Jerry Lee Lewis

LORELAI: I go on one stupid date, and suddenly I’m the female Jerry Lee Lewis.

Jerry Lee Lewis (born 1935), wild man pioneer of rock and roll and rockabilly music who shot to fame in 1957 with his worldwide hit, Whole Lotta Shaking Going On, followed by other hits such as Great Balls of Fire. His career was struck by international scandal when he married his thirteen-year-old cousin once removed, Myra Gale Brown, despite still being married to his first wife. After his divorce went through, he and Myra remarried (or … married?) in 1958. Myra filed for divorce in 1970, saying she had been subjected to every form of abuse imaginable.

Lewis has had a career spanning decades of success. His 2006 album Last Man Standing is his best-selling to date, he has a dozen gold records in both rock and country music, four Grammy Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Hall of Fame Award. He’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and the Memphis Hall of Fame. A film about him was made in 1989 starring Dennis Quaid (based on a book written by Myra), and he is considered one of the greatest musical artists of all time.

“By George, I think he’s got it”

TRISTAN: You don’t want me to tell Dean that we kissed.
RORY: By George, I think he’s got it.

Rory is referencing the 1964 musical comedy-drama film My Fair Lady, adapted from the 1956 Lerner and Loewe stage musical of the same name, which was based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play, Pygmalion.

In the film, phonetics professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), has a bet that he can teach a Cockney flower girl named Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) to speak with an upper-class accent. At first she makes no progress, but one day has a sudden breakthrough, leading Higgins to exclaim delightedly, “By George, I think she’s got it”.

My Fair Lady was a critical and commercial success, becoming the #1 film of 1964, and won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director (for George Cukor). It is considered one of the greatest musicals, and one of the great films of all time.

Priest in a Madonna Video

LORELAI: So tell me about the big rehearsal.
RORY: We got off to a shaky start, and Louise acts like she’s the priest in a Madonna video, but by the end, we were not half bad.

Rory may be thinking of the music video for Madonna’s 1989 song Like a Prayer, from the album of the same name. Much of the video’s action takes place in a church, and although there’s no actual priest, there’s a saint (I believe it’s St. Martin de Porres) in priestly-looking robes.

No Doubt and U2

DEAN: What do you have to be sorry for?
RORY: That . . . that I didn’t tell you about the rehearsal. And that No Doubt is touring with U2. I know you’re extremely disappointed in Bono.

No Doubt is an American rock band formed in 1986, consisting of vocalist Gwen Stefani, guitarist Tom Dumont, bassist Tony Kanal, and drummer Adrian Young. Their 1992 eponymous debut album made little impact, but their 1995 follow-up, The Beacon Street Collection, sold more than 100 000 copies after they changed to a ska-punk sound. Their 1995 album, Tragic Kingdom, was certified diamond, with singles Don’t Speak, and Just a Girl becoming hits – the first spending 16 weeks at #1 in the US. Their most recent album at this point was Return of Saturn in 2000, although Rock Steady was just about to be released, in early December 2001.

No Doubt were one of the openers for U2 on the third leg of their Elevation Tour – the same one PJ Harvey had opened for earlier. No Doubt were one of the support acts at Madison Square Garden in late October 2001, then the only support act from November 5th to 25th, in California, Texas, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.

As Tristan invited Rory to the Elevation Tour when they were performing in Hartford, it feels somewhat tactless for her to bring it up while trying to placate Dean. But it may also be reminding Dean that he shares her musical tastes more than Tristan, as both Dean and Rory appear to be U2 fans. He wasn’t before going out with Rory, so perhaps she has influenced him in this regard.

Mystic Pizza

PARIS: Excuse me. We reserved this place for 8 sharp and right now my watch says 8:04.
MISS PATTY: Well, then tell it to go outside and have a smoke. You can’t rush a cool down sweetheart.
PARIS: Look, I understand the whole Mystic Pizza, small town, ‘we don’t let a clock run our lives’ thing, but I come from the big city where money talks and I’m paying good money for this place and I have a schedule to keep.

Mystic Pizza is a 1988 romantic comedy-drama film directed by Donald Petrie, and starring Annabath Gish and Julia Roberts as two teenaged sisters working as waitresses at Mystic Pizza, a pizza parlour in the real-life fishing village of Mystic, Connecticut (it also features Matt Damon in his screen debut). The younger sister, played by Annabath Gish, is on a partial scholarship at Yale and also works part-time at the whaling museum, so there are some connections with Gilmore Girls. If you enjoy Gilmore Girls, I would definitely recommend Mystic Pizza.

