Dot-Com Bust

EMILY: With the dot-com bust and the job market dwindling and the stock market going up and down like a yo-yo, everyone and his brother knows the best chance for success and financial security is not just to go to college, but to go to a top college.

The dot-com burst, or bust, was the ending of the dot-com bubble of 1997-2001, previously mentioned, involving excessive speculation in internet-based services and businesses. Higher interest rates are generally thought of as a major contributor to the dot-com burst. The stock market had a significant downturn in September 2002, the time of the events of this episode, which is why Emily is probably more alarmed about the economy than usual.

The Gilmore Group

EMILY: Your father is now the president and CEO of the Gilmore Group, an international insurance consulting firm.

LORELAI: Wow, that’s great. So, um, what’s the . . . like, how does . . . what’s his job? …

EMILY: Your father is an international insurance consultant … He consults on matters relating to international insurance.

Lorelai has no idea what an insurance consultant does, Emily doesn’t really know, and I’m not sure the writer (Allan Heinberg) knows either! I’m a bit in the dark too, because they usually work for an insurance company, and are basically sales agents. I presume an independent insurance consultant would help businesses choose from various insurance plan options, and sell insurance policies from a range of insurance carriers, rather than one. Don’t ask me how a single person can be a “group”.

Rockefeller

LORELAI: We needed our rain gutters cleaned.
RORY: Yeah, well, hire somebody.
LORELAI: Oh, well, aren’t we suddenly a Rockefeller.

The Rockefeller family owns one of the world’s largest fortunes. Brothers John D. Rockefeller and William A. Rockefeller made their money in the petroleum industry in the 19th and early 20th centuries, mostly through Standard Oil, which became ExxonMobil, and the Chevron Corporation. The family had a long association and control of Chase Manhattan Bank, previously mentioned. By the 1970s, they were considered one of the most powerful families in American history.

[Photo shows John D. Rockefeller and his son, John D. Rockefeller Jr.]

Kim’s Antiques Opening Hours

KIRK: I won’t take up much of your time. I was just wondering what your store hours are.
MRS. KIM: For people who come to buy things, come with cash, it’s ten to six, Sunday through Friday. For people who wander around, blocking aisles, touching things with dirty hands, never buying or asking for eighty percent off, we’re closed.

The opening hours of the antiques store are 10 am to 6 pm, every day except Saturday. The Kims are Seventh Day Adventists, so Saturday is the Sabbath, and they don’t work on that day. Their piety must lose them a lot of business, being closed for half the weekend. By the way – only wanting to be paid with cash sounds as if they are tax dodgers.

Co-Sign the Loan

LORELAI: No, I mean it. I can’t leave without knowing there’s a way that I can save my house, so I’m just asking you to take five minutes and think of something, anything that I can do to get this money.
MILES: Well, you can get someone to co-sign the loan with you.

When someone co-signs a loan with you, they are promising to become responsible for your debt should you become unable to pay for any reason. It isn’t uncommon for parents to co-sign a loan for their child, especially for people who are too young to have built up a credit history yet.

Lorelai may feel embarassed that, even as a homeowner with a good job in her thirties, she still needs her mother to co-sign so that she can get a personal loan. However, Emily is showing quite a lot of faith in Lorelai, because if she did default on the loan and leave Emily responsible for the payments, it would damage her mother’s credit rating. Emily must trust Lorelai to be able to handle the loan payments herself, once she has been given a helping hand.

(Of course, Emily would never allow Lorelai to default on the payments – she would give her the money if necessary to make sure neither of them ended up in financial hot water).

“Two previous loans”

MILES: Oh, you’ve taken out two previous loans on this house?
LORELAI: Um, yes.

This explains the difficulties Lorelai has been having in getting a loan – she has already taken two previous loans against her house, and is presumably in the process of paying them back (maybe cut down on the junk food buying?).

It doesn’t explain how she got turned down by a loan shark (fictionalised by Lorelai as Jacko’s Loans and Stuff), as the more desperate and in trouble you are, the more likely they are to loan you money at an exorbitant rate to make you suffer even more. I’d like to think Lorelai herself turned down the loan shark, knowing it was financially irresponsible.

First National Bank

EMILY: You have any idea who Miles Hahn is? … He’s the president of the First National Bank. We’ve been doing business with him for years. He’s become a very dear friend of ours actually.

A name sometimes given to local banks in the US; there have been many of this name, most of which have closed down or been taken over by now. There are still examples in Florida, Utah, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania, but there’s never been one in Hartford.

It is unclear if Emily means that they use the First National Bank themselves, or if she means that Miles Hahn has been doing business with Richard through the insurance company he works for. I presume the first one.

“I called the bank today”

LORELAI: So anyway, I called the bank today.
SOOKIE: How did that go?
LORELAI: Well, it – wait, yeah, oh, what’s that? Yeah, they’re still laughing.

The plot of this episode revolves around Lorelai’s house getting damaged by termites and her not being able to raise the money to have it fixed. Even though she’s a homeowner, it turns out later in the episode that she has already taken out bank loans using her house as equity twice before, which is why she’s having trouble getting a loan now.

She does say she always pays backs her debts, and she has a good income from working at the inn, so it seems unlikely that banks would give her no help at all. They have loans specifically for renovation and reconstruction, allowing you to pay the loan back as bills come in, so that you don’t pay any interest on the loan until the project is complete.

Lorelai wasn’t even able to get money from a loan shark or predatory lender, which she fictionalises as Jacko’s Loans and Stuff, possibly because she needed more money than they typically loan.

Financial issues rarely seem to add up on Gilmore Girls, and this is an example of a situation which doesn’t seem quite believable.

“Buy yourself a sofa”

LORELAI: I just wanted to tell you how amazing you were tonight. Really, you completely came through for her.
CHRISTOPHER: She deserves it.
LORELAI: I haven’t always given you a lot of credit in the past, but I’m giving you credit now. Big credit. Major credit. Buy yourself a sofa.

Lorelai is referring to store promotions, common for big ticket items such as furniture, where credit is extended to approved customers so they can take their purchase home immediately.

Gilmore Girls

Gilmore is a Scottish and Irish surname which means “servant of the Virgin Mary”. A very apt name for a show which revolves around motherhood, and maternal relationships.

Alternative titles for the show were The Gilmore Girls, and The Gilmore Way, which Lauren Graham thought sounded like a method of natural birth. Eventually Gilmore Girls was decided on. The font for the title card is Solid Antique Roman.

Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino chose the name Gilmore after their bank, the Gilmore Bank in Los Angeles. It’s a family-owned community bank operating since 1955, and proud of their friendly customer service where everyone knows your name. That kind of cosy hometown environment must have seemed perfect for a show all about family and community.

There’s an odd sort of logic too, that the money they made from Gilmore Girls went straight back to Gilmore Bank!