The Brat Pack

EMILY: And now it’s the in thing for young Hollywood celebrities to go to universities. What do they call themselves, the Brat Pack?

LORELAI: About a hundred years ago.

The Brat Pack, a nickname given to a group of young actors who frequently appeared together in teen coming-of-age films in the 1980s. It was first mentioned in a 1985 New York magazine article, used to describe Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson, and most of the cast of The Outsiders. Later on, the definition (somehow?) seems to have narrowed to refer to those actors who starred in The Breakfast Club and/or St Elmo’s Fire. But there is no set definition of who was in the Brat Pack and who wasn’t.

The label brought negative attention to the actors, who hated it, and they stopped socialising together. It certainly was not something they called themselves, but an unwanted label foisted upon them. The journalist who coined the expression later admitted he shouldn’t have done it.

The name “Brat Pack” was coined in imitation of the “Rat Pack”, an informal group of A-List show business friends in the 1940s and ’50s, centred on Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. It is important to note that the Rat Pack is what the group called themselves, the Brat Pack was a name created by the media.

Holmes & Yoyo, Hee Haw Honeys

RORY: I know, [The Brady Bunch Hour‘s] on my top fifty best.

LORELAI: Yeah, right after Holmes & Yoyo and Hee Haw Honeys.

Holmes & Yoyo [pictured], comedy TV series that aired during the 1976-1977 season. The series follows police detective Alexander Holmes (played by Richard B. Shull), and his partner Gregory “Yoyo” Yoyonovich (played by John Schuck), who he discovers to be an android crime-fighting machine, designed as a secret weapon by the police department. Many of the gags involved Yoyo’s constant malfunctions. The series performed poorly and was cancelled after eleven episodes, the final two being shown during the summer. It was #33 on TV Guide‘s worst shows of all time list.

Hee Haw Honeys, a short-lived spin-off from variety show Hee Haw, previously discussed, which aired during the 1978-1979 season. It starred Kathie Lee Johnson (later Gifford) and members of the Hee Haw cast as a family who owned a truck stop restaurant where guest country artists would perform their latest hits. It was #10 on TV Guide‘s worst shows of all time list.

TV Guide

RORY: Did you see that TV Guide had this on their list of the worst fifty shows of all time?

TV Guide Maagazine, a bi-weekly magazine containing the TV schedules, as well as television news, celebrity interviews and gossip, film reviews, and crossword puzzles. It was founded by Lee Wagner of MacFadden Publications, and first printed in 1948 as the The TeleVision Guide, only for the New York area. It began printing nationally as TV Guide in 1953. Since 2015, it’s been owned by NTVB Media.

Gilmore Girls had featured in TV Guide in June 2002, with Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel on the cover, so this feels like a definite shout-out to the publication. As a self-deprecatory inside joke, Lorelai and Rory proceed to criticise the magazine’s opinions of TV shows, since TV Guide had just raved about Gilmore Girls.

Reader’s Digest Version

FRANCIE: Actually, I have something I’d like to put on the table to be discussed.

PARIS: Oh, okay. Well, we only have a couple of minutes, so give us the Reader’s Digest version.

Reader’s Digest, a general interest family magazine founded in 1922 by DeWitt Wallace and his wife Lila Bell Wallace. Formerly based in Chappaqua, New York, and now headquartered in Manhattan, Reader’s Digest was for many years the best-selling magazine in the US. The periodical has a global circulation of 10.5 million, making it the largest paid-circulation magazine in the world.

DeWitt’s idea was to gather of sampling of his favourite articles on various subjects from monthly magazines, often rewriting and condensing them – this might be what Paris means by the Reader’s Digest version. She may also refer to Reader’s Digest Condensed Books – hardcover anthologies of classic and bestselling novels in abridged (“condensed”) form. These were published from 1950 to 1997, after which it became softcover and called Reader’s Digest Select Editions.

To condense, the Reader’s Digest version is the short version of something.

“Toga!”

PARIS: Look, let’s face it, the last administration might have just as well been running around yelling ‘Toga!’ for all the brilliant things they accomplished.”

Paris references the 1978 comedy film National Lampoon’s Animal House, directed by John Landis, produced by Ivan Reitman, and written by Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney, and Chris Miller. It was inspired by stories written by Miller and published in humour magazine National Lampoon. The stories were based on Ramis’s experience in the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at Washington University in St. Louis, Miller’s Alpha Delta Phi experiences at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and producer Reitman’s at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

The film, starring John Belushi in his first screen role, is about a trouble-making under-performing fraternity called Delta Tau Chi whose members challenge the authority of the dean of the fictional Faber College. The film received mixed reviews upon its release, but was a huge commercial hit, becoming the #3 film of 1978 at the box office, and the highest grossing comedy of its time. The film almost single-handedly launched the gross-out comedy genre which became a Hollywood staple, and it is regarded as one of the greatest comedies (or even the greatest comedy), and one of the best films of all time.

The toga party, a staple of college life, is immortalised in Animal House. Whenever the guys at Delta House decide to have a toga party, they start mindlessly chanting, “Toga! Toga! Toga!”. Paris is saying that the previous student government were a bunch of idiots who were only interested in partying.

