Pup ‘N’ Taco

EMILY: I hope Raul’s getting enough shots of Lorelai. I don’t want the whole damn ceremony and none of her.

RICHARD: Oh, no, I disagree. I hope he gets every inspired word articulated by the East Coast Marketing Director of Pup ‘N’ Taco.

Pup ‘N’ Taco, a chain of fast-food restaurants in Southern California, originally headquartered in Long Beach, L.A. It was founded in 1956 by Russell Wendell as a drive-in restaurant selling tacos, hot dogs, and pastrami sandwiches. The first officially named Pup ‘N’ Taco opened in Pasadena in 1965. The business was bought out by Taco Bell in 1984, effectively ending the chain.

Not only did Pup ‘N’ Taco never have an East Coast Marketing Director (they were Californian), but they didn’t even exist in 2002! I presume Richard has no idea who he’s been listening to, and only knows the name Pup ‘N’ Taco because Johnny Carson used to make a lot of jokes about it on The Tonight Show in the 1970s and ’80s.

Slint

JESS: Who’s Slint? …

OWNER: Grunge band out of Kentucky. Two albums, plus a double-A side single, disbanded in ’94.

Slint, an indie rock band (not grunge) from Louisville, Kentucky, formed in 1982 by drummer Britt Walford and guitarist and vocalist Brian McMahan. They named the band after a pet goldfish.

Their two albums were Tweez (1989) and Spiderland (1991); they released an untitled EP in 1994 (recorded in 1989), which is what the record store owner means by a double-A single. One side of the EP is called “Glenn”, and the other side “Rhoda”, and both tracks were intended to be released as singles (“Rhoda” was about a dog). They broke up in 1990, but reformed briefly in 1992 and 1994, and regrouped again in 2005, 2007, 2013, and 2014 for international tours.

Although Slint’s work received minimal attention at first, their second album was praised by the UK music press for its originality and emotional intensity, and became a major influence on post-rock bands such as Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky. Spiderland is a favourite of Dinosaur Jr, P.J. Harvey, Pavement, and The Shins, and is regarded as one of the best albums of the 1990s.

The band have been likened to Pavement, one of Jess’ favourite bands, suggesting he would also enjoy Slint.

Note that the record shop owner is played by Chuck E. Weiss (1945-2021), legendary singer, songwriter and musician, known for an eclectic mix of blues, beat poetry, and rock and roll. He is referred to in the lyrics of several Tom Waits‘ songs, and is the subject of “Chuck E’s in Love” by Rickie Lee Jones. His most recent album at this point was Old Souls and Wolf Tickets (2001), and his parents owned a record store in Denver, Colorado.

Chateau Jean Georges la Jean Georges in Paris

RORY: You’re the graduate. You get to be pampered.

LORELAI: Okay, then I would like to go to Chateau Jean Georges la Jean Georges in Paris.

Lorelai refers to French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten (born 1957), who arrived in the US in 1985, and moved to New York the following year, earning immediate plaudits for his innovative approach to classic French cuisine. Having already opened ten restaurants around the world, his first American venture was the bistro JoJo in New York, opened in 1991. He has since gone on to command numerous other restaurants in the US and internationally.

His restaurant Jean-Georges opened in the Trump Tower, Manhattan in 1997 to critical acclaim, and his Paris restaurant opened in 2001, the year before this episode broadcast. It is actually called Market, and it serves French-Asian fusion food.

I don’t think it’s quite as fancy as Lorelai imagines – it is decorated simply, and the dishes are fairly reasonably priced (considering it’s a tourist trap in Paris). I think she is imagining it to be like the Jean-Georges in Manhattan, which is haute cuisine, very sophisticated, and costs hundreds of dollars per meal.

Government Cheese

EMILY: But after twenty years, where is the woman’s sense of loyalty?

LORELAI: Oh, gee, I don’t know . . . maybe with the company that’s keeping her from having to stand in line for government cheese.

Government cheese is a processed commodity cheese controlled by the US federal government from World War II until the early 1980s, provided to welfare recipients and the elderly on Social Security, to maintain the price of dairy products. It was particularly associated with the Reagan administration. The cheese itself had a noticeable orange colour and melted easily.

Government cheese was removed in the 1990s when the dairy industry stabilised, so Margie wouldn’t be lining up for it in 2002, even if she lost her job completely. Either Lorelai or the writer doesn’t seem to be aware of that.

Possible Films for Movie Night

The Wizard of Oz

Previously discussed, and a touchstone for the show.

