“Oy with the poodles already”

LORELAI: Huh. You know what I just realized? Oy is the funniest word in the entire world … I mean, think about it. You never hear the word oy and not smile. Impossible. Funny, funny word.

Oy, a Yiddish interjection expressing surprise and dismay. Often combined with vey, an interjection expressing distress or grief, to make oy vey (“oh no, woe is me”, more or less).

With the, a characteristic in Ashkenazi Jewish mode of speech in the US, meaning “in regard to, about, in the manner of”, generally in a disapproving tone to suggest that it’s too much or too often eg “You’re always with the jokes”, “Enough with the new house talk”.

Poodle, a curly-coated game dog which probably originated in Germany, first bred to retrieve wildfowl from water after hunting. It’s German name Pudel means “splash”, and it’s related to the English word puddle.

Already, a characteristic in Ashkenazi Jewish mode of speech in the US. At the end of a sentence, it expresses a frustrated impatience with a situation which should have been dealt with long ago eg “Will you two stop fighting and get a divorce already?”.

So Lorelai’s catchphrase means (roughly translated), “Oh no, there is a surfeit of poodles – this situation needs to be dealt with immediately, as it should have been rectified a long time ago!”.

Fans are divided as to whether Lorelai’s off-the-cuff catchphrase is actually funny. It’s certainly very Jewish.

Shih Tzu

LORELAI: Rory, I was supposed to graduate from high school. Go to Vassar. Marry a Yale man and get myself a proper nickname like Babe or Bunny or Shih Tzu.

A shih tzu is a breed of toy dog originating from Tibet. They have a short snout, large round eyes, long coat, floppy ears, and a playful, friendly disposition. Their name translates to “lion” in Mandarin, and the breed is considered sacred in Buddhist mythology.

Nanooking It, Whale Blubber, and Mukluks

LORELAI: So you’ve been just Nanooking it this whole time, just sending out for whale blubber and mukluks? [adjusts thermostat]

Nanook of the North [pictured], a 1922 silent film documentary/docudrama written, produced, and directed by Robert J. Flaherty. The film follows the struggles of an Inuk man named Nanook, his wife Nyla, and their family as they travel, trade and search for food in the Canadian Arctic. They are shown hunting a walrus, building an igloo, and going about their everyday tasks. Nanook and his family are portrayed as fearless heroes, enduring rigours beyond the comprehension of most Westerners.

The film has been criticised for fictionalising events and presenting them as reality. For example, “Nanook” was really named Allakariallak, and Nyla (aka Alice) was not his wife, but one of Flaherty’s common-law wives. The cast were scripted to behave in a more “authentic” Inuit way, such as using traditional hunting weapons rather than guns, and acting as if they had little knowledge of Western culture. Many things had to be staged, because of the difficulties of filming with one fixed camera in a harsh environment.

Nanook of the North was ground-breaking cinema, capturing authentic details of a culture that was then little known to outsiders, and filmed in a remote location. Hailed unanimously by critics, it was also a box-office success, and is still viewed as an enthralling documentary. As the first full-length feature documentary to achieve financial success, it paved the way for the entire genre. Nanook of the North was remastered and released on DVD in 1999, so Lorelai and Rory could have actually seen it.

Whale blubber is an important part of the traditional diet of Inuit people, valued for its high energy value, nutritional content, and availability. Mukluks are soft boots, traditionally made from caribou hide or sealskin, worn by the Indigenous people of the Arctic.

“Ah! Mon Dieu”

GISELLE: Ah! Mon dieu, you are gorgeous! Come, come! Embrassez maman!

MICHEL: Maman, j’aime ton visite.

Giselle says, “Ah! My God … Give Mom a hug!”.

Michel replies, “Mom, I love your visits”.

Giselle has apparently visited Michel several times before, but this seems to be the first time she has ever been to his workplace, as Lorelai and Sookie have never met her before. Michel was going to pick his mother up from the airport, but she came on an earlier flight so she could buy him presents, which seems to explain why she has turned up at the Independence Inn unannounced.

Bhagavad Gita

MADELINE: I read slow so I don’t miss anything.

PARIS: It’s not the Bhagavad Gita, Madeline. It’s simple instructions for the business fair.

The Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, literally meaning “the song by God” in Sanskrit, often referred to as Bhagavad Gita, or just the Gita. It’s a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the epic The Mahābhārata, dated to the first millennium BC.

It is the best known of the holy scriptures of Hinduism, presenting a synthesis of Hindu philosophy and yogic ideals. It was a personal inspiration to Mahatma Ghandi, and has been often read, studied, and appreciated by westerners and non-Hindus. Many Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and atheists have read the Bhagavad Gita for spiritual advice and life lessons.

Madeline’s comment suggests that she isn’t stupid – just slow, thorough, and careful in how she absorbs information.

Godot

EMILY: We have not been waiting forever.

LORELAI: Forever. Godot was just here. He said ‘I ain’t waiting for Richard,’ grabbed a roll, and left. It’s been forever.

A reference to Waiting for Godot, a play by Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, originally written in French in 1948-49 (title: En attendant Godot). The French play had its premiere in Paris in 1953, and Beckett’s English translation of his own play premiered in London in 1955.

In the play two characters named Vladimir and Estragon engage in a number of discussions and encounters while they wait for the Godot of the title, who never turns up. It has been voted the most significant English language play of the 20th century.

Hola, es Paris”

PARIS: [on phone] Hola, es Paris. Voy a comer la cena de cas de Rory. Hay mucho mac and cheese!

Paris’ nanny is Portuguese, yet Paris speaks Spanish to her here (is Nanny bilingual? Why can’t she speak English?).

She says, “Hi, it’s Paris. I’m going to eat dinner at Rory’s house. There’s a lot of mac and cheese!”.

She doesn’t translate “mac and cheese” into Spanish, which would be macarrones con queso. Probably because American mac and cheese feels like a completely different dish to what a Spanish-speaker would be expecting, unless she couldn’t think of the right word for it.

Deora Ar Mo Chroí

This is the song which is playing at the spa while Lorelai is having her facial alone, and when Emily goes to her room and begins chatting.

“Deora Ar Mo Croi” is a song by Irish singer Enya, from her 2000 album, A Day Without Rain. The lyrics were adapted by Enya into Irish Gaelic from a poem by Roma Ryan, written in English. Roma Ryan is Enya’s chief lyricist.

A Day Without Rain was hugely successful internationally, selling 7 times platinum in the US and reaching #2 in the charts. Its popularity surged after 9/11, when Enya’s soulful laments seemed to perfectly capture the nation’s mood. The album was #6 in the UK and #7 in Ireland, and was most successful in Germany and Australia, where it went to #1.

The song’s title can be understood as “Tears In My Heart”, and its lyrics can be roughly translated into English thus:

How wonderful, from morning to night

the sweet voices beside me

and happiness everywhere, without sorrow,

joy in my heart forever.

If I walk away from life,

the sun and the moon at my back

I lack nothing but memories of my own world

Tears in my heart, sadly.

Apart from being believable as the sort of relaxing music that might be played at a spa, the song touches on the emotion behind Emily and Lorelai’s relationship, and that it is hard for Lorelai to simply “walk away” from her life and her memories without losing an awful lot in the process.