“Your money for nothing and your chicks for free”

EMILY: Really, Lorelai, you can’t wait ten minutes for another salad? The situation’s that dire?

LORELAI: Four salads ago, no, not dire. Right now it’s ‘your money for nothing and your chicks for free.’

Lorelai refers to the song “Money For Nothing” by English rock band Dire Straits – so she’s saying that they are now in “dire straits” due to waiting for their food for so long. The lyrics don’t have the exact line that Lorelai says, but it’s pretty close. There are numerous repeated lines about getting your money for nothing and chicks for free, in slightly different iterations.

“Money for Nothing”, with backing lyrics by Sting, was released as a single from the band’s 1985 album, Brothers in Arms. It’s memorable for it’s groundbreaking animated music video, and repeated refrain of I want my MTV. It was Dire Straits’ most successful single, reaching #1 in the US and Canada, and #4 in the band’s native UK.

In July 1985, Dire Straits and Sting performed it at Live Aid. It won a Grammy, and two MTV Music Video Awards in 1986, and in 1987 was chosen as the first video to be played on MTV Europe.

Music at the Dance Marathon

In the Mood

A popular big band era jazz standard recorded by Glenn Miller. It’s based on the 1930 composition “Tar Paper Stomp” by Wingy Manone, in a new arrangement by Joe Garland, with lyrics added by Andy Razaf. First released by Edgar Hayes and His Orchestra in 1938, the 1939 Glenn Miller version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1983. It is considered one of the most important musical works of the 20th century.

Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)

A 1936 song by Louis Prima, who first recorded it with the New Orleans Gang. It’s been recorded many times, most notably by Benny Goodman. Part of the big band and swing eras, it’s a favourite for film and television soundtracks.

Walkin’ My Baby Back Home

A 1930 jazz song written by Fred E. Ahlert, with lyrics by Roy Turk. It charted in 1931, with highest-charting versions of that year by Nick Lucas, and Ted Weems, with both reaching #8. Nat King Cole’s 1951 version also went to #8, and it was most successful in 1952, when Johnnie Ray took it to #4.

I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby

Previously discussed.

By the Beautiful Sea

A 1914 popular song by Harry Carroll, with lyrics by Harold R. Atteridge. Originally recorded by the Heidelberg Quintet, it topped the charts for six weeks during the outbreak of World War I.

These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)

A 1935 song by English songwriters Eric Maschwitz (under the name Holt Marvell), lyricist and Jack Strachey, the composer. It is said to have been inspired by a youthful romance with cabaret singer Jean Ross. The song wasn’t an immediate success, even after featuring in the 1936 London revue Spread It Abroad, until famous West Indian pianist and singer Leslie Hutchinson found the music on top of Maschwitz’s piano, and liked it. He recorded it the same year, and after this it became a great success, recorded by musicians all over the world, including Benny Goodman, and Billie Holliday, whose version peaked at #5 in 1936.

A String of Pearls

A 1941 song composed by Jerry Gray, with lyrics by Eddie DeLange. It was recorded by Glenn Miller becoming a #1 hit. It is a big band and jazz standard.

All the music at the dance marathon is provided by the band, The Swingin’ Deacons, a band from Lynchburg, Virginia. They have a 1999 album, House of the Blues Swings!

Bobby Brady

RORY: The food is for the dancers.

SHANE: Who are you, Bobby Brady? Get a life.

Bobby Brady, portrayed by Mike Lookinland on the TV show, the youngest boy on The Brady Bunch, previously discussed.

Also, how ridiculous is it that the refreshments are only for the dance contestants, and not the spectators? They have to sit in the bleachers for sixteen hours or more with nothing to eat or drink? I’m with Shane – butt out, Rory!

Senor Wences

EMILY: She was sitting at the table giving all the peas voices.

LORELAI: With a little encouragement, I could’ve been the Senor Wences of the vegetable set.

Wenceslao Centeno, known professionally as Señor Wences (1896-1999), Spanish ventriloquist and comedian. His popularity grew with his frequent television appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show during the 1950s and 1960s. Later, he became popular with another generation of fans on The Muppet Show.

