Sister Suffragette

LORELAI: She’s [Donna Reed] medicated.
RORY: And acting from a script.
LORELAI: Written by a man.
RORY: Well said, Sister Suffragette.

Sister Suffragette is a song from the 1964 Disney film Mary Poppins, written by Richard and Robert Sherman. Sung by Glynis Johns in the role of Mrs. Winifred Banks, it is a pro-suffrage song as Mrs. Banks is a supporter of votes for women. The song’s chorus ends with the words, “Well done, Sister Suffragette!”.

Mary Poppins was loosely based on the children’s book of the same name by Australian author P.L. Travers, and directed by Robert Stevenson, with Julie Andrews in the title role. The story is about a magical nanny who comes to care for two children in Edwardian London, and improves the lives of all the family.

Mary Poppins was the #3 film of of 1964 and received universal acclaim from critics. It won five Academy Awards, including a Best Actress for Julie Andrews, and is generally seen as Walt Disney’s crowning achievement. It was released on home video three times during the 1990s, suggesting that Lorelai may have bought it for Rory the previous decade.

“Pig’s blood”

LORELAI: Well, I think you’re actually making some friends here.
RORY: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. They’ve basically just moved off the plan to dump the pig’s blood on me at the prom, that’s all.

Rory is referencing the 1976 horror film Carrie, based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King – his first novel to be adapted to film. It was directed by Brian De Palma, and starred Sissy Spacek in the title role. The film is about a shy, unpopular sixteen-year-old girl named Carrie who is regularly bullied at school.

When Carrie is persuaded to attend the school prom, some bullies rig the election so she is crowned Prom Queen, then dump a bucket of pig’s blood on her when she comes on stage to accept her crown. As Carrie has telekinetic powers, mayhem ensues as she takes her vengeance against everyone who witnessed her humiliation.

“Double, double, toil and trouble”

LANE: All three of them huh?
RORY: Double, double toil and trouble.
LANE: Well, it should make for an interesting afternoon.
RORY: With the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes.
LANE: You’re doing very well in the Shakespeare class aren’t you?

Rory is quoting from the tragedy Macbeth by William Shakespeare, first staged in 1606. In the play, Macbeth meets three witches whose prophecies drive him to murder, and eventually lead to his own demise.

Rory quotes lines from the three witches, linking Paris, Louise, and Madeline with the grim trio, and also with the “something wicked” that is coming. Lane’s comment suggests that Rory studied the play in her English Literature class.

“Very big eyes for you”

LOUISE: Tristan suddenly has very big eyes for you, Grandma.

Louise is referring to the well known European fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, where a little girl in a red hood takes a basket of food to her grandmother in the woods, and foolishly tells a wolf where she is going. The wolf races ahead of her and devours her grandmother, dressing in her clothes to deceive the little girl, who notes, “What big eyes you have, Grandma!”.

The fairy tale is generally seen as having erotic undertones, as the wolf sweet-talks (seduces) the little girl into telling him her destination, and he also eats both the girl and the grandmother (ravages them) before they are rescued by a huntsman, who cuts them from the wolf’s belly.

We still describe a man who is sexually dangerous as a “wolf”, and it is apt that Louise slyly links Tristan with this seductive fairy tale character.

Pastorella Theatre

The Bangles concert takes place at the Pastorella Theatre in New York City, a fictional entertainment venue. In Italian, pastorela means “shepherdess”, and a pastorella can mean any musical or literary work with a pastoral theme, a church composition for the Christmas season, or a medieval poem or song involving love for a shepherdess. The Pastorella Theatre therefore has a name connected with music.

In real life, The Bangles appeared at the Irving Plaza at 17 Irving Place in Union Square, Manhattan when they played in New York during their reunion tour; the date was October 2 2000. For the concert venue in this episode, the exterior shots are from the Warner Bros. Theater in Burbank, while the interior shots are from The Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles.

Rapunzel

[Rory climbed a tree to get to Lane’s bedroom window. Knocks.]
LANE: Hey.
RORY: What’s up, Rapunzel?

Rapunzel is the title character in a German fairy tale, a girl with remarkable long hair who is kept locked in a tower by a witch she knows only as her adoptive mother. First published in the Brothers Grimm’s Children’s and Household Tales (1812), the story is based on a 17th century Italian fairy tale, and may be inspired by tales of Saint Barbara, whose father locked her in a tower, or even by pre-Christian sun goddess myths.

Rory is likening Lane’s situation to the well known fairy tale character, and saying that Lane is being unfairly imprisoned by her mother, just like Rapunzel.