LORELAI: Whoa, whoa, whoa! There is a baby here desperately in need of some bath water.
A play on the common idiom, “To throw the baby out with the bathwater”, meaning that in the rush to rid oneself of unwanted things, valuable things are being lost as well. It was originally a German proverb, dating to at least the 16th century.
Lorelai means that just because Margie can’t be Richard’s secretary any more, it doesn’t mean he needs to give up on the idea of having his own business as well.
MADELINE: Jeremy didn’t call? LOUISE: Not in a timely manner, no. MADELINE: Well, good riddance to bad luggage.
Madeline makes a play on the English idiom, “Good riddance to bad rubbish”, meaning that you are better off without that bothersome person or situation. “Good riddance” has been in use since the 16th century, while the “bad rubbish” part was added around the 18th century.
Note that Rory is still reading alone at lunchtime, although she is at least eating at the same table as Madeline and Louise. No sign of Lisa!
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” .
TAYLOR: The bottom line here is that there is a consensus among townspeople who are in agreement that Stars Hollow was a better place before Jess got here. LUKE: So this half of the room gets the tar, and the other half gets the feathers? TAYLOR: Well, there hasn’t been any talk of tar and feathers. Although …
Tarring and feathering is a form of public torture and punishment handed out as unofficial justice, used in feudal England and colonial America, as well as the early American frontier, as a form of mob or vigilante vengeance. The last known example was in 2007 in Northern Ireland, against someone accused of drug-dealing.
The victim would be stripped naked or stripped to the waist, painted with hot tar, and then rolled in feathers (there were usually other punishments thrown in, such as whipping or scalping). The skin would be burned by the tar, and scraping it off later led to the skin being torn off, so it was extremely painful as well as humiliating. “Tarring and feathering” is now used as a term to denote severe public criticism.
Luke is saying the town meeting is on a par with the brutal mob justice associated with the Wild West, in agreement with Lorelai’s earlier comment. It is actually quite horrifying, because they seem to be saying Jess should be run out of town, even though he’s a high school kid who’s only guilty of petty theft and a few mild pranks.
It’s also baffling, because Jess isn’t exactly a stranger – he’s Luke’s nephew, Liz’s son, and the grandson of the respected William Danes. The town should be prepared to take him in as one of their own, and the fact that they won’t is a deeply troubling sign. Maybe there’s a good reason why Liz took off.
RORY: Yikes. What kind of vibe are you giving her? LANE: Oh, my patented Keith Richards circa 1969 ‘don’t mess with me’ vibe, with a thousand-yard Asian stare thrown in.
The thousand-yard stare is a phrase often used to describe the blank, unfocused gaze of soldiers during wartime who no longer react to the horror they’re living through. More generally, it can apply to any victim of trauma.
The phrase was popularised during World War II after Life magazine published a 1944 painting by Tom Lea, titled The Marines Call It That 2000-Yard Stare [pictured], but became especially known during the Vietnam War, when it decreased to a slimmer, punchier 1000-yard stare.
Lane dramatically compares her life being brought up in a traditional Asian-American household as akin to that of someone with PTSD on a battlefield.
LADAWN: Welcome to the Cheshire Cat. LORELAI: … Okay, she’s named the place after an Alice in Wonderland character. This is my worst nightmare.
As Lorelai says, the Cheshire Cat is a character in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, previously discussed and frequently referenced. The cat likes to engage in amusing philosophical conversations, and is known for its distinctive grin; even when it disappears, as it does a few times, the grin will be the last thing to vanish.
The character is a personification of the English saying, “to grin like a Cheshire cat”, meaning that the person has a very wide smile. The saying dates to the 18th century, but its origins are obscure. Cheshire was known for its dairy industry, with milk and cream making cats happy, so that’s one possible explanation.
Presumably LaDawn chose the name of her B&B after her large cat, Sammy. In real life there are numerous B&Bs in the Portsmouth area to cater to the tourist trade. Scenes at the Cheshire Cat were filmed in the same set used for the Black White Read Bookstore.