John and Jackie

MADELINE: Hey, did you hear that Kimber Slately and Tristin are a major item?

LOUISE: I thought that Kimber and Shawn Asher were this year’s John and Jackie.

Louise is referring to former President John F. Kennedy (1917-63), and his wife Jacqueline “Jackie” Kennedy, nee Bouvier (1929-94). Good-looking and relatively young when Kennedy took office in 1961, they quickly became a golden couple who were popular in media culture, treated more like movie stars than a political family.

“Putin arms race thing”

RORY (while reading Lorelai’s newspaper veil): Wait, don’t move.
LORELAI: Rory, stop it.
RORY: This Putin arms race thing is really getting crazy.

In June 2001, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the Bush administration’s proposed national missile defence system could trigger an arms race, as he had no option but to upgrade his own country’s nuclear forces. In real life, this was reported on June 18 2001, which is later than it appears to be in this episode, as Lorelai’s June 21 engagement party is still some time away.

Ivana Trump

BOOTSY: So, apparently they shoot a gland from a pig’s head in Ivana Trump’s rear end twice a month to keep her looking young.
LORELAI: Wow, hope she’s not kosher.
BOOTSY: I don’t know, doesn’t say here.

Ivana Trump (born Ivana Zelníčková in 1949) is a Czech-born American businesswoman and former model who was the first wife of Donald Trump, now the US president. They were married in 1977 and divorced in 1992, and he was her second husband. She has married twice more.

After her divorce from Trump, Ivana began selling her own line of clothing, jewellery, and beauty products through home shopping channels, wrote several novels and a self-help book on surviving divorce, had her own advice column, and bought up interests in Croatian media.

The story about pig’s gland being injected into her butt every two weeks seems to be fictional, but in line with the ideas of what silly, vain, and very wealthy socialites might get up to. Ivana Trump is not Jewish, and therefore not kosher.

The reference to the much-married Ivana may be a hint to Lorelai that marriage does not always last.

This is our introduction to a new character, the news vendor Bootsy (Brian Tarantina). We never learn Bootsy’s real name, or why he was given the nickname Bootsy. The name might remind you of singer William “Bootsy” Collins from Bootsy’s Rubber Band; in his case, his mother nicknamed him Bootsy because “he looked like a Bootsy”.

“Peace out, Humphrey”

EMILY: Everyone’s awfully quiet tonight.
LORELAI: Sorry Mom, I’m just tired.
RORY: Me too – school.
RORY: Life.
LORELAI: Dig it, man.
RORY: Peace out, Humphrey.

The audience knows why Lorelai and Rory are so quiet. Rory is depressed about breaking up with her boyfriend Dean, and Lorelai’s relationship with Max has hit an impasse: they reunited and both love each other, but the problems that ended their relationship are still there with no solutions in sight.

Lorelai says, “Dig it, man”, which is hippie slang from the 1960s meaning, “Get it, understand it, know it”. The hippies might have added the “man”, but “dig it” goes back at least to the 1930s as African-American slang, and even in the 19th century Americans spoke about “digging” in the sense of knowing or studying something.

Rory responds in a similarly counter-culture way by saying “Peace out, Humphrey”. “Peace out” is hippie slang meaning “Goodbye, go in peace”, influenced by the radio sign-off, “Over and out”.

Rory is possibly referring to Hubert Humphrey (1911-1978) who was the Vice President under President Lyndon Johnson from 1965 to 1969. The main author of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he introduced the initiative of the Peace Corps and the National Peace Agency. Sceptical of the war in Vietnam, he was forced to support it in loyalty to Johnson. He was the Democratic nominee in the 1968 presidential election but lost to Richard Nixon – you could say that he “peaced out”.

Palestinian and Israeli Families

LORELAI: Why were you in the Mideast?
RACHEL: I was doing a photo story on how Palestinian and Israeli families have been affected by the violence.

From this statement, we know that Rachel’s trip to the Middle East was specifically to Israel and the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

In 1948 the Jewish Agency declared the independence of the state of Israel, immediately followed by the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, which saw Israel established while the West Bank and Gaza were held by Arab states. Since the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel has occupied territories such as the West Bank, Gaza, and Golan Heights.