The Sting [pictured]

A 1973 caper film directed by George Roy Hill, involving two grifters, played by Paul Newman and Robert Redford, and their plan to con a mob boss, played by Robert Shaw. Set in 1936, it was inspired by real life cons perpetrated by brothers Fred and Charley Gondorff, as told in the 1940 non-fiction book, The Big Con by David Maurer. The Sting received rave reviews and was a box office smash, becoming the #2 film of the year. It won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Rocky

A 1976 sports drama film, directed by John G. Avildsen, with screenplay by Sylvester Stallone, who also stars in the title role as Rocky Balboa. It’s a rags-to-to-riches tale of a working-class small-time boxer in the slums of Philadelphia who gets a shot at a world heavyweight championship. Made on a shoestring budget, it was a sleeper hit, becoming the #1 film of 1976. Critically acclaimed, it solidified Stallone’s career and led to him becoming a major movie star. It won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and is regarded as one of the greatest sports films ever made.

Crimes and Misdemeanours

A 1989 existential comedy-drama directed by Woody Allen, who also stars as Clifford Stern, a documentary filmmaker. The other main character is Judah Rosenthal, played by Martin Landau, who commits a very serious crime, and, stricken with guilt, turns to the religious teachings he had rejected. Cliff and Judah only meet once, at the end of the film, which has a philosophical message. A box-office flop, it was lauded by critics, and is regarded as one of Allen’s best films.

The Singing Detective

A 1986 BBC television serial drama, written by Dennis Potter, directed by Jon Amiel, and starring Michael Gambon. It is about a mystery writer, suffering writer’s block and ill in hospital, who enters a fantasy world involving his novel, The Singing Detective. Although ratings were modest, it was highly influential, and greatly praised in America, where it was later shown on PBS and won a Peabody Award. It is regarded as one of the greatest British TV programs ever made. Rory calls it a “mini-series”, but in fact it was six episodes – a normal run on British television.

Arthur

A 1981 comedy written and directed by Steve Gordon. It stars Dudley Moore as Arthur Bach, a drunken New York millionaire about to enter an arranged marriage with an heiress, but who falls for a working-class girl from Queens. The #4 film of 1981, Arthur was critically acclaimed, and considered one of the best films of the year. Its theme song, “Arthur’s Theme”, won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and Sir John Gielgud won Best Supporting Actor for his role as Arthur’s valet.

Sophie’s Choice

A 1982 psychological drama film written and directed by Alan J. Pakula, adapted from the 1979 novel of the same name by William Styron. Set in 1947, it stars Meryl Streep as Sophie, a Polish immigrant with a dark secret from her past who shares a boarding house in Brooklyn with her lover, played by Kevin Kline, and a young writer, played by Peter MacNichol. It was a commercial and critical success, and Meryl Streep won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role.

Cabin Boy

A 1994 fantasy comedy film directed by Adam Resnick and co-produced by Tim Burton. It stars comedian Chris Elliot, who co-wrote the screenplay with Resnick. Elliot’s character is a snobbish, unpleasant man who accidentally gets stuck aboard a boat out at sea, and goes on a fantastical voyage of self-discovery. The film received mixed reviews, and it is a matter of opinion whether it’s one of the worst films ever, an underrated work of comedic legend, or so bad that it’s good.

Desperately Seeking Susan

A 1985 comedy-drama film directed by Susan Seidelman, partly inspired by the 1974 French film Céline and Julie Go Boating. Set in New York City, it stars Rosanna Arquette as a bored housewife, who becomes involved with a bohemian drifter named Susan, played by Madonna in her first major screen role. The film was a commercial success, and received mostly positive reviews, with acclaim for both Arquette and Madonna. It’s considered one of the best films of the 1980s.

Fletch

A 1985 neo-noir comedy thriller film directed by Michael Ritchie, based on the 1974 novel Fletch by Gregory Mcdonald. It stars Chevy Chase as undercover reporter Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher who begins investigating a murder scheme that has unexpected links with the story he is working on. The film received positive reviews, and was a commercial success, performing very well on home media, and becoming a cult film.

Urban Cowboy

A 1980 romantic western film directed and co-written by James Bridges and Aaron Latham, adapted from an article of the same name Latham wrote for Esquire magazine. The story revolves around the love-hate relationship between a couple named Buford and Sissy, played by John Travolta and Debra Winger. Set in Pasadena, Texas, much of the action takes place in a honky-tonk bar playing country music. A critical and commercial success, the soundtrack was also a hit.

Lorelai and Rory managed to whittle their list of films down to a trim 75 possibilities!

Ancient History

JACKSON: Remember that sweet, simple, affordable little wedding Sookie and I agreed on with minimal disagreement … Gone. Ancient history. It’s the Library of Alexandria, it’s the Colossus of Rhodes, it’s Pop Rocks, it’s over.

Library of Alexandria

The Great Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world, part of a larger institution called The Musaeum, dedicated to the nine Muses, and the source of the modern word “museum”.

It is said to have been founded by Ptolemy II Philadelphus around 285 BC, in an attempt to bring together the best minds of the Hellenistic world and collect all books known at the time – at its height, it may have had as many as 400 000 scrolls. Due mostly to the Great Library, Alexandria became known as the capital of knowledge and learning.

