Berringiny Pansy

RICHARD: Saving the Berringiny Pansy. Who ever heard of such a thing?
EMILY: It’s a very rare flower that is rapidly disappearing from the face of this earth.
RICHARD: Well, who cares?
EMILY: As president of the Horticultural Society, I have to care.

A fictional species of flower. There are a few species of pansy in Europe which are rare or even endangered though.

The name of the pansy flower comes from the French for “thought” (pensée), to symbolise remembrance, especially of a loved one. Another name for the pansy is love-in-idleness, meaning someone who has nothing to do but think of their beloved. This seems apt, as Rory has been trapped by her thoughts and memories of Dean, with not enough to occupy her lately. Yet another name for the flower is heartsease, telling us that Rory will soon unburden her heart, and have her feelings soothed.

The Connecticut Horticultural Society has existed since 1887, and in real life does have speakers on one Thursday a month, just like in this episode (it now seems to be Thursday 19 April). They take place at the Emanuel Auditorium in West Hartford, and start at 7.30 pm – although you’re encouraged to come early so you can socialise. This suggests the time when Rory comes to her grandparents’ house is somewhere 6.30 and 7 pm.

Up With People

LORELAI: Okay, then just meet me in town around four, and we’ll get some Indian food, and spoil our dinner. What do you say to that?
RORY: Whatever.
LORELAI: Hey, love the enthusiasm. Hey, does Up With People know about you?

Up With People is an educational organisation founded in 1965, intended to inspire young people to make a difference. After training, each UWP group is sent on a tour of various communities to participate in service projects, learn about different cultures, and perform peppy musical stage show productions. They have been criticised for their right-wing politics and cult-like behaviour.

In a later season we learn that Lorelai actually can’t stand Indian food, although Rory loves it. It’s not clear if Lorelai offering to get Indian food is a continuity issue, or if Lorelai is making a huge concession for Rory in order to cheer her up. It’s notable that Lorelai plans to eat a second dinner though – possibly because she intends to eat as little Indian food as possible.

Gallup Survey

RORY: What was that? [her phone call from Emily]
LANE: Sounded like some sick take on the Gallup survey.

The Gallup Poll is a public opinion poll regularly conducted by Gallup Inc., a research-based consulting firm founded by George Gallup in 1935. The poll asks people for their opinions on social, economic, and political issues, based on telephone interviews.

YMCA

MICHEL: May I help you?
RUNE: Yeah, I need to know where my room is.
MICHEL: Uh, are you sure you are in the right place? Perhaps you want the YMCA or the local bus station.

The Young Men’s Christian Association, an international organisation founded in London by George Williams in 1844, and based in Geneva, Switzerland. As well as its many charitable activities, the YMCA has hostels all over the world providing low-cost accomodation for travellers.

In real life, there is no YMCA hostel in Connecticut, with the nearest one to Stars Hollow being in New York. As there is also a bus station in New York and not in Stars Hollow, Michel is telling Rune he hasn’t just come to the wrong hotel, but to the wrong town, and should get out. This subtle insult is totally wasted on Rune.

DAR

RICHARD: Emily, I didn’t know we were having company for dinner.
EMILY: Oh well, it was just sort of a spur of the moment thing. Chase’s mother and I are in the DAR together and he just moved back to Hartford, and it just seemed like a nice idea.

DAR stands for Daughters of the American Revolution, an organisation for women who are directly descended from someone involved in the United States’ efforts towards independence, especially the Revolutionary War.

The DAR works to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism, with a motto of “God, Home, and Country”. It was founded in 1890 as a sister organisation to the Sons of the American Revolution, and was supported by First Lady Caroline Harrison, the wife of President Benjamin Harrison. It currently has around 180 000 members organised into about 300 chapters.

In real life the DAR is basically a genealogy-based service organisation which does worthy things like raise funds for historic buildings, give scholarships, conduct essay contests, volunteer to support veterans, participate in citizenship ceremonies, and hold exhibitions.

However, in the Gilmore Girls universe, the DAR is a highly exclusive women’s club whose wealthy members seem to spend most of their time having tea parties and looking down on others. I suspect this reflects more how the DAR might have been in the 1930s and ’40s – it now works very hard to promote diversity and tolerance.

In real life, the DAR has a chapter in both Hartford and West Hartford that Emily might have belonged to.

Pet Fair

Lorelai and Rory spontaneously decide to check out a pet fair which is being held in the town square. From the signs, we can see it is sponsored by Petfinder.com, the largest pet adoption website in North America, founded in 1996. They hold frequent pet fairs in states all over America, linking with towns and cities that have rescue shelters – from this we know that Stars Hollow must have its own rescue shelter.

Lorelai longs to get a dog, a wish which comes true several seasons later.