Lane Meets Dave Rygalski

DAVE: Excuse me, Lane?

LANE: That’s me.

DAVE: Okay, great, I’m Dave Rygalski.

LANE: Right, hi. You’re a guitarist.

In this scene, Lane meets Dave Rygalski, who answered her ad because he has a band that needs a drummer. He almost immediately becomes her love interest.

The character of Dave is based on the real life Dave Rygalski, the husband of Helen Pai, producer on Gilmore Girls, who the character of Lane is based on. The real Dave Rygalski has been a writer for Jay Leno and David Letterman, and also plays guitar, just like his fictional namesake. He has been in a few bands, and played some of the music for Lane’s band on Gilmore Girls.

On the show, Dave Rygalski is played by Adam Brody. At this stage, Brody had played Barry Williams in the TV film, Growing Up Brady, and been Greg Brady in an episode of The Amanda Show. Like several other actors on Gilmore Girls, he’d also been in Judging Amy, another show about mothers and daughters set in Connecticut – he played a guy called Barry Gilmore!

There has already been a character named Rygalski on Gilmore Girls – a bank manager in Hartford where Lorelai tried to get a loan was Mr Rygalski. Quite possibly this is Dave’s father.

It seems a bit unlikely that Lane is available to meet Dave on a Saturday night – as a Seventh Day Adventist, she has church on Saturday, and when Lane asked her mother for permission to go out on a Saturday night after church, Mrs Kim told her that after church she should be thinking about what she learned in church. However, perhaps has mother has softened slightly, or Lane is allowed out to see Rory.

Harry Potter

RORY: I’ve dreamt of going to Harvard since I was a little girl.

CAROL: Yeah, a lot of four year olds dream of that. It comes right after meeting Harry Potter.

Harry Potter, the schoolboy wizard who is the protagonist of the popular Harry Potter book and film series, the novels written by English author J.K. Rowling, previously mentioned. In the films, he is played by English actor Daniel Radcliffe.

Rory was four years old in 1988-1989, and the first Harry Potter book was published in 1997, so Rory could hardly have been interested in him as a toddler anyway. Presumably Carol is thinking of her young clients in the present day.

There’s a little mistake in the writing here. Rory never actually tells Carol that she’s been dreaming of Harvard since she was four – only that she was a little girl. We know she was four because Lorelai told Max in Season 1, but somehow Carol knows about it too.

Stalking Tom Waits

CAROL: I worship [Tom Waits]. I even mildly stalked him once … Last year, I heard he was staying at this hotel so I went there everyday and sat in the lobby, drinking massive amounts of coffee, waiting for him to walk by.

I can barely speculate which hotel Tom Waits could have been staying in the previous year. The only concert he had in 2001 was one in his home town of San Francisco, and he took a trip to Copenhagen in Denmark early in the year. He attended the ASCAP Awards at the Beverly Hilton in May, which might be what Carol is referring to (if so, she was in Los Angeles at the time for some reason – where the Palladinos live, probably not coincidentally).

Like Lorelai, Carol worships Tom Waits and drinks huge amounts of coffee. Her mild stalking of Waits at a hotel is replicated later by Lorelai, who stalks Bono at his hotel in exactly the same way.

Round-robin

JENNIFER: Follow up ?

DARREN: And then we’ll go round-robin.

A round-robin tournament is one in which each contestant meets with every other contestant, usually in turn. It’s usually the fairest way of deciding an overall winner, but can be very lengthy. They are common in team sports – Darren’s love of sports might have prompted this idea. The word robin in this context is a corruption of the French word ruban, meaning “ribbon”.

Oddly, Marie (played by Anita Finlay, who, like her onscreen husband and children, had also been on Judging Amy) is never shown taking part in the quizzes or being expected to, as if her role is simply to bring out iced tea and say Darren is brilliant. It doesn’t seem very likely – surely Marie is also a college graduate? Perhaps we just never see her have her turn, and she takes her part during the round-robin tournament.

Lorelai looks very unhappy to be roped into the round-robin tournament. Jennifer looks like Christmas has come early, and Jack looks like he’s forcing himself to smile. I get the feeling he’s not quite as into the competitive quizzes as Jennifer. He doesn’t seem to be as good at them.

“Istanbul is Constantinople”

LORELAI: I do know Instanbul is Constantinople, so if you’ve got a date in Constantinople, she’ll be waiting in Instanbul.

Lorelai refers to the 1953 novelty song “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”, with lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy and music by Nat Simon. Written on the 500th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans, the lyrics humorously refer to the official renaming of the Turkish city Constantinople to Istanbul. It’s said to be a response to the 1928 song “C-O-N-S-T-A-N-T-I-N-O-P-L-E”, recorded by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra.

It was originally recorded by Canadian vocal group The Four Lads and peaked at #10 on the charts, becoming their first gold record. It’s been covered several times, and Lorelai might be thinking of the 1990 version by alternative rock band They Might Be Giants, from their album Flood. Released as a single, it went to #61 in the UK, and has been used on the soundtracks of several animated series, including Liquid Television and Tiny Toon Adventures in the 1990s.

The song is a part of the repertoire of the Yale a capella group, The Duke’s Men of Yale. As we later discover that Richard was in a different a capella group at Yale, is it possible Lorelai first learned the song from her father?

“You came bearing gifts?”

DARREN: You came bearing gifts?

RORY: What? Oh, this. No, this is not a gift. These are my records – grades, SATs.

Some fans are horrified that Lorelai and Rory do not bring a small gift to their hosts, as a thank you for their hospitality (a common polite custom in the US, as elsewhere). However, considering that Rory is trying to get into Harvard with Darren’s help, a gift may feel uncomfortably like a bribe in this situation.