People and Works Referenced More Than Once in Gilmore Girls (Up to Season Two)

Women

Christiane Amanpour

Pamela Anderson

Jane Austen

Simone de Beauvoir

Bjork

Anita Bryant

Mariah Carey

Cher

Colette

Joan Crawford

Emily Dickinson

Celine Dion

Enya

Ella Fitzgerald

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Judy Garland

P.J. Harvey

Lillian Hellman

Barbara Hutton

Carole King

Ricki Lake

Jennifer Lopez

Courtney Love

Madonna

Carmen Miranda

Marilyn Monroe

Nico

Yoko Ono

Dorothy Parker

Sam Phillips

Sylvia Plath

Emily Post

Dawn Powell

Britney Spears

Meryl Streep

Martha Stewart

Barbra Streisand

Elizabeth Taylor

The Virgin Mary

Barbara Walters

Eudora Welty

Virginia Woolf

Men

Abbot and Costello

Woody Allen

Kevin Bacon

Beck

Matthew Broderick

Mel Brooks

Charles Bukowski

Chang and Eng Bunker

George Clooney

Elvis Costello

Kevin Costner

James Dean

Charles Dickens

Fyodor Dostoevsky

William Faulkner

Sigmund Freud

William Randolph Hearst

King Henry VIII

William Holden

Hubert Humphrey

Michael Jackson

Henry James

Jesus Christ

Pope John-Paul II

James Joyce

Ted Kaczynski

John F. Kennedy

Stephen King

John Lennon

Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb

Baz Luhrman

David Lynch

Barry Manilow

Charles Manson

Arthur Miller

Benito Mussolini

Paul Newman

Richard Nixon

Charlie Parker

Sean Penn

Regis Philbin

Grant Lee Phillips

Brad Pitt

Iggy Pop

Elvis Presley

Prince

Paul Revere

J.D. Salinger

William Shakespeare

Frank Sinatra

Steven Spielberg

Sylvester Stallone

Hunter S. Thompson

John Travolta

Mark Twain

Tom Waits

Books

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Alborn

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

The Mourning Bride by William Congreve

Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg

Hansel and Gretel by The Brothers Grimm

Rapunzel by The Brothers Grimm

The Iliad by Homer

The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent by Washington Irving

Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A Mencken Chrestomathy by H.L. Mencken

The Crucible by Arthur MIller

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Last Empire by Gore Vidal

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tenneessee Williams

The Bible

The Compact Oxford English Dictionary

Comics

Peanuts

Superman

Periodicals

Cosmopolitan

GQ

InStyle

Jane

The New York Times

The New Yorker

The Wall Street Journal

The Washington Post

Films

Babe

Bambi

The Boy in the Plastic Bubble

Cinderella

David and Lisa

The Deer Hunter

Dr Dolittle

Fatal Attraction

Footloose

Frankenstein

Fried Green Tomatoes

Funny Girl

Ghostbusters

Glitter

The Godfather series

Grease

Heathers

The Horse Whisperer

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The Little Rascals

Mary Poppins

The Matrix

Midnight Express

The Miracle Worker

Monty Python and The Holy Grail

Oklahoma!

The Outsiders

Rebel Without a Cause

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Rosemary’s Baby

Say It Isn’t So

The Shining

Sixteen Candles

Sleeping Beauty

Stalag 17

Star Wars

A Streetcar Named Desire

Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story

West Side Story

The Wizard of Oz

The Yearling

Bands

98°

Ash

B-52s

The Bangles

The Beatles

The Bee Gees

Belle and Sebastian

Black Sabbath

Blondie

The Cure

Duran Duran

Foo Fighters

The Go-Go’s

Grandaddy

Grant Lee Buffalo

Metallica

Motley Crue

NSYNC

Pixies

Rolling Stones

The Sex Pistols

The Spice Girls

Steely Dan

U2

Van Halen

The Velvet Underground

Wilco

XTC

Albums

Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) – XTC

Songs

What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong; Joey Ramone

I Can’t Get Started – Ella Fitzgerald

Someone to Watch Over Me – Rickie Lee Jones; Marty and Elayne

Where You Lead – Carole King

It’s a Small World After All – Richard and Robert Sherman

We Are Family – Sister Sledge

Teach Me Tonight – Dinah Washington

My Little Corner of the World – Yo La Tengo

Television

All in the Family

The Andy Griffith Show

BattleBots

The Brady Bunch

Charlie’s Angels

The Facts of Life

Get Smart

Happy Days

I Love Lucy

Jeopardy

Joanie Loves Chachi

Lassie

Looney Tunes

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom

The Odd Couple

The Oprah Winfrey Show

The Powerpuff Girls

Saved By the Bell

Star Trek

This Old House

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

The Twilight Zone

Twin Peaks

Wheel of Fortune

Wonder Woman

Senior Ditch Day

PARIS: Not that the person who actually wins will even know who Hubert Humphrey is, but hey, I bet they’ll organize one boffo senior ditch day.

Ditch Day, previously discussed.

Boffo, US slang meaning “very good”. It originated from the film trade magazine, Variety.

Note that Paris is wearing one of the 400 campaign buttons that Lorelai made for them, showing Rory’s and Paris’ faces, against what looks like the US flag (as if it’s a real presidential election, not just one for school).

The Big Apple

RORY: I’m just saying I’m no stranger to the Big Apple.

JESS: You are if you’re calling it the Big Apple.

The Big Apple is a nickname for New York City, first popularised in the 1920s by John FitzGerald, a sports writer for The New York Morning Telegraph. Its popularity since the 1970s is mostly due to a promotional campaign by the city’s tourism authorities to boost the city during a fiscal crisis.

Although Rory says she’s been to New York a few times, she only mentions The Bangles concert in 2001 and a 2000 shopping trip where she didn’t even get out of the car. This could very well be her third trip to New York (and the second where her feet touched the ground!).

Jessica Hahn

LORELAI: Instead, I got pregnant. I didn’t finish high school, I didn’t marry your father and I ended up in a career that apparently Jessica Hahn would think was beneath her.

Jessica Hahn (born 1959), model and actress. She accused televangelist Jim Bakker of rape while employed as a church secretary. After the 1987 scandal, Hahn posed nude for Playboy, appeared in several television shows, including Married … with Children, and was a frequent guest on The Howard Stern Show on radio in the 1980s through to the 2000s.