, and its refusal to face up to reality.

A quote from the speech that I think Paris would have warmed to:

“Planting a tree can be a useful and pleasant thing to do. Planting a tree is not a way of life. Planting a tree as a philosophical mode is just not good enough.”

There is no record of her giving a speech at Choate at any time, so it seems as if they didn’t get her after all.

Choate

PARIS: I knew that suggestion box was a bad idea. Watch Choate get Joan Didion …

Choate Rosemary Hall, often known as Choate, a private, co-educational, preparatory boarding school in Wallingford, Connecticut. Choate is currently ranked as the second best boarding school and third best private high school in America.

Founded in 1890, it took its present name and began a co-educational system with the 1971 merger of The Choate School for boys and Rosemary Hall for girls. Its alumni include many members of the American political elite, including John F. Kennedy.

Choate was the inspiration for Chilton, Rory’s school in Gilmore Girls, even though it is in Wallingford, not Hartford. Just to confuse things further, the show gave Stars Hollow the same zip code as Wallingford. In this episode, Paris makes it seem as if Chilton and Choate are rival schools.

Dr Phil

PARIS: What about the [votes] for Dr. Phil?

Phillip McGraw (born 1950), better known as Dr. Phil, television personality and author, best known for hosting the talk show, Dr. Phil. He holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, though he ceased renewing his license to practice psychology in 2006.

McGraw rose to fame with appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, in the late 1990s. Oprah Winfrey then helped McGraw launch his own program in 2002.

Dr Phil has been a commencement speaker at the University of North Texas.

Commencement Speaker

PARIS: Have you looked over the votes for commencement speaker? …

In the US, a graduation ceremony is often called commencement, presumably because the participants are about to commence a new life, post education. Even leaving high school is referred to as graduation in the US, not just tertiary graduation, as elsewhere.

The commencement speech or the graduation address is often given by a notable member of the community, giving them an uplifting message about education, wisdom, and hope for the future.

Ecole Hôtelière de Genève

LORELAI: Why are you being such a snob about this? You went to hotel school.
MICHEL: I attended the Ecole Hôtelière de Genève.

The Ecole Hôtelière de Genève is a Swiss tertiary-level school in a 18th century mansion in Geneva, dedicated to hotel and restaurant management. It was originally the Ecole Cafetiers-Restaurants, founded in Neuchâtel, Switzerland in 1914. It moved to the Geneva property in 1951, and its current name dates to 1996. It is ranked in the top ten of the best hotel schools in the world.

Michel said that he left France at the age of 18, and presumably it was to study here in Switzerland. The diploma course lasts for three years, so Michel would have graduated when he was around 21.

The Learning Center

MICHEL: Oh, yes, that’s right. Tomorrow the two of you go back to school.
LORELAI: It’s not school, it’s a one-day course at The Learning Center.

In real life, The Learning Center in Hartford is a preschool program for small children. There are a few adult education centres in Hartford, but they tend to focus on government programs such as GED testing, citizenship tests, and learning English as a second language.

Jackson learned beekeeping, how to buy foreclosed real estate, and diary writing, and all these educational opportunities are available in Connecticut (although not at the same place), so this doesn’t seem unrealistic.

The Wadsworth Mansion

FRANCIE: The Wadsworth Mansion has just had a cancellation, which means that we can get it for prom, if we move quickly.

The Wadsworth Mansion at Long Hill Estate is a real historic venue in Middletown, Connecticut, about 16 miles north of Hartford. Built in 1911 for businessman Colonel Clarence Wadsworth, it is now owned by the city of Middletown, and is open to the public. After extensive renovations, it became possible to hire it out in 1999, and today it costs around $5000 for an evening, but catering costs extra (about $100 a head). Rory is concerned about it being too expensive, but it is used as a senior prom venue. Perhaps by schools that didn’t blow their budget on an expensive telescope.

“Paris doesn’t have a brother”

FRANCIE: I saw her walking off with . . . who was that, her brother?

LOUISE: Paris doesn’t have a brother.

FRANCIE: Really? Well, she certainly seemed to know him.

Jamie is hanging around Chilton, being a distraction to Paris again and giving Francie an opportunity to take her down a peg. Princeton doesn’t go back after the Christmas break until mid-January, suggesting this episode takes place in the first half of the month.

However, it’s something of a mystery what he is doing in Hartford, which is a fair distance from Philadelphia. Is he staying with Paris, since she spent Christmas with his family? And why is Chilton letting him turn up during the school day? Don’t they have any security? Why are they letting Paris leave with him? What ever happened to Chilton being a really strict school?