It would be inappropriate to bring a gift to your college interview for this reason, and this is almost an informal college interview. I am unable to tell from Darren’s response whether he expected a gift, but in any case, he doesn’t seem disappointed not to receive one.

I would welcome comments on this – are Lorelai and Rory guilty of a breach of etiquette, or are they keeping their hands clean of corruption? Does Darren look perturbed when he thinks Rory is presenting him with a gift, as if he thinks she is doing something wrong?

Ted Williams

LUKE: Taylor, no, no, no, no, and every day from now on ’til the end of my life, I am gonna come in here and say, “Taylor, no!” And when I die, I’m gonna have them freeze me next to Ted Williams, and when they find the cure to what I died of and they unfreeze me, my first words are gonna be, “How’s Ted?” followed closely by, “Taylor, no!”.

Theodore “Ted” Williams (1918-2002), professional baseball player and manager who played his entire career for the Boston Red Sox, from 1939-1960. Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.

Ted Williams died in Florida of cardiac arrest at the age of 83 on July 5, 2002. Although his last will and testament asked that he be cremated and his ashes scattered in the Florida Keys, his son John-Henry and his younger daughter Claudia chose to have his remains cryonically frozen.

Ted’s elder daughter, Bobby-Jo Ferrell, brought a suit to have her father’s wishes recognised. John-Henry’s lawyers then produced a “pact” signed by Ted, John-Henry, and Claudia, agreeing that they would all be frozen, in the hopes of being together again one day. Ted’s signature was found to be genuine, and Bobby-Jo dropped the case due to lack of funds. Publicity from the case increased the number of enquiries to cryonics organisations.

Ted Williams’ biographer, Leigh Montville, claims that Williams’ signature on the pact was a practice autograph on a plain piece of paper, around which the family agreement was written. He had signed the pact Ted Williams, as he did for autographs, while legal documents were signed Theodore Williams.

John-Henry Williams unexpectedly died from acute leukaemia in 2004, and was also cryonically frozen by Alcor in fulfilment of the family agreement.

Note this is another baseball reference from Luke.

[There are picture available of Ted Williams’ frozen head, but they’re frankly a bit disturbing, so I’ve gone with one from during his career].

Dogtown and Z-Boys

TAYLOR: I’m telling you, Luke, if we don’t quickly furnish these skateboarding Z-boys with a moral distraction, they’re gonna turn Stars Hollow into Dogtown.

Taylor refers to the 2001 documentary, Dogtown and Z-Boys, directed by Stacy Peralta and narrated by Sean Penn. It explores the pioneering Zephyr skateboarding team in southern California of the 1970s (of which Peralta was a member), using archival footage, contemporary interviews, and a rock and roll soundtrack. The documentary received good reviews, and won two awards at the Sundance Film Festival, as well the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. It was also a commercial success, making over a million dollars at the box office by 2002, and selling almost 2 million videos and DVDs by 2004.

I can only speculate that Taylor watched the documentary in order to familiarise himself with the horrors of youth culture – a sort of “know your enemy” information session. It clearly gave him a disturbing glimpse into what depths Stars Hollow could sink without his intervention.

Old Fashioned Drinks

While Luke is serving customers at the diner, Kirk and two young boys come in, ordering old fashioned soda shop drinks. It soon transpires they were sent by Taylor, making a point how necessary such a soda shop is, which Taylor wants to install in the space next to the diner, owned by Luke. Kirk already works for Taylor, and the two boys are presumably in his Boy Scout troop.

Egg Cream: Previously discussed.

Black Cow: Traditional name for a root beer float, which is root beer with vanilla ice cream. In some areas, the ice cream has to be chocolate in order to be called a black cow, and others say brown cow instead. (Root beer is a North American soft drink made using the root bark of the sassafras tree, or the sarsaparilla vine, Smilas ornata). Frank J. Wisner, owner of Colorado’s Cripple Creek Brewing, is credited with creating the first root beer float in 1893. The North American fast food chain A&W Restaurants are well known for their root beer floats.

Chocolate Phosphate: Traditional soda fountain drink, which is chocolate syrup and acid phosphate added to club soda. Acid phosphate is a mixture added to drinks which gives it a slightly tart flavour, and aids carbonation – a partially neutralised solution of diluted phosphoric acid made with salts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It’s recently come back into fashion as a mixer for soft drinks and cocktails.

Note also in this scene, references to ham on rye sandwiches and Coney island, previously discussed.

Kim Deal

LANE: You are not telling me that you did not know that Kim Deal was in the Pixies before the Breeders! I refuse to accept that! [hangs up] These kids have no sense of history.

Kimberley “Kim” Deal (born 1961), singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She was the bassist and co-vocalist in alternative rock band Pixies, previously discussed, joining in 1986. During the band’s hiatus, she formed the alternative rock band the Breeders in 1989. After the Pixies broke up in 1993, she returned her focus to the Breeders, who themselves went into hiatus in 1994, during which time Deal formed the short-lived rock band the Amps, performing under the name Tammy Ampersand. She reformed the Breeders in 2002, then returned to the Pixies when the band reunited in 2004. In 2013, she left the Pixies to concentrate on the Breeders, who released their fifth album, All Nerve, in 2018.

One of the reasons the person on the phone may not have known that Kim Deal was previously in the Pixies is because she performed under the stage name Mrs John Murphy while in the band.

Lane is not just looking for any band to drum for – it needs to be a band who shares her obsession with alternative rock and indie music, and knows their music history.