God Bless America

LUKE: Hey, wave a flag and sing “God Bless America”, please?”

“God Bless America”, patriotic song written by Irving Berlin during World War I in 1918 and revised by him in the run up to World War II in 1938. The later version was notably recorded by Kate Smith, becoming her signature song. It takes the form of a prayer for God’s blessing and peace for the nation.

It is often sung in patriotic contexts, and following the terrorist attacks in September 2001, Celine Dion performed it on a television special, and her version was released on a benefit album called God Bless America, which debuted at #1.

Dirk Squarejaw

LUKE: Ah, you’re like the all-American boy.

JESS: Call me Dirk Squarejaw.

Dirk Squarejaw, a reference from the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000, previously discussed. It’s a name given by the show’s commentary to one of the characters in the 1950 sci-fi film, Rocketship X-M.

I’ve always thought Lorelai and Rory must have been fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000, as their own way of watching film and television mimics it. Now it seems as if Jess is a fan too. The parallels between he and Lorelai are getting positively spooky.

Oprah, Uma

LORELAI: Rory, Gigi. Rory, Gigi. They’re identical.

RORY: They are not identical.

LORELAI: Two syllables, repeating consonants. Rory . . . .Gigi.

RORY: Oprah, Uma.

Rory references the 67th Academy Awards in 1995, which were hosted by David Letterman. He made a joke about Oprah Winfrey and actress Uma Thurman, by introducing them to each other:

“I’ve been dying to do something all day and I think maybe we can take care of this. Oprah? Uma. Uma? Oprah”.

The joke is simply that they are two women with unusual names. The punchline to the joke was, “I feel much better. Have you kids met Keanu?”. (Meaning actor Keanu Reeves, who, like Winfrey, was a presenter at the awards – Uma Thurman was nominated for Pulp Fiction).

The joke was considered so random and ridiculous that hardly anybody laughed – perhaps in desperation, Letterman kept repeating the joke, and even tried it again with different celebrities (Signourney Weaver and Quincy Jones). Although the awards ceremony got good ratings, Letterman was flayed by the press.

David Letterman was named one of the worst hosts of the awards, and ratings on his own show suffered and never recovered. It further damaged his relationship with Oprah Winfrey, who he was already in a bit of a feud with (they officially made up in 2005).

Lorelai is really stretching things to say Rory and Gigi are identical names. A bunch of names have two syllables, and repeating consonants are not that unusual (Nina, Lily, and Poppy would also fit, for example, and does anyone really think Nina is identical to Rory?).


SHERRY: Didn’t you schedule yours?

LORELAI: Not quite. A half hour before I had Rory, I was eating a pepper sandwich and watching TV. [to Rory] You were almost named Quincy.

Quincy ME, mystery medical drama series which aired from 1976 to 1983 (Lorelai must have been watching a repeat). Jack Klugman stars in the title role as a LA medical examiner who routinely engages in police investigations. The show was inspired by the book Where Death Delights, by Marshall Houts, a former FBI agent. Quincy’s character is loosely modelled on LA “Coroner to the Stars” Thomas Noguchi.

Lorelai said that she spent several hours in labour before having Rory. I presume that when she says she was watching TV half an hour before having Rory, she means that’s what she was doing half an hour before labour started.

Sherry’s Friends

SHERRY: Well, here’s the gang.You’ve got Gail, Judy, Maureen, Linda, Susan and Alice.

Gail is played by Rain Denise Wilson, in her first role.

Judy is played by Jennifer Jostyn, who had previously been in some minor films.

Maureen is played by Cynthia Ettinger, known for her work in theatre, and who had roles in The Silence of the Lambs, Seinfeld, Touched by an Angel, The Practice, Felicity, and Providence; she later went on to have a major role in the TV series Carnivàle.

Linda is played by Kate Orsini, in her fourth role; she would later have regular roles on The Bold and the Beautiful, and General Hospital.

Susan is played by Kate Rodger, who had been in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and would later appear on The O.C.

Alice is played by Ames Ingham, in her final of five roles.