LORELAI: Michel, you know that Sookie ends up thinking she’s coming down with whatever illness other people have.
SOOKIE: Nuh uh!
LORELAI: Oh no? What was that whole conversation last week when I had to convince you, you didn’t have a prostate.
SOOKIE: Oh. How is Al?

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system that secretes an alkaline fluid which makes about a third of the volume of semen. The fluids helps make the vagina less acidic during intercourse, improving the lifespan of sperm.

It seems as if Al from Al’s Pancake World has a problem with his prostate. Older men often have an enlarged prostate, which isn’t actually dangerous but can cause difficulties with urination. It is usually treated with medication.

If Sookie really thought she had an enlarged prostate, perhaps she imagined that she was also having difficulties urinating, based on Al’s description of his symptoms.

Margot Kidder

RORY: I was sleeping through it [Luke working on their house]!
LORELAI: It had to have woken you up.
RORY: No, my insane mother Margot Kidder Gilmore woke me up.

Margot Kidder (born 1948) is a Canadian-born American actress who has had roles in a number of horror and science-fiction films and television series, including The Amityville Horror, previously discussed.

Kidder was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After an extremely stressful event where she lost three years work due to a computer virus, she had a widely publicised manic episode in 1996, in which she disappeared for four days, was found in a distressed state in someone’s backyard, and placed in psychiatric care. Her career slowed down after this episode, but during the 2000s it picked up again, and no other manic episodes have ever been reported.

“I have asthma”

KIRK: Okay, did somebody put the “Kick me” sign on my back again?
(Lorelai and Rory are laughing.)
KIRK: It wasn’t funny last week, and it’s not funny now! I have asthma.

Asthma is a common long-term inflammatory disease of the airways of the lungs. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, and episodes may occur several times a day, or a few times a week. There is no cure, but symptoms can be reduced by avoiding allergens and irritants (such as tobacco smoke), and using an inhaler with corticosteroids in it.

This is the first time in the show that we learn something about Kirk’s private life. It also shows us that Kirk is the town joke, and something of a whipping boy, so that Lorelai and Rory have no problems making fun of him in public.

Rubbing alcohol

(Lorelai and Rory ring the doorbell. Emily answers the door.)
EMILY: Hello, hello, hello.
LORELAI: Wow, Mom, hi. (to Rory) Uh, check the rubbing alcohol.

Rubbing alcohol is an American term for those types of alcohol, such as methylated spirits, which are used as an antiseptic in domestic and industrial uses. They are often used as cleaning products, and their name comes from the fact that in the past, they were used in the same way we use heat rubs, to relieve pain and stiffness.

Lorelai appears to think her mother seems so cheerful she must be drunk, but in fact you can’t drink rubbing alcohol – they put bitter poisons in it to stop people abusing it that way. It would taste awful, and you would most likely become very sick before you got drunk. Lorelai is just joking though.

“Do you wear contacts?”

RACHEL: Do you wear contacts?
RACHEL: God, you’ve got amazing eyes.

In the Pilot, Lorelai complained that she felt as if she’d put her contact lenses in backwards, so she does actually wear contacts, and there are numerous references to her wearing either glasses or contacts throughout the series. Maybe Lorelai assumed Rachel meant coloured contact lenses, thinking her eyes were too blue to be natural (and her assumption may have been correct, as wearing normal contacts doesn’t give the wearer “amazing eyes”, just improved vision).

The Elephant Man

SOOKIE: She’s [Rory] like the most unmaterialistic kid in the world.
LORELAI: No, it’s not about what she would buy. I don’t care if she buys a house, or a boat, or The Elephant Man’s bones.

Joseph Merrick, often incorrectly called John Merrick (1862-1890) was an English man with severe facial and physical deformities who was exhibited at freak shows as “The Elephant Man”. He then went to live at London Hospital and became well known in society, even being visited by royalty. It is not known from which medical condition Merrick suffered, and DNA tests have been inconclusive.

His life story was depicted in a 1979 Tony Award-winning stage play, The Elephant Man, by Bernard Pomerance, and David Lynch did a film version in 1980, starring John Hurt in the title role.

In 1987, Michael Jackson, who had apparently related to Joseph Merrick after seeing the film The Elephant Man, reportedly offered the London Hospital one million dollars for Merrick’s bones, but the hospital refused to sell them. It seems to have been a story fabricated by Jackson himself to add to his “Wacko Jacko” persona. For some time, rumours persisted that Jackson actually owned the bones.