Howard Hughes

PARIS: I’ve had Nanny hold all my calls, and the mail. My parents are away, so I’ve been totally Howard Hughes-ing it.

Howard Hughes (1905-1976), business magnate, record-setting pilot, engineer, film producer, and philanthropist, known during his lifetime as one of the most influential and richest people in the world. He first became prominent as a film producer, and then as an important figure in the aviation industry.

Later in life, he became known for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle—oddities that were caused in part by his worsening obsessive-compulsive disorder, chronic pain from a near-fatal plane crash, and increasing deafness.

Charlie Rose and Billy Joel

LORELAI: No, you go on ahead, I’ll catch up.
RORY: Okay. Try and make it home in time for Charlie Rose. Billy Joel’s on, and he might cry or something.

Charlie Rose, previously discussed. Billy Joel, previously discussed.

In real life, Billy Joel did not appear on Charlie Rose in 2003. He has been a guest on the show several times, and the one previous to the episode was in October 2001.

Lorelai suggests that Billy Joel “might cry or something” because he suffers from severe depression, and attempted suicide in 1970. In 2002, the year before this episode of Gilmore Girls, he entered a rehab centre and psychiatric hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut for treatment. This show is very insensitive about mental health issues.

Charlie Rose was on Wednesday nights at this time, letting us know the day of the week.

Dr Phil

PARIS: What about the [votes] for Dr. Phil?

Phillip McGraw (born 1950), better known as Dr. Phil, television personality and author, best known for hosting the talk show, Dr. Phil. He holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, though he ceased renewing his license to practice psychology in 2006.

McGraw rose to fame with appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, in the late 1990s. Oprah Winfrey then helped McGraw launch his own program in 2002.

Dr Phil has been a commencement speaker at the University of North Texas.

The Five Stages of Grieving

SOOKIE: Well, you caught me at a good time, ladies. I’ve already gone through the five stages of grieving. Denial, anger . . . I don’t remember these two, but they were served on the rocks with salt! Now, I’m just happily enscotched in acceptance.

The five stages of grief are said to be denial, anger, bargaining, anger, and acceptance. The model was popularised by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying. Despite being commonly referenced in popular culture, there is no evidence for these stages, and the model has been considered outdated and unhelpful. Kübler-Ross later stated that the stages are not linear or predictable, and she regretted writing them in a way which was misunderstood.

Sookie references the Margarita cocktail, previously discussed, which is served on the rocks with salt around the rim. In her drunkenness, she says she is “enscotched” rather than “ensconced”, as if she has been drinking Scotch whiskey as well.

7 Up, Salad Water

RORY: Oh, a girl told me once that if your scalp is hurting from bleach, drink a 7 Up. It’s something to do with the bubbles.

LANE: The Kim household does not have soft drinks.

RORY: Well, what do you got?

LANE: Something called Salad Water imported from Korea. Believe me, it’s nothing like 7 Up.

7 Up, a lemon-lime flavoured soft drink owned by Dr Pepper, and distributed by Pepsi. It was created by Charles Leiper Grigg in St Louis in 1929, two weeks before the Wall Street stock market crash of that year. Originally called Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda, it contained lithium citrate, a mood stabiliser used to treat manic states and bipolar disorder. It became 7 Up in 1936, and nobody really knows why that name was chosen – some say that it refers to the seven original ingredients, some that it’s a coded reference to lithium, which has an atomic mass around 7.

7 Up won’t do anything to stop your scalp hurting after bleach (and if it’s the bubbles, wouldn’t any soft drink do the same thing?), but I’ve seen it recommended for stomach ache and the common cold, so there seems to be a lot of belief in it as a folk remedy. I suspect Rory is saying anything to distract Lane, and possibly hoping for a placebo effect.

Salad Water, or Water Salad [pictured], is water flavoured with green salad, produced by Coca-Cola in Japan. I’m not sure why the Kims have imported it from Korea when it’s a Japanese product – perhaps the Korean import-export company imports it from Japan, then exports it to the US.


