Bad Seed

RORY: Nixon’s bad seed.

Bad seed, an American expression referring to someone who is evil or unprincipled by their nature, “born bad”.

The expression gained widespread notoriety through the 1956 psychological thriller The Bad Seed, directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Patty McCormack in the title role. It is based on the 1954 play of the same name by Maxwell Anderson, which in turn was based on the 1954 novel by William March. The film is about a sociopathic little girl, and was a hit at the box office, receiving positive reviews from critics.

Rory suggests that Paris was born from the “bad seed” of disgraced president Richard Nixon, to explain why she is such a bad president herself.

Kim Family Weddings

The Kim family are planning a wedding for Lane’s cousin James, said to be “quiet and skulky”, so the family arranged a marriage for him with a girl from Korea who “doesn’t speak a word of English”.

This sounds absolutely awful for the young woman, coming to a country where she doesn’t speak or understand the language, to marry someone she’s never met. Amazingly, Rory and Lane express zero sympathy or concern for her, Rory even quipping that she hopes they make air holes in the box she’s shipped out in, as if she’s an animal.

Dave will be playing at the wedding, and during the conversation, it turns out that Rory has attended many weddings at the Kim household – so many that Lane says she is accepted as an honorary member of the family. We don’t see Rory and Lane together that much, so this is a nice way to tell us that in fact they are very close and have shared many important times that aren’t shown onscreen. It doesn’t really gel with the way Mrs Kim treats Rory in the show – certainly not like a family member (mind you, she’s not very warm to her actual family members).

Notice that the book Rory is carrying in this scene is Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman. Rory is shown reading this book all the way back in “Red Light on the Wedding Night”, so eighteen months later she is either still reading it, or is re-reading it. Although re-reading books is common, is re-reading biographies all that common, I wonder? I feel as if they are getting a bit lazy in finding new books for Rory to read (or be shown reading).

Peru and the Surgeon General

ALEX: Ready to try another? I hear there’s one from Peru that comes with a Surgeon’s General warning.

Peru, a country on the west coast of South America. Despite Alex’s warning, Peruvian coffee is said to be mild and light in flavour.

The surgeon general of the United States is the operational head of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and thus the leading spokesperson on matters of public health in the federal government of the United States. The US surgeon general is nominated by the president of the United States and confirmed by the Senate.

In 2003, the Surgeon General of the US was Richard Carmona (born 1949); he was in the post from 2002 to 2006. In 2014 he wrote a book called 30 Days to a Better Brain, where he actually promoted coffee as a healthy drink that could improve mood and memory.

Pamela Des Barres

LORELAI: Do you need any help, please?
RORY: I’m good, Pamela Des Barres.

Pamela Des Barres (born Pamela Miller in 1948), rock and roll groupie, writer, musician, and actress. She is also a former member of the experimental Frank Zappa-produced music group, the GTOs.

Des Barres is best known for her 1987 memoir, I’m with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, which details her experiences in the Los Angeles rock music scene of the 1960s and 1970s, and she was the model for the Penny Lane character, played by Kate Hudson, in Almost Famous.

Pamela was married to English actor and singer Michael Des Barres from 1977 to 1991. You may recall that Michael Des Barres played the role of Claude in “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving”.

Rory calls Lorelai this as a tease because Zack is flirting with her. Lorelai does everything she can to deflect this unwanted attention, even though she was flattered when Dean’s dimwitted friend Todd fancied her, and he was a few years younger than Zack is now. She must be feeling a lot more confident about herself now.

“Good lawyers make for good neighbors”

TAYLOR: All the more reason to have a professional take a little looksee, huh? I mean, there’s a reason they say good lawyers make for good neighbors.
LUKE: Who the hell said that?

Taylor (deliberately?) misquotes the famous 1914 Robert Frost poem “Mending Wall”, which says, “Good fences make good neighbours”. Although widely quoted as a pithy piece of commonsense wisdom, the person who actually says this line in the poem is not viewed sympathetically by the poem’s narrator. (Just as Taylor is not viewed very sympathetically by the writers of the show).

Originally published in Frost’s second collection, North of Boston, it is one of the most commonly analysed and anthologised poems in modern literature.

The Diary of Virginia Woolf

This is the book that Rory is reading at lunchtime in the cafeteria.

It is the diary of Virginia Woolf, edited by the art scholar Anne Olivier Bell, married to Woolf’s nephew, Quentin Bell. It is in five volumes, with the first volume published in 1977, and the last in 1984 (the year Rory was born). Rory is reading the fourth volume (covering 1931-1935), suggesting she has already read the first three, and has almost finished the entire set. Virginia Woolf has been established as one of Rory’s favourite authors. It has also been shown again and again that Rory (and Lorelai) have a great interest in diaries and biography.