Junior Leadership Program in Washington

RORY: But if I win then I have to be vice president next year. Plus, I’ll have to spend my summer in Washington for some junior leadership program, which means six straight weeks of me and Paris together in a dorm room.

The program that Rory and Paris will be attending in Washington DC during their summer vacation seems to be similar to the real life Global Young Leaders Conference, where high school students from the US and around the world learn communication, decision-making, and negotiation while interacting with real life leaders, diplomats, lobbyists, and journalists. There are also visits to embassies and cultural landmarks.

Unlike the six weeks Rory has in front of her, the real life program only lasts for ten days, students are housed in a hotel, not a dormitory, and it costs thousands of dollars to attend. Rory never even mentions paying, so perhaps Chilton are footing the bill, or Rory and Paris will be offered scholarships.

Aero International

LORELAI: Lundquist from Aero International?

In real life, Aero International Inc is an American company, founded in 1991 and headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, which provides logistical support for aircraft and aerospace components. Aero International is also a German magazine, founded in 1993, devoted to civil aviation.

In this episode, it seems to be a fictional Swedish company which does something aeronautical. Its influence spreads over all Scandinavia and into Russia. It sounds vaguely sinister.


RICHARD: Well, granted the European insurance market still needs some restructuring but it’s growing at a remarkable rate. What am I basing it on? Well, Clive, surely you’ve seen the latest Eurostat. Yes, I’ve got it right in front of me. [whispers to Lorelai] Eurostat!

Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union, located in Luxembourg, and first established in 1953. It publishes Europe-wide statistics, and Lorelai brings her father one of their publications for reference.

Richard quotes the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands as three insurance markets to keep an eye on, with the Netherlands “about to go through the roof”, apparently.

Neighbourhood Watch

TAYLOR: I speak for the Stars Hollow Business Association, the Stars Hollow Tourist Board, the Stars Hollow Neighborhood Watch Organization, and the Stars Hollow Citizens for a Clean Stars Hollow Council.
LUKE: All of which are you.

Neighborhood Watch is an organisation for civilians devoted to preventing crime and making neighbourhoods safer. In the US, it developed in the late 1960s in response to the rape and murder of a female bartender in Queen’s, New York, who was stabbed outside her apartment building. According to media reports, thirty-eight people saw or heard the attack, and none came to her aid or called the police, so that law enforcement agencies encouraged communities to get more involved in reporting crimes (although in fact the media exaggerated the story – there weren’t so many witnesses, somebody did call police, and another held her while waiting for help to arrive). Neighborhood Watch was a new iteration of the town watch from colonial America.

Taylor’s comment provides a nice little roll call of the major community organisations in Stars Hollow – all apparently spearheaded by Taylor. Taylor can legitimate claim that Jess’ prank is pertinent to all these organisations. He committed a crime, which Neighbourhood Watch needs to keep an eye on, he defaced the pavement, in violation of keeping Stars Hollow clean, and as a result he has made Stars Hollow less desirable for business and tourism. Ingenious!

John Birch Society

MIA: He [Luke] would help people carry groceries home.
RORY: Oh, how very Boy Scout-y of you.
MIA: For a quarter a bag.
LORELAI: Oh, how very John Birch Society-y of you.

The John Birch Society is an ultraconservative, radical far-right political advocacy group. It was founded in 1958 by businessman Robert W. Welch Jnr (1899-1985), who saw it as a way to oppose Communism. Welch owned the Oxford Candy Company in Brooklyn, so maybe he was just on a major sugar high, but he denounced nearly everyone as a Communist agent, including former presidents Truman and Eisenhower.

The society is named in honour of Baptist missionary John Birch (1918-1945), a US military intelligence captain in China who was killed in a confrontation with Chinese Communist soldiers, ten days after the end of World War II. He was posthumously awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal. Welch saw Birch as the first casualty of the Cold War.

The John Birch Society has had a resurgence with the election of Donald Trump, previously discussed, and its previously fringe views have now become mainstream in right-wing politics.

The Philharmonic Committee

MENA: Lorelai Gilmore. So you’re Emily’s daughter?
LORELAI: Oh, yeah. You know my mother?
MENA: Oh, very well. We’re on the Philharmonic committee together. She told me to keep an eye out for you.

A Philharmonic Society is one dedicated to organising concerts of classical music, and the name is reminiscent of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, suggesting the committee is one which supports a symphony orchestra. It could very well be one and the same with the Symphony Fundraising Committee, which Emily sits on with Headmaster Charleston’s wife, Bitty. Either that, or the writers have given Hartford two symphony orchestras, and Emily supports both.

Mena is on the committee with Emily, and they seem to be on good terms. This may have been another thing assisting Lorelai to be so easily accepted by the Booster Club mothers. Emily is very influential – rejecting her daughter would not be a smart thing to do.

Cosa Nostra

RORY: I don’t know, I just sat down.
PARIS: Nobody just sits down with them, you have to be invited.
RORY: Paris, it’s not the Cosa Nostra.

Cosa Nostra is the name for the Sicilian Mafia. It literally means “our thing”. Rory would be familiar with it from the Godfather films. One of the “rules” of the Cosa Nostra is that you can never approach it without invitation; you must be introduced by a trusted member.

Cotillions and the Children of the American Revolution

DEAN: So, how do you know how to do this? [tie a bow-tie]
CHRISTOPHER: Seventeen cotillions, a dozen debutante balls, and a brief but scarring experiment with the Children of the American Revolution.

In the US, cotillions are the classes given in dancing and etiquette to prepare girls and boys for society. A cotillion ball is given at the end, which is not only a celebration, but also a preparation for the debutante ball which will come later. This ball itself is often known as a cotillion. I’m not sure, but I think Christopher means that he attended seventeen of such balls while he was growing up, as well as twelve debutante balls.

The National Society Children of the American Revolution, founded in 1895, is a youth organisation for those under the age of 22 who are descended from someone who served in the American Revolution, or gave material aid to its cause. The Daughters of the American Revolution is thus one of its parent organisations.