Godfather 3

RORY: Oh, we have to rent Godfather 3 on DVD.
LORELAI: You’re kidding.
RORY: In the audio commentary, Coppola actually defends casting Sofia.

The Godfather Part III, the 1990 crime film that is the third of the Godfather films, previously discussed. Although packaged as a trilogy, director Francis Ford Coppola himself considers the first two films a duology, and the third film as their sequel.

The film was a commercial success and received positive reviews, although it is generally regarded as a lesser work than the first two. Critics praised Al Pacino and the screenplay, but criticised the convoluted plot, and Sofia Coppola’s performance as Mary Corleone, Michael’s daughter. It is the only film in the franchise not to win any major awards, while Sofia Coppola received two Razzies for Worst Supporting Actress and Worst New Star.

Francis Ford Coppola answered his critics by writing a letter to the New York Times in 1991, and in several interviews. Sofia was not his first choice for the role, but Winona Ryder had arrived late on set so exhausted from filming Mermaids that doctors advised she be sent home to recover. With no other suitable actresses, and filming already delayed by Ryder, he decided to cast Sofia as she was the perfect age and already knew the script. Furthermore, he had originally based the character of Mary on Sofia.

In 2019 while promoting the 2020 director’s cut of the film, Francis Ford Coppola insisted that Sofia may not have been a professional actress, but she was beautiful, touching, and authentic. His defence of his daughter has remained ongoing and heartfelt – way more than just one remark on the DVD audio commentary.

It’s interesting that in an episode where Lorelai hears from Christopher, hoping to see Rory, it opens with a mention of a Godfather film, and a fond father. Not only that, it is Rory who wants to watch the film specifically so she can listen to the audio commentary of Coppola’s defence of his daughter Sofia.

Set of New US Quarters

LORELAI: Someone recruited him, promised him a handsome sum, financed his theatrical snowman accoutrements, so he could snatch victory away from a deserving local in order to bag the contest prize for himself.
RORY: Seems a little elaborate considering that the prize is a set of new US quarters.

A quarter is a 25 cent coin – a quarter dollar. The head of George Washington is on the obverse side, and originally, the reverse side was an American eagle.

In 1999, the US Mint began issuing commemorative quarters with a reverse which featured each of the fifty states of the US. It was the most successful coin-collecting program in history, with about half of the country’s population collecting the coins. I think this is the set of new quarters that Rory is talking about.

By late 2001, the set of quarters included Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Kentucky.

The program was completed in 2008, after which the Mint went on to do DC and US Territories, then national parks and monuments. You can buy a full set of the Fifty States coin sets for around $25 today.

“A lady never kisses and tells”

DEAN: So, did you and Paris actually kiss or was that like a stage thing?
RORY: A lady never kisses and tells.

Very clever, because Rory is not telling Dean about her kiss with Tristan. (A slight callback to Kiss and Tell, the episode where Rory and Dean first kiss, and everyone knows about it).

It was quite obvious that Paris and Rory didn’t kiss, Paris didn’t even pretend to kiss Rory. I’m actually not convinced they could have got a good mark for the project. Two members of their group dropped out at the last minute, they didn’t offer a unique perspective on the play, Paris as Romeo sounds irritated more than anything else, and there’s no tragically romantic kiss. As it was fifty percent of their grade, that doesn’t sound good for their overall result.

Military School in North Carolina

TRISTAN: The police are letting our parents handle it, and in my case that means military school in North Carolina.

A meta comment. Chad Michael Murray, who played Tristan, left the show in order to begin filming the teen drama One Tree Hill (2003-2012), shown on the same channel as Gilmore Girls (The WB); Murray had the lead role of Lucas Scott. One Tree Hill is set in the fictional town of Tree Hill in North Carolina, and mostly filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Amy Sherman-Palladino apparently planned for Tristan to become Rory’s boyfriend in high school/college and her “Christopher”, which, because Chad Michael Murray went to another show, was a role filled by the character of Logan Huntzberger instead. In this farewell episode, you can see the faint beginnings of the tenderness between Rory and Tristan which would have blossomed into eventual love. Anyone wishing to see what would have happened if Logan had been Tristan instead must turn to fanfiction.

