Truffle Hunting

RORY: I’ve gotta head to school.
LORELAI: Hey, why go anymore? You’re in college. Let’s go truffle hunting or something.

Truffle, the fruiting body of a subterranean ascomycete fungus, predominantly one of the many species of the genus Tuber. Some truffle species are highly prized as food, and are considered a delicacy.

Truffles are cultivated and harvested in natural environments, usually growing close to tree roots. Because truffles are subterranean, they are often located with the help of an animal possessing a refined sense of smell. Traditionally, pigs have been used to extract truffles, but dogs can be used instead. Although dogs must be trained to hunt truffles, unlike pigs, they don’t have any interest in eating the truffles once they find them.

Truffle hunting is sometimes offered by truffle cultivators as a fairly expensive experience for people to enjoy and pay for. Such tours are most commonly offered in the Pacific North West of the US – in Oregon and Washington.


KIRK: I got the idea when I read about something a man was doing in Portland.
LORELAI: What was he doing?
KIRK: He was printing daily T-shirts featuring a humorous topical headline of something he witnessed around town.

Portland, a port city and the largest city in Oregon, in the Pacific North West of the US. It has a population of around 600 000. Named after Portland in Maine, the settlement began to be populated in the 1840s, as it was near the end of the Oregon Trail which led wagon trains to the west. Beginning in the 1960s, Portland became noted for its growing liberal and progressive political values, earning it a reputation as a hip bastion of counterculture.

I have been unable to discover if the man in Portland with the tee shirt business was real, or fictional. I have found no trace of him, and suspect he may be the writer’s idea of something quirky that people in Portland might do.

“I slept with Jamie”

PARIS: I slept with Jamie. Last night, after we talked … I went over there to study and he lit a fire and then we did it.

I honestly don’t know how that would have been possible, when Paris lives in Hartford and Jamie is at Princeton. Paris says she went over there to study – Princeton is a five hour train trip from Hartford, you don’t just pop over there for a quick study session and sex. Even if Princeton is on its spring break, which means it’s the middle of March, then he’s at home in Philadelphia with his parents, which is still a four hour train trip from Hartford. This show has no sense of geography.


MAX: I’ve been in California.
LORELAI: Well, cowabunga dude.

Cowabunga, a phrase of unknown origin which was popularised (as Kowa-Bunga) on the children’s TV show Howdy Doody in the late 1940s and early 1950s, where it was used by a character named Chief Thunderthud as a fake Native American greeting [picture shows it as Cowabonga, just to confuse things]. It became associated with the surfing subculture, who spelt it cowabunga, and used it to express delight or satisfaction.

By the early 1980s it was used as a catchphrase by Cookie Monster on Sesame Street, and became more widely known in the late 1980s and early 1990s due to its use by the cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Bart Simpson from animated series The Simpson gave it even broader recognition in the 1990s.

Lorelai presumably thinks of it as a particularly Californian phrase because of its use by surfers. It seems as if almost everyone who leaves Connecticut goes to California! Max is Lorelai’s second ex to move to San Francisco.

The Distillers

JESS: I got tickets to the Distillers … For tonight. I would’ve been here sooner, but I had to wait in line. So we should probably get going. I mean, we don’t wanna miss anything, right?

The Distillers, punk rock band, formed in Los Angeles in 1998 by Australian-born vocalist and guitarist Brody Dalle. Their self-titled debut album came out in 2000, and their most recent album was 2002’s Sing Sing Death House, which reached #29 on the US indie charts. Its single “City of Angels” went to #13 on the UK rock charts.

In real life, the Distillers did not perform at a concert in Connecticut in February/March of 2003. They played The Big Day Out at the Green in Glasgow, Scotland on March 24 2003, which seems to be their first gig for that year. However, on February 14 2002, the Distillers played at Toad’s Place, a nightclub in New Haven, Connecticut, which may be part of the inspiration for this scene.

The timeline for this seems questionable. Jess went to Rory’s place at 7.30 pm, where Lorelai gave him a talking to. He then apparently drove to Hartford or New Haven, in order to line up and buy concert tickets. He somehow has time to then drive back to Stars Hollow, and catch Rory just as she is leaving the hockey game, which would have finished no later than 9 pm.

Now he and Rory are going to drive to Hartford or New Haven again, getting there around 10 pm to watch the concert. This doesn’t seem to be possible, especially as Rory is shown getting home when Lorelai is still up and having a late night meal in the kitchen.

I suppose if the Distillers were the last act on the bill, and played a very short set of 30-40 minutes or so, then perhaps Jess and Rory could have got out around midnight and made it back to Stars Hollow by 1 am, and Lorelai could still be awake and having a midnight snack then. It seems like a lot of driving around and a lot of money spent for such a short time, though.

The alternative explanation is that Jess had in fact already bought the tickets and arrived at Rory’s house ready to surprise her when Lorelai jumped down his throat. In that case, his story about waiting in line is just that – a story. However, that doesn’t explain where he went afterwards, unless he just sat in the car park and waited for Rory to come out. I find this whole plotline pretty confusing.

When Rory comes home from the concert, she doesn’t tell Lorelai where she has been, or anything much about her night. Can Lorelai not smell smoke on her, or notice any other sign that she has been at a concert? (Cigarette bans in clubs and places of entertainment would not be passed in Connecticut until May 2003).

There is no sign that Rory enjoyed her night out with Jess. When we see her alone in her room, she lies on her bed with a pensive and enigmatic look on her face which gradually becomes sadder and sadder. Her expression doesn’t say “I’ve had a great night out at a cool concert with my boyfriend”, it says, “My ex-boyfriend has found someone new and my boyfriend isn’t living up to my expectations”.

In fact, all the signs point to Rory not being over her break up with Dean, and not being exactly happy with Jess.

Lindsay and the Field Trip

RORY: Like once, in fourth grade, we went on a field trip to Mark Twain’s house, and I really wanted this refrigerator magnet in the shape of Mark Twain’s head, but I didn’t have any money, so she bought it for me, and she wouldn’t even let me pay her back.

Mark Twain’s house, previously discussed. This minor incident which occurred when Rory was about nine seems to be the only interaction with Lindsay she can remember.


KIRK: Well, ladies and gentlemen, much like the Israelites of yore, the Stars Hollow Minutemen languished in the desert for forty years. But tonight, there was no Promised Land, no New Canaan, only a humiliating five to one defeat at the merciless hands of the West Hartford Wildcats.

After escaping from servitude in Egypt under the leadership of Moses, the Israelites wandered the wilderness for forty years – a punishment from God for not believing they would be able to take the land promised to them by God from the Canaanites, who were gigantic of stature and had fortified cities.

Only after the entire generation who left Egypt had passed away, except Joshua and Caleb, who had maintained faith in God, were the Israelites able to cease wandering. Eventually they were led into the Promised Land by Joshua, the successor of Moses. Note that Kirk mixes up the land of Canaan with New Canaan, a town in Connecticut.

In real life, the West Hartford Wildcats is actually a women’s softball team.