“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.

“Wedding dress place on Willow”

LORELAI: Hey Mom. I was in the neighbourhood, ’cause there’s that wedding dress place on Willow.

There are a few streets named Willow in the Hartford area, but none of them are in the sort of upmarket shopping district you’d expect a bridal store to be. I think for now we have to accept it as a fictional place – and it’s not impossible that Lorelai has invented it to explain her presence at her mother’s house.

At the beginning of the episode, Rory took Lorelai wedding dress shopping, but we never saw the results of that expedition. It’s still not clear if Lorelai’s bought her dress yet, or has bought the dress but is still to choose a wedding veil for it. It provides bookends for the episode, with Lorelai’s daughter helping her with her wedding outfit at the beginning, and her mother helping her at the end, so that all three generations of “Gilmore girls” take part in Lorelai’s planned wedding.

“Now I’m an expert at it”

RORY: And I could help you organize all of your extracurricular activities because I’m now an expert at it.
DEAN: I don’t …
RORY: How are your wilderness skills?

How did Rory become “an expert” at extracurricular activities in what is posited as a 24-hour period? All she can have done is read a few brochures and made a couple of phone calls, or sent a few emails – on a weekend.

Furthermore, what does being “an expert” mean? Has she got herself some volunteer work for the summer? Because she never mentions it again, and that part of the year isn’t depicted on the show.

Sunnyside

RORY: I called the Sunnyside home. Do they need any volunteers? And believe it or not, they don’t, but they do need an accordion player for their Friday night polka party.

Sunnyside Nursing Centers are a chain of aged care nursing and rehabilitation homes in the United States. In real life, there is more than one Sunnyside nursing home in the Wallingford area, where Stars Hollow appears to be located, although none of them are actually called The Sunnyside Home (that may just be what people in Stars Hollow call it, rather than its actual name).

Apart from trying the Fireflies and Sunnyside, Rory also calls the Stars Hollow library, which apparently only has twelve books (surely an exaggeration), and the Chilton tutoring program, who are just taking names at present.

Rory seems to have amassed an enormous amount of brochures for various organisations within a few hours, late in the day. How she managed to do this is something of a mystery

The Construction Foreman

[Rory taps on a man’s shoulder while he’s sawing a piece of wood.]
RORY: Excuse me.
MAN: Hey, you’re touching a man with a saw. You don’t touch a man with a saw. What are you thinking?
RORY: I’m sorry.
MAN: I could’ve hurt myself. I could’ve hurt you. There’s a ton of hurt that almost happened here.

The construction foreman for Rebuilding Together in Hartford, played by Biff Yeager, is named Tom in the credits. He seems to be the same person as Tom the contractor who will later be seen in Stars Hollow whenever anyone needs some building or renovating work done, but it isn’t made completely clear. He doesn’t have a beard, while Tom the contractor does, but he might have grown one. It’s also uncertain whether he lives in Hartford but travels to Stars Hollow when needed, lives in Stars Hollow but took this job in Hartford for Rebuilding Together, or originally lived in Hartford but later moved to Stars Hollow.

Busan

Busan is where Lane’s cousins live, and where she will be spending the summer from June to August 2001. The city was called Pusan until 2000, and is pronounced like Pusan (at least that’s how it sounds to English-speakers).

Busan is the second-biggest city in South Korea, and has a population of over 3 million. It is the economic centre of south-eastern Korea, and has a large industrial area, and the biggest port in Korea. It is called the summer capital of Korea, since it has a number of beaches to attract tourists, along with cafes, restaurants, and shopping districts to cater to them.

It is unknown whether Mr and Mrs Kim, or their families, are originally from the Busan area as well as the cousins, but it doesn’t seem too unlikely.

Porn Star Tee-Shirt

LORELAI:  If you cut him [Richard] a little slack, I’ll wear my Porn Star tee-shirt to dinner next week.

