Goodnight Spoon

WOMAN: So, what are the titles [of the books you’ve published]?
LORELAI: Well, there’s um, Goodnight Spoon and um, The Horse that Wanted to Bark.

The title Goodnight Spoon is a play on the classic children’s picture book Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd. First published in 1947, it is a rhyming poem which features a bunny whose bedroom rital includes saying goodnight to everything around him. It remains a bestseller to this day.

There are many parodies of Goodnight Moon in existence; a few years ago Rolling Stone produced one called Goodnight Spoon, a supposed children’s book written by Keith Richards. I don’t know if Gilmore Girls gave them the idea or not.

The Horse That Wanted to Bark is a parody of the many, many children’s book titles that are [Animal] Who Wanted [Something]. A few examples are The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy by Jane Thayer, The Cat Who Wanted to Go Home by Jill Tomlinson, and The Mouse Who Wanted to Marry by Doris Orgel.

Lorelai and Rory’s Inability to Leave Their Room

[Lorelai and Rory start to walk down the steps, but stop when they see a bunch of people downstairs.]
LORELAI: Dentists. Boston dentists. Cocktail hour at the Cheshire Cat.
RORY: So?
LORELAI: So our exit is blocked.
RORY: Let’s just rush pass them.
LORELAI: Too risky.
RORY: They’re not assassins.

Unbelievably, Lorelai and Rory find themselves unable to leave their room to get food because they can’t walk downstairs and past a group of strangers. Normally you can’t shut Lorelai up, now she’s incapable of exchanging a few words with a handful of people on her way out to buy dinner. As a plot device to trap Lorelai and Rory in a room together, it’s a pretty lame one.

By what psychic powers Lorelai knows the people downstairs are all dentists from Boston must remain a mystery, but presumably cocktail hour is marked on the activity sheet LaDawn gave them.

“The engagement is off”

[on the phone]
LORELAI: Yeah, Rory and I decided to hit the road.
SOOKIE: But how can you be hitting the road? You’re supposed to be getting …
LORELAI: The engagement is off, Sookie.
SOOKIE: What? What happened?
LORELAI: Well, it’s a long story. I don’t really wanna go into all the whats and whys and gory details right now, but you should know we all still love Max, and to figure out exactly what happened, you’d have to dig up Freud himself and have him work on me full time.

Lorelai’s engagement to Max is off, but there is never any real explanation for how that occurred. Did Lorelai even call Max to let him know, or has she just run away?

Sookie has of course already finished making a beautiful elaborate wedding cake for Lorelai when she gets the news. Being a good friend, she pretends she forgot to make the cake.

Max’s “General” CD Collection

While trying to discover if Max is “worthy” of Lorelai, Christopher asks what his CD collection is like, and gives an “Uh oh” when told he has “kind of a general collection”. Christopher thinks that means “a dozen soundtracks”, and “a generic fifty”. (I can feel Daniel Palladino’s own musical judgements contributing to this section – Palladino was the writer for this episode).

Unfortunately for Max, all Christopher’s derogatory assumptions about Max’s musical tastes turn out to be on point, with Lorelai unable to defend her fiance in any serious way. It may seem shallow and silly, but Christopher’s criticisms of Max’s CD collection seems to make quite an impression on Lorelai (even though she had earlier criticised Christopher’s musical tastes). Is Lorelai so immature that Max’s CD collection is a real problem, or is she clutching at any excuse to dump him?

The Beatles, previously and frequently mentioned, were an English rock band formed in 1960, with their classic line up being John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. They are widely regarded as the most important and most influential band in history, and are the best-selling band of all time, with sales of over 800 million worldwide. They have had more #1 albums in the British charts and sold more singles in the UK than any other act, and are the best-selling musical act in the US. They have received seven Grammy Awards, an Academy Award for Best Original Score (for the 1970 film Let it Be), and fifteen Ivor Novello Awards for songwriting. The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, with the individual members inducted between 1994 and 2015.

Bob Dylan, born Robert Zimmerman (born 1941) is an American singer-songwriter who has been influential in popular music and culture for more than five decades. He is most famous for his 1960s folk anthems of the Civil Rights Movement and anti-war protests such as The Times They Are AChanging, and Blowing in the Wind. One of the best-selling musical artists all all time, he has received numerous awards throughout his career, including eleven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, an Academy Award, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Alanis Morissette (born 1974) is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter known for her emotional singing style, giving her the title of “Queen of Alt-Rock Angst”. She brought out two dance-pop albums in Canada in the early 1990s, but gained mainstream success after moving to the US with her 1995 album Jagged Little Pill, which sold more than 33 million copies, won the Grammy Award for Best Album, and is her most critically acclaimed work, with hit singles such as Ironic and You Oughta Know. I think this is the “first album” which Lorelai says many people bought in a knee-jerk reaction, including Max, it seems.

David “Dave” Matthews (born 1967) is a South African-born American singer-songwriter, best known as the lead singer of the Dave Matthews Band, formed in 1991. During the early 2000s, his band sold more tickets and made more money than any other act in North America, and nearly all their studio albums have gone to #1 in the US. Matthews has also brought out solo albums, and won two Grammy Awards. Lorelai says “a couple of his things are good”, but I’m not sure which “things” she means, or even whether she means a couple of his albums or a couple of his songs.

Buena Vista Social Club is a group of Cuban musicians established in 1996 to revive the music of pre-revolutionary Cuba. The group’s self-titled album was released in 1997, rapidly making them an international success, with performances in Europe and the US. Wim Wenders made a documentary about them called Buena Vista Social Club, and when it came out in 1998 it received critical acclaim and sparked a revival of Latin American music, helping to increase tourism to Cuba.

Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, anglicised as Enya Brennan, and known as Enya (born 1961) is an Irish singer, songwriter, and musician. Her music career began in 1980 when she joined her family’s Celtic band Clannad, and left in 1982 to pursue a solo career. She has numerous top-selling and critically acclaimed albums, with her 2000 album A Day Without Rain, and its lead single, Only Time, experiencing a great success in the US after the September 11 attacks in 2001, making it the best-selling New Age album of all time. Enya is Ireland’s most successul solo act, and has won seven World Music Awards, four Grammy Awards, and an Ivor Novello Award. She is also known for writing and performing the song May It Be for the 2001 film, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

In general, Christopher is putting down music that experienced sudden mass popularity, so that many people jumped on its bandwagon. How this differs from the very popular bands which he and Lorelai favour is not particularly clear, and his music snobbery may seem rather hypocritical. He also doesn’t seem keen on world music.

Duluth

MAX: Anyway, he didn’t make it [Max’s brother trying to jump over a parking meter].
LORELAI: Ugh. Ouch. How drunk was he?
MAX: He claims he wasn’t drunk. He’s saying that the parking meters in Hartford are taller than the parking meters in Duluth, so he just miscalculated.

Duluth is a major port city in Minnesota on the shores of Lake Superior, with a population of over 85 000. Once an industrial city, its economy is now geared towards finance, retail, medicine, and tourism. (There is a Duluth in Georgia too, a suburb of Atlanta, but that seems less likely, as people usually identify the city they live in rather than the suburb).

It is not known whether Duluth is where Max is from originally, or if his brother moved there. Because of the superior way Max says, “Middle child”, it sounds as if Max is the eldest of three siblings. As Max says, “My brother”, instead of, “One of my brothers”, it suggests the youngest sibling is Max’s sister.

Duluth receives a slight mention in A Year in the Life: on one of the many wedding cakes that Sookie makes for Lorelai and Luke, there is a bridge with DULUTH printed on it. That might be a little callback to the preparations for Lorelai’s first planned wedding.

“You’ll get used to it”

RORY: Aren’t you happy?
LORELAI: Yes. I’m happy.
RORY: Well, then it’ll be fine. You’ll get used to it, having Max there.
LORELAI: I know. You’re right. I will. I will get used to it.

Lorelai has a freak out once Max is actually in her bed, in her house, and fears that she will completely lose the life she currently has. More importantly, she fears losing the “me and you secret special clubhouse no boys allowed” relationship she has with Rory.

Rory refuses to participate in Lorelai’s worries about how their life might change, and insists that she likes Max, and Lorelai will be fine about it too once she calms down. It is not clear whether she really has no concerns about adding Max to their household, or she refuses to be used as an excuse by Lorelai to end her relationship with Max.

Lorelai cannot return to bed with Max, and ends up sleeping in Rory’s bed for at least part of the night. This is a callback to how Lorelai and Rory shared a bed for a year or two when Rory was a baby/toddler, showing Lorelai’s need for bodily comfort from Rory, and a return to the complete physical closeness they had at the beginning of their relationship in Stars Hollow.

“Disgusting Cow” Movies of 2001

DEAN: Well, what movies haven’t we seen?
RORY: We haven’t seen just about all of them.
DEAN: Yeah, they all stink this year …
RORY: There are at least five of them featuring someone doing something disgusting with a cow.

I’m not actually sure which five or more movies in the first half of 2001 featuring cows Rory might be thinking of, but here are some candidates.

The romantic comedy Say It Isn’t So came out in March 2001, directed by J.B. Rogers, produced by the Farrelly Brothers, and starring Heather Graham and Chris Klein in the lead roles. In one scene, the protagonist punches a cow, only to get his arm stuck in the animal’s rectum.

The romantic comedy Someone Like You came out in March 2001, directed by Tony Goldwyn and based on the novel Animal Husbandry by Laura Zigman. It stars Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman in the lead roles, and opens with an experiment being done where a bull is observed servicing a herd of cows. The fact that he will only service an individual cow once is significant to the film’s theme.

The adventure comedy Joe Dirt came out in April 2001, directed by Dennie Gordon, and starring David Spade in the title role. In one scene, Joe thoughtlessly ties a bottle rocket to a cow’s tail , and watches the tail spin out of control as the bottle explodes.

The comedy The Animal came out in June 2001, directed by Luke Greenfield, and starring Rob Schneider in the title role. In the movie, the main character’s life is saved by a mad scientist who replaces his critically injured body parts with ones taken from animals. In one scene, the main character has a dream about cows grazing in a field – which isn’t actually disgusting, but it’s implied to be his dream because he wants to attack them (livestock is attacked as part of the plot).

The comedy Dr. Dolittle 2 came out in June 2001, directed by Steve Carr, and a sequel to the 1998 film Dr. Dolittle (vaguely inspired by the Dr. Dolittle children’s books by British author Hugh Lofting). It stars Eddie Murphy as Dr. Dolittle, a doctor who can talk to animals. During the film, the animals organise a strike as a protest; cows refuse to give milk, and several can be heard shouting “Strike, strike!”. This isn’t particularly disgusting though.

It’s not known whether Rory and Dean saw the “disgusting cow” movies themselves, or whether Rory is basing her opinions on reviews, trailers, or what other people told her about the movies. There is a strong possibility she is exaggerating, as I could only think of two films which actually depict a person doing something to a cow on screen (Say It Isn’t So and Joe Dirt).

It is notable that all the “cow movies” I listed are comedy films which received below-average to extremely poor reviews.