Yellow Pages

LUKE: So I got a Yellow Pages and I found the Big and Tall Casket Shop in Hartford.

The Yellow Pages are phone books which are for businesses, as opposed to the residential White Pages. They were originally printed on yellow paper, and came about in 1883 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, when a printer ran out of white paper and had to use yellow instead. The name and concept are now used globally.

In real life, Hartford does not have a Big and Tall Casket Shop, although it is certainly possible to order extra-large caskets for large people (or medium size people who want to be buried with all their worldly goods).

Corky’s Country Cavalcade

RORY: What are you doing here anyhow? This is a town meeting for people who participate in and care about the town.

JESS: Well, Corky’s Country Cavalcade on public access was pre-empted, so I thought I’d check out the next best thing.

Corky’s Country Cavalcade, a fictional rural television program Jess has sarcastically invented to suggest that the town meeting is the closest real world parallel. Coming to a town meeting might mean that Jess does feel more connected to Stars Hollow since Rory has nagged him into helping out at the diner more at a time of family crisis, or that he wants to lend Luke some support. Or he might just want another chance to see Rory … his expression says he does. (Remember when Dean turned up to a town meeting just to see Rory?).

In North America, pre-empted is used in broadcasting to mean that a regular scheduled program has been interrupted or replaced.

FYI Van Halen Hair

TAYLOR: Well, FYI Van Halen hair, I’m plenty busy.

Van Halen, rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1973, with a classic line-up of brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen and lead singer David Lee Roth. Credited with restoring hard rock to the forefront of the contemporary music scene, they were known for their energetic live shows, and the virtuoso lead guitar of Eddie Van Halen. Their 1978 self-titled debut album went straight into the Top 20 and sold over 10 million copies in the US. By the early 1980s they were one of the most successful rock acts of their day, although only one of their singles, “Jump”, went to #1, in 1983.

The band members of Van Halen had long hair during the 1980s, with David Lee Roth’s golden mane to the forefront.

FYI, standing for “for your information”.

Rutabagas

TAYLOR: That’s Babette with an armload of rutabagas.

Rutabaga (Brassica napus) is the common US term for the winter root vegetable which is often called a swede in much of England, Australia, and New Zealand, a neep in Scotland, or a turnip in some parts of England, Ireland, and Canada. In some parts of the US, this vegetable may be known as a Swedish turnip or a yellow turnip.

Rutabagas are believed to have originated in Scandinavia or Russia, and were introduced to Britain in the late 18th century, coming to North America in the early 19th century. They aren’t widely eaten in the US, but may be found in stews and casseroles, or served mashed with carrots. They are often found in the New England boiled dinner, a traditional meal of corned beef with cabbage and root vegetables.

Crinite

TAYLOR: But I’ve got turnips – good ones, too. They’re not as big as that crinite freak’s turnips, but who needs bloated turnips?

Crinite is a technical term meaning “covered in tufts of hair”!

(Rory is out of her school uniform, so it seems to be the weekend now, unless she’s just given up going to school? I guess the previous day was Friday then, unless Lorelai and Rory have now been working multiple days at the diner. Ugh, I have no idea how time works in this episode!).

Crank

RORY: Where should the poached eggs go?

LUKE: Crank in the hat.

Crank is a term to refer to someone with an unshakeable belief in something that most of their contemporaries believe to be false. The term was popularised in 1872, being applied to Horace Greeley in his campaign for the US presidency. He believed in the settlement of the Old West and a magnanimous Reconstruction of the American South, and was a proponent of socialism, vegetarianism, agrarianism, feminism, and temperance. Cranks today can take comfort in the fact that all Greeley’s cranky ideas were proven very sensible, and are mainstream today.

In North American, a crank can also be slang for a bad-tempered person. I’m not sure which one Luke was applying to Cy, the “crank in a hat”, but Cy seems to believe it’s the second one, because he makes a spirited defence by saying that Luke is the crank – he’s well known around town for being grumpy.

“Spastic polka”

LORELAI: I know, life with my mother, one step forward, five thousand steps back. It’s kinda like the spastic polka.

Spastic is an outdated term to describe people with cerebral palsy, a disorder often characterised by poor co-ordination, weak or stiff muscles, and tremors.

In America, using the words “spastic” or “spaz” to humorously describe awkwardness, clumsiness, hyperactivity, or nerdiness is not considered as shockingly offensive as it in other parts of the world. Lorelai’s comment here would be unacceptable in Britain, for example.

Polka [pictured] is a Czech folk dance which was all the rage in the mid-19th century – so much so that the phenomenon was called “polkamania”. Polka made a comeback after World War II, when many Polish refugees moved to the US. Lorelai and Rory own at least one CD of polka music.

Chophouse

EMILY: I don’t know why I let you take me to this chophouse in the first place. I don’t go to chophouses.

Chophouse is a word for an inexpensive steakhouse, now so dated that it is considered a historical term more than anything else, although it’s been chosen as part of the name for several grills and steakhouses. The word has been used since at least the 18th century. There is an implication that a “chophouse” is of lower quality, but Emily thought her steak was the best she’d ever had, and the restaurant Lorelai chose doesn’t look super cheap.

Shrimp Cocktail

LORELAI: Ah, I just love the idea of shrimp cocktail with a steak dinner, you know?

Shrimp cocktail is the American term for prawn cocktail, a dish consisting of shelled, cooked prawns in a cocktail sauce, served in a glass. In the US, a cocktail sauce is made with ketchup and horseradish, sometimes with chilli sauce, slightly different to the Commonwealth version of mayonnaise and tomato sauce with Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice. Shrimp cocktail was very fashionable from the 1960s to the 1980s, and is now seen as a bit kitschy. Shrimp cocktail with a steak dinner remains a classic.