Sundance

RORY: I certainly didn’t call this meeting.
PARIS: Save the act for Sundance, you little snitch.

The Sundance Film Festival, first founded in Salt Lake City in 1978 by Sterling Van Wagenen, head of Robert Redford’s company Wildwood, and John Earle, from the Utah Film Commission. Originally called the Utah/US Film Festival, the name changed to Sundance in 1984, after the Sundance Institute, the non-profit organisation founded by Robert Redford to support independent artists – Sundance took over management of the film festival at this point. Many notable filmmakers received their big break at Sundance.

IRS

JESS: IRS.
NICOLE: I’m not IRS.

IRS, the Internal Revenue Service. It is responsible for collecting US federal taxes, and is an agency of the Department of Treasury.

Jess assumes that Nicole is at the diner to investigate Luke’s taxes, or provide an in-house audit. These audits can be selected randomly, so Jess is not implying that Luke necessarily did anything wrong when filing his tax return.

Connecticut Daughters of the Mayflower

PARIS: Wadsworth Mansion is owned by the Connecticut Daughters of the Mayflower. Most of those biddies couldn’t negotiate an icy sidewalk much less a contract. Took me about five minutes on the phone to get them down to half their asking price.

The Connecticut Daughters of the Mayflower is a fictional organisation. The nearest real world equivalent would be the The General Society of Mayflower Descendants, commonly called the Mayflower Society. It is a hereditary organisation of individuals who have documented their descent from at least one of the 102 passengers who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620 at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Society was founded at Plymouth in 1897, and there is a Connecticut branch in Hartford, which has both male and female members.

In real life, the Wadsworth Mansion is owned by the city of Middletown, and there is no negotiation of fees for the venue.

Social Security

JESS: For how long? … Before we’re on Social Security?

In the US, Social Security is the commonly used term for federal welfare payments to old age pensioners, widows and orphans, and the disabled, all administered by the Social Security Administration. With few exceptions, all legal residents working in the US will have a social security number.

The standard age to receive payments for old age is 67, although you may receive it at 62 by taking a lower amount, and if you work until 70, will get a higher payment. Jess humorously raises the possibility of he and Rory having to wait until their sixties before they are able to kiss in public.

World Wildlife Fund

In the opening scene, Lorelai’s mug has the World Wildlife Fund logo on it, while at the same time, Rory tells Lorelai all the catalogues she has accumulated are equal to starting a forest fire. Lorelai’s sudden desire to cut down on all the catalogues may be due to environmental concerns sparked by buying the mug. As she is also making her own seashell-shaped candles in this episode, she may be going through a mildly hippie phase.

The World Wildlife Fund is the North American name for the World Wide Fund for Nature Inc. (WWF). It’s an international organisation founded in 1961 that works for wilderness preservation and the reduction of human impact on the environment. It is the world’s largest conservation organisation, with over five million supporters worldwide, working in more than 100 countries and supporting around 3,000 conservation and environmental projects.

Society Matron’s League

EMILY: I’m in charge of the Society Matron’s League’s annual antique auction next Tuesday and I thought maybe you’d like to come.

A reference to the sitcom I Love Lucy, frequently mentioned and one of the touchstones for Gilmore Girls.

In the episode “Pioneer Women”, Lucy and her friend Ethel hope for the chance to join the Society Matron’s League, a fictional snooty women’s club for the cream of Manhattan society. Representatives of the SML turn up for tea in order to scrutinise the prospective candidates while Lucy and Ethel are in the middle of one of their trademark madcap frolics.

Looking down their noses, the society matrons are condescendingly prepared to overlook Lucy’s eccentricities, and the fact that she and her Cuban-born husband are “show people”, but Lucy realises what awful snobs they are and is no longer interested.

Lorelai Gets Accosted by the Stars Hollow Moms

As Lorelai and Luke leave the school after their talks, Debbie Fincher leads a posse of concerned mothers, presumably other members of the PTA, who are appalled to hear what happened during Lorelai’s talk. Not appalled enough to put a stop to it or anything, but appalled nonetheless. It’s all to drive home the point, yet again, that Lorelai is a “cool mom” and not like any other mother around.

I am not sure how Debbie managed to get all these women together at once so quickly – were they all hiding around the corner, just waiting for Debbie to come fetch them? Did Debbie leave early in order to round the other mothers up? I suppose we are meant to presume that their lives are so empty that they have literally nothing better to do.

Note that the Stars Hollow moms all dress alike in the same kind of brown patterned cardigan, and all wear blonde bobbed wigs. It’s the episode for bad wigs, this one.

According to the credits, the other two mothers besides Debbie who speak to Lorelai are called Jan and Lois, played by Julie Wittner and Merry Simkins.

Lorelai’s Careers Talk Goes Off Script

Lorelai begins giving her careers talk at Stars Hollow High, but it is almost immediately hijacked by students who are more interested in hearing about when she got pregnant with Rory, and whether she regrets it. You get the distinct impression that for these teens, Lorelai has long been a source of fascination (and probably of gossip), and they have been waiting for an opportunity to ask questions about her decision to keep Rory and commit to being a single mother.

Lorelai looks to Debbie Fincher for help, but receives absolutely none – it’s a supervised event organised by the PTA, and yet nobody steps in to ask the students to keep their questions only on the subject of Lorelai’s career, not her personal life. Lorelai could have said something along these lines herself, but she makes an attempt to answer their questions honestly, to show that she’s not ashamed. Unfortunately, she makes a bit of a mess of it – by the end she is very unwisely offering to take them all out for coffee to discuss her life in more depth. Boundaries, Lorelai!

One of the girls asking questions is Riki Lindhome (she’s the one with blonde pigtails), who would play the role of Juliet in later seasons of Gilmore Girls. At that time she had had a small role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She later got her big break in Tim Robbins’ hit play, Embedded, and was then cast in her first film role by Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby (2004). She’s gone on to have a successful career in film and television, and performs in a comedy duo called Garfunkel and Oates with Kate Micucci.