Wang Chung and Billy Joel

SHERRY: Finding something was impossible. I would be looking for my Wang Chung or Billy Joel and I would just have to give up.

Wang Chung: English New Wave band formed in 1980 by Nick Feldman, Jack Hues and Darren Costin. The name Wang Chung means “yellow bell” in Chinese, and is the first note in the Chinese classical music scale. The band found their greatest success in the US, with five top 40 hits there, all charting between 1983 and 1987, including “Dance Hall Days” (1984) and “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” (1986).

William “Billy” Joel (born 1949) [pictured], singer, pianist, composer, and songwriter. He has led a commercially successful career as a solo artist since the 1970s, having released 12 pop and rock studio albums from 1971 to 1993 as well as one studio album of classical compositions in 2001. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

Joel has released 33 self-written Top 40 hits in the US, with three of them reaching #1 (“It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”, “Tell Her About it”, and “We Didn’t Start the Fire”). He has won 6 Grammy Awards, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2006. He received the Johnny Mercer Award for songwriting in 2001 and the Kennedy Center Honors for the arts in 2013. He has had a successful concert career, and continues to tour.

Namaste

DWIGHT: [on answering machine]Hey, it’s Dwight. Leave me a message. Namaste.

Namaste, a Hindu greeting, farewell, thank you, and acknowledgement. It literally means “bowing to you” in Sanskrit, often translated as “I bow to the divine in you”. It is usually spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest.

Dwight using this as his answering machine greeting is probably meant to reflect his embracing of “exotic” cultures in his search for a new, more relaxed life. I can see him signing up for Miss Patty’s yoga classes.

Soirée

MICHEL: Your mother called. The auction people dropped the lamp that we bought at her place and dropped hers off here and she’s desperate to have it for some soiree at her house this evening.

A soirée is a sophisticated evening party, often with some kind of cultural or musical focal point, such as a classical music performer, or an intellectual discussion. It dates back to the 18th century in France and England, when wealthy, well-married ladies would invite accomplished guests to their home for refreshments in the evening. The word is simply the French word for “evening”.

“Sign of the devil”

RORY: I like the brown.

LORELAI: Come here a sec, you’ve got some dirt on your forehead. I’m sorry, it’s just the sign of the devil, my mistake.

Lorelai refers to the Mark of the Beast which is mentioned in the Bible in Revelation 13:16-17.

He causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, so that no one may buy or sell, except he who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name.

The “beast” is also called “the false prophet” or Antichrist who “speaks like a dragon” – that is, speaks arrogantly, as if to place himself even above God. The meaning of the text has been hotly debated, but many biblical scholars think that “the beast” is the Roman Empire, the Emperor Nero, and the ruling elites. However, there is a popular view that “the beast” is the Devil himself. (See the entry for Antichrist for information on how the Antichrist and Devil have become conflated).

The Greek word translated as “mark”- charagma (χάραγμα) – can mean a mark that is engraved, imprinted, or branded. The word is the same one used to refer to stamped money, documents, or coins. As Roman coins carried the image of the emperor, it seems to fit in with the idea of “the beast” being the Roman Empire and emperor.

During the time when Nero was emperor, in 66 AD, the Jews revolted against the Romans and coined their own money so that they did not need to carry around this symbol of oppression to do business. This is about the same time that scholars believe Revelation was written, and some believe that these verses pertain to that, or are informed by it.

“You like piña coladas”

RORY: You like piña coladas.

LORELAI: And getting lost in the rain.

A piña colada is a cocktail made with rum, pineapple juice, and coconut milk or cream, served either blended or shaken with ice. It may be garnished with a pineapple wedge, a maraschino cherry, or both. The cocktail originated in Puerto Rico, is its national drink, and its name means “strained pineapple” in Spanish. One story is that the cocktail was invented by Puerto Rican pirate, Roberto Confresi in the 19th century; the less exciting but more probable version is that it was invented in 1954 at the Caribe Hilton Hotel in Puerto Rico by bartender Ramón “Monchito” Marrero.

Lorelai refers to “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)”, written and recorded by British-American singer Rupert Holmes, released as a single from his 1979 album Partners in Crime. The song is about a man who is bored with his current relationship, and answers a lonely hearts advertisement in the newspaper which begins, “If you like piña coladas …”. When he meets up with the lady, it turns out to be his partner, who was equally bored in their relationship. They realise they had more in common than they realised, and their relationship is now reinvigorated. It was an international hit, and went to #1 in the US and Canada. Ironically, Rupert Holmes has never drunk a piña colada, and the original lyrics were, “If you like Humphrey Bogart”.

Lorelai gets the words slightly wrong. The lyrics are actually:

If you like piña coladas

And getting caught in the rain

not getting lost in the rain.

Merlot

[Lorelai walks up to the bar as a man is ordering a drink]

PEYTON: Can I get a Merlot, please?

Merlot, a deep purple-red wine made from the dark blue Merlot grape variety. The name is thought to be a diminutive of merle, the French word for “blackbird”. Merlot is one of the primary grapes used in Bordeaux wine, and it is the most widely planted grape in the Bordeaux wine regions.

Merlot is also one of the most popular red wine varieties around the world, and is produced internationally – in the US, California produces the most Merlot, after the “Merlot craze” of the 1990s, sparked by a 60 Minutes report on the low incidence of heart disease in France, which drinks a lot of red wine.

Keister

DWIGHT: You know, I just got this beautiful lawn put in, really amazing shade of green, and the guy who put it in for me, he told me that I have to keep each blade of grass very moist for the first few days while the roots take, but I have to go on a business trip for a few days. Huh, last minute, and believe me, I tried to get out of it but my boss said, ‘Dwight, get off your keister and go make us some money’, so I gotta go.

Keister, slang for the anus or the buttocks. Its origin is uncertain. In the 19th century, it was criminal slang for a burglar’s tool box, then later, criminal slang for a strongbox or safe, while “tripe and keister” meant a conman’s display case on a tripod. It probably comes from kiste, a German and Yiddish word for a box or case.

It seems Dwight not only moved in without Lorelai and Rory noticing anything, he also got a new lawn laid down without them noticing!

I am not sure what business Dwight works for that he could commute to it from Stars Hollow. He could work in Hartford and drive in every day, but he’s really presented as more of a big city person, with a New York vibe. By the way, people really take a lot of business trips in the Gilmore Girls universe!

Schnauzer

RORY: Dogs started barking.

LORELAI: Because they heard about the garlic incident, and no one likes getting screwed, Rory, not even a Schnauzer.

A Schnauzer is a breed of dog which originated in medieval Germany – its name means “snouter” in German, as the dog has a distinctive bearded snout. Originally bred as a ratter and guard dog, schnauzers are intelligent, independent, protective, and energetic. They need a lot of training and exercise. Schnauzers come in different sizes, and have a shaggy coat, usually black, grey, or salt and pepper. As happens in this episode, schnauzers tend to bark a lot, especially if they feel threatened – Lorelai must have sounded very loud and angry.

Schnitzel

LORELAI: And the rabbit says, ‘How about that schnitzel!’

A schnitzel is a thin slice of meat that has been pounded into a flat shape using a meat tenderiser. It is usually breaded before being fried. The word is German, and means “slice” or “little slice”. Wiener schnitzel is a popular Viennese dish made of veal, traditionally garnished with a slice of lemon and served with potato salad or boiled potatoes with parsley and butter. It dates to the 19th century, and is one of the national dishes of Austria. There are numerous international versions of the dish.

The punchline to Lorelai’s alleged joke (Rory doesn’t think it is one) appears to be original.