Taylor Hanson

LORELAI: I’m not even talking specifically about Dean. I mean just generally in life. For example, say you’re dating Taylor Hanson.
RORY: Why am I dating Taylor Hanson?
LORELAI: It’s a hypothetical scenario, go with it. So, uh, you and Taylor have been seeing each other pretty regularly …

(Jordan) Taylor Hanson (born 1983) is a member of the pop group Hanson. He sings lead and back-up vocals, and plays multiple instruments. In 2009 he became a member of the supergroup Tinted Windows.

Rory probably could not have dated Taylor Hanson in 2001, as he had already been dating his future wife for two years at this point. They were married the following year, in 2002, and currently have five children together.

Berringiny Pansy

RICHARD: Saving the Berringiny Pansy. Who ever heard of such a thing?
EMILY: It’s a very rare flower that is rapidly disappearing from the face of this earth.
RICHARD: Well, who cares?
EMILY: As president of the Horticultural Society, I have to care.

A fictional species of flower. There are a few species of pansy in Europe which are rare or even endangered though.

The name of the pansy flower comes from the French for “thought” (pensée), to symbolise remembrance, especially of a loved one. Another name for the pansy is love-in-idleness, meaning someone who has nothing to do but think of their beloved. This seems apt, as Rory has been trapped by her thoughts and memories of Dean, with not enough to occupy her lately. Yet another name for the flower is heartsease, telling us that Rory will soon unburden her heart, and have her feelings soothed.

The Connecticut Horticultural Society has existed since 1887, and in real life does have speakers on one Thursday a month, just like in this episode (it now seems to be Thursday 19 April). They take place at the Emanuel Auditorium in West Hartford, and start at 7.30 pm – although you’re encouraged to come early so you can socialise. This suggests the time when Rory comes to her grandparents’ house is somewhere 6.30 and 7 pm.

Air Supply

LORELAI: When I was in junior high, I had a boyfriend, Todd something or other. Not a soul mate, but I was crazy about him and he dumped me. I was completely crushed and I could do nothing except lie around and cry and listen to Air Supply, very low point in my life.

Air Supply are an Australian soft rock duo, formed in 1975 and consisting of Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock. They had a succession of major hits worldwide, including eight Top Ten singles in the US, during the 1980s. They were inducted into the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall of Fame in 2013.

In 1980, Air Supply released their album Lost in Love, which brought them mainstream popularity and was their first to enter the US charts. As it came out just before Lorelai turned twelve, she could have listened to it in junior high. While getting over her boyfriend Todd, the sad break up song All Out of Love may have resonated with her, with its chorus beginning, “I’m all out of love, I’m so lost without you”. The song went to #2 in the US, and is Air Supply’s biggest hit.

Bloomingdale’s

LORELAI: So I’m at the mall, and I’ve already found Rachel’s gifts, and I’ve had two sugar cinnamon pretzels, and I’m buzzed on the sugar, and jazzed about the purchases, and I decide to take a victory lap through Bloomingdale’s, and it just so happens that there was an amazing sale in the men’s department.

Bloomingdale’s is an American department store founded in New York in 1872 by Joseph and Lyman Bloomingdale. The stores are now owned by Macy’s, and are well known for their sales.

Lorelai speaks of going to “the mall” as if she means going shopping in Hartford. However, in real life there is no Bloomingdale’s in Hartford, or anywhere else in Connecticut (there used to be one in Stamford, but it closed in 1990).

In real life, if Lorelai had wanted to shop at Bloomingdale’s, she would have had to drive to the city of White Plains, New York – over an hour’s drive away. That isn’t possible, as she completed her shopping trip in two hours; she would have needed more than that for travel time alone.

Rory Shows Emily the Potting Shed

(Rory opens the door and walks in. Emily looks in from the doorway.)
RORY: I know it’s looks small, but it’s really pretty. Come on. See, we had our bed right over there, and Mom put up this really pretty curtain around the tub so that it looked like a real bathroom. And we would just sit outside at night when the Inn would have parties, and we’d just listen to music and feed the ducks and . . . (Emily walks away) Grandma? Grandma wait, what’s the matter?

