A.J. Benza

LOUISE: Princess Grace didn’t go to college.
PARIS: Thank you for the history lesson, A.J. Benza.

Alfred Joseph “A.J.” Benza (born 1962) is an American gossip columnist and television host. He began as a gossip columnist on the New York Daily News, and in the mid-1990s began appearing on The Gossip Show on E! Entertainment Television, leading to appearances on several chat shows. From 1998 to 2001 he was the host of Mysteries and Scandals on the E! Network.

“Mr. Cosell”

EMILY: She [Rory] got home from school, but she just went right upstairs. Now she didn’t want a snack, but I had Rosa make her one anyway. I haven’t checked to see if she’s eaten it. She had a decent breakfast this morning, but she did seem a little tired, and when I went into her bathroom the aspirin bottle was out, so I assume she had a headache. Now, I don’t know if it was last night or …
LORELAI: Excuse me, Mr. Cosell. I appreciate the play-by-play but I just want to talk to my daughter now.

Howard Cosell, born Howard Cohen (1918-1995) was an American sports journalist who entered sports broadcasting in the 1950s, and in the 1970s became the commentator for Monday Night Football on ABC. He completely changed the style of sportscasting towards one of context and analysis, similar to hard news journalism, and is regarded as the greatest American sports commentator of all time. Lorelai compares Emily’s blow-by-blow account of Rory’s activities to Cosell’s in depth analysis of a football game.

Emily’s speech shows her hyper-controlling style of micromanagement. Rory has only been home from school for around an hour, but has had her every move and mood scrutinised, been given a snack after saying she didn’t want one, and had her bathroom searched after leaving it. It’s a telling insight into what Lorelai’s childhood must have been like, and into what Rory’s would have been like if Lorelai had remained living with her parents after becoming a mother.

Emily allows no autonomy, choice, or privacy, and keeps people under surveillance as if they are in prison (remember Lorelai, an adult, could not even say she was going to the toilet without being followed?). It’s really hard to blame Lorelai for fleeing her childhood home because of these circumstances, fearing that Rory would have to endure the same childhood she did.

Miss Manners

LORELAI: You gave me a second hand present, like something you got at the junk store.
EMILY: You’re being a little dramatic. It was still in the crate.
LORELAI: You actually went, “Huh, what should I get Lorelai this year? You know what, I can’t be bothered. Let’s give her something we don’t want anymore”.
EMILY: You’re not funny.
LORELAI: What would Miss Manners say about this?

Miss Manners (born Judith Perlman in 1938, now Judith Martin) is an American journalist, author, and etiquette expert. Since 1978 she has written an advice column which is published in over 200 newspapers around the world.

Miss Manners does give her blessing to regifting, as long as the present is still new (not used), and that the recipient never finds out. She would think it quite okay that Lorelai received the unwanted hat rack from her mother still in its crate – the real rule of etiquette Emily has broken is telling Lorelai that her gift was previously given to her. Although as Emily says, she would probably understand if she met Richard’s mother.

The Franklin

Chilton’s school newspaper, The Franklin, is named for Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), who was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, widely revered for his numerous and wide-ranging achievements. A scientist and inventor, he was also a political theorist, diplomat, and activist who campaigned to unify the thirteen colonies of 18th century America.

Benjamin Franklin was a successful newspaper printer and editor, becoming wealthy as the publisher of the Pennsylvania Gazette. This is the reason for honouring him in the title of the school newspaper.

“Not Cokie Roberts”

HEADMASTER: Not Cokie Roberts?
HEADMASTER: Not Oprah, Rosie, or one of the women from The View?

Mary Martha Corinne “Cokie” Roberts (born 1943) is a multi-award-winning American journalist. Since 1992 she has been the senior news analyst at National Public Radio (NPR), and since 1988 has been with ABC News as a political commentator.

Oprah Winfrey (born 1954) is an American talk show host, actress, media owner, and philanthroptist. She is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which ran from 1986 to 2011. The highest-rated talk show in American history, it was extremely influential and won so many Daytime Emmy Awards that Winfrey eventually stopped submitting it so someone else had a chance. Through her media work, Winfrey became a billionaire and a major celebrity in her own right.

Rosie O’Donnell (born 1962) is an American comedian, actress, author and TV personality. Her talk show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, ran from 1996 to 2002 and won multiple Emmy Awards. During the show’s run she became known for her light-hearted banter with celebrity guests, and for her promotion of Broadway musicals.

The View is an American morning talk show, broadcast since 1997. Its panel of female co-hosts discuss a range of political, social, and pop cultural topics, followed by celebrity interviews. It has won a number of Daytime Emmy Awards. In 2000, panelists on The View were Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, and Lisa Ling.

Headmaster Charleston is questioning the sincerity of Rory’s journalistic aspirations by suggesting she just wants to get her face on television. However Rory corrects him by letting him know she could also write books or articles: as long as she can see the world and be a part of something big.

Christiane Amanpour

HEADMASTER: What are your aspirations?
RORY: I want to go to Harvard and study Journalism and Political Science.
HEADMASTER: On your way to being . . .?
RORY: Christiane Amanpour.

Christiane Amanpour (born 1958) is a multi award-winning British-Iranian journalist and television host. She began working for CNN in 1983 and quickly made a name for herself an a foreign correspondent, covering the Iran-Iraq War and the fall of European communism. During the 1990s, Amanpour reported from the Persian Gulf War and Bosnian War, and in 1992 became CNN’s chief foreign correspondent. She has reported on major crises around the world and had exclusive interviews with world leaders.

This is the first time we learn that Christiane Amanpour is Rory’s inspiration as a journalist – one who she would have grown up watching and admiring. It is Amanpour’s adventurous career travelling the world which seems to especially attract her.