IRS

JESS: IRS.
NICOLE: I’m not IRS.

IRS, the Internal Revenue Service. It is responsible for collecting US federal taxes, and is an agency of the Department of Treasury.

Jess assumes that Nicole is at the diner to investigate Luke’s taxes, or provide an in-house audit. These audits can be selected randomly, so Jess is not implying that Luke necessarily did anything wrong when filing his tax return.

Litchfield

JOHN: Now this is a lovely property that has just become available right outside of Litchfield.
SOOKIE: It’s a sales pitch?
LORELAI: They spend two hours telling us nothing, then try to sell us lame property?
SOOKIE: We already know the place we’re buying.
LORELAI: I know.

Litchfield, previously discussed.

Lorelai and Sookie say they already know the property they will buy (the Dragonfly Inn), but the owner (Fran Weston) has refused to sell it to them. Is it really such an insane idea that they might look at some available real estate that somebody actually wants to sell, if only to give them some idea of the market? Maybe they could actually use a couple of business classes.

Also, the one day seminar that Lorelai talked about seems to have ended up being the two hour class Michel derided after all. I guess Lorelai meant “one day” as in the entire course takes place on only one day, rather than over several weeks.

Rhine

EMILY: If you pay for first class and the airline sticks you in coach, people expect you to be upset. No one calls you demanding or unreasonable. And yet here is this woman whom I pay more than she can get anywhere else in Hartford, whose severance package could finance a summer cruise down the Rhine, dragging me into court saying that I was unfair.

The Rhine, the second-longest river in Central and Western Europe, at 1230 km (760 miles). It rises in the Swiss Alps, flows predominantly through Germany, and ends in the Netherlands, where it empties into the North Sea. It has been a vital waterway since the days of the Roman Empire, and cities along it include Basel, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Strasbourg, and Rotterdam.

Cruises down the Rhine are expensive, around $5000 per person for even a modest one. As Emily’s maids never seem to last more than about a week, it seems implausible they could have a generous severance package such as she describes.

Emily’s Excuse for Being Demanding

EMILY: For years, I’ve been listening to you and your father and everyone else go on and on about how demanding I am, how I have to have things a certain way. Well, guess what? I pay to have them that way. I pay more than anyone else pays their maids, and when things are not the way I want, that means I’m not getting what I paid for. Why is that so hard to understand?

Emily’s justification for her demanding and unreasonable behaviour is that she pays high wages, higher than anyone else in Hartford. This certainly helps explain how she continues to attract new staff, when she has a terrible reputation.

“Andrew Jackson, not Alfred E. Neuman”

LUKE: And he paid cash? … Did you make sure Andrew Jackson was on the bills, not Alfred E. Neuman or someone?

Andrew Jackson, previously discussed. Former president Andrew Jackson is on the US $20 bill.

Alfred E. Neuman, the fictitious mascot and cover boy of the humour magazine Mad. The image had been used since the 19th century in advertising, and for Roosevelt’s political campaign in the 1930s. Mad magazine claimed the image in 1954, and named him “Alfred E. Neuman” in 1956. Since his debut, he has appeared on all but a handful of the magazine’s covers.

In 1967, the magazine published pictures of joke coins and a three dollar bill with Alfred E. Neuman’s face on it. Despite being an obvious satire on coin collecting, some readers cut the notes out of the magazine and were able to use them in Las Vegas money-changing machines, leading to federal authorities moving to stamp out this counterfeit operation.

Mad magazine went on to publish fake Monopoly money, and smaller versions of the three dollar bill which were given out as novelties at trade shows and conventions.

“Jess, where did you get the money?”

LUKE: Jess, where did you get the money?

JESS: … Remember I work for you?

LUKE: … I don’t pay you enough to buy the car.

JESS: I saved up my pennies and I bought the car from Gypsy. She gave me a good deal. That’s how I got the car.

Luke has trouble understanding how Jess was able to buy a car. Lorelai helpfully suggested that Jess probably stole it, and with the uncanny ability Jess has to mind-meld with Lorelai, he also teases Luke by saying he mugged someone.

I’m not sure why this is all such a mystery. Jess’ car may be roadworthy, but it’s in poor condition otherwise, and Jess says Gypsy sold it to him at a bargain price. That could have been as low as $500, and is unlikely to be more than $1000.

Jess has been working at the diner every day for about a year, which was probably a full-time job over summer vacation, probably getting around $4 an hour. As little as 125 hours work could have paid for the car, and Jess, like Luke, has frugal habits, and is probably a good saver. (He also cleaned Lorelai’s gutters, and may have taken on other chores around town).

Even though there’s nothing at all unbelievable about Jess having an old car, it does get explained later in the episode.

“Sign of the devil”

RORY: I like the brown.

LORELAI: Come here a sec, you’ve got some dirt on your forehead. I’m sorry, it’s just the sign of the devil, my mistake.

Lorelai refers to the Mark of the Beast which is mentioned in the Bible in Revelation 13:16-17.

He causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, so that no one may buy or sell, except he who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name.

The “beast” is also called “the false prophet” or Antichrist who “speaks like a dragon” – that is, speaks arrogantly, as if to place himself even above God. The meaning of the text has been hotly debated, but many biblical scholars think that “the beast” is the Roman Empire, the Emperor Nero, and the ruling elites. However, there is a popular view that “the beast” is the Devil himself. (See the entry for Antichrist for information on how the Antichrist and Devil have become conflated).

The Greek word translated as “mark”- charagma (χάραγμα) – can mean a mark that is engraved, imprinted, or branded. The word is the same one used to refer to stamped money, documents, or coins. As Roman coins carried the image of the emperor, it seems to fit in with the idea of “the beast” being the Roman Empire and emperor.

During the time when Nero was emperor, in 66 AD, the Jews revolted against the Romans and coined their own money so that they did not need to carry around this symbol of oppression to do business. This is about the same time that scholars believe Revelation was written, and some believe that these verses pertain to that, or are informed by it.

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”.