This is the potting shed next to the duck pond at the Independence Inn that Lorelai and Rory lived in when they first moved to Stars Hollow, as they had no money for accommodation (like the Holy Family, there was “no room at the inn”, and they were put in an outbuilding, so Baby Rory was just like Baby Jesus).

The shed is sturdy but rustic, and is stocked with gardening tools and plants, like any potting shed: it isn’t clear if those things were there while Lorelai and Rory lived there. Their bed is no longer there (they must have shared a single bed together), but the bath has been left, including the curtain that Lorelai put around it to serve as a bathroom wall. Lorelai mentioned that it has rosebud wallpaper, but the is shed painted white inside and doesn’t look as though it’s got the kind of walls that you could easily wallpaper.

It looks impractical for bringing up a baby, and we learn later that they moved to Stars Hollow in the autumn, so it would have been very cold as well (we don’t know what they used for heating). We don’t know how long they lived in this temporary accomodation, but long enough for Rory, who was only a baby when they came to Stars Hollow, to have some memories of it, and long enough that the weather became warm enough for them to sit outside at night. I would guess at least a year, and possibly two. Who looked after baby Rory while Lorelai was working is unknown.

This is the first time that Emily has ever seen the potting shed, and she is clearly distraught to discover the conditions her daughter and granddaughter lived in. Lorelai told Sookie that her parents visited them a few times at the inn while Rory was a baby, but they never saw where they slept at night. Lorelai was probably clever at keeping them away from the shed, but their lack of curiosity is surprising. Perhaps they were scared to push it in case Lorelai ran even further away.

In this case, it is Emily who runs away, too upset to spend any more with time with Rory or even say a proper goodbye to her. This incident serves as a device to keep Emily at a distance from Stars Hollow. Emily was having a good time with Rory, and was fitting in well with the townspeople, finding that she had things in common with Mrs. Kim and Michel. By showing her in the potting shed, it explains why Emily doesn’t visit Stars Hollow more often in the future.

Where they lived between the potting shed when Rory was a baby/toddler, and moving into their own house when Rory was eleven, is a complete mystery and never mentioned. Perhaps Lorelai saved up enough money to rent a cheap apartment for them, but renting would make it hard to save for a house. They could have lived in a friend’s house (with Sookie?), but if so, nobody ever refers to it.

In real life, it wouldn’t be legal for anyone to live in the potting shed under Connecticut zoning laws, but I’m not sure that would stop Lorelai anyway – rules were made for non-Gilmores!

“I work here”

EMILY: Do you spend a lot of time here? [at the Independence Inn]
RORY: Yeah. I work here a couple afternoons a week, and I help out with special occasions. They have a lot of weddings here.

We learn that Rory, on top of her heavy school workload, also works part time two afternoons per week at the Independence Inn. This is different to what Rory told Headmaster Charleston in The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton,  when she said that she sometimes worked at the inn after school, so on weekdays. In the Pilot, Lorelai suggested she might want to help out and “earn some extra money” when Rory had a day off between changing schools, which could mean on top of the usual work she did at the inn, or to suggest that Rory helped out sometimes when she had free time.

It’s possible that Rory took on more regular work at the inn once she turned 16 (in Connecticut, there is a limit as to what kind of jobs a child under 16 may perform, although it is legal to work from 14 onward). As Rory doesn’t get home until nearly five pm from Hartford on weekdays, I can only think the two afternoons she works must be Saturday and Sunday – although it’s Saturday afternoon in this episode and Rory isn’t working, so I don’t know. She also says she works extra hours on the numerous weddings, which would mostly be on weekends anyway.

Maybe Rory works for just an hour or so after school twice a week. We never see her at this regular part-time job, so it’s hard to say how she manages her schedule. The job doesn’t seem too onerous, as it never seems to conflict with homework or social life (nor do we ever see Lorelai and Rory arriving home from work at the inn together). It’s possible that Rory is exaggerating her work schedule to impress her grandmother.