“One grub too many”

SOOKIE: You just had one grub too many. Just drink lots of water to rehydrate.
JACKSON: I will.

I think Sookie is referring to mezcal, a Mexican spirit distilled from the agave plant, similar to tequila, and extremely intoxicating. Some brands include an edible mezcal “worm”, an insect larva which is the caterpillar of a moth, or occasionally the larva of a weevil, both of which naturally infest agave plants. The manufacturers added it in the 1950s as a marketing ploy. I think this is the “grub” Sookie means.

Mexican Bean

MICHEL: Stop jumping like a Mexican bean.

Mexican jumping beans are not really beans, but seed pods of the plant Sebastiana pavonia, native to Mexico and Costa Rica. The seeds can become inhabited by the larva of a small moth, and if it becomes warm, it will move to eat, causing the seed to “jump”. Holding one in your hand will warm it to the point it becomes quite lively. They are sold as children’s novelty items in the US, and it is common to say that an excitable child is hopping about “like a Mexican jumping bean” .

Baby’s Breath and County General

EMILY: Look at these flowers. Baby’s breath. What is this, County General?

Baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata) is a popular ornamental flower native to Central and Eastern Europe with clouds of tiny white blooms in the summer. It’s often used in floristry to provide a backdrop for larger flowers.

“County General” is a common name for hospitals in the US eg Roebuck County General Hospital. In real life, there isn’t a hospital with this name in Connecticut.

Emily seems to think baby’s breath is only suitable as part of a flower arrangement you’d give to someone in hospital, lacking the elegance required in a formal setting. You can see how standards have dropped in Hartford society without Emily’s capable hand on the tiller.

“Sending me to Korea for the summer”

LANE: My mother and father are sending me to Korea for the summer to visit my cousins.
LANE: They’re sending me to Korea and they won’t tell me when I’m coming back.

Mr and Mrs Kim have bought Lane a one-way ticket to (South) Korea for the summer, leading her to panic they never intend for her to come home. This story line was based on an incident from the childhood of Helen Pai, the real life inspiration for Lane Kim. Her parents did exactly the same thing, but as with Lane’s case, it turned out all right.

The American flag in the background is surely a symbol of where Lane’s heart lies, and also shows that she will return home. In Korea, the colour yellow can be symbolic of good luck, so Rory giving Lane the yellow daisies wishes her good luck on her travels.

A Thousand Yellow Daisies

MICHEL: Daisies no less. As if I would order these pitiful little things. Foul things, these daisies. And just a notch up from weeds. And look how many. I mean, there must be at least …
LORELAI: A thousand of them. A thousand yellow daisies.
(Pan around inn’s lobby, which is filled with daisies. Lorelai walks into the middle and them and looks around.)

There are clearly way more than a thousand yellow daisies in this scene, which sounds impressive but would really just be a few bunches of flowers. You can make it work by understanding it as one thousand pots of daisies, but in reality they probably just kept putting out daisies until it looked like a huge number of flowers.

Daisies can symbolise love, fertility, and the return of someone’s affections, while the yellow colour is cheerful, vibrant, and a sign of being quick-witted, rather like Lorelai herself. Daisies are sacred to the Virgin Mary, which is a callback to the Gilmore surname itself. More generally, daisies symbolise motherhood, so Lorelai’s choice of flower can be read, “Love me, but remember I am a mother first”.

The name daisy literally means “day’s eye”, and daisies can symbolise the marking of time, and the progress of the sun throughout the day and the year. This makes it the perfect flower for Gilmore Girls, a show which is all about time.

Berringiny Pansy

RICHARD: Saving the Berringiny Pansy. Who ever heard of such a thing?
EMILY: It’s a very rare flower that is rapidly disappearing from the face of this earth.
RICHARD: Well, who cares?
EMILY: As president of the Horticultural Society, I have to care.

A fictional species of flower. There are a few species of pansy in Europe which are rare or even endangered though.

The name of the pansy flower comes from the French for “thought” (pensée), to symbolise remembrance, especially of a loved one. Another name for the pansy is love-in-idleness, meaning someone who has nothing to do but think of their beloved. This seems apt, as Rory has been trapped by her thoughts and memories of Dean, with not enough to occupy her lately. Yet another name for the flower is heartsease, telling us that Rory will soon unburden her heart, and have her feelings soothed.

The Connecticut Horticultural Society has existed since 1887, and in real life does have speakers on one Thursday a month, just like in this episode (it now seems to be Thursday 19 April). They take place at the Emanuel Auditorium in West Hartford, and start at 7.30 pm – although you’re encouraged to come early so you can socialise. This suggests the time when Rory comes to her grandparents’ house is somewhere 6.30 and 7 pm.

Rory’s Bedroom

Emily shows Rory the guest room she has had redecorated to be Rory’s bedroom any time she stays with her grandparents. Even though Rory said her favourite colour was probably blue, Emily has chosen pink for the accessories (with one blue blanket on a chair), and despite saying that she preferred NSYNC, there is a 98° boy band poster on the wall – there might be another poster on the wall we can’t see, though. From this you can see the very limited choices that Emily allows others to make, and that she is all too ready to override them.

Emily did take notice of the sunflowers, however, which Rory said were her favourite flower. Sunflowers are symbolic of platonic love between family members, and strong bonds between two people, reminiscent of Rory’s relationship with Lorelai. They are happy, positive flowers, and symbols of good luck, which make sense because Rory leads such a charmed life.

The room is obviously Emily’s way of showing how much better cared for Rory would have been had she and Lorelai remained living with Emily and Richard. She is still angry and distressed that Lorelai took Rory to live in a shed rather than with her parents, and believes that Lorelai must have hated them to have chosen a shed over her own home.