Bob Vila

RORY: Funny. I never pictured you as a Bob Vila kind of girl.
PARIS: Rebuilding Together is an extremely prestigious and respected organization. I’ve been volunteering for them for years.

Robert “Bob” Vila (born 1946) is an American home improvement television host. He was the host of This Old House, previously mentioned, from 1979 to 1989, and hosted Home Again With Bob Vila from 1990 to 2005.

Paris seems to have been volunteering for Rebuilding Together since she was at least 14, quite possibly younger.

Who’s on First?

DEAN: You’re going to build a house?
RORY: It’s for charity and I’m late, and why don’t you go on inside and you and my mother can continue the “Rory’s building a house” routine, and when that gets boring you can move on over to “Who’s on First?”

“Who’s on First?” is a famous comedy routine by Abbott and Costello, in which Abbott is identifying players on a baseball team for Costello. The comedy comes from the fact that their names sound as if they are answers to Costello’s questions. For example, the first player is named Who, thus the answer to “Who’s on first?” is “Who’s on first”, leading to utter confusion.

This was a style of routine very popular in the early twentieth century, and Abbott and Costello had a big hit with “Who’s on First?” in a vaudeville revue in 1937. In was performed on radio in 1938, and copyrighted in 1944. Abbott and Costello performed it numerous times in their careers, rarely the exact same way twice, and performed it for President Franklin D. Roosevelt several times.

Abbott and Costello included a shorter version of their routine for their 1940 film debut One Night in the Tropics, and a longer version for their 1945 film The Naughty Nineties, considered their best recorded version of the routine. The “Who’s on First?” bit they did for their 1950s television program The Abbott and Costello Show is considered the definitive version.

“I mean it Timmy, no falling down the well”

LORELAI: Call me when you get home, and please be careful.
RORY: I will.
LORELAI: I mean it Timmy, no falling down the well.

Lorelai is referencing an old joke relating to the television show Lassie, earlier discussed.

In the show, Lassie would bark to give warning of danger, with her human friends apparently understanding exactly what she was saying. Thus it was parodied as, “Woof, woof!”, “What’s that, Lassie? Timmy’s fallen down the well?”. The joke relates to the 1957-1964 period, when the little boy on the show was Timmy Martin, played by Jon Provost (who called his memoirs Timmy’s in the Well: The Jon Provost Story).

In actuality, Timmy never fell down a well, although he suffered a number of similar situations, such as falling in a lake and getting trapped in an old mine, a pipe, and down a badger hole. The list of Timmy’s perils is very long, and includes wandering onto a minefield and being exposed to radiation, not to mention more mundane concerns like tigers and bears. Lassie did once get stuck down a well herself, though.

Speed Racer

RORY: You’re hungry.
LORELAI: No, I’m not.
RORY: Well, you didn’t eat any of your dinner.
LORELAI: Yeah, well, by the time I could get my jaw off the ground, Speed Racer had taken my plate.

Speed Racer (in Japanese, Mach Go Go Go!) is a Japanese animated media franchise based on a manga about car racing, which began showing on TV in 1967, and was one of the first Japanese cartoons to be localised in English for US television.

The eponymous Speed Racer is a young racing car driver with a deep love of family, and a dizzying array of gadgets to help him defeat the bad guys. It has a goofy over-the-top style and cornball dubbing which almost defined Japanese anime for an entire generation.

The original series was shown in reruns on MTV in 1993, when Rory was nine, and she and Lorelai may have watched it together. There was an American-made The New Adventures of Speed Racer the same year, but it was short-lived, and I feel Rory and Lorelai would have considered it greatly inferior to the 1960s original.

Xuxa

LORELAI: Hey, whatever happened to Xuxa?

Xuxa – pronounced SHOO-sha – is the stage name of Maria da Graça Meneghel (born 1963), a Brazilian television host, singer, dancer, model, and businesswoman. She began modelling as a teenager, and became known in the US during the 1980s as a Playboy model.

Xuxa became a highly successful children’s television entertainer in Brazil in 1986, and by 1991 she was on the Forbes Rich List – the first Brazilian to join the list. Her albums were best-sellers through Latin America, Europe, and North America, and in 1993 she hosted an English-language version of her show called Xuxa on US television. Although the show was sold around the world, the taping was gruelling, and Xuxa withdrew due to stress-related illness.

Because she disappeared from US television in the mid-1990s, Lorelai wonders what happened to her. However, Xuxa has continued her career, and is still very successful; she is the richest t female entertainer in Brazil with a fortune of over one billion, and the second-highest selling female Brazilian singer. Twice winner of the Latin Grammy Award for Best Children’s Album, she is known as “The Queen of Children”.

A.J. Benza

LOUISE: Princess Grace didn’t go to college.
PARIS: Thank you for the history lesson, A.J. Benza.

Alfred Joseph “A.J.” Benza (born 1962) is an American gossip columnist and television host. He began as a gossip columnist on the New York Daily News, and in the mid-1990s began appearing on The Gossip Show on E! Entertainment Television, leading to appearances on several chat shows. From 1998 to 2001 he was the host of Mysteries and Scandals on the E! Network.

“Happy happy, joy joy”

LOUISE: Ooh, spending the summer at Chilton. Happy happy, joy joy.

Louise is referencing The Ren & Stimpy Show, an animated television show which aired from 1991 to 1995 on Nicktoons, Nickelodeon’s cartoon channel. The show follows the adventures of a short-tempered chihuahua named Ren, and a dim-witted cat named Stimpy, and is notable for its absurdist tone, dark humour, adult jokes, violence, and slapstick. The show received widespread critical acclaim after its run and gained a cult following, becoming highly influential on the development of animated shows.

Happy Happy, Joy Joy is a song used throughout the show, in different contexts, with music by Christopher Reccardi and lyrics by Charlie Brisette and John Kricfalusi. It is one of the best-known songs from the show, and a favourite tag line for Ren & Stimpy fans.