Senior Ditch Day

PARIS: Not that the person who actually wins will even know who Hubert Humphrey is, but hey, I bet they’ll organize one boffo senior ditch day.

Ditch Day, previously discussed.

Boffo, US slang meaning “very good”. It originated from the film trade magazine, Variety.

Note that Paris is wearing one of the 400 campaign buttons that Lorelai made for them, showing Rory’s and Paris’ faces, against what looks like the US flag (as if it’s a real presidential election, not just one for school).

“Oy with the poodles already”

LORELAI: Huh. You know what I just realized? Oy is the funniest word in the entire world … I mean, think about it. You never hear the word oy and not smile. Impossible. Funny, funny word.

Oy, a Yiddish interjection expressing surprise and dismay. Often combined with vey, an interjection expressing distress or grief, to make oy vey (“oh no, woe is me”, more or less).

With the, a characteristic in Ashkenazi Jewish mode of speech in the US, meaning “in regard to, about, in the manner of”, generally in a disapproving tone to suggest that it’s too much or too often eg “You’re always with the jokes”, “Enough with the new house talk”.

Poodle, a curly-coated game dog which probably originated in Germany, first bred to retrieve wildfowl from water after hunting. It’s German name Pudel means “splash”, and it’s related to the English word puddle.

Already, a characteristic in Ashkenazi Jewish mode of speech in the US. At the end of a sentence, it expresses a frustrated impatience with a situation which should have been dealt with long ago eg “Will you two stop fighting and get a divorce already?”.

So Lorelai’s catchphrase means (roughly translated), “Oh no, there is a surfeit of poodles – this situation needs to be dealt with immediately, as it should have been rectified a long time ago!”.

Fans are divided as to whether Lorelai’s off-the-cuff catchphrase is actually funny. It’s certainly very Jewish.

“You drank some Boone’s Farm out of a bota bag and knocked a beach ball around?”

MICHEL: It was dignified, as most French ceremonies are. Poetry was read, a string quartet played, a ballerina performed.

LORELAI: You drank some Boone’s Farm out of a bota bag and knocked a beach ball around?

Boone’s Farm, originally an apple wine, now a flavoured malt beverage, due to changes in tax law. It’s made by E&J Gallo in California, one of the biggest wine producers in the world. It’s popular with college students because it’s cheap and sold in convenience stores.

A bota bag is a traditional Spanish wineskin or canteen, often made from goatskin. Modern bota bags have a plastic lining and nozzle.

Beach balls are commonly tossed around by US college students on spring break or at graduation celebrations. Lorelai is teasing Michel by pretending that his graduation in France was the sort of drunken frolic stereotypically enjoyed by American college graduates.

Skeet Shooting

While all three walk through the town square, Dean explains his new hobby of skeet shooting to Rory and Lorelai. He has taken it up at the urging of his father, who is a big fan of the sport.

Skeet shooting, elsewhere known as clay pigeon shooting or clay target shooting, is using a shotgun to try to break clay targets mechanically flung into the air at high speed from a variety of angles.

The show keeps giving Dean more and more interests that couldn’t be less compatible with Rory. Monster trucks, robot battles, shooting … we get it now. He and Rory don’t belong together! The fact that Rory can’t wait to make fun of her own boyfriend for daring to have hobbies she doesn’t share seems like another red flag Dean should have paid attention to.

Antichrist

RORY: Oh, right, Jess is the Antichrist, I forgot.

Theologically, the Antichrist is a prophesied figure who sets himself up as a false Messiah, but popularly understood to mean anyone who is an opponent of Christianity, with the motive to destroy or damage the church. It’s also used colloquially to mean a person or thing which is fundamentally evil, and an enemy of everything which is good.

Pointman

EMILY: I scaled back a lot. I cut two appetizers, I canceled the champagne fountain, and I reduced the catering staff to six servers, not counting the pointman.

Technically a pointman is the head of a military patrol, or in the US, the word is used to mean the person who is at the forefront of a particular endeavour. I think Emily just means the pointman is the person who is coordinating the party and giving the servers instructions, solving any little problem that might come up.

Beer Bash and Rush Hour

EMILY: Lorelai, there you are. You’re late.

LORELAI: Well, you scheduled this beer bash during rush hour.

A beer bash is slang for an informal party, often organised in the context of a university or office social event. It seems to be used particularly in Commonwealth countries like Canada, and doesn’t appear to be common in the US. Emily doesn’t rise to the bait of having her corporate event described as a “bash”.

Rush hour, the name given to the time of day when traffic is heaviest, the times of day when most people are going to or from work. Unlike its name, it usually lasts more than an hour, and far from rushing, traffic is generally slow.

Nanooking It, Whale Blubber, and Mukluks

LORELAI: So you’ve been just Nanooking it this whole time, just sending out for whale blubber and mukluks? [adjusts thermostat]

Nanook of the North [pictured], a 1922 silent film documentary/docudrama written, produced, and directed by Robert J. Flaherty. The film follows the struggles of an Inuk man named Nanook, his wife Nyla, and their family as they travel, trade and search for food in the Canadian Arctic. They are shown hunting a walrus, building an igloo, and going about their everyday tasks. Nanook and his family are portrayed as fearless heroes, enduring rigours beyond the comprehension of most Westerners.

The film has been criticised for fictionalising events and presenting them as reality. For example, “Nanook” was really named Allakariallak, and Nyla (aka Alice) was not his wife, but one of Flaherty’s common-law wives. The cast were scripted to behave in a more “authentic” Inuit way, such as using traditional hunting weapons rather than guns, and acting as if they had little knowledge of Western culture. Many things had to be staged, because of the difficulties of filming with one fixed camera in a harsh environment.

Nanook of the North was ground-breaking cinema, capturing authentic details of a culture that was then little known to outsiders, and filmed in a remote location. Hailed unanimously by critics, it was also a box-office success, and is still viewed as an enthralling documentary. As the first full-length feature documentary to achieve financial success, it paved the way for the entire genre. Nanook of the North was remastered and released on DVD in 1999, so Lorelai and Rory could have actually seen it.

Whale blubber is an important part of the traditional diet of Inuit people, valued for its high energy value, nutritional content, and availability. Mukluks are soft boots, traditionally made from caribou hide or sealskin, worn by the Indigenous people of the Arctic.

Trade School

LUKE: Me? Oh, no, I’m not the one you want helping him. I went to this school – I’m sure there’s still a note stuffed in there about me with the words ‘trade school’ stamped in really big letters.

Trade school is a term in the US for a vocational college, technical school, or technical college, offering training in skills for specific job or career. In the US, they are government owned or supported, and require two years of study to fulfil requirements; they can sometimes replace the final two years of schooling. The number of such trade schools is declining significantly, but even so Luke would have had the choice of more than a dozen trade schools in Connecticut if he had wanted to attend one.

The Pigeon Sisters and Opus

PARIS: I’m sorry, group leader, could you ask the Pigeon sisters if there is a point to this opus?

The Pigeon sisters are characters from the film The Odd Couple, previously mentioned. They are English sisters named Cecily and Gwendolyn Pigeon who live in the same building as Felix and Oscar. They were played by cousins Monica Evans and Carole Shelley in the original Broadway play, the film, and the 1970 sit-com, although their roles were gradually phased out in the television show.

The Pigeon sisters are friendly, flirtatious, ditzy, and as their name suggests, slightly bird-brained, rather like Louise and Madeline. Paris has no problem tearing down her friends in public; no wonder that Rory isn’t sure whether Paris is her friend or not.

An opus is an artistic work, especially one on a grand scale.