“Two previous loans”

MILES: Oh, you’ve taken out two previous loans on this house?
LORELAI: Um, yes.

This explains the difficulties Lorelai has been having in getting a loan – she has already taken two previous loans against her house, and is presumably in the process of paying them back (maybe cut down on the junk food buying?).

It doesn’t explain how she got turned down by a loan shark (fictionalised by Lorelai as Jacko’s Loans and Stuff), as the more desperate and in trouble you are, the more likely they are to loan you money at an exorbitant rate to make you suffer even more. I’d like to think Lorelai herself turned down the loan shark, knowing it was financially irresponsible.

Rah, Rah, Rah

[Rory walks up the porch steps]
LORELAI: Hey, uh, Dean called twice.
RORY: Rah, rah, rah. [goes into the house]

Rah, rah, rah is a typical cheerleader chant meant to create greater enthusiasm and excitement. Rory says it very snarkily.

Also note that Rory has only just had coffee with Dean, and had a short interaction with Lane on her way home. By the time she’s walked back to her house, Dean has already phoned twice before she even gets in the front door. That seems worryingly insecure, and even rather controlling. Rory’s ironic cheer may be a sign that she doesn’t welcome Dean’s constant calls.

Energizer Bunny

LORELAI: Again, yes, just like the pink bunny with the drum. Uh, anyway, I was wondering if, um, you have had a chance to reconsider my loan? . . . Uh, no, I think it’s Energizer . . .

The Energizer Bunny is the marketing mascot of Energizer batteries. It’s a fluffy pink mechanical rabbit that beats a drum. It began as a parody of the Duracell Bunny (the mascot for Duracell batteries), which first appeared in commercials in 1973. The trademark had lapsed by 1988, so that Energizer were free to use a similar concept.

The Energizer Bunny is promoted as a toy which is able to last much longer than others, because he’s powered by Energizer batteries. In the same way, Mr Rygalski sees Lorelai as indefatigable in her attempts to get a loan. When she corrects him by saying it’s called the Energizer Bunny, Mr Rygalski, being older than Lorelai, was probably thinking of the earlier Duracell Bunny.

“I’ll think about it tomorrow – at Tara”

LORELAI: I won’t think about it tonight. I’ll think about it tomorrow – at Tara.

Lorelai slightly misquotes from the 1936 novel Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, previously mentioned. Set in the American South at the time of the Civil War and subsequent Reconstruction, the novel’s protagonist is a beautiful, wilful Southern belle named Katie Scarlett O’Hara who is willing to do anything to claw her way out of poverty and save her plantation, named Tara, even while her heart is breaking over her numerous relationship disasters. It takes her too long to discover that the scandalous Rhett Butler is the only man who ever truly loved her.

The full quote is: “I’ll think of it tomorrow, at Tara. I can stand it then. Tomorrow, I’ll think of some way to get him [Rhett] back. After all, tomorrow is another day.” They are the last lines of the novel.

Gone with the Wind was a runaway success, a bestseller before the first reviews of it were even published. Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and it was turned into a box-office smash film in 1939, starring Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara (the film slightly alters the quote from the book). It is the second favourite book of American readers, only beaten by the Bible. It is considered controversial because of its derogatory depiction of African-Americans and romanticisation of white supremacists.

Scarlett O’Hara seems like a forerunner of Lorelai Gilmore – a beautiful, headstrong brunette with a powerful will to survive, and a tendency to mess up all her chances at romantic happiness. Lorelai wanted to give her house a name, like a Southern plantation, and is as deeply attached to it as Scarlett is to Tara. As in Gilmore Girls, blondes tend to be the antagonists in Gone with the Wind. One of the girls at Chilton even suggested to Rory that Lorelai was a Southern belle name. It’s not hard to imagine a teenaged Lorelai reading this novel and identifying with the feisty, rebellious Scarlett.

Termite Whisperers

[They ring the doorbell, Sookie answers]
SOOKIE: There they are, my little termite whisperers.

Sookie references the 1998 drama film The Horse Whisperer, based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Nicholas Evans. The film is directed by Robert Redford, who also stars in the title role, and is about a “horse whisperer” who is able to train horses through kind, gentle methods.

