LORELAI: You’ll say hello, you’ll ask how his wife is, and that’s it. After that, you will say nothing, you will do nothing, you will sit in the corner and offer no opinions and pull a full-on Clarence Thomas, am I making myself perfectly clear?
Clarence Thomas (born 1948), associate justice of the US Supreme Court since 1991, the longest-serving member of the court to this date, and often cited as the most conservative.
At the time of his confirmation hearings that would see him confirmed for the Supreme Court position, Thomas was already reticent on answering questions from senators about his philosophical stance, in the belief that his conservative views could see him rejected.
However, he refused to answer any questions as his final approval was being debated, when a woman named Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment involving making sexual comments to her. Hill was questioned aggressively, and Thomas defended his right to privacy. He said that they were turning his appointment into a circus, and he refused to participate in what he saw as a racist exercise. He was voted in a week later.
I think this is what Lorelai is referring to, telling Emily to keep her mouth as tightly shut as Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings.
RORY: Fine, but we have a real problem here. LORELAI: Oh, you think I don’t know that? You think I sit around all day swapping witticisms with Robert Benchley at The Algonquin? No! I am thinking and worrying and using the computer, and I hate using the computer!
Robert Benchley (1889-1945), a humorist best known as a newspaper columnist and film actor. He began writing for The Harvard Lampoon while at Harvard University, before writing for Vanity Fair, and most famously, The New Yorker, where his absurdist essays proved highly influential. He made several appearances in films, and his 1935 film How to Sleep, won an Academy Award in the Short Film category.
The Algonquin Hotel is a historic hotel in Manhattan, which first opened in 1902. It had a reputation for hosting a number of literary and theatrical celebrities, including The Algonquin Round Table (or as they called themselves, “the Vicious Circle”). This group of New York writers, critics, actors, and wits met for lunch each day at The Algonquin from 1919 to 1929, engaging in witticisms which were disseminated across the country through their newspaper columns.
Robert Benchley was one of its most prominent members, and Lorelai is probably referencing the writer and critic Dorothy Parker, previously discussed. Dorothy Parker was a close friend of Robert Benchley, and one of the founding members of The Algonquin Round Table.
[Picture shows a painting of Dorothy Parker at The Algonquin Round Table by Carl Purcell]
LORELAI: Aw honey, it’s not the amount of places that turns you down that matters, it’s the quality of the place that turns you down that matters. And when you’ve got Jacko’s Loans and Stuff not wanting your business, you know it’s time to hang out with the Coreys.
The Two Coreys, or The Coreys, are actors Corey Feldman (born 1971) and Corey Haim (1971-2010). In the picture, Feldman is on the left, and Haim on the right.
The Coreys were child actors during the 1980s, and close friends, who appeared in nine films together, including The Lost Boys (1987). They became teen idols, but experienced career downturns in their late teens due to drug use. This is why Lorelai equates “hanging with the Coreys” to being an unsuccessful loser.
After Corey Haim’s death, Corey Feldman became increasingly vocal about the sexual abuse he and Corey Haim were allegedly subjected to as child stars by Hollywood paedophile rings, with Feldman saying he was repeatedly molested and assaulted, but Haim actually raped numerous times. They were each allegedly given drugs before the assaults, the origin of their drug addictions. In 2020, he brought out a documentary called (My) Truth: The Rape of the Two Coreys, identifying the people openly he had earlier only alluded to.
This put their fall from grace in a much darker context, and now unfortunately makes it seem as if Lorelai is calling child sex abuse victims “losers”.
RUNE: Ah, methinks you’re right Squire Bracebridge, thus and verily. JACKSON: And verily thus. LORELAI: They’re the Old England Abbot and Costello.
Abbot and Costello, comedy duo previously mentioned. They were William “Bud” Abbott (1897-1974) and Louis “Lou” Costello (1906-1959). Their work in radio, film, and television made them the most popular comedy team of the 1940s, and the highest-paid entertainers in the world during World War II. Their popularity waned in the early 1950s and the partnership ended soon afterwards.
RUNE: Welcome Lords and Ladies. I call upon these sprightly horns to commence our proceedings. [horns play] Hey Chuck Mangione, you wanna back up a step?
Charles “Chuck” Mangione (born 1940) is a flugelhorn player, trumpeter, and composer. He came to prominence in the 1960s as a member of Art Blakey’s jazz band, then formed The Jazz Brothers with his brother Gaspare “Gap” Mangione. He has released more than sixty albums, and achieved international success with his 1977 jazz-pop single, Feels So Good. His compositions have been used in films and for the Olympic Games. He played himself as a voice actor on animated sitcom King of the Hill (1997-2010).
JESS: It [their snow-woman] definitely has the most personality. Kind of looks like Björk.
RORY: That’s what we were going for.
Björk Guðmundsdóttir (born 1965), is an Icelandic singer and songwriter, known for her eclectic musical style that draws on a range of genres. Björk began her career at the age of 11 and gained international recognition as lead singer of the alternative rock band The Sugarcubes. After the band broke up in 1992, she embarked on a solo career; she was always more popular in the UK and Europe than in the US.
Her most recent album at this stage was Vespertine (2001), and she had attended the 2001 Oscars wearing a white dress designed to resemble a swan, which along with being from Iceland, might have been factors which inspired Rory and Lorelai to turn her into a snow-woman. That Jess could recognise the snow-woman as being based on Björk shows that he is on a similar wavelength.
(We can see during these scenes that Lorelai and Rory obviously fixed up their snow-woman and gave her a new head, so that she looks like a pretty credible entry for the contest).
SOOKIE: No! It tastes too twentieth century guys. It’s gotta shout Washington Irving, not Irving my accountant.
Washington Irving (1783-1859), American author most famous for his stories “Rip van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, both of which appear in his collection, The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., previously mentioned as the source of the Bracebridge Dinner.
The Bracebridge Dinner at the Ahwahnee Hotel is in fact quite contemporary, and doesn’t shout Washington Irving either. Sookie may be too stressed to remember that she is actually living and cooking in the twenty-first century.
RORY: Hey Clara. Nice, is that a Stella McCartney? CLARA: It’s a Walmart.
Stella McCartney (born 1971), English fashion designer, and the daughter of Paul McCartney and his wife Linda, previously discussed. In 2001, she launched her own fashion house, in a joint venture with Gucci, and now has more than fifty stores around the world.
Walmart, previously discussed. There is a Walmart in Hartford where Mrs Forester could have bought Clara’s dress.
PARIS: Oh. Okay, well, I’ll get out of your way. Call if you need to talk things through, and oh – she uses the Prince version of writing. A letter U for you and a picture of an eye for an I.
The pop star Prince, previously discussed. Some of his song titles are I Would Die 4 U, U Got the Look, and Nothing Compares 2 U, a notation which became common in 1990s songs, and foreshadowed text speak. I can’t find an example of him using a picture of an eye for the letter I, but there are enough references to him doing so that I don’t think Paris is exaggerating.
Rite-Aid is a chain of pharmacies or drugstores, founded in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1962 as the Thrift D Discount Center, changing its name in 1968. They have numerous stores in Connecticut, and other US states.