Miami Beach Blue

SOOKIE: And I like your living room. Though that house across the street has sort of that creepy Miami Beach blue, which means that during the day you really can’t look out your window, but at night it’s not so bad.

Miami Beach is a coastal city in Florida, located on natural and artificial islands which separate the beach from Miami. It has a population of around 83 000, and has been one of the most popular resorts in the US since the early twentieth century.

I’m not exactly sure what Sookie means by “Miami Beach blue”, but Miami Beach has a famous Art Deco Heritage District, the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world. Many of the buildings are painted or picked out in pale blue, in line with the city’s beachy aesthetic, and she may be thinking of that.

I don’t know why this is considered “creepy”. All I can think of, and it’s really quite a stretch, is that the house in the famous 1991 “Ghostbusters” case of Stambovsky vs Ackley was painted pale blue.

The legal case involved a woman named Helen Ackley selling her house in Nyack, New York, to a man named Jeffrey Stambovsky, without disclosing to him that the house was reputedly haunted – he refused to sign the contract when he found out about the haunting. The courts ruled in favour of Mr Stambovsky.

The only reason I am even mentioning it is because the film Ghostbusters was referenced in the same scene, the mentalist Kreskin, previously discussed, was among those who tried to buy the house, and because when Helen Ackley eventually sold the house to a different buyer, she moved to Florida, so it all seems to fit, in some extremely nebulous way.

It seems possible that Sookie took note of the pale blue house when the story broke nationally, and for ever after, thought any kind of pale blue house was somehow spooky.

Pat Buchanan, Jerry Falwell, Kathy Lee Gifford

JESS: I don’t know, bet you have a lot of supporters on this. Pat Buchanon, Jerry Falwell, Kathie Lee Gifford.

Patrick “Pat” Buchanan (born 1938), right-wing political commentator, politician and broadcaster. He was an assistant and consultant to Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, and one of the original hosts of CNN’s current events program, Crossfire. He has expressed sympathy for Nazi war criminals and support for eugenics, denied the Holocaust, and called for the lynching and horse-whipping of the young men of colour wrongly convicted in the Central Park jogger case. In 1990, he argued the case for music censorship in a debate on Crossfire.

Jerry Falwell Sr (1933-2007) [pictured], Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and conservative activist. He was pro-segregation and pro-apartheid, and a supporter of Anita Bryant’s campaign to oppose equal rights for gay people (he denounced Tinky Winky from the Teletubbies as a gay icon). He sued both Penthouse and Hustler magazine in the 1980s for an article and an advertisement that he believed had defamed him or caused him distress; the courts ruled in favour of free speech.

Kathie Lee Gifford (born Kathryn Epstein in 1953), television presenter, singer, songwriter, and author. She is best known for her fifteen-year run as co-host of Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee. She became a born-again Christian at the age of 12, and was a secretary/babysitter to Anita Bryant. I’m not actually aware of any censorship she has advocated for.

Florida People and Anita Bryant

RICHARD: Oh, I always start my breakfast off with half a grapefruit.
LORELAI: Hm, do the Florida people know about you? Because Anita Bryant left this huge gap that has yet to be filled.

Anita Bryant (born 1940), previously mentioned. Singer who had a string of hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and was Miss Oklahoma 1958.

In 1969, she was chosen as the ambassador for the Florida Citrus Commission, with commercials featuring her singing Come to the Florida Sunshine Tree, and saying the tagline, “Breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine”.

In 1977 she became a controversial figure as an anti-gay rights activist, leading a coalition of conservative Christians who wished anti-discrimination legislation to be repealed. They were successful, but earned the ire of gay-rights activists, who organised a ban against orange juice. She became an object of ridicule, and after her divorce in 1980, the Florida Citrus Commission allowed her contract to lapse. This is the “huge gap” that Lorelai suggests Richard might like to fill. It also seems to be another comment about censorship.

Clarence Thomas

LORELAI: You’ll say hello, you’ll ask how his wife is, and that’s it. After that, you will say nothing, you will do nothing, you will sit in the corner and offer no opinions and pull a full-on Clarence Thomas, am I making myself perfectly clear?

Clarence Thomas (born 1948), associate justice of the US Supreme Court since 1991, the longest-serving member of the court to this date, and often cited as the most conservative.

At the time of his confirmation hearings that would see him confirmed for the Supreme Court position, Thomas was already reticent on answering questions from senators about his philosophical stance, in the belief that his conservative views could see him rejected.

However, he refused to answer any questions as his final approval was being debated, when a woman named Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment involving making sexual comments to her. Hill was questioned aggressively, and Thomas defended his right to privacy. He said that they were turning his appointment into a circus, and he refused to participate in what he saw as a racist exercise. He was voted in a week later.

I think this is what Lorelai is referring to, telling Emily to keep her mouth as tightly shut as Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings.

Blue Book Laws

JESS: I’m not really familiar with the blue book laws in this town, so you can be talking about a lot of things. Dropping a gum wrapper, strolling arm in arm with a member of the opposite sex on a Sunday.

