401(k)s

SOOKIE: Just try to look older [to get into the nightclub].
RORY: How?
SOOKIE: Look like you’re thinking about retirements or 401(k)s and stuff.

In the United States, a 410(k) is a pension account where retirement savings receive contributions from the employer, and is tax-deferred until retirement. In other countries, it might be called a personal pension scheme or superannuation fund.

Puce

MAX: How ya doing?
LORELAI: Mm, I’m stable.
MAX: You’re a lovely shade of puce.
LORELAI: Don’t say puce. It sounds too much like another word I don’t wanna hear right now.

Puce is a dark red or purple-ish brown colour. The word comes from the French word for “flea”, and is supposedly named for the colour of bloodstains on bed sheets after a flea has been crushed.

Lorelai moans that the colour reminds her of the word “puke”.

Ennui

LORELAI: Michel, we’ve been over this, we all cover the phone, that includes you.
MICHEL: Don’t misunderstand. I want to answer it, I truly do, but today, today I am suffering from ennui.

Ennui is the French word for boredom and lethargy, with connotations of a melancholy world-weariness, and the jaded feeling of having life a little too easy. It has a particular resonance in twentieth century existentialist literature, such as by Kafka, Sartre, or Albert Camus, which often centres on a protagonist who drifts through life in the grip of ennui, angst, and alienation.

Lorelai has absolutely no patience with this, and diagnoses Michel as simply being tired, for which she prescribes (of course) massive amounts of coffee.

Rubbing alcohol

(Lorelai and Rory ring the doorbell. Emily answers the door.)
EMILY: Hello, hello, hello.
LORELAI: Wow, Mom, hi. (to Rory) Uh, check the rubbing alcohol.

Rubbing alcohol is an American term for those types of alcohol, such as methylated spirits, which are used as an antiseptic in domestic and industrial uses. They are often used as cleaning products, and their name comes from the fact that in the past, they were used in the same way we use heat rubs, to relieve pain and stiffness.

Lorelai appears to think her mother seems so cheerful she must be drunk, but in fact you can’t drink rubbing alcohol – they put bitter poisons in it to stop people abusing it that way. It would taste awful, and you would most likely become very sick before you got drunk. Lorelai is just joking though.

Parsing for subtext

LANE: He [Henry] left a message. I listened to it eight-and-a-half times, but then my mom came home and I had to erase it. But I was so panicked that I broke it, which is better because now all evidence that a boy called me is in the trash.
RORY: Eight and a half times.
LANE: Well, it was a good message the first couple times. Then I started parsing it for subtext.

To parse a sentence means to analyse it by reducing it to its grammatical elements, while subtext is the underlying meaning of a particular text. In other words, Lane began picking apart everything Henry said to search for hidden meanings.