Old Fashioned Drinks

While Luke is serving customers at the diner, Kirk and two young boys come in, ordering old fashioned soda shop drinks. It soon transpires they were sent by Taylor, making a point how necessary such a soda shop is, which Taylor wants to install in the space next to the diner, owned by Luke. Kirk already works for Taylor, and the two boys are presumably in his Boy Scout troop.

Egg Cream: Previously discussed.

Black Cow: Traditional name for a root beer float, which is root beer with vanilla ice cream. In some areas, the ice cream has to be chocolate in order to be called a black cow, and others say brown cow instead. (Root beer is a North American soft drink made using the root bark of the sassafras tree, or the sarsaparilla vine, Smilas ornata). Frank J. Wisner, owner of Colorado’s Cripple Creek Brewing, is credited with creating the first root beer float in 1893. The North American fast food chain A&W Restaurants are well known for their root beer floats.

Chocolate Phosphate: Traditional soda fountain drink, which is chocolate syrup and acid phosphate added to club soda. Acid phosphate is a mixture added to drinks which gives it a slightly tart flavour, and aids carbonation – a partially neutralised solution of diluted phosphoric acid made with salts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It’s recently come back into fashion as a mixer for soft drinks and cocktails.

Note also in this scene, references to ham on rye sandwiches and Coney island, previously discussed.

Progressive Rock

LANE: [on phone] No, wait, wait, wait, progressive rock is a really passé style now but I listed it as an influence because it was a progenitor of great things that came afterwards.

Progressive rock, usually shortened to prog rock or just prog, a broad genre of rock music developed during the mid-to late 1960s, peaking in the early 1970s. Initially termed “progressive pop”, the style grew out of psychedelic bands who abandoned standard pop traditions in favour of instrumentation and composition more often associated with jazz, folk, or classical music.

Additionally, lyrics were more poetic, technology was harnessed for new sounds, music approached the condition of “art”, and the studio, rather than the stage, became the focus of musical activity, which often involved creating music for listening rather than dancing. Examples of prog rock bands include Emerson Lake & Palmer, Genesis, King Crimson, The Moody Blues, and Pink Floyd.

Lane says that progressive rock is passé, in that its heyday was in the 1970s, but in fact there were a wave of bands in the 2000s who revived the genre, such as System of a Down and Thirty Seconds to Mars. Perhaps that’s what she means by it being a progenitor of great things?

Lane is receiving responses to the advertisement she posted looking for a band that needed a drummer. Naturally she is deluged with enquiries, beginning early in the morning! Yes, the local area is filled with bands looking for a drummer, scanning the advertisements for one, and eagerly calling before breakfast to find them! We are in complete fantasy land here. Instead of being stunned that she gets any answers at all, Lane is irritated that they aren’t all on her musical wavelength.

Rory and Lorelai Freak Out

Rory and Lorelai share their application anxiety with each other, as these two finally get a reality check and realise that it’s possible Rory won’t just waltz into Harvard. It’s unbelievable that Chilton wouldn’t have prepared her for the rigours of a college application – they’re a Harvard feeder school! Instead she discovers it for herself, through an after-school panel that she and Paris had to organise.

This sudden realisation is mostly for reasons of plot – it’s much more dramatic for Rory and Lorelai to receive a sudden shock. The result is to make Chilton look utterly useless – why are parents paying huge fees to send their children to Chilton, where they are getting less help to prepare for college than a local public school would give?

“College paraphernalia”

MS. SAMUELS: I’ve seen applications where the student has circled every activity listed. Again, you’re trying too hard there. One can’t be interested in everything.

MR. ROMAINE: They’re the ones who’ve had college paraphernalia on their walls their whole lives.

MS. SAMUELS: Too hungry, it’s a little immature.

Two more blows to Rory – she wanted to circle every activity on the college application except sports – now she finds out it will come across as someone trying too hard. And she’s had Harvard paraphernalia on her bedroom wall since she was about eleven, and wore a Harvard sweatshirt when she was four years old.

Yes, it’s a little immature, and of course Rory’s college dreams are immature. Her dream of going of Harvard was thought up by her teenaged mother, a girl who’d lost her own dreams and was working as a maid and living in a shed to support Rory. Is it any wonder Lorelai wished for Rory to achieve everything she never could? And can you blame Rory for wanting to make her mother proud and happy, knowing the sacrifices she was making for her daughter?

Rory looks increasingly unhappy throughout this scene, as her path to Harvard now looks far from certain. She now has – application anxiety!

“Hillary Clinton and her profound influence”

MR. ROMAINE: I’m talking about run of the mill responses, a lack of originality, particularly in the essay category. If I read one more over-adulating piece of prose about Hillary Clinton and her profound influence, my head will explode.

A devastating blow to Rory, who now discovers her winning essay topic is in fact an unoriginal, commonplace idea, which many other girls will choose. Apparently writing an essay about any famous person, or a person you don’t personally know, is a sure-fire loser of an idea. Rory would do better to write an essay about Lorelai – which, for all we know, is what she eventually does.

