Cyanide Capsule

MISS PATTY: I’m the receptionist.
BABETTE: And I’m learning the computer.
MICHEL: And I’m looking for my cyanide capsule – have you seen it?

Cyanide, a highly toxic poison. Early symptoms include headache, dizziness, fast heart rate, shortness of breath, and vomiting. This phase may then be followed by seizures, slow heart rate, low blood pressure, loss of consciousness, and cardiac arrest. Onset of symptoms usually occurs within a few minutes. Some survivors have long-term neurological problems.

Cyanide capsules have been used as fast-acting suicide pills. It was the favoured suicide method in Nazi Germany, and spy agencies have issued cyanide pills to agents in case of capture.

Chastity Belt

PARIS: Pack your chastity belt, Gilmore – you’re going to Harvard!

A chastity belt is a locking item of clothing designed to prevent sexual intercourse or masturbation. Such belts were historically designed for women, ostensibly for the purpose of chastity, to protect women from rape or to dissuade women and their potential sexual partners from sexual temptation. Use is mentioned from the Renaissance, but in such a way that it might have been a joke, and there’s a good chance some chastity belts from the past are actually fakes. They were typically used in the 19th century by women as anti-rape devices.

Town Crier

PARIS: Fine, I’ll go to a payphone. Do you have payphones in this town or are you still using a town crier?

A town crier is a public official who makes pronouncements as required. Prior to widespread literacy, town criers were the means of communication with the people of the town since many people could not read or write. Proclamations, local bylaws, market days, and advertisements were all proclaimed by a crier.

There have been town criers in North America ever since Europeans came to the continent, and they were used in Connecticut in the 17th century. In some places, town criers persisted into the 20th century, and Provincetown in Massachusetts still has one. I’m almost surprised Taylor hasn’t organised a town crier for Stars Hollow, to give it an olde worlde feel. (It would presumably be Kirk).


MRS. VAN WYCK: Then Picasso is obscene … It has six breasts.
TRIX: You cannot be sure if those are breasts. They could be cannons. He was quite obsessed with the Spanish Civil War for awhile.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and theatre designer who spent most of his adult life in France. One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore.

Picasso painted a number of female nudes that Mrs Van Wyck might be looking at. Nude Woman With Necklace is one possibility, as at my first glance, I also was unsure how many breasts the figure has. On closer examination, some of them are her stomach and thighs. Remember that Mrs Van Wyck is peering at a tiny piece of transparent celluloid to view the painting.

One of Picasso’s most famous works is Guernica, a dramatic portrayal of the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica by German forces during the Spanish Civil War.

The Star-Spangled Banner

The national anthem of the US, which is sung by Miss Patty and Babette at the hockey game.

The lyrics come from the “Defence of Fort M’Henry”, a 1814 poem by lawyer Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the large US flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, flying above the fort during the US victory.

The poem was set to the tune of a popular British song by John Stafford Smith, called “To Anacreon in Heaven”, which was already popular in the US. “The Star-Spangled Banner” soon became a well-known US patriotic song, famously known for being very difficult to sing. Although the poem has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” was first recognised for official use by the US Navy in 1889. In 1931 it became the official national anthem of the US.

DAR Luncheon

LORELAI: What are you doing here?
EMILY: Well, I was thinking about possibly having our next DAR luncheon here.

It was established in the previous season that the Hartford DAR hold their monthly meetings at the Independence Inn, which Lorelai had to agree to in order to get help with a loan she needed, in “Secrets and Loans”.

The monthly meeting included a luncheon, but this DAR luncheon is presumably something separate from, and far more elaborate than, the monthly meeting luncheons. Lorelai books the DAR luncheon for the 15th March, which was a Saturday in 2003. (There may be some joke here about the Ides of March – the 15th of March – the day on which Julius Caesar was assassinated).

The Big One

MAN 2: I was in France during the Big One.
MICHEL: Oh, that’s nice. So –
MAN 2: Nice? It was a war. What’s nice about that?

The Big One, an informal name for World War II.

This Doose relative is played by veteran actor Bob Larkin. He was born in 1929, so when World War II broke out, he was only ten years old. His character is apparently meant to be about ten years older than the actor’s real age.