Lord of the Rings DVD, Footloose

RORY: Do you wanna watch more of the extra supplementary stuff on the Lord of the Rings DVD?
LORELAI: Well, it’s just the drawings and that fat guy talking.

RORY: Well, let’s watch Footloose again.

At this point, only the first film in the trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, previously discussed, had been released on DVD. An extended edition was released in November 2002, with 30 minutes of new material, added special effects and music, plus 19 minutes of fan-club credits. The DVD set included four commentaries and over three hours of supplementary material. The “fat guy” was the film’s director, New Zealander Sir Peter Jackson (he has since lost weight). You can tell this is a Daniel Palladino script, with someone’s weight being mentioned like this!

You might remember that Rory balked at watching The Fellowship of the Ring with Dean another time, even though he reminded her that she had earlier said she wanted to watch it “a hundred times”. Obviously it was Dean she was sick of, not the film, as she and Lorelai got it on DVD and are even watching the extra stuff on the disc together.

Footloose, previously discussed and frequently mentioned as a favourite film of Lorelai’s.

During this scene, Lorelai and Rory have to coordinate their schedules, because with both of them so busy, it’s getting harder for them to spend mother-and-daughter alone time. Each of them are getting more conscious of the fact that Rory will be going to college later in the year, and their time for having their “secret little club” is fast coming to a close.

Sunday is the only day they have to spend together now. As they immediately start getting ready to watch a movie together, it suggests that this scene takes place on Sunday 9th February.

The Korean Bride

Throughout this scene, Rory and Lane do the hair up and make-up for cousin James’ bride from Korea – a woman who remains nameless, and is played by Jessica Shim in her first role. She would go on to a smattering of small TV roles.

The bride is unable to speak English, but Lane speaks Korean, and exchanges a few words with her, asking if she likes her hair (not really, is the answer), and getting her water when she asks for it. Neither Lane nor Rory make any attempt to include her in their conversation, give her any comfort, or even try to teach her just one or two words of English.

She has come from another country, doesn’t speak any English, and is marrying a stranger described as “quiet and skulky”, which sounds like code for lacking the social skills to attract a wife among his peers. Cousin James is played by stand-up comedian and actor E.K., and whatever James’ possible faults, he is at least attractive.

Lane and Rory discuss an unhappy marriage which began with a wedding at the Kim house, between Min Cha, and the “mean man” she married, Wan Nam. There were seven years of Min Cha being told she was stupid and ordered around like a slave before she snapped and attacked her husband. They now live separate lives in the same house, still married.

The chances of the Korean bride having a happy marriage and happy life in America seem quite slim, yet Rory and Lane express no pity over her situation (and not really any for Min Cha either). She is marrying into Lane’s family, yet receives little welcome or signs of kindness from anyone. Mrs Kim doesn’t even bother speaking Korean to her, or in front of her, while talking about her.

It’s rather chilling that Rory and Lane get to have a heartwarming bonding scene together all while virtually ignoring this young woman, doing her up like a doll, and treating her as if she barely exists. She is a prop in the scene, rather than another actor.

Heather Mills

LORELAI: Hey, unh, Luke, uh, we need a couple of donuts, and, uh, some of those extra legs Heather Mills is sending over to Croatia.

Heather Mills (born 1968), English former model, businesswoman, and activist. She came to public attention in 1993 when her left leg had to be amputated below the knee after a motorcycle accident. However, she continued to model while wearing a prosthetic limb.

Mills set up a trust which sent prosthetic limbs to people (mostly children) who had lost limbs stepping on landmines. Because she went through several prosthetic legs while her stump healed, she also had the idea of delivering discarded prosthetic limbs to amputees in Croatia, the first ones arriving in 1994. They weren’t really “extra legs”, and they weren’t always legs either.

She married rock star Paul McCartney in 2000. They divorced acrimoniously in 2008.

The Donner Party

RORY: I never realized Luke’s was a hundred miles away.
LORELAI: We’re lucky it wasn’t snowing. It would’ve been The Donner Party all over again, but with slightly better hair.

The Donner Party, sometimes called The Donner-Reed Party (!!!!!), was a group of American pioneers who migrated to California from the Midwest in a wagon train. Delayed by a multitude of mishaps, they spent the winter of 1846–1847 snowbound in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Some of the migrants resorted to cannibalism to survive, eating the bodies of those who had succumbed to starvation, sickness, and extreme cold.

Rescuers from California attempted to reach the migrants, but the first relief party did not arrive until the middle of February 1847, almost four months after the wagon train became trapped. Of the 87 members of the party, 48 survived the ordeal. Historians have described the episode as one of the most fascinating tragedies in California history and in the entire record of American westward migration.

This is the second reference the show makes to cannibalism during extreme survival in snowy mountains.

Tiny Tim, Gimpy

TAYLOR: You would kick Tiny Tim’s crutch out from under him, wouldn’t you?

LUKE: If he asks for a free cup of coffee, gimpy’s going down.