Although there is a popular modern belief that the Library was destroyed in a cataclysmic fire, in fact it gradually declined over the course of several centuries. It was accidentally burned by Julius Caesar in 48 BC, but it is not known how much damage was done. Under the Romans, the Library dwindled from lack of funding, and an invasion by Palmyra in 270 AD probably destroyed what little was left of it.

Colossus of Rhodes

The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Greek sun god Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes on the island of the same name by Chares of Lindos in 280 BC. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it was constructed to celebrate a military victory against Macedon. According to descriptions at the time, the statue was 108 feet high – about the same size as the Statue of Liberty – making it the tallest statue in the ancient world. The statue was destroyed in 653 AD by Arab forces. Since 2008, discussions have been underway about building a new Colossus in Rhodes Harbour, so it may not be ancient history for much longer.

Pop Rocks

A candy with bubbles in it, causing a small popping sensation when it dissolves. First offered to the public in 1976 by General Foods, sales were withdrawn in 1983, citing its lack of success and short shelf life. After that, Kraft licensed the product to a Spanish company called Zeta Espacial S.A., who distributes it in the US through Pop Rocks Inc., in Atlanta, Georgia. Jackson seems to think Pop Rocks are gone, but they aren’t.

Frankenstein

JESS: You’re doing that towering over me thing. Huh. I tell you, you’ve really got that down. It helps that you’re twelve feet tall, but this Frankenstein scowl really adds to the whole …

Frankenstein, previously discussed.

Jess makes a common error by speaking as if the monster in the film is named Frankenstein – Dr. Victor Frankenstein is the name of the scientist who creates the monster; the monster himself has no name, and is referred to as “Frankenstein’s monster”. In the 1931 film, he is played by Boris Karloff.

Kerouac and The Beats

PARIS: A tragic waste of paper.

JESS: I can’t believe you just said that.

PARIS: Well, it’s true, The Beats’ writing was completely self-indulgent. I have one word for Jack Kerouac – edit.

Jack Kerouac, previously discussed.

There is a myth that his novel On the Road was typed on one long free-form written scroll, without any editing. In fact, the experiences which inspired the novel were first written in a series of notebooks, and the early drafts were worked on for several years.

Dissatisfied with his progress, and impressed by a rambling 10 000-word missive from his pal (and muse) Neal Cassady, Kerouac then decided to write the novel as if it was a letter to a friend, with all the improvisational fluidity of jazz. The first draft was typed up in three weeks on a continuous 120-foot roll of tracing paper that he cut and taped together, single-spaced, and with no paragraph breaks.

In the following years, Kerouac continued to revise this manuscript, and the final published version was considerably shorter, with fictional names given to the real people he wrote about. In 2007, a slightly edited version of the original scroll was published, retaining the real names.

The original scroll was bought in 2001 for $2.43 million by American businessman Jim Irsay, and has been exhibited at various times in museums and libraries in the US, UK, Ireland, and France.

Paris’ comment is reminiscent of Truman Capote’s withering statement about Kerouac, and his supposed lack of editing: “That’s not writing. That’s typing”.

Vertigo

LORELAI: I think I have gangrene.
RORY: You do not.
LORELAI: And vertigo.

Vertigo is a condition where the person affected has the sensation of movement even when standing still, feeling like a spinning or swaying movement. It may cause nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulty walking, and is the most common type of dizziness. It is usually caused by a problem with the inner ear.

It is often confused with acrophobia, or a fear of heights, which is what Lorelai is probably referring to – being on the roof has made her scared to get up there again. Also, she went up on the roof before breakfast, so any dizziness she experienced could have been due to low blood sugar. Or a caffeine rush …

This is possibly a nod to the 1958 psychological thriller Vertigo, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and based on the 1954 mystery novel The Living and the Dead, by French writing team Boileau-Narcejac. James Stewart plays a police detective forced into early retirement by acrophobia and vertigo caused by an incident in the line of duty. He is hired by an acquaintance to follow his wife, played by Kim Novak, who is behaving strangely.

Vertigo received mixed reviews upon release, but is now seen as a classic Hitchcock film and one of his defining works. Attracting significant scholarly discussion, it is regarded as among the greatest films of all time, and by some as the greatest film of all time.

Death Without Dignity Act

PARIS: And referencing their last point, which erroneously cited South Carolina as a state that has neither a statute nor common law which prohibits assisted suicide when we know that North Carolina is the proper citation, their subsequent argument falls short of even a level of speciousness due to the fact that it doesn’t even have a ring of factual truth, let alone a substance. And after all, the absence of prohibition against assisted suicide is a far cry from a statute that actually legitimizes the practice, a state of affairs that exists only in Oregon, sadly enough, under the 1977 Death Without Dignity Act.

Paris mistakenly calls it the Death Without Dignity Act of 1977; it is of course the Death With Dignity Act. Her correction of the other team on legislation in North and South Carolina is correct, however.