Room Mates

LORELAI: They just force someone on you?
RORY: It’s all part of the socialising experience.
LORELAI: What if it’s a lemon?
RORY: Then I’m stuck with a lemon.
LORELAI: Hare Krishna banging a tambourine all night?
RORY: Then I have to get earplugs.
LORELAI: Serial murderer?
RORY: Then I sleep with a gat strapped to my ankle.

In American slang, a lemon is a worthless person or object. It dates from the early 20th century, and was originally criminal slang meaning “loser, simpleton” – perhaps with the idea that they were people that the criminal could “suck the juice from”.

In American slang, a gat is a gun. It is short for Gatling gun, the early machine gun invented by Richard Gatling for use during the American Civil War. The criminal slang was especially prevalent during the Prohibition era of the 1920s.

It is perhaps apt that Rory and Lorelai use criminal slang while trespassing.

In a later season, Rory does indeed get a college room mate forced upon her unexpectedly.


STUDENT: Okay. So I’ll see you in class. And maybe at that Phi Kap party tonight?
LORELAI: Ginchy!
STUDENT: Cool. Bye.

Ginchy is dated teen slang meaning “cool, neat, sexy”. The word was popularised by “Kookie” Kookson, played by Edd Byrnes, in the hit private detective television series 77 Sunset Strip, which aired from 1958 to 1964. Kookie, who was a wisecracking, hair-combing hipster and assistant to the detectives, is an obvious forerunner to the character of Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli on Happy Days.

The word ginchy is 1930s slang related to ginch, meaning an attractive woman.


MICHEL: This is a felony, you know, corrupting a minor. We’ll all end up in the pokey [for trying to get Rory into a nightclub].
RORY (imitating Michel’s pronunciation): He’s right. We’re all going to the pooky.
LORELAI: Sweetie, don’t say “pooky”. It’s creepy.

Pokey is American slang for “gaol”, dating to the early 20th century. It’s a variant of pogey, 19th century British slang for a poorhouse.

Eye candy

MAX: Is something wrong?
MAX: You can tell me. That’s what I’m here for.
LORELAI: I thought it was just for eye candy.

Eye candy is slang for a person or object which is attractive and pleasing to look at; a treat for the eyes. Lorelai’s joke probably has some truth to it – that her attraction to Max is mostly physical.


PARIS: You know, when we met at the beginning of the year, I didn’t like you because I thought you were some rube from the sticks, and I have no patience for rubes.
RORY: How very enlightening.

A rube is a unsophisticated, naive person, especially one from a rural area. It is a nickname for Reuben, which since the mid 19th century was applied as a generic name for people from the country.

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.
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”.