Mystic Pizza received generally favourable reviews, with particular praise for the lead actresses, and has gained something of a cult following as a feel-good coming-of-age movie. In September and October of this year, it was turned into a stage musical by the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine – this was several years after a fictional Broadway musical based on the film featured in the sitcom 30 Rock in 2007.

The real life Mystic Pizza restaurant which had inspired the film was renovated to resemble the film set, and is still in business.

Fernando

SOOKIE: But we have an ice cream maker, a professional one. See, that means we can make enough ice cream for everyone in the inn, whereas this little guy…
LORELAI: Fernando.

Lorelai may have named her ice cream maker after Fernando, the 1976 song by Swedish pop group ABBA, included on their album Arrival the same year. One of the best-selling singles of all time, it went to #13 in the US, and is still a staple on some American radio stations.

I’m mostly suggesting this because I can’t imagine a woman of Lorelai’s age and background choosing the name Fernando without thinking of the song. The lyrics do fit the circumstances though, because the song is about two old Mexican freedom fighters from a nameless conflict, reminiscing about the battles of their youth.

The stars were bright, Fernando
They were shining there for you and me
For liberty, Fernando
Though I never thought that we could lose
There’s no regret
If I had to do the same again
I would, my friend, Fernando

Lorelai chose liberty over marriage to Max, and in the end she has no regrets about doing so. However, she doesn’t want to keep the ice cream maker, as it’s a constant reminder of a failed relationship.

Destiny’s Child

SOOKIE: Swear. Raise your right hand and say, ‘May Destiny’s Child break up if I count these blueberries.’
MICHEL: Pick another group.

Destiny’s Child, a girl group founded in Texas in 1990 under the name Girl’s Tyme, with a final and best-known line-up of Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams. They signed to Columbia in 1997 under the name Destiny’s Child, and gained mainstream recognition with the release of their hit song, No, No, No, and their 1999 best-selling album, The Writing’s On the Wall. Their most recent album at this stage was Survivor, which came out in April 2001, apart from their Christmas album in October of that year.

The reason Michel might be particularly concerned that Destiny’s Child could break up is because the band announced they were going on hiatus to pursue solo careers in 2001. They reunited in 2004 for their fourth and final album, Destiny Fulfilled. After their 2005 tour, the group did indeed break up.

Somehow Michel is more worried about eating one or two extra blueberries on his pancakes because of the calories than he is with eating actual pancakes! Michel’s relationship with food is even unhealthier that Lorelai and Rory’s, and is certainly weirder.

The Gang’s All Here

TRISTAN: Well, well, the gang’s all here.

Tristan references the popular song, Hail, Hail, The Gang’s All Here, written by Theodora Morse under the name D.A. Esrom, to a tune by Arthur Sullivan for the 1879 comic opera, The Pirates of Penzance. Although published in 1917, it had been referenced in American newspapers as a popular song since 1898, often sung at political gatherings and sporting matches.

The Monkees

RORY: Hey.
MADELINE: Hey.
LOUISE: We’re the Monkees.

The opening words to the theme song of The Monkees television show, a sitcom running from 1966 to 1968, starring the American pop group, The Monkees, as four young men trying to make it as a rock and roll band. The verse says:

Hey hey, we’re The Monkees

And people say we monkey around

But we’re too busy singing

To get anybody down

The show utilised a number of innovative new wave film techniques to the sitcom format, and won two Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series. Even after its run ended, it continued its popularity thanks to reruns, in particular a massive resurgence after 1986, when it was shown on MTV.

Note that this is essentially the same joke used in regard to Fat Albert in Like Mother, Like Daughter.

Jane

While waiting for the group project meeting to start, Madeline reads Jane magazine (1997-2007). This was a women’s fashion magazine founded by Jane Pratt, aimed at the 18-34 market, and designed for those young women who had grown up with Sassy (1988-1996), a feminist magazine for teenage girls which had Pratt as the first editor. Jane’s reputation was for being witty, quirky, trashy, and occasionally thoughtful, with a readership who saw themselves as “wild and crazy” party girls.

It folded because it’s young readership were now getting more interested in digital platforms, such as Jezebel. Jane Pratt went on to found the infamous xoJane online magazine (2011-2016).

Madeline is reading the November 2001 issue with Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro on the front cover. This issue actually had a double front cover, and you can see Madeline holding up the one with Shirley Manson, P. Diddy, and Alicia Keys on it. The magazine that month had interviews with other music stars, including Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, Sheryl Crow, and Tommy Lee.