Castro

EMILY: And this is what we need to discuss right now?
LORELAI: These [Emily’s maids] are women from countries that have dictatorships and civil wars and death squads and all of that they survived, but five minutes working for Emily Gilmore, and people are begging for Castro.

Fidel Castro (1926-2016) was a Cuban communist revolutionary and politician who governed Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976, and as President from 1976 to 2008. He was also First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 to 2011. Under his administration, Cuba became a one-party communist state, industry and business were nationalised, and socialist reforms implemented. Castro was the longest-serving non-royal head of state in the 20th and 21st centuries.

More than a million Cubans left their country to emigrate as political refugees, mostly to the United States, with Florida being the US state with the most Cuban-Americans. Lorelai suggests that at least a couple of Emily’s maids were Cuban-American, and there are more than 10 000 Cuban-Americans in Connecticut, with the highest number in Bridgeport.

Gettysburg Address

LORELAI: You know, the Gettysburg Address was only one page long, and that was about a war.
LUKE: I just call them like I see them.

The Gettysburg Address is a speech given by US President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War in 1863. It was delivered at a dedication of the Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and is one of the best-known speeches in American history. Famous for its pithiness, in just two minutes Lincoln invoked the founding principles of freedom as set out in the Declaration of Independence, and proclaimed the Civil War to be a struggle for the Union that would bring true equality to all American citizens.

The Ruins of Pompeii

RICHARD: I wanted to walk the ruins of Pompeii.

Pompeii was an ancient Roman town near modern Naples, mostly destroyed and buried under tons of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The ruins of Pompeii have been a tourist destination for over 250 years, and today is one of Italy’s most popular tourist sites.

J. Edgar Hoover

RICHARD: Rory, wonderful news. You finished in the top three percent of your class.
LORELAI: Oh yeah, Dad, J. Edgar Hoover over here was just telling us.

John Edgar Hoover (1895-1972) was the first Director of the FBI, and instrumental in its founding in 1935. Lorelai is making fun of her mother’s “spy work” in discovering that Rory is in the top 3% of her class from Bitty Charleston, the headmaster’s wife.

Rory had got herself into the top 10% by the time of the midterm exams, and now the top 3% by the time she completed her final exams for the year. This rise is remarkable, and not very believable in a prestigious school full of excellent students. She started late, began the year getting a D and missing a vital test in her best subject, English Literature, and only got a B+ for her Biology midterms – surely that would bring her average down a bit further than that?

Balkans

RORY: You should get married in Italy.
LORELAI: All the way from home, same topic. There’s tons of stuff going on in the world. Big stuff.
RORY: Like?
LORELAI: Balkans.
RORY: That was ages ago. Read a paper.

Lorelai is referring to the Yugoslav Wars, a series of ethnically-based wars and insurgencies that took place in the Balkans, those countries in and around the Balkan Peninsula in Eastern Europe – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovinia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and Turkey.

Lorelai may be referring specifically to to the Kosovo War, which went from 1998-1999 – hence Rory saying that it was ages ago (two years ago from the time of this episode). Insurgencies in the area continued longer, and there was still armed conflict in Macedonia in 2001 when this episode aired, not ending until August, so possibly Rory has not kept up with international events either, or doesn’t think of Macedonia as part of the Balkans.

It’s interesting that Lorelai immediately mentions a war during the conversation about her marriage proposal; a possible sign of things to come. This parallels Rory mentioning the war in Lebanon just before she broke up with Dean.

Adolf Eichmann

KIRK: That’s right. There’s exactly a thousand of them. The order states that there is to be exactly 1000. Not 1001, not 999, but 1000. You ask for 1000, I bring 1000. I don’t question the orders. I merely fill them.
MICHEL: Job well done, Mr. Adolf Eichmann.

(Otto) Adolf Eichmann (1906-1962) was a German Nazi lieutenant colonel, and one of the major organisers of the Holocaust. After the outbreak of World War II, Eichmann and his staff were responsible for the deportation of Jews to concentration camps. After the war, Eichmann escaped Germany, and in 1950 managed to get to Argentina with false papers.

In 1960, Israeli intelligence agents captured Eichmann and brought him to Israel to stand trial for his war crimes. He did not deny his involvement, but argued that he had simply been following orders in a totalitarian system. He was found guilty, and hanged in 1962.

This is the first time we have seen Kirk (the character named Kirk, not Mick or an anonymous swan guy) in a change of job. He began as the assistant manager of Doose’s Market, and now he is doing deliveries for the flower shop. As the flower shop is right near the market, it doesn’t seem too hard to believe that Kirk could do both jobs, but as the show progresses, the number of jobs he holds blows out to comical proportions.

Typhoid Mary

RORY: But … what’s wrong with her [Madeline]?
LOUISE: Nothing’s wrong with her, Mary.
RORY: Mary? Oh no, not this Virgin Mary thing again.
LOUISE: Not Virgin. Typhoid.

Typhoid Mary was the name given to the Irish-born American Mary Mallon (1869-1938), the first identified person in the United States to be a carrier of typhoid fever without displaying any symptoms. She is believed to have infected an estimated 51 people, at least three of whom died, while working as a cook. As she used fake identities and was able to give authorities the slip several times, the numbers could be far higher, with some estimating that she may have killed over 50 people.

Mary spent the last 23 years of her life in forced quarantine, as she refused to stop working as a cook, even after being told she was a carrier of disease – she would not accept it. Typhoid Mary is a name given to anyone who unknowingly spreads disease or other undesirable traits.

Louise means that they intend to “quarantine” Rory by ignoring her, showing that she and Madeline are loyal to Paris, even when she is being unfair.