While waiting for the group project meeting to start, Madeline reads Jane magazine (1997-2007). This was a women’s fashion magazine founded by Jane Pratt, aimed at the 18-34 market, and designed for those young women who had grown up with Sassy (1988-1996), a feminist magazine for teenage girls which had Pratt as the first editor. Jane’s reputation was for being witty, quirky, trashy, and occasionally thoughtful, with a readership who saw themselves as “wild and crazy” party girls.
It folded because it’s young readership were now getting more interested in digital platforms, such as Jezebel. Jane Pratt went on to found the infamous xoJane online magazine (2011-2016).
Madeline is reading the November 2001 issue with Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro on the front cover. This issue actually had a double front cover, and you can see Madeline holding up the one with Shirley Manson, P. Diddy, and Alicia Keys on it. The magazine that month had interviews with other music stars, including Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, Sheryl Crow, and Tommy Lee.
PARIS: This is The Franklin, a newspaper that’s been around for almost a hundred years. There have been at least ten former editors of The Franklin that have gone on to work at the New York Times. Six have gone onto the Washington Post. Three are contributing editors at the New Yorker. I think one even went on to win the Pulitzer Prize.
The Washington Post is a daily newspaper published in Washington DC, with a large national readership. Founded in 1877, it is famous for the printing of The Pentagon Papers, which helped spur opposition to the Vietnam War in 1971, and for breaking the news of the Watergate scandal, which led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. It has won 69 Pulitzer Prizes, second only to The New York Times.
The Pulitzer Prize was established in 1917, and awards achievements in journalism, literature, and musical composition, in various categories. There is a huge list of past winners, one of which apparently went to Chilton.
The New Yorker, previously discussed. Paris says that three former editors of The Franklin are current contributing editors at The New Yorker. Of those born in the US, in 2001 they could only be either Michael Agger, Roger Angell, Ben Greenham, Robert Gottlieb, Hendrik Hertzberg, Robert Mankoff, or Amy Davidson Sorkin. Roger Angell is the only one who attended a private school in Connecticut.
According to Paris, about twenty percent of The Franklin’s editors went on to achieve journalistic greatness, which seems very high. The message is clear: working on The Franklin can be a stepping stone to success in journalism.
MICHEL: So, is there no dancing here? I was hoping there’d be dancing. SOOKIE: You need to strut, Tony Manero?
Anthony “Tony” Manero (John Travolta) is the protagonist of the 1977 musical drama film Saturday Night Fever, directed by John Badham, and based on a 1976 New York magazine article by British journalist Nik Cohn, Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night. In the 1990s, Cohn admitted he’d faked the article on New York disco culture, basing the main character on a man he had briefly seen in a doorway, and an English mod he’d known in the 1960s.
The film revolves around Tony, a young working-class Italian-American man who spends his weekends drinking and dancing at a local disco in Brooklyn. While in the disco, he is the champion of the dance floor, and this helps him cope with a dead-end job, family squabbles, racial tension in his community, and a general restlessness, while he dreams of a better life.
The film begins with an iconic scene where Tony is strutting down the streets of his neighbourhood with The Bee Gees song Stayin’ Alive playing. Both scene and song are referenced in the film’s less-regarded 1983 sequel, Staying Alive.
Saturday Night Fever was a massive box-office success, and the #4 film of 1977. It received excellent reviews, and critics named it as one of the best films of 1977. It helped to popularise disco music, and made John Travolta a household name. The soundtrack, featuring songs by The Bee Gees, is one of the best-selling movie soundtracks of all time.
BOUNCER: It’s twelve bucks. And it’s eighteen and over. SOOKIE: Oh, she’s eighteen. RORY: That’s right. Last week. So it’s a new eighteen, but it’s eighteen, yup. BOUNCER: You got some ID? LORELAI: Hey, uh, sir, make way for Rory. That’s her name. And her only name. Rory. Single name, she’s that important. Internationally known international supermodel and sometimes spokesperson for international products.
An in-joke – Alexis Bledel, who plays Rory, was a model before she began acting on Gilmore Girls. She first modelled for Seventeen magazine, and did have to travel as a model.
In real life, it is extremely unlikely that a bouncer would allow a 16-year-old girl without any identification into a nightclub that is 18+, even when accompanied by her parent; the penalties for doing so in the US can be quite strict. Lorelai’s way of getting people to make new rules for Gilmores is really getting quite unbelievable.
Alexis Bledel was almost 20 in this scene, so in real life actually would have been old enough to get into an eighteen and over nightclub.
Rory explains to Luke that Max likes to read three newspapers each morning.
The Hartford Courant is the largest newspaper in Connecticut, founded in 1764 as The Connecticut Courant – because of this, the newspaper claims to be the oldest continuously published newspaper in the US, and its slogan is “Older than the nation”. Once a Republican paper, it is now more likely to endorse Democratic candidates, and has won several journalism awards. It was bought by the Tribune Company in 2000.
The New York Times is based in New York City, with an international readership and reputation. The 17th most popular newspaper in the world by circulation, it has won 125 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. Founded in 1851, it has been owned by the Ochs-Sulzberger family since 1896 (the real life inspiration for the fictional Huntzberger family in Gilmore Girls). Its motto is, “All the news that’s fit to print”).
MAX: Wait a minute. I recognize this. KIRK: Nice photo, huh? MAX: This is VJ Day, New York, 1945.
KIRK: Right. I include it as an example of the excellence that I aspire to.
The photo is V-J Day in Times Square by Alfred Eisenstaedt, showing an American sailor kissing a woman in a white dress on Victory over Japan Day in New York’s Times Square on August 14, 1945. The photo was published in Life magazine, and is very famous.
LOUISE: Princess Grace didn’t go to college. PARIS: Thank you for the history lesson, A.J. Benza.
Alfred Joseph “A.J.” Benza (born 1962) is an American gossip columnist and television host. He began as a gossip columnist on the New York Daily News, and in the mid-1990s began appearing on The Gossip Show on E! Entertainment Television, leading to appearances on several chat shows. From 1998 to 2001 he was the host of Mysteries and Scandals on the E! Network.
Lorelai is reading the Spring 2001 issue, which featured actress Courtney Thorne-Smith on the cover, who had married scientist Andrew Conrad in June 2000. Famously, by the time the magazine came out, Thorne-Smith had already filed for divorce. This is another sign to Lorelai that marriage doesn’t always last.
In real life, it wouldn’t have been possible for Lorelai to buy the magazine as late as May.