The Horse Whisperer was a commercial success and well received. It led to anyone having a supposedly ability to handle a difficult creature, person, or situation as a “[whatever] whisperer”, just the way Sookie does. Even though Lorelai and Rory haven’t handled them well at all!

Note that the horse whisperer in the film is a horse trainer from Montana. This is so suspiciously like Bootsy’s claim in the previous episode that he spent a summer training horses in Montana that I think he either chose his vacation after watching the film, or simply made the story up, inspired by the film.

Walking to Sookie’s House

Even though it’s the middle of the night, there’s snow on the ground, and they’re in pyjamas, Lorelai and Rory put on coats and scarves and walk to Sookie’s house. In other episodes, they say that Sookie’s house is a long walk from theirs (they seem to have to go through the centre of town to get there), but for some reason they always walk, even when complaining about the distance. Apparently it is both too far to walk quickly, and too close to drive (perhaps a mile???).

In real life, the sets for Lorelai’s and Sookie’s houses were right next to each other, and could be accessed through a door between them. Note that there are still snowmen standing from the previous episode’s contest – apparently they are left up until they melt in early spring.

“You will take them again and do better”

PARIS: Louise, what did you get?
LOUISE: Highlights, just around my face.
PARIS: You will take them again and do better.

Although Paris is correct that you can retake the PSAT, you can only do it once every twelve months. So Louise would need to wait until October 2002 to retake it – by which time, she would have taken the actual SAT, making it redundant. If you want to take your PSATs more than once, you need to start at least a year in advance. I feel as if Paris would know this.

Note that Louise’s results are apparently lower than Madeline’s, and it is actually she who is worse academically than her best friend. Louise seemed to be the brighter one in Season 1, but Paris berates her by saying, “You don’t study, you don’t apply yourself”, as if she knows Louise is capable of doing better, but is simply lazy.

Termites

KIRK: You have termites … Tens of thousands of them. Subterranean, drywood, the whole gamut.

Termites are an insect closely related to cockroaches, and sometimes called “white ants”, although they aren’t ants, or even close to them. They are considered a pest because of their wood-eating habits, and can cause significant damage to wooden structures.

There are three groups of termites: dampwood, drywood, and subterranean, which would be the “whole gamut”. Subterranean termites live underground in nests or mounds, dampwood termites eat wood exposed to rain or soil, while drywood termites thrive in warm environments – which, if you live somewhere cold, means that they live living in your nice warm wooden house!

It seems unlikely that Lorelai has all possible types of termites, but it also seems unlikely Kirk is qualified as a termite expert. She almost certainly has a serious infestation of drywood termites.

Lorelai and Rory Ride Home in a Sleigh

Rather than trudging home through the snow carrying their bags, Lorelai organises a sleigh ride home for she and Rory (and none of their friends, like Luke or Sookie or Dean or Lane … but maybe she didn’t want to seem like she was playing favourites, or the company would only allow one sleigh ride home). I’m not sure how they got to the inn with their bags in the first place. Perhaps someone gave them a lift?

The Bracebridge Dinner was originally going to be held on a Thursday night, and that would mean this was Friday morning, and Rory should be going to school. It’s likely it was moved to the Friday (meaning that it replaced the usual Friday Night Dinner with Emily and Richard), and it’s now Saturday morning and Rory is on her break. It can’t have been a weekend night, because Dean and Lane went to school the same day as the Bracebridge Dinner.

Biloxi Naval Base

LORELAI: So it was the uniform, huh?
MISS PATTY: Aw, it’s the Biloxi Naval Base all over again.

Biloxi is a coastal city in Mississippi. There isn’t actually a naval base there – there’s a military base for the air force though. Miss Patty might be thinking of the Naval Construction Battalion Center in nearby Gulfport, about ten miles further down the coast – the cities are so close that they share the same airport, and other facilities, and the air force and naval bases are close together.

Both these military bases provided training to new recruits in the second half of the twentieth century, beginning in World War II. It’s possible that Miss Patty, who seems to have been a New Yorker before she moved to Stars Hollow, entertained the troops at one or both of these bases, perhaps during the Vietnam War, when she would have been in her early twenties.