Happy dance

RORY: I just thought if she saw how we lived, and how pretty it was with the lake and the swans …
LORELAI: That she’d do a happy dance?

In slang terms, a “happy dance” is any spontaneous dance done in celebration, or in order to gloat at personal success.

It’s especially known from the Peanuts cartoons by Charles M. Schulz, where Snoopy does an excited happy dance whenever Charlie Brown brings him food. This may have been part of Lorelai and Chris’ performance when they sang Suppertime, from the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Trophy wife

PARIS: Tristan asking me out? Why would he do that?
RORY: Why would he not do that?
PARIS: Because he’s gorgeous and experienced and only dates those most likely to become a trophy wife.

Trophy wife is the term for a woman believed to be only chosen by her wealthy husband as a status symbol, usually because she’s young(er) and attractive. It is derogatory to both people in the marriage; the inference being that the man can only attract women because of his money, and that the woman has nothing to offer except her appearance. The term dates to perhaps the 1950s, but became popularised in the 1980s.

“Peace out, Humphrey”

EMILY: Everyone’s awfully quiet tonight.
LORELAI: Sorry Mom, I’m just tired.
RORY: Me too – school.
LORELAI: Work.
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”.

Mad Money

LORELAI: Here is the phone and some mad money. If for any reason you think you’re not going to be home by twelve, you call me.

“Mad money” is an informal expression meaning a small amount of money to be used as an emergency fund. It is especially applied to girls and women who are out on a date or a night out, and may need extra money for a taxi home in case they have an argument with or become separated from their companion/s. The expression dates to around 1920, and the origin of it has not been made clear to me; I presume “mad” in case you and your date get mad (angry) at each other.

As Rory will be driving herself (at last by now she really does have her driver’s licence), Lorelai probably intends the money to be used for car fuel, or a taxi if the car breaks down.

Cabbage patching

LORELAI: “Three months. Well, woohoo. Hold on, I’m going to cartwheel.”
RORY: Forget it.
LORELAI: Oh, no wait. She’s telling my dad now. Why, I think they’re cabbage patching.

Cabbage patching means to do the cabbage patch dance, a hip-hop dance where you put your hands together as fists and move them in horizontal circles. The dance features in the 1988 song The Cabbage Patch by Miami bass group Gucci Crew II, which became popular in dance clubs. The dance seems to have been inspired by Cabbage Patch Kids, the doll fad of the 1980s, combined with “cabbage” as slang for paper money. It’s a celebratory dance, often associated with sporting victories.