Glaucoma

EMILY: Focus the picture Lorelai … It’s hurting my eyes … It’s like I have glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases in which the vision becomes clouded due to damage to the optic nerve. Vision loss and blindness can ensue if not treated.

We discover that Lorelai has had her camera for six years, so since 1995, and still can’t focus it.

Cantaloupe

[Lorelai and Sookie are sitting down drinking coffee.]
LORELAI: I think I know what an aneurysm feels like before you have it.
SOOKIE: Like a baseball the size of a cantaloupe in your head.

The North American cantaloupe (C. melo var reticulatus) is actually a muskmelon; it has orange flesh and a light grey rind with a “net like” appearance. It is different from the European cantaloupe (C. melo var cantalupensis), whose rind is grey-green and ribbed. Cantaloupes are also known as rockmelon, sweet melon, or spansek in different part sof the world.

This is the second time that aneurysms have been mentioned – Emily said she thought Lorelai might have given her one in Cinnamon’s Wake.

Rory Invites Dean to Dinner at Her Grandparents’ House

While Dean is changing the water bottle for Lorelai on the back porch, Rory comes out to talk to him. (Apparently the Gilmores always drink bottled water – I don’t know if the Stars Hollow water supply is undrinkable, or if Lorelai and Rory prefer the taste of bottled water, or drink it for health reasons, or some other reason. Much of the Connecticut water supply has chromium-6 in it, the cancer-causing agent that featured in the 2000 biographical film Erin Brockovich, but the official statement is that it is at levels too low to be dangerous. The Gilmores may be playing it safe, especially as eleven other cancer-causing agents have been detected in the Connecticut water supply at levels above the legal limits).

Rory invites Dean to come with her to the special dinner her grandparents are giving in her honour. Emily told Rory she could “invite her friends” to the dinner, probably meaning her “friends” from Chilton (Emily doesn’t know that Rory is currently at outs with the few friends she has made at school). She almost certainly did not mean Rory to invite Dean, who she last saw taking Rory to a school dance, which ended in disaster when the pair of them fell asleep and didn’t get home until dawn.

Dean has the good sense to point out that Rory’s grandparents probably aren’t madly keen to see him again, but eventually accepts Rory’s invitation to please her (their relationship has only just re-kindled, and he probably doesn’t want to start off by saying no to her).

The scene is shot almost like a proposal – Dean is kneeling at Rory’s feet with the water bottle, while she holds out her hands in supplication, as if ready to receive a ring. It’s a reminder that Lorelai never got this traditional down-on-your-knees proposal from Max. If you look at how happy and excited Rory appears at the thought of taking Dean to her dinner, it’s in stark contrast to the sad, anxious face Lorelai has when we see her and Max getting engaged over the phone.

The show seems to be saying, “This is what you deserve, Lorelai: this is how happy you should be”.

Zelda Fitzgerald

RORY: Did you pick out your ring?
LORELAI: Yup, he’s gonna surprise me with it tomorrow.
RORY: Twenties Deco?
LORELAI: Supposedly ripped right off of Zelda Fitzgerald’s cold dead hand.

Zelda Fitzgerald, born Zelda Sayre (1900-1948) was an American socialite, writer, artist, and the wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald. The couple became icons of the Jazz Age, and her husband dubbed Zelda “the first American flapper”.

The Fitzgeralds’ marriage deteriorated, and Zelda was admitted to psychiatric care, diagnosed as schizophrenic. She spent the rest of her life in and out of sanatoriums. Like Amy Sherman-Palladino, Zelda studied ballet as a child, and as an adult, became obsessed with it again to the detriment of her health.

Lorelai is joking about her engagement ring being Zelda Fitzgerald’s, just that it is from the 1920s. It is telling that she links her engagement ring with a woman who had a famously disastrous marriage.

Typhoid Mary

RORY: But … what’s wrong with her [Madeline]?
LOUISE: Nothing’s wrong with her, Mary.
RORY: Mary? Oh no, not this Virgin Mary thing again.
LOUISE: Not Virgin. Typhoid.

Typhoid Mary was the name given to the Irish-born American Mary Mallon (1869-1938), the first identified person in the United States to be a carrier of typhoid fever without displaying any symptoms. She is believed to have infected an estimated 51 people, at least three of whom died, while working as a cook. As she used fake identities and was able to give authorities the slip several times, the numbers could be far higher, with some estimating that she may have killed over 50 people.

Mary spent the last 23 years of her life in forced quarantine, as she refused to stop working as a cook, even after being told she was a carrier of disease – she would not accept it. Typhoid Mary is a name given to anyone who unknowingly spreads disease or other undesirable traits.

Louise means that they intend to “quarantine” Rory by ignoring her, showing that she and Madeline are loyal to Paris, even when she is being unfair.

Siamese Twins

TRISTAN: I did mine [my locker] up.
RORY: Yeah, I saw that. The naked picture of the Siamese twins is particularly classy.

Siamese twins is the former name for conjoined twins – identical twins who are born fused together. The most famous pair of conjoined twins was Chang and Eng Bunker [pictured], who were born in Siam (now Thailand) in the 19th century. Because of the conditions’s rarity, conjoined twins were called Siamese twins after Chang and Eng for some time.

Although it is sometimes possible to separate conjoined twins, such surgery carries significant risks, and can even be fatal. Because of this, some twins choose to remain conjoined, and in such cases, quality of life can be better than you might imagine.

Prostate

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.