It is the world’s longest military occupation in modern times, with no peace agreement in sight. The violence of the conflict is well known around the world, and casualties extend to civilians as well as the military. Most of the casualties have been Palestinian.

President Bush

LORELAI: I hate President Bush … He’s stupid and his face is too tiny for his head and I just want to toss him out.

Lorelai is talking about George W. Bush (born 1946), who had been elected President of the United States in November 2000, and sworn in on January 20 2001, less than two months previously from Lorelai’s perspective. He is the son of George H.W. Bush, who was US President from 1989 to 1993. Like so many famous people referenced in the show, George W. Bush has a Connecticut connection, being born in New Haven: he also attended both Yale and Harvard.

Lorelai’s perception of George W. Bush as “stupid” was one shared by many people, due to his frequent lapses of grammar, mangled sentences, and baffling statements. Polls showed that American voters saw him as having a low intelligence. Historians rate his presidency quite poorly, although his popularity has picked up since he left office in 2009.

It was rare for Gilmore Girls to stray far into politics, so this was an unusual moment which identified Lorelai as a Democrat. She was clearly desperate to get attention away from Rory, and her plan worked. Impulsive as ever, Lorelai didn’t stop to think whether her comment was going to make the evening easier. It didn’t help things.

“You run directly for president”

LANE: We’ll tell her [Lorelai] that we’re meeting Dean for a movie, and then we go to the movie, and then somebody who just happens to be a friend of Dean’s just happens to be there for the same movie, and so we figure that it would be completely rude for us to not ask said person to come sit with us.
RORY: I say to hell with governor, you run directly for president.
LANE: It’s not that bad.

Many US Presidents have been Governor of their state before making the run for the White House, including George W. Bush, former Governor of Texas, who had only recently (from Rory’s perspective) been sworn in as President, on January 20 2001.

In 2001, the last US President to run for President without standing as a state Governor was George Bush Sr. [pictured], who was a Congressman, Ambassador to the UN, Ambassador to China, then Director of Central Intelligence before his successful presidential campaign in 1988 (sworn in 1989).

Rory is saying that Lane’s lying is on a scale that only a politician at the highest level could come up with. Lane understandably tries to downplay that one.

Baked Alaska

LORELAI: Oh! Meringue.
SOOKIE: Yeah, I thought I’d do a variation on a baked Alaska for dessert tonight.

Baked Alaska is a classic American dessert consisting of ice cream in a dish or baking tray which is lined with cake, then the whole thing covered in meringue and quickly browned in the oven. The ice cream won’t melt as the meringue protects it, and the oven is very hot so that cooking time is brief.

According to legend President Thomas Jefferson, earlier mentioned, was the first person to serve Baked Alaska, in 1802. He served a dessert which was warm ice cream in a pastry shell, so not really the same, but shows that the idea of baking ice cream had been around a fair while – and a presidential connection is always a cool thing to have.

The famous Delmenico’s Restaurant in New York City claimed that their chef Charles Ranhofer named the dessert to mark America’s purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. The actual dish was probably created some time after the purchase, and Ranhofer called his dessert “Alaska, Florida” to indicate the extremes of heat and cold in the dessert. He published the recipe in 1893.

The first known published recipe for something resembling Baked Alaska is in Mary J.B. Lincoln’s Frozen Dainties in 1888. It seems to be much the same as the modern dish and she calls the dessert Ice-cream en Deguiser (“ice cream dressed up”). Lincoln was the first principal of the Boston Cooking School, so the dish has a distinguished pedigree.

Jefferson Suite

LORELAI: OK, put them [the Ruckers] in the Jefferson suite tonight, move them back to their previously booked room tomorrow, and offer them dinner on the house for the inconvenience.

The suite is named after American statesman Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, and principal author of The Declaration of Independence. He served as the third President of the United States (1801-1809), and was the second Vice-President under John Adams (1797-1801). It is an appropriate name for a suite at the Independence Inn.

Bouvier des Flandres

The dog Buttercup is an interesting mixture of Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Rottweiler, and Bouvier des Flandres. (The actual dog does not resemble this description very closely).

Bouvier des Flandres is a large woolly herding dog breed from Belgium; its name means “cowherd of Flanders” in French. President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy owned a dog of this breed named Lucky.