EMILY: I scaled back a lot. I cut two appetizers, I canceled the champagne fountain, and I reduced the catering staff to six servers, not counting the pointman.

Technically a pointman is the head of a military patrol, or in the US, the word is used to mean the person who is at the forefront of a particular endeavour. I think Emily just means the pointman is the person who is coordinating the party and giving the servers instructions, solving any little problem that might come up.

“Dressed in a clown suit”

PARIS: I tried to stay home and study myself but I can’t. I don’t know what anything means anymore. I mean, I can’t even read my own handwriting. What does this say? The person who wrote this should be dressed in a clown suit, stuffing bodies under their porch.

Paris is referencing John Wayne Gacy (1942-1994), serial killer and sex offender who assaulted and murdered at least 33 boys and young men. Gacy regularly performed at children’s hospitals and charitable events as “Pogo the Clown” or “Patches the Clown”, personas he had devised. He became known as the “Killer Clown” due to his public services as a clown prior to the discovery of his crimes. He buried most of his victims beneath his house, usually in the crawl space.

His conviction for thirty-three murders (by one individual) then covered the most homicides in US legal history. Gacy was sentenced to death in 1980, and executed by lethal injection in 1994.

Paris talks about her work as if it looks as if it was done by a mental case, but although he pleaded insanity, John Wayne Gacy was deemed to be sane and in complete control of his faculties when he committed his crimes.

(This is yet another mention of clowns on Gilmore Girls).

[Picture shows John Wayne Gacy dressed as a clown].

Sparklers, Kicks

LUKE: You don’t seem your chipper self.
LORELAI: I brought some sparklers. I’ll light them later and do some kicks.

Sparklers are small hand-held fireworks that give off bright coloured flames and sparks. They are especially popular with children, and are responsible for 16% of firework injuries in the US, and 57% of firework injuries in children.

Lorelai saying she’ll be doing some kicks while she holds sparklers sounds like a reference to The Rockettes, a precision dance company founded in 1925, and since 1932, based at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. They are famous for their high kicks, and especially known for both their Christmas show, and annual performance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Luke immediately picks up on Lorelai’s low mood, and tries to cheer up by offering to play bagel hockey with her. He might act grumpy, but Luke doesn’t like seeing Lorelai unhappy, and his response is to try to return her to her normal chirpy disposition.

Rah, Rah, Rah

[Rory walks up the porch steps]
LORELAI: Hey, uh, Dean called twice.
RORY: Rah, rah, rah. [goes into the house]

Rah, rah, rah is a typical cheerleader chant meant to create greater enthusiasm and excitement. Rory says it very snarkily.

Also note that Rory has only just had coffee with Dean, and had a short interaction with Lane on her way home. By the time she’s walked back to her house, Dean has already phoned twice before she even gets in the front door. That seems worryingly insecure, and even rather controlling. Rory’s ironic cheer may be a sign that she doesn’t welcome Dean’s constant calls.

Lap Dance, Ping-Pong Ball

MICHEL: Well, you’ve tried to convince them of your virtue, perhaps it’s time to offer them a lap dance … You know in Thailand, women do this trick with a Ping-Pong ball that is a big crowd pleaser.

Lap dance: An erotic dance performed at strip clubs where the dancer, who may be nude or topless, has body contact with a seated client, grinding in his lap. They have been around since the 1970s, and are legal in Connecticut – apparently Hartford is known in some circles for being extremely relaxed and tolerant in this regard.

Ping-pong show: Michel refers to a type of entertainment performed in some strip clubs, where women use their pelvic floor muscles to expel objects from their vagina. Although a variety of objects can be used, ping-pong balls are the iconic choice. They are common in Thailand, where they are performed for tourists. Human rights concerns have been raised with the practice, and it has been denounced as inherently misogynistic and racist.

Biloxi Naval Base

LORELAI: So it was the uniform, huh?
MISS PATTY: Aw, it’s the Biloxi Naval Base all over again.

Biloxi is a coastal city in Mississippi. There isn’t actually a naval base there – there’s a military base for the air force though. Miss Patty might be thinking of the Naval Construction Battalion Center in nearby Gulfport, about ten miles further down the coast – the cities are so close that they share the same airport, and other facilities, and the air force and naval bases are close together.

Both these military bases provided training to new recruits in the second half of the twentieth century, beginning in World War II. It’s possible that Miss Patty, who seems to have been a New Yorker before she moved to Stars Hollow, entertained the troops at one or both of these bases, perhaps during the Vietnam War, when she would have been in her early twenties.

Battle of the Bands

LORELAI: A bizarro Battle of the Bands.

A Battle of the Bands is a contest in which bands, usually rock or metal, but not always, compete for the title of best band, with the winner usually chosen by popular vote from the audience. They are often held as part of live music events, and sometimes at schools and universities. Their history goes back to at least the big band era of the 1930s.

Chuck Mangione

RUNE: Welcome Lords and Ladies. I call upon these sprightly horns to commence our proceedings. [horns play] Hey Chuck Mangione, you wanna back up a step?

Charles “Chuck” Mangione (born 1940) is a flugelhorn player, trumpeter, and composer. He came to prominence in the 1960s as a member of Art Blakey’s jazz band, then formed The Jazz Brothers with his brother Gaspare “Gap” Mangione. He has released more than sixty albums, and achieved international success with his 1977 jazz-pop single, Feels So Good. His compositions have been used in films and for the Olympic Games. He played himself as a voice actor on animated sitcom King of the Hill (1997-2010).