Greg Louganis

CHRISTOPHER: So, should we avoid the subject for awhile or just dive right in?

LORELAI: Call me Greg Louganis.

Gregory “Greg” Louganis (born 1960), Olympic diver, LGBT activist, and author. He won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics, in springboard and platform diving. He is the only man, and the second diver, to sweep the diving events in consecutive Olympic events. He is regarded as the greatest American diver of all time, if not the greatest diver in history.

Sookie’s Alternative Wedding Songs

Hey Jude

A 1968 song by The Beatles, written by Paul McCartney, and released as a non-album single. The ballad evolved from “Hey Jules”, a song McCartney wrote to comfort John Lennon’s young son Julian, after Lennon had left his wife for the Japanese artist Yoko Ono. The lyrics espouse a positive outlook on a sad situation, while also encouraging “Jude” to pursue his opportunities to find love. Hey Jude went to #1 all over the world, and had the highest sales for any single that year. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001, and is regarded as one of the greatest songs of all time. Paul McCartney continues to perform it in concert, and sang it at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London.

Seasons in the Sun

An English adaptation of the 1961 song “Le Moribond” (the Dying Man), by Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel. The lyrics were rewritten in 1963 by singer-poet Rod McKuen, who thought Brel’s version was “too macabre”. In the original, the man dies of a broken heart as he says farewell to his friends, and to his wife, who has been unfaithful to him. Rod McKuen changed it so that the dying man gives his last words to his loved ones, and passes away peacefully. The song became a hit for Canadian singer Terry Jacks in 1974, and went to #1 around the world.

Cat’s in the Cradle

A 1974 folk rock song by Harry Chapin, from the album Verities & Balderdash. Partly based on a poem written by Harry’s wife, poet-singer and activist Sandy Gaston, the lyrics describe the relationship between a man who is too busy working to spend time with his son. When his son grows up, he is too busy working to spend any time with his father. It was Chapin’s only song to reach #1 in the US, is the best known of his works, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2011.

Don’t Cry Out Loud

A 1976 song written by Australian singer-songwriter Peter Allen, with lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager. The song is about having to keep emotional pain to yourself. Although Sager wrote the lyrics, they seem to be inspired by Allen’s experience, as he was told to keep his “best face forward” after his father’s suicide when he was 14. The woman in the song has the same nickname as Peter Allen’s sister, Baby. First recorded by R&B group The Moments, it was a hit for Melissa Manchester in 1978, reaching #10 in the US and #9 in Canada.

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.

Hot Dogs

Hot dogs are grilled or steamed sausages served in the split of a partially sliced bun. The sausage used is a wiener (Viennese sausage) or a frankfurter (Frankfurter sausage). In the US hot dogs are often topped with ketchup or mustard, and might be garnished with onions, chilli, or pickles.

The sausages used in hotdogs were imported by Germans, and allegedly, the first hot dogs in the US were sold on the streets of St. Louis, Missouri by an immigrant from Frankfurt called Feuchtwanger in the late 19th century. A competing origin story is that they were first sold by Charles Feltman at Coney Island, in 1867.

Hot dogs were always a working class street food sold at stands and from carts, closely connected with baseball. They have a particular connection with New York City, but are ubiquitous throughout the US.

Jess takes Rory to a hot dog stand for lunch; it’s where Jess eats every day. Although Jess seems a bit apprehensive that it won’t be “fancy” enough, Rory immediately declares it as “perfect”. Like Luke, Jess has quickly got the idea that a big part of keeping a Gilmore Girl happy is to make sure she’s well-fed! Jess has taken Rory for an iconic New York City lunch.

The Big Apple

RORY: I’m just saying I’m no stranger to the Big Apple.

JESS: You are if you’re calling it the Big Apple.

The Big Apple is a nickname for New York City, first popularised in the 1920s by John FitzGerald, a sports writer for The New York Morning Telegraph. Its popularity since the 1970s is mostly due to a promotional campaign by the city’s tourism authorities to boost the city during a fiscal crisis.

Although Rory says she’s been to New York a few times, she only mentions The Bangles concert in 2001 and a 2000 shopping trip where she didn’t even get out of the car. This could very well be her third trip to New York (and the second where her feet touched the ground!).

“You drank some Boone’s Farm out of a bota bag and knocked a beach ball around?”

MICHEL: It was dignified, as most French ceremonies are. Poetry was read, a string quartet played, a ballerina performed.

LORELAI: You drank some Boone’s Farm out of a bota bag and knocked a beach ball around?

