Chuppah

LORELAI: What is that?
LUKE: Oh, it’s a chuppah.
LORELAI: A what?
LUKE: A chuppah. You stand under it, you and Max. It’s for your wedding.

A chuppah is a canopy which a Jewish couple stand under when they are married. It’s usually a cloth or sheet (sometimes a prayer cloth) held up by four wooden poles. In Orthodox Judaism, there is meant to be open sky above the chuppah, just as is planned for Max and Lorelai’s garden wedding. The chuppah represents the home the couple are making together, which will always be open to guests.

Lorelai wonders whether it would be inappropriate for she and Max to have a chuppah, and gains reassurance from Luke on that point. Luke is actually correct: there is nothing specifically Jewish about getting married under a canopy (other religions do it too), and it doesn’t necessarily have to be religious in nature. These days there’s a bit of a trend for non-Jewish canopy weddings, and as long as it isn’t actually called a chuppah it doesn’t usually cause offence.

The chuppah is a gift from Luke to apologise for his behaviour towards Max. He knows he has been bit of a jerk about Lorelai’s wedding, and wants her to know he is still there for her as a friend. At the end of the scene, Luke and Lorelai are shown standing together under the chuppah as a sign that they will be married one day (when it happens in A Year in the Life, it will take place under a “canopy” beneath the sky, but not the chuppah).

It isn’t all that believable that the Luke we have got to know so far would actually make a chuppah for a non-Jewish wedding after getting the idea from a book (how did he know how to pronounce the word from reading it in a book?), and it seems awfully contrived.

Church of the Poison Mind

This 1983 pop song by British new wave band Culture Club plays at the drag club after True finishes. It is the song that Michel dances to, after saying that he had to “shake his thing”.

Church of the Poison Mind was the lead single from Culture Club’s most successful album, Colour by Numbers. It was a hit around the world, and went to #10 in the US, and #2 in the UK and Ireland.

The lead singer of Culture Club, Boy George, is gay, and cross-dressed as part of his 1980s stage persona, and Church of the Poison Mind is about Christianity’s attitude to homosexuality.

Mother Teresa

RORY: I’m like ten years behind on my extracurriculars.
DEAN: What are you talking about?
RORY: Paris has been accumulating these things since she could walk. I mean, she has a list of good deeds that could bump Mother Teresa off the Harvard list.

Mother Teresa, born Anjezë Bojaxhiu (1910-1997) was an Albanian-born Roman Catholic nun and missionary who lived most of her life in India, caring for the poor. In 1950 she founded the Missionaries of Charity, which cares for the sick, and manages soup kitchens, orphanages, and schools.

Mother Teresa won numerous awards during her life, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Sh was canonised as a saint in 2016, and in 2017 named one of the patrons of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calcutta.

“Keeps your halo shiny”

RORY: I will be assisting, I will be helping out those less fortunate than myself, I will be getting college credit and this is the end of this particular conversation.
LORELAI: You’re right. It’s a good thing. Nice, keeps your halo shiny.

As becomes increasingly clear during this episode, Rory is volunteering purely for college credit, and doesn’t really care about the less fortunate. She’s not quite as angelic as Lorelai thinks.

“I do”

JACKSON: Uh, hey, do you wanna look at the Brussels sprouts?
SOOKIE: Yes, I do. [giggles] No. Ooh, what about some nice Brussels sprouts with like a garlic olive oil for the wedding? That sounds like a “‘Til death do us part” kind of side dish, doesn’t it?

Sookie says “I do”, which is the traditional way to agree to marry someone in the wedding vows, and “… until death do us part” is the conclusion to the traditional wedding vows, which date back to medieval times and are printed in prayer books.

Sookie is just teasing Jackson, but later they will be married for real.

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”.