Poe Stories

LORELAI: Well, welcome to the Independence Inn. There will be a complimentary cask of amontillado on the table in your room, and if you’re expecting your friends Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether, I’ll send up another one.

Lorelai references two other short stories by Poe here:

“The Cask of Amontillado” is set in an unnamed Italian city at carnival time, and is about a man taking revenge on a friend who, he believes, has insulted him. Like several of Poe’s stories, and in keeping with the 19th-century fascination with the subject, the narrative follows a person being buried alive – in this case, by trapping him in the family vaults, which serve as catacombs. As in “The Tell-Tale Heart”, Poe conveys the story from the murderer’s perspective. The story was first published in Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1846.

“The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether” is a dark comedy short story which centres on a naïve and unnamed narrator’s visit to a mental asylum in the southern provinces of France, where staff and patients have exchanged roles. It was first published in Graham’s Magazine in November 1845.

The Tell-Tale Heart

LORELAI: Okay, I’ve got you right here. Well, once again, welcome, and let me assure you there are no human body parts buried in the floor of your room to keep you awake tonight. Sound good?
MR. HATLESTAD: I guess …
LORELAI: The Tell-Tale Heart. That’s a Poe story. Did they not get that?

“The Tell-Tale Heart”, a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. It is related by an unnamed narrator who endeavors to convince the reader of the narrator’s sanity while simultaneously describing a murder of an old man the narrator committed.

The narrator emphasizes the careful calculation of the murder, attempting the perfect crime, complete with dismembering the body in the bathtub and hiding it under the floorboards. Ultimately, the narrator’s actions result in hearing a thumping sound, which the narrator interprets as the dead man’s beating heart.

The story was first published in The Pioneer in 1843. It is considered a classic of Gothic fiction, and is one of Poe’s best known short stories.

Rory’s Quotes

RORY: “Apply yourself. Get all the education you can, but then do something. Don’t just stand there, make it happen.” Lee Iacocca. “Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” Malcolm Forbes. “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” Oscar Wilde.

Lido “Lee” Iacocca (1924-2019), [pictured] automobile executive best known for the development of the Ford Mustang, Continental Mark III, and Ford Pinto cars while at the Ford Motor Company in the 1960s, and for reviving the Chrysler Corporation as its CEO during the 1980s. He attended Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, then went to Princeton to do his masters in mechanical engineering. The quote comes from Iacocca: An Autobiography (written with William Novak).

Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990), entrepreneur and politician most prominently known as the publisher of Forbes magazine, founded by his father B.C. Forbes. He was known as an avid promoter of capitalism and free market economics and for an extravagant lifestyle. He served two terms as a member of the New Jersey Senate. He received his degree from Princeton University. The quote comes from Forbes magazine.

Oscar Wilde, previously discussed. He was educated at Trinity College in Dublin, and at Oxford University. The quote comes from his collection of essays, Intentions.

Ruth Reichl

SOOKIE: They sent it back. My food. My four star, ‘you haven’t lived ’til you’ve eaten there, says Ruth Reichl,’ food.

Ruth Reichl (born 1948), chef, food writer and editor. In addition to two decades as a food critic, mainly spent at the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, Reichl has also written cookbooks, memoirs and a novel, and been co-producer of PBS’s Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie, culinary editor for the Modern Library, host of PBS’s Gourmet’s Adventures With Ruth, and editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine. She has won six James Beard Foundation Awards.

Reichl was a food critic for The New York Times from 1993 to 1999, so if she ever visited the Independence Inn to review Sookie’s cooking for this publication, it would have been in the late 1990s. From 1999 to 2009, she was the editor of Gourmet magazine.

Town and Country

EMILY: Aunt Maureen would never hike up her skirt in public.
LORELAI: She would after half a gallon of eggnog.
EMILY: Richard, who was the one who got drunk at our Christmas party and hiked up her skirt in front of the Town & Country photographer?

Town & Country, formerly the Home Journal and The National Press, is a monthly lifestyle magazine. Founded in 1846, it is the oldest continually published general interest magazine in the US. Its current name dates to 1901, and it was about this date that its focus changed from poetry and literature to the social activities of the upper classes.

Aunt Maureen, another member of the sometimes eccentric Gilmore clan – unless she is Emily’s aunt. It seems that Richard and Emily’s Christmas parties were so notable that they were covered by Town & Country! Presumably this was in their heyday in the 1970s or 1980s, before Lorelai had Rory.

Eggnog, previously discussed.


PARIS: Paris is here. Couldn’t wait to jump in there and take over, could you?
RORY: Tell it to the Timex salesman.

Timex, global watch manufacturing company founded in 1854 as the Waterbury Clock Company in Waterbury, Connecticut. In 1944, the company became insolvent but was reformed into Timex Corporation, now headquartered in Middlebury, Connecticut. The name was inspired by Time magazine and Kleenex, I guess because they are two successful products.

People Magazine

LORELAI: And dental floss. And paper towels. And People magazine. We’re really hungry.

People is an American weekly magazine headquartered in New York City that specialises in celebrity news and human-interest stories. It was the brainchild of Time magazine CEO Andrew Heiskell, and the core of the founding editorial team were from Life magazine, which had closed down a little more than a year earlier.

It is one of the most successful and popular magazines in the US, and is perhaps best-known for its annual special issues naming the “World’s Most Beautiful”, “Best and Worst Dressed”, “Sexiest Man Alive”, and “Most Intriguing People”. In 2003, it judged the most beautiful/sexy people that year to be Halle Berry and Johnny Depp.

Lorelai just starts ordering Luke to pick up things she needs from the store! Compare with Rory’s order when Lane agrees to pick her shopping – dental floss and magazines seem to be essentials for Gilmore girls.

Joan Didion

PARIS: Watch Choate get Joan Didion …

Joan Didion (1934-2021), journalist and author, considered one of the pioneers of New Journalism, along with such figures as Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson. Didion’s career began in the 1950s when she won an essay contest sponsored by Vogue.

Her writing in the 1960s and ’70s focused on the counterculture, Hollywood lifestyle, and Californian culture and history. In the 1980s and ’90s, her writing concentrated on the subtext of political and social rhetoric. In1991, she wrote the earliest mainstream media article to suggest the Central Park Five, previously discussed, were innocent.

She won the 2005 National Book Award for her memoir about the year following the death of her husband, The Year of Magical Thinking. In premiered as a Broadway play in 2007. In 2013, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama.

At this time, Didion had just won the St Louis Literary Prize in 2002, and had recently released her 2001 book of essays, Political Fictions. Her essays on the history and culture of California, Where I Was From, was due to be published in September 2003.

Joan Didion was the first woman to give the commencement address at the University of California in 1975, which is presumably why Paris thinks of her. Her address began with a few charming anecdotes about her own youth, before she launched into a blistering attack on her generation in the 1960s, and its refusal to face up to reality.

A quote from the speech that I think Paris would have warmed to:

“Planting a tree can be a useful and pleasant thing to do. Planting a tree is not a way of life. Planting a tree as a philosophical mode is just not good enough.”

There is no record of her giving a speech at Choate at any time, so it seems as if they didn’t get her after all.