Persimmons

LORELAI: Hey, why isn’t Jackson here?

SOOKIE: Oh, he’s singing to his persimmons tonight. They’ve been a little sour lately.

Persimmons are the edible fruit of a number of species of tree in the genus Diopyros. Technically the fruit is a berry, although not often thought of that way. The most commonly cultivated is the Oriental persimmon (Diospyros kaki) – one of the most commonly human-grown fruit trees on Earth, and first cultivated in China more than 2000 years ago, then spread to Japan and Korea in the Middle Ages. It was introduced to southern Europe and California in the 1800s.

Jackson may be growing American persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) [pictured], native to the eastern states of the US, and very hardy in cold weather. They’re harvested in the fall, and eaten fresh or used in baked goods and steamed puddings. Jackson’s persimmons are months away from harvest, so no wonder they are sour! The fruit is very astringent or even bitter unless it is fully ripened.

The previous year, Jackson danced to his watermelons and threw his back out.

Shrimp Balls

LORELAI: Tell me, was it the China Ball, the China Doll, or the China Wall that had the really good shrimp balls?

Shrimp balls, a Chinese dish where shrimp (prawns) are pounded into a paste, mixed with binding agents, and deep fried. They are served as appetisers, with dipping sauce.

Amazingly, Stars Hollow has three Chinese restaurants! It seems to be getting more and more options for ordering food as the show goes on. Lorelai and Rory must be keeping them all in business.

“I’m dripping”

JESS: I’m dripping here, hold the wheel.

Could they have made this any more sexual? Even the choice to buy ice cream cones seems like a deliberately erotic choice.

Out the back window, you can see a set of traffic lights, and multiple cars behind them. I think they are still supposed to be driving around Stars Hollow, which only has one traffic light, on the main square, and almost no traffic. It really doesn’t look like Stars Hollow!

I can accept this scene as believable if Jess drove to a nearby larger town to buy ice cream cones and then back to cone-less Stars Hollow, but I’m not sure this is what the show actually wants us to think. My understanding is that Jess was just circling the main square.

Bagel Dogs and Cheese Nips

LORELAI: Oh, gee, since I just ate half a bag of marshmallows, six Pop Tarts, four bagel dogs and a really stale Cheese Nip – yup, it’s brownie time, thanks.

Bagel dogs are hot dog frankfurters wrapped in bagel-style breading or bagel dough before baking it. They are similar to pigs in blankets. They can be sold at fast food stands, or bought frozen from supermarkets.

Cheese Nips were small cheese-flavoured crackers, manufactured by Mondelez International under its brand name Nabisco. They were introduced in 1955 and discontinued in 2020.

Frisbee

JESS: Can we talk about this later?

LUKE: Why, you got a big Frisbee heist going down at six?

A Frisbee is a gliding toy made from moulded plastic that can be used in catching and throwing games. They were invented by Walter Morrison, who got the idea in 1937 when he and his future wife were tossing cake pan back and forth to each other on a beach, when someone offered it to buy it for five times its value.

The first aerodynamically improved plastic discs were manufactured in 1948 by Morrison and his business partner, Warren Francioni and sold as the Whirlo-Way (named after a famous racehorse), then the Flying Saucer, then the Pluto Platter.

In 1957, Morrison sold the rights to Wham-O, whose co-founders Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin called the disc a Frisbee, after the Frisbie Pie Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Frisbie supplied pies to Yale University, and students would throw empty pie tins to each other in a game they called Frisby.

The Frisbee’s real success came in 1964, when Wham-O’s vice president of marketing, Ed Headricks, redesigned the Frisbee to make it more accurate, and promoted it as an organised sport. When Headrick died, he was cremated and his ashes moulded into memorial discs. The Frisbee was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998.

“Michel ate pasta?”

GISELLE: I am. I will miss him so much when I go home, but thank goodness, he will have an extra five pounds to remember me by after eating all my pasta today, that dirty thieving boy.

LORELAI: Michel ate pasta?

GISELLE: Well, yes. Michel loves pasta, he eats it all the time.

LORELAI: Not around us. Here it’s all no-carb, low-cal, let me see if I can eat less than the lab rats do.

Michel and his mother Giselle are having a wonderful time together treating themselves to luxurious meals, and there must surely be some malice involved when Lorelai decides to “out” Michel as a fad dieter to his mother (it feels like a subtitute for a different kind of “outing”, and just as much of a betrayal).

When Michel and his mother leave together laughing and joking over coffee, Lorelai looks utterly disgusted by them, and mutters, “That is so wrong”. It seems that it’s wrong for any other mother to befriend her child and joke with them while pigging out and drinking coffee!

The Specials at Luke’s Diner

LORELAI: Luke’s special omelette. That is brand new.

RORY: A new special? His four-slice French toast has been up there since I was born!

An obvious exaggeration. Luke’s Diner didn’t exist when Rory was born, and Rory didn’t live in Stars Hollow until she was two. It shows just how much Rory dislikes change – in “Like Mother, Like Daughter”, Rory bewails being forced out of her cosy little rut at Chilton to make friends.

French toast seems to be Rory’s go-to breakfast at Luke’s Diner, apparently because it is always on the specials board.

No Eating at Friday Night Dinner

The episode begins with Rory and Lorelai sitting at the table with Emily, but unable to begin eating because Richard is not there yet. Emily says that she will never start dinner without Richard unless he’s out of town or seriously ill, but in fact there’s been a few episodes where Emily has started dinner without Richard because he’s been busy or on the phone. And in “Hammers and Veils”, she rushes them to start dinner without Richard because he has an early flight the next day.

What makes it even more unbelievable is that Emily has allowed the cook/maid to serve the meal, and there is actually roast beef and vegetables sitting right on the table in front of them, getting cold. Apparently Emily will serve a meal without Richard, but won’t start eating until he arrives. Emily’s annoyance with Richard’s tardiness is soon weaponised to make everyone else miserable.

Reese’s Cup

CY: Louie finally throws the door open, looks at him and says, ‘Did you get a Reese’s Cup tonight?’. And the kid looks in his bag and he says, ‘Yes sir, I did.’ So Louie grabs it, says ‘Thank you very much!,’ then slams the door in his face.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chocolate cups filled with peanut butter, marketed by The Hershey Company. They were first called Penny Cups, and created in Pennsylvania in 1928 by H.B. Reese, a former dairy farmer who worked as a shipping foreman for candy manufacturer Milton S. Hershey. Reese left his job with Hershey to start his own company, The H.B. Reese Candy Company. In 1963, Reese’s sons merged the company with Hershey, and the Peanut Butter Cups quickly became Hershey’s top selling candy. They remain extremely popular today.

Louie’s Wake

LUKE: What’s going on?

RORY: It’s kind of like a wake.

When Luke and Lorelei get back from the funeral, they find a wake for Louie in full swing at the diner. No matter how they felt about Louie while he was alive, we see how Stars Hollow comes together to honour the death of one of their own. He may have retired to Florida (and the town threw a party in celebration), but now the town reclaims him as a citizen.

In life Louie was a disgusting rude old man, in death he becomes a “colourful character” that his former victims can now view with humour and affection. More than anything, you can’t help think that people in Stars Hollow just can’t permit an opportunity for a party to slide by. These are the people who threw a wake for a cat, after all!

Notice how many fresh vegetables and salads there are at the wake – the temporary market stall in the park has been a major contributor to the celebration of Louie’s life.