In real life, there is only one one military school in North Carolina, and it is Oak Ridge Military Academy, so presumably that’s where Tristan is headed. It was originally founded in 1850, and was one of the first military schools to become co-educational, in 1972. It apparently had a reputation at one time of taking troubled youth, which it is working to overcome.

If Tristan turned up to Chilton in order to say he was leaving for military school, couldn’t he also have stayed to do the scene with them? Does everyone transfer schools on a Sunday night in this universe? (Maybe because they’re boarding schools?).

With Tristan out of the picture, the love triangle between Rory, Dean, and Tristan comes to an end, to make way for a new love triangle, which becomes clear in the very next episode.

Doogie Howser

LORELAI: Business school has to indicate some kind of maturity, right?
LUKE: Doogie Howser was a doctor at sixteen.
LORELAI: Doogie Howser was not real.

Dr Douglas “Doogie” Howser (played by Neil Patrick-Harris) is the protagonist of the television medical comedy-drama, Doogie Howser, MD (1989-1993). A child genius, Howser graduated from Princeton at the age of ten, and completed medical school at fourteen. The show opens on Doogie’s sixteenth birthday, and shows the challenges he faces practising medicine as a resident surgeon while also coping with the usual teenage problems.

The show was abruptly cancelled due to low ratings, but has made its mark as a cultural reference, as anyone young and very smart is generally dubbed “Doogie Howser”. This year it was rebooted as Doogie Kameāloha, MD, about a sixteen-year-old Hawaiian girl working as a doctor, with Peyton Lee in the title role.

In real life, Balamurali Ambati has the Guinness World Record for obtaining his medical license at the age of 17, graduating from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City in 1995. He thus became the youngest qualified medical doctor in the world, so not too far off Doogie Howser. (Dr Ambati disliked comparisons to Dr Howser, and as he was six feet tall at age fourteen, fit in with the other medical students and was popular with his peers).

Powerpuff Girls

LORELAI: All right, that’s it. This afternoon we are going to engage in some intensive retail therapy to bring you out of this funk.
RORY: No thanks.
LORELAI: I mean it. Today is the day we finally spring for the Powerpuff Girls shot glasses.

The Powerpuff Girls is an animated television series on the Cartoon Network about three kindergarten-aged girls with superpowers named Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup. The girls live in the fictional city of Townsville with their father and creator, Professor Utonium.

The plot of each episode is a humorous take on superhero shows, with the girls having to defend their city from villains and monsters, while also dealing with typical little kid issues, like loose teeth and bedwetting. The original series was broacast from 1998 to 2005, but had various specials, a movie, and a range of spin-off media.

Episodes often contain hidden references to older popular culture, with sly tributes and parodies, and has been praised as both pop culture and high art, suitable for small children and adults. You can see why Lorelai and Rory love it.

The Powerpuff Girls have a wide range of merchandise, and you can indeed buy Powerpuff Girls shot glasses.

Ab Fab

LORELAI: He’s never seen Ab Fab.
RORY: Definitely not a soulmate.

Absolutely Fabulous (often called Ab Fab) is a British television sitcom starring Jennifer Saunders as Edina “Eddy” Monsoon, a heavy-drinking PR agent who spends all her time chasing the latest hip fad, and Joanna Lumley as her best friend Patsy Stone, a fashion editor whose drug abuse, alcohol consumption and promiscuity are at almost life-threatening proportions. Eddy’s studious daughter Saffron “Saffy”, played by Julia Sawalha, is the sensible one who tries to rein in her wayward mother’s worst excesses, taking on the parent role in their relationship.

The first three series were broadcast on the BBC in the UK from 1992 to 1994, with a special in 1996. In the US, it premiered in 1994 on Comedy Central. After receiving critical acclaim and being named one of the greatest British sitcoms of all time in 2000, it was revived in 2001 – Lorelai may have become a fan quite recently. It was shown on the Oxygen Network, which might be how she watched it, and became a cult hit in the US.

The revival continued until 2004, with a twentieth anniversary series of specials in 2011-2012. Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie was released in 2016.

