Cocktails

Emily is already drinking a Manhattan [pictured]; a cocktail made from whiskey, vermouth, and bitters, usually served in a cocktail glasss with a Maraschino cherry. It seems to date from the mid-19th century, and to have originated in bars around the Manhattan area. There are many variations on the drink. Because Emily praises her Manhattan for not being too sweet, it may be a Dry Manhattan made with dry vermouth, or a Perfect Manhattan, made with a mixture of dry and sweet vermouth.

Lorelai orders a Rum and Coke; it is not certain who for, but because she orders it first and without asking, it may be for Sookie. Rum and coke is a mixture of rum and cola with a dash of lime juice served with ice. It originated in Cuba, where it is called a Libre Cuba (“Free Cuba”), and dates to the early 20th century after Cuba won its independence in the Spanish-American War of 1898.

Lorelai orders a Margarita without salt, possibly for Miss Patty. A margarita is a mixture of tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice, traditionally served in a special cocktail glass that looks like a champagne glass. Originating in Mexico (its name is Spanish for “Daisy”), it became popular in the 1930s, when Prohibition gave Americans a reason to go over the border into Mexico to get a drink.

Lorelai orders a Martini with an olive, previously discussed. I feel that the martini may be for Michel – as he didn’t tell Lorelai what he wanted, she may have chosen the standard cocktail at the elder Gilmore residence for him.

Lorelai orders a Shirley Temple, previously discussed. This now seems to be Rory’s go-to mocktail, which she drinks with ice. Note that even as a supposed 18 year old, Rory is unable to drink alcohol in a bar, as the drinking age is 21 in the US. As Rory is the only person not drinking, I presume she is the designated driver.

Lorelai orders herself a giant Long Island Iced Tea. This drink is a mixture of vodka, tequila, rum, triple sec, gin, and a splash of cola, which gives it the amber tea-colour it gets its name from, often decorated with a lemon and a straw. It has a very high alcohol content, due to the small amount of mixer in it.

Duluth

MAX: Anyway, he didn’t make it [Max’s brother trying to jump over a parking meter].
LORELAI: Ugh. Ouch. How drunk was he?
MAX: He claims he wasn’t drunk. He’s saying that the parking meters in Hartford are taller than the parking meters in Duluth, so he just miscalculated.

Duluth is a major port city in Minnesota on the shores of Lake Superior, with a population of over 85 000. Once an industrial city, its economy is now geared towards finance, retail, medicine, and tourism. (There is a Duluth in Georgia too, a suburb of Atlanta, but that seems less likely, as people usually identify the city they live in rather than the suburb).

It is not known whether Duluth is where Max is from originally, or if his brother moved there. Because of the superior way Max says, “Middle child”, it sounds as if Max is the eldest of three siblings. As Max says, “My brother”, instead of, “One of my brothers”, it suggests the youngest sibling is Max’s sister.

Duluth receives a slight mention in A Year in the Life: on one of the many wedding cakes that Sookie makes for Lorelai and Luke, there is a bridge with DULUTH printed on it. That might be a little callback to the preparations for Lorelai’s first planned wedding.

“Taking back Poland”

[Rory is sleeping. Lorelai walks in and sits on her bed.]
LORELAI: Hey.
RORY: What? What is it?
LORELAI: Oh nothing. Whatcha doing?
RORY: Taking back Poland.
LORELAI: Oh, good luck with that.

Poland was invaded in September 1939 by Germany and the Soviet Union, marking the beginning of World War II. The campaign ended in October 1939, when Germany and the Soviet Union divided the country between them – Germany annexed the west, and the Soviets the east.

Rory’s sleepily sarcastic reply suggests that she may have been studying World War II in History class the previous semester.

“Billy Jack” Movie

This is the movie that Lorelai and Rory watch with Max. It is one of their favourites: they have it on home video, and have watched it more than ten times; Rory says you cannot watch a Billy Jack movie too many times.

The movie they are watching is The Born Losers, the first of the “Billy Jack” films. It is a 1967 action film which was directed and produced by Tom Laughlin, who also stars in the title role. The film introduces the character of Billy Jack, a mysterious Green Beret Vietnam veteran who is of partial Navajo Indian descent.

The plot involves Billy Jack coming down from his peaceful abode in the Californian mountains to a small town, where he gets into several violent confrontations with the Born Losers motorcycle gang, and must protect others. It is loosely based on a real incident in 1964, when members of the Hells Angels were arrested for raping five teenage girls in Monterey, California.

(Incidentally, this was also the impetus for Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs by Hunter S. Thomson, his first book, published in 1966. Could this have been the book that the motorcycle-loving Dean lent to Rory?)

Made on a shoestring budget, the film was a commercial success, and led to several Billy Jack sequels being made. It received generally negative reviews, mostly because of the violence, of which the show gives us a little taste.

The way that Lorelai and Rory watch The Born Losers with Max is a callback to them watching The Donna Reed Show with Dean.

In both cases, the male guest had to provide the food (Max cooked, Dean brought pizza), doesn’t get any choice in what show or movie is watched, and isn’t allowed to comment or voice an opinion on it. He can’t even hear it properly because the Gilmore girls talk all the way through it, which drowns out what they are watching. Any attempt by the male guest to assert his opinions, or even ask what is happening onscreen, is roundly attacked by Lorelai and Rory.

