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)


Christiane Amanpour

Pamela Anderson

Jane Austen

Simone de Beauvoir


Anita Bryant

Mariah Carey



Joan Crawford

Emily Dickinson

Celine Dion


Ella Fitzgerald

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Judy Garland

P.J. Harvey

Lillian Hellman

Barbara Hutton

Carole King

Ricki Lake

Jennifer Lopez

Courtney Love


Carmen Miranda

Marilyn Monroe


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


Abbot and Costello

Woody Allen

Kevin Bacon


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


Paul Revere

J.D. Salinger

William Shakespeare

Frank Sinatra

Steven Spielberg

Sylvester Stallone

Hunter S. Thompson

John Travolta

Mark Twain

Tom Waits


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









The New York Times

The New Yorker

The Wall Street Journal

The Washington Post




The Boy in the Plastic Bubble


David and Lisa

The Deer Hunter

Dr Dolittle

Fatal Attraction



Fried Green Tomatoes

Funny Girl



The Godfather series



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


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





The Bangles

The Beatles

The Bee Gees

Belle and Sebastian

Black Sabbath


The Cure

Duran Duran

Foo Fighters

The Go-Go’s


Grant Lee Buffalo


Motley Crue



Rolling Stones

The Sex Pistols

The Spice Girls

Steely Dan


Van Halen

The Velvet Underground




Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) – XTC


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


All in the Family

The Andy Griffith Show


The Brady Bunch

Charlie’s Angels

The Facts of Life

Get Smart

Happy Days

I Love Lucy


Joanie Loves Chachi


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.

Woman Who Won the Lottery

LORELAI: I don’t know, didn’t they feed lead to our jumping frog or something?

RORY: Oh yeah, right after they stoned the woman who won the lottery.

Rory references the 1948 short story, “The Lottery”, by Shirley Jackson. Set on a beautiful summer day in an idyllic New England village (based on Jackson’s own home of Bennington, Vermont), the story tells of an annual ritual known as “the lottery”, an old tradition carried into modern times, and seemingly practised to ensure a good harvest.

People draw slips of paper from a box, and a wife and mother named Tessie Hutchinson eventually “wins” by drawing the marked piece of paper. The entire village begins stoning her to death as she screams of the injustice of the lottery – an injustice that only bothers her when she is the scapegoat marked for death.

The story was first published on June 26 in The New Yorker, and proved so unsettling at the time that The New Yorker received a torrent of letters, the most mail they ever received about a story. Jackson herself received about 300 letters about the story that summer, much of it abusive or hate mail. (Some asked where they could go to watch the “the lottery” take place!).

Since then, “The Lottery” has been analysed in every possible literary and sociological way, its careful construction and symbolism noted, and its themes linked with everything from mob mentality, the military draft, and the death penalty. It is one of the most famous stories in American literature, often reprinted in anthologies and textbooks, and has been adapted for radio, television, film, graphic novel, and even (to Shirley Jackson’s bafflement) a ballet.

Apart from being a short story often read for high school English classes, this seems like a story Rory would enjoy. She has a taste for dark and “gloomy” themes, and is a fan of American Gothic. Like Tessie, Rory is from an idyllic New England town, and has been singled out for special treatment – but in her case, it’s to be loved and glorified by the town.

The story reminds us that even the most charming small towns have a dark side, and that includes Stars Hollow. Rory is no doubt thinking of Jess, vilified and forced to leave because of a minor car accident. (The name Jess even sounds a bit like Tessie).

Jumping Frog

LORELAI: We don’t patronize the next town.

RORY: Since when?

LORELAI: I don’t know, didn’t they feed lead to our jumping frog or something?

Lorelai references the 1865 short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Mark Twain. The narrator of the story relates a tall tale he heard at a bar in Angel’s Camp, then a gold-mining town, in Calaveras County in northern California.

An inveterate gambler named Jim Smiley catches a frog and spends months training it to jump. He bets a stranger that his frog can out-jump any frog the stranger can find, but when the time comes, Smiley is dismayed to find his frog has been beaten. He pays up and the stranger departs, but Smiley later discovers that the stranger has poured lead shot down the frog’s throat, making it too sluggish to jump. He chases after the cheating stranger, but is unable to catch him.

First published in The New York Saturday Press as “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog”, the story was an immediate success and made Twain’s name as a writer. Later that year it was published in The Californian under its current title. Twain used the story in his first book, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Stories, published in 1867.

Hit Parade

RICHARD: Done. Now, what else is on the hit parade?

A hit parade is a ranked list of the most popular recordings at a given point in time, usually determined by either sales or airplay. Billboard magazine published its first hit parade on January 4 1936.

It’s possible that Richard is specifically thinking of the radio and television music program Your Hit Parade, broadcast from 1935 to 1953 on radio, and from 1950 to 1959 on television. Each Saturday evening, the program would play the most popular and bestselling songs of the week. It was invariably referred to, incorrectly, as The Hit Parade.

The Hungry Diner

After his fight with Lorelai, and Jess going back to New York, Luke has closed the diner and gone fishing – something which has never happened before. Lorelai and Rory are forced to eat breakfast at a rival business we have not heard of until now called The Hungry Diner. The diner has a dark pink colour scheme, in contrast to the blue colour scheme of Luke’s Diner.

They are immediately miserable because The Hungry Diner makes people wait in line to be served, the menus have pictures on them, the coffee is undrinkable, and the coffee cups are tiny. It turns out that it is Michel’s regular breakfast place, because they make low-fat egg white omelettes (like the one Sookie refused to make him). Michel is reading a copy of GQ magazine, previously discussed.

Even though there was a big crowd of people waiting to get into Luke’s, The Hungry Diner is still mostly empty. Nobody else seems to have gone there, so either there is yet another place to have breakfast in Stars Hollow, or they all refused to eat out until Luke returns.