RORY: I guess the thought of just being nice to people never occurred to you, huh?
PARIS: See, that is exactly what I need from you, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm for the new millennium. Hey, wear some braids tomorrow with bows. I mean, hell, let’s sell it, sister!
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, a 1903 classic children’s book by Kate Douglas Wiggin. The main character is Rebecca Rowena Randall, an imaginative and charming little girl from a poor family, sent to live with her aunts, Miranda and Jane Sawyer, in the fictional village of Riverboro, Maine. Miranda is stern with Rebecca, while Jane is kindly and finds Rebecca’s lively nature refreshing. However, Aunt Miranda will eventually prove how much she values Rebecca.
Like Rory, Rebecca is a brunette from a small town, and eventually becomes a very good student, especially in English, as well as talented writer.
The book was turned into a stage play, and was made into a film three times, most notably in 1938, starring Shirley Temple. However, Paris seems to be describing the book rather than a film, as the films don’t show Rebecca with the braids and bows of the book, preferring curly-headed heroines.
PARIS: Because people think you’re nice. You’re quiet, you say excuse me, you look like little birds help you get dressed in the morning. People don’t fear you.
A reference to Cinderella, previously discussed. In the 1950s film, Cinderella makes friends with birds and mice to cheer her lonely existence, and the birds are shown helping her get dressed, and even make a ballgown for her, with the help of the mice.
Six months ago, Rory was a friendless loser who couldn’t even get anyone to eat lunch with her, and Chilton was actually disturbed by how unpopular she was. Suddenly, everyone likes her so much that she can help Paris win the election just by existing. What happened?
PARIS: So, I have been racking my brains for weeks trying to figure out exactly who should be my vice presidential candidate, you know? Who would be Yin to my Yang, Joel to my Ethan, Damon to my Affleck, and then suddenly, it hits me – the perfect person … You.
Yin and Yang
An ancient Chinese philosophical concept of harmonising opposites, where Yin is passive and feminine, and Yang is active and masculine, but each force is equal, interdependent, and complementary. Note that Paris designates herself as the active Yang principle!
Joel and Ethan
Joel Coen (born 1954) and Ethan Coen (born 1957), filmmakers. The films of the Coen Brothers span many genres and styles, which they frequently subvert or parody. Their most acclaimed works include Raising Arizona (1987), Fargo (1996), The Big Lebowski (1998), and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000).
Damon and Afflleck
Matthew “Matt” Damon (born 1970), and Ben Affleck (born Benjamin Affleck-Boldt in 1972), actors and filmmakers. They wrote the screenplay for the 1997 film Good Will Hunting, directed by Gus Van Sant, in which they also starred. They won the Oscar for Best Screenplay. They later played parody versions of themselves in the film in the 2001 comedy film, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, directed by Kevin Smith. [Picture shows Affleck and Damon in Good Will Hunting].
Paris only now chooses Rory as her running mate, with the election mere days away. Shouldn’t she have chosen a vice-presidential candidate ages ago?
LOUISE: We talked to people that we should never have even had to stand near.
MADELINE: The hairstyles alone proved the Farrelly brothers are not making this stuff up.
Brothers Peter Farrelly (born 1956) and Bobby Farrelly (born 1968), screenwriters and directors. Their films make frequent use of slapstick and toilet humour, often populated by blunt-spoken, profane working-class characters in small roles.
Their debut film was Dumb and Dumber (1994), in which both lead characters, played by Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, have spectacularly bad hairstyles. (Carrey later starred in the 2000 Farrelly Brothers’ film Me, Myself and Irene as well).
The Farrelly Brothers have two films in which characters accidentally use semen as hair gel, There’s Something About Mary (1998), and Say It Isn’t So (2001) – previously discussed as one of the potential “disgusting cow” films of that year. Madeline could be referring to either or both of these hair-related things in Farrelly Brothers films.