Just as watching The Donna Reed Show led to Rory and Dean having a major argument, watching The Born Losers prefaces a fight between Lorelai and Max.

It demonstrates to us how Lorelai and Rory watch their favourite movies and TV shows – they have a love-hate relationship with the medium, are celebratory and critical at the same time, and both focused on what they are watching, and easily distracted from it. Their viewing style is deeply ironic, taking a pleasure in bad taste which is considered “camp”. They are also highly participatory, giving a running commentatory on the show while adding their own dialogue to it.

You can tell that Lorelai and Rory are used to watching things together, and their viewing habits seem to have been formed as a way to exclude others. They both seem to take a malicious pleasure in forcing Dean and Max into the role of clueless outsider.

Max in the Kitchen with the Gilmores

We are treated to a scene where Max cooks dinner for the Gilmores in Stars Hollow; he has already been shown to be an excellent cook earlier in the show. There are comic bits to demonstrate how quirkily undomesticated the Gilmore girls are – Lorelai cuts Max with a knife any time she tries to help cook, and neither Lorelai nor Rory can identify their own broiler (grill), even being alarmed to find it is “on fire”. Rory finds the smell of food cooking to be “weird”, in a good way.

Incidentally, we seem to have somehow skipped a day, Gilmore Girls style. Rory and Dean planned to watch The Holy Grail together that night, but instead she is having dinner and a movie with Lorelai and Max. We know it is the same day, because Rory is still wearing the exact same clothes.

We might also wonder what happened to Friday Night Dinner with the elder Gilmores, as it’s a Friday. The same thing happened in Christopher Returns (also written by Daniel Palladino) – when Christopher stayed over with Lorelai and Rory, Friday Night Dinner just disappeared without comment.

At least this time there’s a possible explanation: it’s summer, and Richard and Emily may be spending their vacation in the house they rented on Martha’s Vineyard.

“Disgusting Cow” Movies of 2001

DEAN: Well, what movies haven’t we seen?
RORY: We haven’t seen just about all of them.
DEAN: Yeah, they all stink this year …
RORY: There are at least five of them featuring someone doing something disgusting with a cow.

I’m not actually sure which five or more movies in the first half of 2001 featuring cows Rory might be thinking of, but here are some candidates.

The romantic comedy Say It Isn’t So came out in March 2001, directed by J.B. Rogers, produced by the Farrelly Brothers, and starring Heather Graham and Chris Klein in the lead roles. In one scene, the protagonist punches a cow, only to get his arm stuck in the animal’s rectum.

The romantic comedy Someone Like You came out in March 2001, directed by Tony Goldwyn and based on the novel Animal Husbandry by Laura Zigman. It stars Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman in the lead roles, and opens with an experiment being done where a bull is observed servicing a herd of cows. The fact that he will only service an individual cow once is significant to the film’s theme.

The adventure comedy Joe Dirt came out in April 2001, directed by Dennie Gordon, and starring David Spade in the title role. In one scene, Joe thoughtlessly ties a bottle rocket to a cow’s tail , and watches the tail spin out of control as the bottle explodes.

The comedy The Animal came out in June 2001, directed by Luke Greenfield, and starring Rob Schneider in the title role. In the movie, the main character’s life is saved by a mad scientist who replaces his critically injured body parts with ones taken from animals. In one scene, the main character has a dream about cows grazing in a field – which isn’t actually disgusting, but it’s implied to be his dream because he wants to attack them (livestock is attacked as part of the plot).

The comedy Dr. Dolittle 2 came out in June 2001, directed by Steve Carr, and a sequel to the 1998 film Dr. Dolittle (vaguely inspired by the Dr. Dolittle children’s books by British author Hugh Lofting). It stars Eddie Murphy as Dr. Dolittle, a doctor who can talk to animals. During the film, the animals organise a strike as a protest; cows refuse to give milk, and several can be heard shouting “Strike, strike!”. This isn’t particularly disgusting though.

It’s not known whether Rory and Dean saw the “disgusting cow” movies themselves, or whether Rory is basing her opinions on reviews, trailers, or what other people told her about the movies. There is a strong possibility she is exaggerating, as I could only think of two films which actually depict a person doing something to a cow on screen (Say It Isn’t So and Joe Dirt).

It is notable that all the “cow movies” I listed are comedy films which received below-average to extremely poor reviews.

The Berkshires

LORELAI: I gotta tell you Kirk, these are really good for amateur shots.
KIRK: Thanks. That’s me and my parents on vacation in the Berkshires.

The Berkshires are a highland region in the western part of Connecticut and Massachusetts. More specifically, The Berkshires is often used to refer to the part of the Green Mountains that extends into Massachusetts, while the part that goes into Connecticut is called the Northwest Hills or the Litchfield Hills. Because of this, I suspect Kirk and his parents were in Massachusetts.

The Berkshires is a popular tourist area, with picturesque towns, hiking trails (including part of the famous Appalachian Trail), and waterfalls, as well as numerous cultural and artistic activities.