Presumably a tee-shirt which has “Porn Star” written on the front. Such tee-shirts are still common, and it is hard to say what Lorelai’s might look like. We never see it, and it seems unlikely she would wear it to dinner with her parents.

Beefaroni

RORY: Grandma, I can’t believe you found the recipe for Beefaroni.
EMILY: It wasn’t easy. Antonia thought I’d gone insane.

Beefaroni was earlier mentioned as a food Rory liked, and now we discover it is actually her favourite meal, requested for her special dinner.

Because home made Beefaroni is basically just macaroni, beef mince, tomato puree, and cheese, even a very average home cook could easily make up their own recipe for it. Non-cooking Rory is amazed to discover that homemade Beefaroni even exists, while equally non-domestic Emily apparently had great trouble finding a recipe.

If Antonia the cook is from Europe, and most especially from Italy, no wonder she thought Emily had gone insane with her request. She had probably never even heard of Beefaroni before.

Emily said the “secret” to Beefaroni isn’t beef. She may have got Antonia to reproduce Beefaroni based on the list of ingredients on a can, which involves all sorts of things that a regular home recipe would omit, including textured soy protein, caramel, yeast, ammonium chloride, citric acid, and the like.

Lorelai and Rory seem to assume she means the Beefaroni is made from some kind of mystery meat, and quickly stop eating. We never discover exactly what Emily means.

Rory Invites Dean to Dinner at Her Grandparents’ House

While Dean is changing the water bottle for Lorelai on the back porch, Rory comes out to talk to him. (Apparently the Gilmores always drink bottled water – I don’t know if the Stars Hollow water supply is undrinkable, or if Lorelai and Rory prefer the taste of bottled water, or drink it for health reasons, or some other reason. Much of the Connecticut water supply has chromium-6 in it, the cancer-causing agent that featured in the 2000 biographical film Erin Brockovich, but the official statement is that it is at levels too low to be dangerous. The Gilmores may be playing it safe, especially as eleven other cancer-causing agents have been detected in the Connecticut water supply at levels above the legal limits).

Rory invites Dean to come with her to the special dinner her grandparents are giving in her honour. Emily told Rory she could “invite her friends” to the dinner, probably meaning her “friends” from Chilton (Emily doesn’t know that Rory is currently at outs with the few friends she has made at school). She almost certainly did not mean Rory to invite Dean, who she last saw taking Rory to a school dance, which ended in disaster when the pair of them fell asleep and didn’t get home until dawn.

Dean has the good sense to point out that Rory’s grandparents probably aren’t madly keen to see him again, but eventually accepts Rory’s invitation to please her (their relationship has only just re-kindled, and he probably doesn’t want to start off by saying no to her).

The scene is shot almost like a proposal – Dean is kneeling at Rory’s feet with the water bottle, while she holds out her hands in supplication, as if ready to receive a ring. It’s a reminder that Lorelai never got this traditional down-on-your-knees proposal from Max. If you look at how happy and excited Rory appears at the thought of taking Dean to her dinner, it’s in stark contrast to the sad, anxious face Lorelai has when we see her and Max getting engaged over the phone.

The show seems to be saying, “This is what you deserve, Lorelai: this is how happy you should be”.

“Silly rabbit”

RORY: When is dinner ready?
LORELAI: Do I look like a timer?
RORY: I thought you might have set one.
LORELAI: Silly rabbit.
RORY: Timers are for kids.

Lorelai and Rory are referring to the advertising campaign for Trix – a corn-based, very sugary, artificially coloured and flavoured breakfast cereal manufactured by General Mills, and first brought out in 1954. The highly popular marketing campaign began in 1955, and shows a cartoon rabbit who tries to trick children into giving him their cereal. The tagline is, “Silly rabbit – Trix are for kids!”.

Whether the breakfast cereal had anything to do with Richard Gilmore’s pet name for his mother is unknown, but he would have been ten or eleven when the cereal came out, and part of the company’s target demographic.