The Application for Harvard

RORY: Oh my God … It’s here … My application to Harvard.

This episode is focused on Rory receiving her application for Harvard University, and the stress she goes through as a result. The US university application process is somewhat different to many other countries, so it’s necessary to understand a little bit of how it works.

It’s not the case that you simply send off your academic results to the university and if you make the cutoff point, you get in. You are also expected to tell the university about yourself, about your interests, goals, and contributions you’ve made to society, and supply letters of recommendation from teachers and community leaders to bolster your case.

Most importantly, you need to write a short essay, usually around 600 words or so, that somehow convinces them you’re more than academically gifted, you’re also a wonderful person who deserves a college education, but are far too modest to actually say that. As these essays tend to end up very much alike, they also need to be fascinating enough to keep the admissions officer reading them! But they can’t be too edgy or creative either, because then you’ll seem too weird for the college to handle. Stressful or what?

There are also opportunities to have an in-depth personal interview with an alumnus of the university, who hasn’t read your application, and doesn’t know anything about you except your name and contact details. It’s basically a job interview, but instead of trying to get a job, you’re trying to get into college, answering questions about all your positive traits that will serve to make the college a better place, while letting them see what kind of person you are.

The harder a university is to get into, the more rigorous and exacting the entire process is – you will need to have higher grades, more impressive goals and aspirations, and have made some kind of major contribution to the world. You will do well to have letters of recommendation from people who are leaders in their field, or actually famous. Your essay will preferably be of publishable standard. You will dazzle, astound, charm, and knock the socks off your interviewer. And that’s just to get in!

Rory’s application arrives in what appears to be mid-to-late September, but that’s just to fit in with the timing of the season in Gilmore Girls. In real life, Harvard usually sends its applications out around the start of August.

TheraFlu

LORELAI: I mean, I’d like to have a good illness, something different, impressive. Just once I’d like to be able to say, “Yeah, I’m not feeling so good, my leg is haunted.”

RORY: See, there’s a reason why you only take one packet of TheraFlu at a time.

TheraFlu is a cold and flu treatment consisting of flavoured packets of powder that you make into a hot drink – it’s basically pain relief, decongestants, antihistamines and so on all at once. There are several different types, and the ones for night time make you sleepy. Rory is suggesting that Lorelai put more than one packet into her cup at once, giving her extra doses of everything. It’s believable based on Lorelai’s past behaviour taking over the counter medications.

Lorelai’s wish for a more exotic illness, such as a “haunted leg” is where the episode’s title comes from.

Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer

A popular song written by German composer Hans Carste with lyrics by Hans Bradkte, first recorded as “Du spielst ‘ne tolle Rolle” by Austrian singer Willy Hagara in 1962. It was recorded in 1963 by Nat King Cole, with English lyrics by Charles Tobias, who gave it a nostalgic theme. Cole’s version went to #6 in the US, and #3 on the Middle-Road Singles Chart. It is the opening track on his album of the same name.

It is from the song that the episode gets its title, and serves as the inspiration for and soundtrack to Taylor’s First Annual Stars Hollow End of Summer Madness Festival. In keeping with the theme of madness, a barbershop quartet sings this song on a sanity-eroding permanent loop at the festival. It is performed by Mick Foster and Tony Allen in the show.

I Can’t Get Started

At the end of the episode, Sookie and Jackson’s wedding is about to begin, as we hear the strains of their wedding song, “I Can’t Get Started”, previously discussed.

The episode nears it conclusion with a shot of Rory and Lorelai, locked in their own secret relationship difficulties, neither sharing them with the other, as they have to focus on the wedding. Rory has secretly kissed another boy while on a date with her boyfriend, and still looks shellshocked by her own action. Lorelai is heartbroken over being dumped by another woman’s boyfriend, who is going back to be a father to their unborn child – something he could never muster the energy for when it came to Lorelai’s daughter.

The song “I Can’t Get Started” is written from the perspective of someone who is successful in every possible outward way, yet they don’t have a hope of beginning the relationship that they want. In the same way, Lorelai is a successful mother, homeowner, community participant, and businesswoman; Rory is a successful student, journalist, debater, and now Vice-President elect at a prestigious private school. However, success in romance is eluding them. It’s the complete opposite to the end of Season 1, which concluded with both Lorelai and Rory infatuated with their respective partners, and bubbling over with happiness and excitement.

You’re Just in Love

The song Miss Patty and Babette together at the wedding, while Morey plays piano. It’s a popular 1950 song by Irving Berlin, first performed by Ethel Merman and Russell Nype in the Broadway musical Call Me Madam; Merman later reprised her role for the 1953 film version, featuring the song as a duet with Donald O’Connor [pictured]. The song has been recorded several times, most successfully by Perry Como and the Fontana Sisters, who reached #5 in the charts for 1950.

The lyrics of the song give the message, You’re not sick, you’re just in love – a callback to Rory crying that she must be “sick” to have cut school to see Jess in New York. Now Lorelai has done something even more questionable, and the song is telling the Gilmore girls (and Jess?) that they’re not sick in the head, they are simply in love.