Paris’ Car

[Lorelai looks out the window and sees Paris, Madeline and Louise getting out of a car]
LORELAI: Rory, I think your friends are here. She must be one great babysitter to earn enough money for that car.

The car Paris is driving is a BMW 330Ci coupe convertible, an entry-level luxury car and the most popular model that BMW makes. In 2001, it would have cost around the $40 000 mark.

“A hundred clowns crammed into a Volkswagen”

LORELAI: I just need space.
MAX: Well I don’t. In fact I want as little space as possible. A hundred clowns crammed into a Volkswagen. That’s the kind of non-space I’m talking about.

An popular clown sight gag is for a number of clowns to be crammed into a small car, and then come out, making it seem as if the car is much bigger than it appears. The trick requires the car to be modified so that there is nothing inside it (no seats etc), and for the clowns to be very flexible and pretty uncomfortable. It was first used in the Coles Brothers Circus in the 1950s.

The number of clowns involved is usually around 14-21, but the record number of people jammed into a small car is 28 gymnasts into a Mini. Obviously gymnasts are extremely limber and aren’t wearing baggy costumes and holding props, so this number wouldn’t be feasible for clowns. A Volkswagen Beetle would be a classic vehicle to use as the car, as they are small, and sort of cute and comical looking anyway.

This comment from Max is something of an in-joke. Scott Cohen, who plays Max Medina, first began his career in the entertainment industry through taking a course in clowning at university – his teacher encouraged him to audition for a theatre company. One of Cohen’s early screen roles was a flirtatious driver in a 1999 Volkswagen Passat television commercial.

Razor Scooter

LORELAI (speaking on phone to pizza delivery guy): So what’s the next phase of the delivery saga? Mm-hmm …Well how long until your brother’s back with the Razor Scooter?

The Razor Scooter is a compact folding scooter manufactured by JD Corporation. Released in 2000, it became an immediate hit and was named the Most Popular Toy of 2001. Of course it is not suitable for delivering pizzas.

Pink Moon

(Dean looks around Rory’s bedroom, and picks up a CD)
DEAN: Wow. Very clean. How much does it suck that they use Pink Moon in a Volkswagen commercial?

Dean is referring to the song Pink Moon by Nick Drake, earlier identified as one his favourite singers.

This is by far the most pretentious and hypocritical thing the usually down-to-earth Dean ever says in Gilmore Girls. Nick Drake had been obscure for decades when his song Pink Moon was used in a Volkswagen commercial. Without the commercial, Dean would never have even heard of Nick Drake, and as the commercial only came out in December 1999, he had been a Nick Drake fan for less than a year.

I can only imagine he was trying to impress Rory with his hipness, by making out that he had somehow known about Nick Drake previous to the commercial, to the point where he could feel betrayed that they used his music to sell Volkswagen. I’m not buying it.

In turn, Rory clearly went out and bought the Pink Moon album just because Dean liked it, then pretends that she knows and cares all about it to the same extent. But the show lets us know that, whereas that isn’t the case with Dean’s statement.

Dean’s Favourite Musical Artists

LANE: He likes Nick Drake and Liz Phair and The Sugarplastic

Nicholas “Nick”Drake (1948-1974) was an English singer-songwriter known for his acoustic guitar-based folk music. He produced three albums between 1969 and 1972, none of which were a commercial success, partly because Drake was reluctant to perform live or give interviews to promote his work. Suffering from major depression, he committed suicide by overdosing on prescribed antidepressants at the age of 26.

He remained somewhat obscure, although his work was re-released after his death, gathering him new fans as a doomed romantic hero. By the 1980s he was cited as a musical influence by artists such as David Sylvian and Robert Smith, and had gained critical appreciation; a “best of” compilation album was released in the 1990s. His career had a posthumous revival after his song Pink Moon was used in a 1999 Volkwagen Cabrio commercial, aimed at young people. Since then he has sold more than 2 million albums and downloads.

We can assume that Dean was one of the young people who became instant Nick Drake fans after seeing the VW commercial. As we later disover Dean is a car fanatic, it makes sense that he would discover a favourite singer through a car.

Liz Phair (born Elizabeth Phair in 1967) [pictured]  is an American indie rock singer-songwriter. Her first album, Exile in Guyville, came out in 1993 to critical acclaim, and was hailed as a landmark in alternative rock. Her 1994 second album, Whip-Smart, brought her mainstream attention, and is her most commercially successful album. In 2000 her most recent album would have been Whitechocolatespaceegg (1998).

Liz Phair was born in New Haven, Connecticut, but grew up in Winnetka, a wealthy village just outside Chicago – it was a favourite film location for director John Hughes, as seen in movies such as Home Alone, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles. Liz Phair may have been chosen as a favourite singer for Dean because she is connected with both Chicago and Connecticut, his birthplace and later home.

The Sugarplastic is an alternative rock band founded in 1989 by Ben Eshbach and Kiara Geller. Their first album came out in 1995, and their third album, Resin, in April 2000. The most genuinely obscure of Dean’s choices, he may have become a fan quite recently. His indie/alternative tastes in music make him seem like a worthy beau for Rory. For now …