DARREN: Open question – which mythological figure has the head of a man, the body of a lion, and the tail of a scorpion? Here’s a hint – it’s also the title of a novel by Robertson Davies.

RORY: Oh, manticore.

The manticore is a Persian mythological creature with a human head, body of a lion, and a tail of venomous spines – some depict it as like porcupine quills, while others give it a scorpion tail, as Darren says. There are some accounts that the spines can be shot like arrows, making the manticore a lethal predator. It devours its prey whole, using its triple rows of teeth, leaving no traces of its victim behind. Its name comes from the Persian for “man eater”.

The Manticore is a 1972 novel by Canadian author Robertson Davies. It is the second volume in his Deptford Trilogy, three interrelated works set in the fictional town of Deptford, Ontario. The plot of The Manticore revolves around themes of Jungian psychology and psychoanalysis, and the journey towards becoming fully human.

Faulkner and Sylvia Plath

LORELAI: Or one of your authors, Faulkner or . . .

RORY: Or Sylvia Plath.

LORELAI: Hm, might send the wrong message.

RORY: The sticking her head in the oven thing?

LORELAI: Yeah. Although she did make her kids a snack first, shows a certain maternal instinct.

William Faulkner (1897-1962), previously mentioned, writer known for his novels and short stories set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County of Mississippi, based on the real Lafayette County of that state. William Faulkner spent most of his life in Oxford, Mississippi, which in his works is renamed Jefferson. The winner of the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature, he is one of the most celebrated American authors, and widely considered the greatest writer of Southern Literature.

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) [pictured], previously mentioned several times, poet, novelist, and short-story writer, best known for her confessional poetry, as well as her 1963 novel The Bell Jar, previously discussed. Her posthumous 1982 Collected Poems won the Pulitzer Prize. Clinically depressed for most of her life, she killed herself by gassing herself in the oven. Before she did so, she made her sleeping children (two year old Frieda and one year old Nicholas) a snack of bread and butter, opened their bedroom window, and put tape and towels around the door in an effort to protect them from the fumes. Sadly, her suicide seems to have often become a punchline in television comedy, as with this example.

Insanity Plea

RORY: When did you see me with Dean?

JESS: At that stupid summer insanity plea the town put on.

An insanity plea, otherwise known as a mental disorder defence, is an argument put forward during a criminal trial that the defendant is not guilty for their crimes due to a psychiatric disease at the time the crime was committed. Using this as a defence goes back in law to the very beginnings of recorded history, and although it’s popular in fiction, it’s rare in the US – used in about 1% of cases, and then, only successful about a quarter of the time. The person who succeeds in winning their case this way will usually have to undergo psychiatric treatment in an institution instead of a prison sentence, or as part of their prison sentence.

Ottoman and Napoleon Complex

RORY: Hello living room.

LORELAI: Hello Rory, we missed you. Not the ottoman, of course, but everyone knows he’s a snob. Napoleon complex, he only really likes the magazine rack.

An ottoman is a small padded seat without a back or arms that can be used as a table, stool, or footstool. They are also known as tuffets, hassocks, or pouffes. The name comes from the Ottoman Empire from where it originated, the seat introduced to Europe in the 18th century.

A Napoleon complex is an imaginary syndrome attributed to people of short stature, where the short person (usually a man), overcompensates for their size by being too aggressive or domineering. In psychology, it is regarded as a derogatory social stereotype and a piece of mysandry. It comes from the idea put about by the British in the 19th century that Napoleon Bonaparte’s short temper was caused by him being of short size. In fact, Napoleon was 5 foot 7, average height for his era.

Presumably the ottoman only likes the magazine rack because it’s the one thing smaller than it is!

“The doctor is in”

RORY: You had another dream.


RORY: The doctor is in.

In the Peanuts comic strip, previously mentioned, there is a running gag where Lucy van Pelt sets up her own psychiatry booth, in which she dispenses terrible advice for five cents. The booth has a sign on it, saying The doctor is in, when Lucy is available for consultation. Rory is having a sly joke at her own expense, as if any advice she has to offer will be similarly useless.