Jess seems to have confused two different things and put them together (perhaps deliberately).

Blue laws are laws designed to restrict activities on a Sunday, such as banning certain retail activities eg buying alcohol. In Puritan times, they were very strict when Connecticut was a colony, which might be what Jess is implying – that Stars Hollow is still stuck in the colonial past. Examples of such old timey strictness include not allowing people to run anywhere, or to walk in their gardens on a Sunday. It’s not common, but some towns in the US do have their own blue laws, even today.

Project Blue Book was the code name for the study of UFOs by the US Air Force from 1952 to 1969. Did Jess make a simple error, a Freudian slip of the tongue, or is he saying that he feels like an “alien” being studied by the townsfolk of Stars Hollow?

(I have actually seen people make this same error in regard to “blue book laws”, so I don’t discount the idea that the writer, Daniel Palladino, may have had the same misunderstanding).

Sandra Day O’Connor

PARIS: And the connection you make with the Puffs, they last the rest of your life. My cousin Maddie got her internship at the Supreme Court because of Sandra Day O’Connor.
RORY: Sandra Day O’Connor was a Puff?
PARIS: Yes. She was Puffed in 1946, became the president in ’47, and in ’48 she actually moved the group to the very table you sat at today.

Sandra Day O’Connor (born 1930) is a retired attorney and politician who served as the first female associate judge in the US Supreme Court from 1981 to 2006. Prior to that, she was a judge and elected Republican leader in the Arizona Senate, the first female majority leader in a state senate.

O’Connor most often voted with the conservative bloc of the Supreme Court, and was sometimes named as the most powerful woman in the world. She retired in 2005, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2009.

In real life, Sandra Day O’Connor could not have gone to Chilton or been a Puff. She was born in Texas and lived on a cattle ranch, attending a private girl’s school in El Paso. For her final year of schooling, she took a 32-mile bus trip every day to attend Stephen F. Austin High School in El Paso (rather like Rory going to Hartford).

In 1946, aged 16, she enrolled at Stanford University, where she gained a BA in Economics in 1950, so she was far beyond the world of high school sororities by that stage. And even at university, she didn’t join a sorority, as they didn’t exist at Stanford at that time.

I think she was just too tough and sensible to ever bother about table allocation in the dining hall, or gossiping about Homecoming. I presume the ludicrousness of the idea is what gave it appeal as a joke.

We also learn that Paris has an older cousin named Maddie who interned at the Supreme Court with the assistance of Sandra Day O’Connor. Maddie must have been a Puff as well, and possibly has a career in law. In real life, membership of sororities and fraternities can gain you coveted positions, although I doubt a high school one would actually be that influential.

Yogi Berra

LORELAI: [giggle] Good one … Baseball the size of a cantaloupe … ‘Cause a baseball can only be one size, so it’s a Yogi Berra type thing.
SOOKIE: Yogi Bear?

Lawrence “Yogi” Berra (1925-2015) was an American professional baseball catcher who later became a manager and coach. He played 19 seasons of Major League Baseball between 1946 and 1965, nearly all of them with the New York Yankees. Berra was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, and is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

Yogi Berra was known for his malapropisms, paradoxical statements, and seemingly unintentional witticisms, known as Yogi-isms. Yogi’s nickname came from a friend thinking that the way he sat with his legs crossed made him look like an Indian yogi.

Sookie mixes him up with cartoon character Yogi Bear, previously discussed. Yogi Berra sued Hanna-Barbera for use of his name, but they claimed the similarity of names was a coincidence. Berra withdrew his suit, although Hanna-Barbera’s defense was considered implausible.

Anna Nicole Smith and Mary Kay Letourneau

(Older man walks by.)
LORELAI: Pass.
RORY: Why?
LORELAI: Because I’m not Anna Nicole Smith. Next.
RORY: Two.
(Teenage boy on a skateboard goes by.)
LORELAI: Hmm, pass.
RORY: Why?
LORELAI: Because I’m not Mary Kay Letourneau.

Anna Nicole Smith, born Vickie Lynne Hogan (1967-2007) [pictured] was an American model and actress who first gained fame as a Playboy model, winning Playmate of the Year in 1992. She was perhaps best known for her 1994 marriage to J. Howard Marshall, an 89-year-old petroleum tycoon she had met while working at a strip club. It was speculated that she had married him for his money because of the age difference. Marshall died the following year, and there was a protracted legal case over his will; during it, Smith herself died, gaining no money from his estate.

Mary Kay Letourneau (born Mary Katherine Schmitz in 1962) is an American former schoolteacher who in 1997 pleaded guilty to raping a child, her twelve-year-old student Vili Fualaau, to whose baby she gave birth while awaiting sentencing. Due to a plea agreement, she was sentenced to three months in prison, and was not allowed contact with Fualaau for life. She broke the no-contact order soon after being released from prison, and was imprisoned again, this time for seven years, giving birth to another child in prison. After Letourneau was released in 2004, Vili Fualaau, now an adult, asked that the no-contact order be revoked, and they married in 2005. They legally separated in 2017, although they apparently still live together and are still in a relationship.