Timothy “Tiny Tim” Cratchit, a character from the 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. In the story, Tim is the young son of Ebenezer Scrooge’s employee, Bob Cratchit, and a very sick boy who needs crutches to walk. Scrooge is shown that Tim will die in the future unless he receives medical help that Bob cannot afford on the salary he receives from Scrooge. This is one of several visions which cause Scrooge to reform, and the story states that Tiny Tim didn’t die, and that Scrooge became a second father to him (presumably paying for medical treatment).

Gimpy is a derogatory name for someone who walks with a limp. The slang dates to the 1920s, and may be a combination of gammy and limp, gammy being used to describe a bad leg.

Aryan Breeding

GAIL: She’s going to be beautiful.

SUSAN: Yeah, you and Christopher are like a poster for Aryan breeding.

Susan refers to Lebensborn e.V. (meaning “Fount of Life” in German), an SS-initiated, state-supported, registered association in Nazi German with the stated goal of increasing the number of children born who met the Nazi standards of “racially pure” and “healthy” Aryans, based on Nazi eugenics.

The Aryan race is an obsolete historical race concept that emerged in the late-19th century to describe people of Proto-Indo-European heritage as a racial grouping. There is no evidence to support this. By the 1930s, this false concept was used to promote white supremacist ideology, portraying so-called “Aryans” as the “master race” – ideas which formed part of the ideology which led to the Holocaust.

Appallingly, Susan implies white “Aryan” babies are naturally beautiful (even before they are born!). To add to the discomfort, she says this in front of Gail, who is black. I think this is meant to tell us just how awful Sherry’s friends are, and by extension, Sherry herself.

For Keeps

SHERRY: Well, then where’d you get your information on child raising? Your mom?

LORELAI: No, For Keeps. Uh, Molly Ringwald, Randall Bantikoff, really underrated little post-John Hughes flick. She went to the prom fat. I found it really inspirational.

For Keeps, a 1988 coming of age comedy drama directed by John G. Avildsen and starring Molly Ringwald and Randall Bantikoff as Darcy and Stan, two high school seniors who are in love. Darcy gets pregnant just before graduation and decides to keep the baby. It was Ringwald’s final teen movie, and is considered one of her most mature performances, especially in the scene where Darcy develops postpartum depression. (Like Rory, Darcy works on the school paper and plans to study journalism at college). The film was a box office success, and received mixed reviews, with the positive ones mostly for Ringwald’s performance.

As the film came out in January 1988, when Rory had already turned three, it’s hard to see how it could have “inspired” Lorelai during her pregnancy.

Note that this is another occasion when pregnancy and being “fat” are conflated, which is becoming a rather disturbing trend, and no surprise, this is another Daniel Palladino script.


LORELAI: [on phone] You just flew back on your jet, huh? . . . From Maui?

Maui is the second largest island of the state of Hawaii, famous for its beautiful beaches, and a very popular tourist destination.

While Lorelai actually says “Maui”, the audio doesn’t seem to quite match up. Apparently, she originally said “Bali”, an island in Indonesia which is also a popular tourist destination. “Eight O’clock at the Oasis” aired on October 22 2002 – just ten days after a bomb attack in Bali which killed 202 people and left 209 injured, on October 12 2002. Because of that, Bali was re-recorded as Maui.

Tiki Bar

RORY: Hey, how come we don’t have a tiki bar?

Once inside Dwight’s home, which Lorelai has done her best to turn into a place of imagined horrors, the Gilmore girls naturally love it at once. It has the same kitschy taste that they like, and I think they appreciate that Dwight has decorated the house completely for his own comfort and amusement, a design aesthetic that is in harmony with Lorelai and Rory’s own.

Dwight’s home bar is a tiki bar – that is, a bar inspired by tiki culture décor. Tiki culture is an American movement inspired by a romanticised view of tropical island cultures, mostly Polynesian, catering to American views of the South Pacific. The name comes from Tiki, the Māori name for the first human, often represented in the form of a pendant and frequently appropriated by Europeans as a commercialised good luck charm.

Although tiki bars are generally of broadly South Pacific influence, they tend to serve cocktails from the Caribbean. Because of its colonial nostalgia, and the simplistic view of the Pacific taken by the aesthetic, Tiki culture has been perceived as controversial, culturally insensitive, or racist.

Tiki culture became fashionable during the 1930s as a Hollywood-style image of a leisurely, exotic island lifestyle. It had an explosion of popularity after World War II, as American servicemen returned from tours of duty in the South Pacific, often with souvenirs. It began to decline in the late 1970s but there was a revival in the late 1990s and early twenty-first century, so Dwight is surprisingly on trend in owning a tiki bar.


LORELAI: Well, I don’t know his name because I only knew him by his nickname . . . Uh, Shamu. We called him Shamu. He was kind of, um, a big guy in high school, but he’s slimmed down quite a bit.

Lorelai tries to find out Peyton’s name by phoning the organisers and pretending he’s an old school friend that she only knows by his nickname, Shamu. Shamu is the name given to several performing orcas at Sea World, previously discussed. It is a cruel nickname sometimes given to people perceived as being overweight, because orcas are also called killer whales (with the implication the person is as as fat as a whale). Despite the name, orcas are actually members of the dolphin family.