“Bury the lede”

LORELAI: Why did you go to New York?

RORY: To see Jess.

LORELAI: Boy, do you know how to bury the lede.

Bury the lede is an American phrase meaning “to hide the most important or most relevant part of a story within distracting information”.

The phrase comes from journalism, where the lede is the introductory part of a story which is meant to entice the reader to continue with the full story. It’s said that it is spelt “lede” rather than “lead” because the second spelling could be confused with the word “lead”, as in the lead metal in old-fashioned printing presses. Others think it was just to sound old-timey and romantic, and believe it to be an affectation. These people usually spell it “bury the lead”.

The phrase seems to date to the 1970s, but wasn’t included in dictionaries until 2008.

“Nothing but politics and religion”

RORY: Please help me out tonight – no mention of work or Chilton or school or retirement.

LORELAI: Nothing but politics and religion, got it.

A joking reference to the old saying never to discuss politics or religion in company, as these topics can lead to some heated arguments. Lorelai means that these supposedly contentious subjects are far preferable to discussing work, school, or retirement with Richard.

“I think we’re a lock”

PARIS: Okay, I swept the room and I have to tell you, all sad. I think we’re a lock.

RORY: Really? I actually thought the locker alarm was pretty good.

“We’re a lock”, American slang meaning “we’re a sure thing, we’ve got this”. It seems to originate from American football, and to date to the 1980s.

Rory seems to have a much more realistic idea of their chances of winning than Paris does, although she looks pretty confident as well.

Rain Check

RICHARD: I would hug you, but I have various forms of viscous fluid on my clothing.

RORY: I’ll take a rain check.

To “take a rain check” is a polite way to turn down an invitation, with the implication that you are only postponing it to a more convenient time. It originates from American baseball, when games would provide tickets to be used in future when games were postponed by rain, and dates to the late 19th century. Rory means she will hug Richard when he is wearing clean, dry clothing again.

Back in the Saddle Again

To “get back in the saddle” means to return to something after a break or absence, often after some kind of failure or setback. The phrase originated in the early 19th century, and referred to cowboys and other professional riders who had suffered an injury, but were now recovered and “back in the saddle” to continue their normal lives. By the late 19th century, it had begun to be used in the more general sense, to mean returning to any activity.

This episode is about Richard “getting back in the saddle” as he comes out of retirement.

There’s the Rub

The title for this episode comes from the phrase, “there’s the rub”, to mean that there is a problem or contradiction which is difficult or impossible to resolve. It’s also a pun, because Lorelai and Emily are going to a spa to receive massages, or to be “rubbed”.

The phrase is believed to have originated from the sport of lawn bowls, played since ancient times, and known in England since at least the 13th century. A ball (known as a bowl) is rolled toward a smaller stationary ball, called a jack. The object is to roll one’s bowls so that they come to rest nearer to the jack than those of an opponent. A rub is a flaw in the playing surface that interferes with the ball’s trajectory.

The saying was popularised by William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In the soliloquy scene, as Hamlet is contemplating suicide, he says, “To sleep; perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub: for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come?”.

Like Water For Chocolate

This is the book Kirk is trying to buy at the fundraiser, while haggling over the price with Gypsy.

Like Water for Chocolate (in Spanish, Como agua para chocolate) is a novel by Mexican author and screenwriter Laura Esquivel, published in 1989. It is about a young girl named Tita who is forbidden to be with her love, Pedro, and can only express her emotions through cooking. Each chapter of the book contains a recipe for a Mexican dish.

The novel is a magical realist romantic tragedy which has sold more than a million copies in Spain and Latin America, and was also successful in the US. Despite winning the 1994 American Booksellers Book of the Year Award, it received only lukewarm reviews.

The novel was adapted into a highly successful Mexican film in 1992; the screenplay was written by Esquivel. The phrase “like water for chocolate” is a Spanish phrase, referring to emotions that are hot and bubbling over, like water being boiled for making hot chocolate.

Kirk may have enjoyed the film so decided to read the book as well. It’s yet another reference to forbidden love (and food!) in the Gilmore Girls series.

Maraschino Cherries

LORELAI: Hey, will you go get the ice cream and make sure they give us a ton of maraschino cherries?

A maraschino cherry is one that has been sweetened and preserved, They are preserved in a brine solution containing sulphur dioxide and calcium chloride to bleach them, then soaked in a mixture of red food colouring and sugar syrup.

The name comes from the Marasca cherry from Croatia, a type of Morello cherry; cherries preserved in marasca liqueur were known as “maraschino cherries”. They became popular in Europe in the 19th century, but because the supply of cherries was limited, they were a delicacy reserved for royalty and the very wealthy.

Maraschino cherries were introduced to the US in the late 19th century, where they were served in fine bars and restaurants. Because they were scarce and expensive, by the turn of the century other cherries such as the Royal Anne were substituted, and flavours like almond extract added. Alcohol was already becoming rare as a preserving agent, and when Prohibition arrived, became illegal.

Maraschino cherries are used in certain cocktails, and are used to decorate foods such as cakes, pastries, fruit salad, and baked ham. In the US, they are an essential addition to ice cream sundaes, leading to the expression, “the cherry on top” to mean the finishing touch which makes a good thing perfect.

Another mention of Lorelai’s love of cherries, this is at least the third one. Note that Rory is going to get rocky road ice cream sundaes to take home and eat with the movie, and they are walking. Even on a chilly night, how are the sundaes not going to melt on the way home? Do they live only thirty seconds walk from the centre of town?

A possible slight contradiction – in Season 1, Lorelai says Rory doesn’t like rocky road cookies, but now she’s happily ordering rocky road sundaes. I suppose it’s plausible she doesn’t like rocky road in cookies, but enjoys it in ice cream, although it sounds unlikely to me. She might have changed her mind, also.

“Rabbit boiling on the stove”

LORELAI: Oh, well, fine. Just took Mom a whole five minutes before she self-combusted and left the room in tears … She freaked out that you were with Sherry …
RORY: Well, what did she think, that you were gonna come home and find a rabbit boiling on the stove?

A reference to the film Fatal Attraction, previously discussed.

In the film, the stalker, Alex, takes revenge on the married man she had an affair with, and who is now ignoring her. After several threats and following him around, Alex breaks into his house, takes his young daughter’s pet rabbit from its hutch, and boils it on the stove in the kitchen, to be found by Dan’s traumatised wife. From this film comes the phrase “bunny boiler”, to mean a dangerously obsessed spurned woman.

[The picture is a still from the film, but from just before the bunny reveal, as it’s really quite gruesome].