“Brain-dead bint in a skirt”

PARIS: Personal anecdote – when I was twelve and I was writing the first of my trial essays in practice for the day I’d write my real essay, I chose Hillary Clinton. Then I realized every brain-dead bint in a skirt would be writing about Hillary, but it was good to clear the pipes.

Bint: British slang, derogatory term for a girl or woman. It dates to the late 19th century, and is borrowed from the Arabic بِنْت‎ (bint, “girl, daughter”). It was adopted by British soldiers to refer to their girlfriends, as the Arabic word is reminiscent of English words for women such as bit, bird, and bitch.

Paris has not only been practising college application essays since she was twelve years old, but has also been a fan of Hillary Clinton since at least the same age. Paris would have been aged twelve in 1996/1997 – at this time, Hillary Clinton had been First Lady of the US since 1993. She took an important role from the very beginning, and was the first First Lady to receive her own office in the West Wing of the White House. She was considered the most openly empowered First Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt.

The Short Bus

FRANCIE: Paris is student body president – big fat deal. There are three other class presidents – the junior class president, the sophomore class president, and oh, yes, the senior class president – me.

RORY: I know all this.

FRANCIE: Well, then, it’s off the short bus for you, isn’t it?

The short bus refers to a shorter school bus used for transporting children who are physically disabled or who are being educated in special programs, often for learning disabilities.

It is a derogatory way to refer to the mentally challenged, and to call someone stupid, dumb, or slow. Francie is saying Rory is smart enough not to be considered intellectually disabled.

I would like to think that Francie using this offensive language is the writer’s way of letting us know she’s a bad person, except … what would this incident say about Rory?

Nell

SOOKIE: So how are you planning on telling [your parents about Christopher]?

LORELAI: I thought I’d do it like Nell. You know, chicka chicka chickabee.

Lorelai refers to the 1994 drama film Nell, directed by British director Michael Apted, and starring Jodie Foster as Nell Kellty, a young woman who has to face people for the first time after being raised by her mother in an isolated cabin. It is based on the play Idioglossia by Mark Handler, inspired by his experiences living in the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest, and by identical twins Grace and Virginia Kennedy (born 1970), who invented their own language. Their story is told in the 1980 documentary Poto and Cabengo (the twins’ own names for themselves).

In the film, Nell likewise speaks her own language in a strange and unique accent. She says “Chicka chicka chickabee”, which is her way of saying “dear one, beloved” (a variation on chickadee and chickabiddy, both used as endearments in some regions of the US).

Nell was a commercial success and received mixed reviews, with Foster’s performance being warmly praised.

Senior Ditch Day

PARIS: Not that the person who actually wins will even know who Hubert Humphrey is, but hey, I bet they’ll organize one boffo senior ditch day.

Ditch Day, previously discussed.

Boffo, US slang meaning “very good”. It originated from the film trade magazine, Variety.

Note that Paris is wearing one of the 400 campaign buttons that Lorelai made for them, showing Rory’s and Paris’ faces, against what looks like the US flag (as if it’s a real presidential election, not just one for school).

Bush League

ZACH: This place stunk. It’s Bush League.

Bush League is American slang for something which is of an inferior standard; unsophisticated, unprofessional, mediocre.

The slang comes from baseball, where the small-town teams below the minor league became informally known as the “bush league”, because of their rural origins, and because they often played on rough fields bordered by bushes. The slang dates to the very early twentieth century.

Note that the role of the repellent Zach is portrayed by Seth MacFarlane, who Daniel Palladino (the writer of this episode) worked with on his animated television sitcom, Family Guy.

Boonesville

[Rory and Jess are walking toward her bus]

RORY: I think this one’s mine.

JESS: Yup, the sign says Boonesville.

The “boondocks” or the “boonies” is American slang for a distant or remote rural location, especially one with few amenities. “Boonesville” is obviously a town in the boondocks.

The word boondocks comes from the Tagalog word bundok, meaning “mountain”. It was coined by U.S. Marines fighting against Filipino guerrillas after the Spanish-American War (1899–1902), for the rough hill country there. Later, American troops in the Philippines during World War II shortened it, and after the war it began to be used more widely.

Although we can’t be certain what time it is when Rory goes to the bus terminal with Jess, the express bus she took in the morning takes two and a half hours to get to New York, so to arrive in Hartford by 5.30 pm in order to be at the graduation ceremony by 6 pm, she cannot plan to leave any later than 3 pm.

Assuming Rory met Jess in Washington Square Park some time after midday, they have had time to eat lunch and catch the subway to a record store before coming to the bus terminal (which should have only taken 15 minutes to Times Square on the subway). They could have easily spent two, or two and a half hours together in New York.

Rory probably thinks she has timed everything perfectly – oh, how wrong she is!

“I think we’re a lock”

PARIS: Okay, I swept the room and I have to tell you, all sad. I think we’re a lock.

RORY: Really? I actually thought the locker alarm was pretty good.

“We’re a lock”, American slang meaning “we’re a sure thing, we’ve got this”. It seems to originate from American football, and to date to the 1980s.

Rory seems to have a much more realistic idea of their chances of winning than Paris does, although she looks pretty confident as well.

Crank

RORY: Where should the poached eggs go?

LUKE: Crank in the hat.

Crank is a term to refer to someone with an unshakeable belief in something that most of their contemporaries believe to be false. The term was popularised in 1872, being applied to Horace Greeley in his campaign for the US presidency. He believed in the settlement of the Old West and a magnanimous Reconstruction of the American South, and was a proponent of socialism, vegetarianism, agrarianism, feminism, and temperance. Cranks today can take comfort in the fact that all Greeley’s cranky ideas were proven very sensible, and are mainstream today.

In North American, a crank can also be slang for a bad-tempered person. I’m not sure which one Luke was applying to Cy, the “crank in a hat”, but Cy seems to believe it’s the second one, because he makes a spirited defence by saying that Luke is the crank – he’s well known around town for being grumpy.