Boone’s Farm, originally an apple wine, now a flavoured malt beverage, due to changes in tax law. It’s made by E&J Gallo in California, one of the biggest wine producers in the world. It’s popular with college students because it’s cheap and sold in convenience stores.

A bota bag is a traditional Spanish wineskin or canteen, often made from goatskin. Modern bota bags have a plastic lining and nozzle.

Beach balls are commonly tossed around by US college students on spring break or at graduation celebrations. Lorelai is teasing Michel by pretending that his graduation in France was the sort of drunken frolic stereotypically enjoyed by American college graduates.

Skeet Shooting

While all three walk through the town square, Dean explains his new hobby of skeet shooting to Rory and Lorelai. He has taken it up at the urging of his father, who is a big fan of the sport.

Skeet shooting, elsewhere known as clay pigeon shooting or clay target shooting, is using a shotgun to try to break clay targets mechanically flung into the air at high speed from a variety of angles.

The show keeps giving Dean more and more interests that couldn’t be less compatible with Rory. Monster trucks, robot battles, shooting … we get it now. He and Rory don’t belong together! The fact that Rory can’t wait to make fun of her own boyfriend for daring to have hobbies she doesn’t share seems like another red flag Dean should have paid attention to.

Shea Stadium When the Beatles Played

LORELAI: Ugh, Rory, my brain is full. It has reached capacity. It’s Shea Stadium when the Beatles played. It’s cramped and girls are screaming and I think George is fighting with Ringo.

Shea Stadium, officially the William A. Shea Municipal Stadium, was a a sports stadium in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York, which opened in 1964. It was the home of the New York Mets baseball team and the New York Jets football team, and was demolished in 2009.

The Beatles opened their 1965 North American tour there to a record crowd of 56 000, one of the peaks of Beatlemania. It was the first concert held at a major stadium, and after that, Shea Stadium hosted many other big name music artists. The last concert there was Billy Joel in 2009, which closed with Paul McCartney performing “Let It Be”. Improbably, the same groundskeeper drove Paul McCartney to the first and last concerts at the stadium.

Michael Landon

LANE: [runs up behind them] Hey, wait, stop!

LORELAI: Oh look, it’s Michael Landon.

Michael Landon, born Eugene Orowitz (1936-1991), actor and filmmaker best known for his roles in the television series Bonanza (1959-1973), Little House on the Prairie (1974-1982), and Highway to Heaven (1984-1989).

Michael Landon made an autobiographical television film in 1976, called The Loneliest Runner. The story is about a teenage boy named John Curtis, based on Landon himself, who still wets his bed. His mother publicises his problem by hanging the stained sheets from his bedroom window for all to see.

Every day, John runs home from school to take the sheets down before his friends see them. He starts running with the junior track team to channel his anger and forget the shame and hurt of his dysfunctional family life. Ten years later, he is a gold-medal winning Olympic champion, who credits his mother for his athletic success. Landon plays the adult Curtis himself.

Like John Curtis, Michael Landon wet the bed until he was 14, and his mother Peggy hung the sheets out to shame him. He had Olympic ambitions as a javelin-thrower, but a shoulder injury ended his athletic career, which propelled him into acting.

His unauthorised 19991 biography by Aileen Joyce, Michael Landon: His Triumph and Tragedy, relates that the bedwetting was brought on by the stress of having a suicidal mother. As a child, Michael Landon had to save his mother from drowning herself during a beach vacation.

Frisbee

JESS: Can we talk about this later?

LUKE: Why, you got a big Frisbee heist going down at six?

A Frisbee is a gliding toy made from moulded plastic that can be used in catching and throwing games. They were invented by Walter Morrison, who got the idea in 1937 when he and his future wife were tossing cake pan back and forth to each other on a beach, when someone offered it to buy it for five times its value.

The first aerodynamically improved plastic discs were manufactured in 1948 by Morrison and his business partner, Warren Francioni and sold as the Whirlo-Way (named after a famous racehorse), then the Flying Saucer, then the Pluto Platter.

In 1957, Morrison sold the rights to Wham-O, whose co-founders Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin called the disc a Frisbee, after the Frisbie Pie Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Frisbie supplied pies to Yale University, and students would throw empty pie tins to each other in a game they called Frisby.

The Frisbee’s real success came in 1964, when Wham-O’s vice president of marketing, Ed Headricks, redesigned the Frisbee to make it more accurate, and promoted it as an organised sport. When Headrick died, he was cremated and his ashes moulded into memorial discs. The Frisbee was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998.