Absolutely Fabulous‘ demographic was, broadly speaking, gay men and straight women over 35, so it’s hardly surprising that Paul has never seen it. I think it’s unrealistic to expect her “soulmate” to be a fan of the show.

The mother-daughter relationship between Eddy and Saffy is an exaggerated version of that between Lorelai and Rory, and Eddy’s outrageous outfits sometimes aren’t much worse than a few of Lorelai’s more questionable fashion choices. I think this would have been a show Lorelai and Rory would have enjoyed watching together, seeing something of themselves in the characters. Perhaps Rory is Lorelai’s true soulmate.

No Doubt and U2

DEAN: What do you have to be sorry for?
RORY: That . . . that I didn’t tell you about the rehearsal. And that No Doubt is touring with U2. I know you’re extremely disappointed in Bono.

No Doubt is an American rock band formed in 1986, consisting of vocalist Gwen Stefani, guitarist Tom Dumont, bassist Tony Kanal, and drummer Adrian Young. Their 1992 eponymous debut album made little impact, but their 1995 follow-up, The Beacon Street Collection, sold more than 100 000 copies after they changed to a ska-punk sound. Their 1995 album, Tragic Kingdom, was certified diamond, with singles Don’t Speak, and Just a Girl becoming hits – the first spending 16 weeks at #1 in the US. Their most recent album at this point was Return of Saturn in 2000, although Rock Steady was just about to be released, in early December 2001.

No Doubt were one of the openers for U2 on the third leg of their Elevation Tour – the same one PJ Harvey had opened for earlier. No Doubt were one of the support acts at Madison Square Garden in late October 2001, then the only support act from November 5th to 25th, in California, Texas, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.

As Tristan invited Rory to the Elevation Tour when they were performing in Hartford, it feels somewhat tactless for her to bring it up while trying to placate Dean. But it may also be reminding Dean that he shares her musical tastes more than Tristan, as both Dean and Rory appear to be U2 fans. He wasn’t before going out with Rory, so perhaps she has influenced him in this regard.

Mystic Pizza

PARIS: Excuse me. We reserved this place for 8 sharp and right now my watch says 8:04.
MISS PATTY: Well, then tell it to go outside and have a smoke. You can’t rush a cool down sweetheart.
PARIS: Look, I understand the whole Mystic Pizza, small town, ‘we don’t let a clock run our lives’ thing, but I come from the big city where money talks and I’m paying good money for this place and I have a schedule to keep.

Mystic Pizza is a 1988 romantic comedy-drama film directed by Donald Petrie, and starring Annabath Gish and Julia Roberts as two teenaged sisters working as waitresses at Mystic Pizza, a pizza parlour in the real-life fishing village of Mystic, Connecticut (it also features Matt Damon in his screen debut). The younger sister, played by Annabath Gish, is on a partial scholarship at Yale and also works part-time at the whaling museum, so there are some connections with Gilmore Girls. If you enjoy Gilmore Girls, I would definitely recommend Mystic Pizza.

Mystic Pizza received generally favourable reviews, with particular praise for the lead actresses, and has gained something of a cult following as a feel-good coming-of-age movie. In September and October of this year, it was turned into a stage musical by the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine – this was several years after a fictional Broadway musical based on the film featured in the sitcom 30 Rock in 2007.

The real life Mystic Pizza restaurant which had inspired the film was renovated to resemble the film set, and is still in business.

Romeo and Juliet Movie

RORY: She’s letting you go? That’s amazing. What changed her mind?
LANE: I let her watch the Romeo and Juliet movie with Leo and Claire Danes.

Lane is talking about William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (often shortened to Romeo + Juliet), a 1996 film directed by Baz Luhrman and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the title roles. It is a modernised adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, with the Montagues and Capulets two rival (mafia) business empires in the fictional American city of Verona Beach (inspired by Venice Beach in L.A., but filmed in Mexico).

The film was a commercial success and gained mostly positive reviews, as well as winning several awards internationally. At the BAFTA Film Awards, it won Best Direction, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Music, and Best Production Design. It continues to be a popular choice for high school English teachers to show their students as an introduction to the play.

It wasn’t released on DVD until 2002, so I’m not sure how Lane showed her mother the movie. Perhaps it was conveniently on at the local cinema.