Quilting Convention, Cartwheels

LORELAI: Well, the quilting convention is sitting down to tea.

MICHEL: Uh, I’m doing internal cartwheels.

Quilting is the process of sewing different pieces of fabric together to form a multilayered quilt, which may be simple in design or a complex piece of art. There are numerous quilting societies in the US, and the inn is currently hosting a quilting convention.

Cartwheels [pictured] are an acrobatic maneuver commonly performed in gymnastics, as well as cheerleading and certain types of dance, including classical Indian dance. It is performed by bringing the hands to the floor one at a time while the body inverts. The legs travel over the body trunk while one or both hands are on the floor, and then the feet return to the floor one at a time, ending with the athlete standing upright. The phrase “performing cartwheels” is sometimes used metaphorically to mean that someone is exuberantly happy and excited. Compare when Lorelai said she was mentally doing a Jig.

The Big Kahuna

RORY: Oh, the essay – the big kahuna.

The “big kahuna” is an idiomatic phrase meaning “the boss, the leader, the head of an organisation, the big one”. It’s borrowed from Hawaiian, where the word kahuna means an expert in any field, but is often thought of as referring to a shaman or high priest.

The term became known from the 1959 comedy film Gidget, in which “The Big Kahuna”, played by Cliff Robertson, was the leader of a group of surfers [pictured]. Beach party movies of the 1960s often used the term, such as Beach Blanket Bingo, where “The Big Kahuna” was the best surfer on the beach.


RORY: So, Grandma, Grandpa is traveling again, huh? … Business must be good … That’s great. Isn’t that great, Mom?

LORELAI: A jig is forthcoming.

A lively folk dance associated with Irish and Scottish music and dance, first popular in 16th century Ireland and Britain, quickly adopted in Continental Europe.

“To do a jig”, means that the person is very happy – joyful enough to perform this bouncy dance.

Richard still needs to travel since starting his own insurance company, which is seeming less and less plausible. I’m starting to wonder if the travel thing was a complete scam right from the beginning.

“There is a baby desperately in need of some bath water”

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.

“Good riddance to bad luggage”

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 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” .

Tar and Feathers

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.