PARIS: Just make sure you mention that Schatzi pulling the Sharon Stone/Basic Instinct bit was a cheap attempt to distract the whole student body from my mandatory recycling program.
Basic Instinct, a 1992 neo-noir erotic thriller directed by Paul Verhoeven. It stars Michael Douglas as a San Francisco police detective investigating the brutal murder of a rock star. During the investigation, he becomes involved in a torrid relationship with the prime suspect, a crime novelist who is played by Sharon Stone.
Basic Instinct was the #4 film of 1992. Reviews at the time were mixed, and it garnered controversy for its graphic sexuality and violence, including a rape scene. Gay and bisexual rights activists protested the film, saying it followed a pattern of negative depictions of queer characters in film. It was later recognised for its groundbreaking depiction of sexuality in mainstream cinema and its transgressive nature in the film noir genre. Sharon Stone received praise for her performance.
Paris refers to a notorious scene when Sharon Stone’s character crosses her legs while wearing a short dress without panties during her interrogation, so that her vulva briefly appears on film. Stone and Verhoeven have differing versions of how consensual the filming of it was, but are apparently still on good terms.
LUKE: Read your note … It was very well-written … I also enjoyed the Garfield stationery. That’s one funny cat.
Garfield, a comic strip created by Jim Davis featuring a lazy, fat, cynical orange tabby cat named Garfield, noted for his love of lasagne, coffee, and sleeping. Originally published as Jon (the name of Garfield’s owner) in 1976, it was syndicated nationally from 1978. It holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most syndicated comic strip, being published in more than 2000 newspapers and journals.
Garfield has been turned into comic books, TV shows, films, and video games, and been used for merchandise (such as the stationery) which earns up to $1 billion per year.
Mr Freeze (Dr Victor Fries) is a supervillain from the Batman comics, created by Dave Wood and Sheldon Moldoff in 1959, and originally called Mr Zero. Mr Freeze was a rogue scientist whose design for an ice gun backfired, spilling cryogenic chemicals on himself, so he needed sub-zero temperatures to survive. The Batman television series gave him a more sympathetic back story, making him a complex, tragic character. He was portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1997 Batman film.
RORY: I’ll tell you what, Sookie. How about Lane and I come up with a few more suggestions for you? Still melodic, but not quite as Girl, Interrupted.
Girl, Interrupted, a 1999 psychological drama film directed by James Mangold, and based on the 1993 memoir of the same name by Susanna Kaysen. The memoir’s title comes from the Vermeer painting, Girl, Interrupted at Her Music. The film is set in New England in the 1960s, and follows a young woman, played by Winona Ryder, who spends 18 months in a psychiatric facility after a suicide attempt.
The film received only lukewarm reviews, with most of the praise for the performance of Angelina Jolie, who plays a sociopath. Jolie won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The author, Susanna Kaysen, didn’t like the film, accusing James Mangold of adding too many invented, melodramatic scenes. Mangold rewrote the story as a parallel toThe Wizard of Oz.
It seems possible that Rory could have read the book, either before or after the film came out. Not only does she enjoy female memoir and autobiography, but Susanna Kaysen was admitted to the same private psychiatric hospital where Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton were treated, as well as John Nash.
LORELAI: Anybody not hanging out with Annie Sullivan by the water pump.
Anne Sullivan (1866-1936), the visually impaired teacher and lifelong companion of deaf, blind and mute student Helen Keller (1880-1968). She was the only person able to get through to Keller and help her learn to communicate with the outside world, and a result, both women became inspirational figures.
At first Sullivan made little progress with her student, until a breakthrough occurred when Sullivan held Keller’s hand under the water pump and repeatedly spelled out W-A-T-E-R into her palm. With great effort, Keller hesitantly said, “Wah-wah”, her first spoken word. Keller then touched the earth, asking for its name as well, and by the end of the day she had learned thirty words. It was the beginning of her learning to read, write, and speak.