“Ducks lined up in a row”

CHRISTOPHER: I’ve been making some changes, especially my career and I think I finally have all my ducks lined up in a row.
LORELAI: You’re opening a shooting gallery.

The phrase “to have all your ducks lined up in a row” means to be well-prepared and well-organised for an expected event. The slang dates to perhaps the 1970s, and may refer to the carnival sideshow game where the object is to shoot at a line of moving wooden ducks in order to win a prize (a “shooting gallery”). Lorelai pretends to take the phrase literally.


RORY: Each of us have to follow a chick through its entire growth process. Everything has to be logged. Eating habits, sleeping habits.
LORELAI: Houdini habits.

Harry Houdini, born Erik Weisz (1874-1926) was an Austro-Hungarian born American illusionist and stunt performer, known for his sensational escape acts. An international star, Houdini was a headline act in vaudeville for most of his career, and for many years the highest-paid vaudeville performer.

Marcel Marceau

LORELAI: All day long, just chirps like a maniac at the top of her lungs. Now, nothing. Silence. Marcel Marceau chicken.

Marcel Marceau, born Marcel Mangel (1923-2007) was a French actor and mime artist, who called mime “the art of silence”. He was most famous for his stage persona of Bip the Clown, who wore a striped jersey and opera hat. Marceau performed for more than 60 years, winning multiple awards, and helping to inspire the dance style of Michael Jackson.

As a young man during World War II, Marceau worked with the French Resistance to save Jewish children from concentration camps, and also won awards for this humanitarian work.

Annie Oakley

[Lorelai has entered wearing a leopard print cowboy hat]
RORY: What are you wearing?
LORELAI: Hey, we have already argued about the sweatshirt.
RORY: Yes but we have not argued about the hat.
LORELAI: What hat?
RORY: The one on your head, Annie Oakley.

Annie Oakley (1860-1926) was an American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter who won a shooting match while still a teenager. She later joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and became an international star who performed before royalty and heads of state. While performing, she generally wore a Western-style outfit, including a cowboy hat.

“A hundred clowns crammed into a Volkswagen”

LORELAI: I just need space.
MAX: Well I don’t. In fact I want as little space as possible. A hundred clowns crammed into a Volkswagen. That’s the kind of non-space I’m talking about.

An popular clown sight gag is for a number of clowns to be crammed into a small car, and then come out, making it seem as if the car is much bigger than it appears. The trick requires the car to be modified so that there is nothing inside it (no seats etc), and for the clowns to be very flexible and pretty uncomfortable. It was first used in the Coles Brothers Circus in the 1950s.

The number of clowns involved is usually around 14-21, but the record number of people jammed into a small car is 28 gymnasts into a Mini. Obviously gymnasts are extremely limber and aren’t wearing baggy costumes and holding props, so this number wouldn’t be feasible for clowns. A Volkswagen Beetle would be a classic vehicle to use as the car, as they are small, and sort of cute and comical looking anyway.

This comment from Max is something of an in-joke. Scott Cohen, who plays Max Medina, first began his career in the entertainment industry through taking a course in clowning at university – his teacher encouraged him to audition for a theatre company. One of Cohen’s early screen roles was a flirtatious driver in a 1999 Volkswagen Passat television commercial.