In S1E16, Tristan is making out with a girl on some lockers at Chilton. Paris is complaining about them, partly because they are making out in front of her locker and partly because she has a crush on Tristan. Rory asks, “I’m assuming your locker is in there somewhere also?” Paris answers, “Yep. Right behind Belle Watling.”
Belle Watling is a minor character in “Gone with the Wind,” a 1936 novel set during and after the American Civil War. Belle is a prostitute in Atlanta who is often employed by Rhett, the male protagonist and Scarlett O’Hara’s third husband.
In S1E16, Rory hints at Lorelai that she should call Max, since Max hasn’t called her yet. Rory says, “You know you have a phone, also.” Lorelai tries to change the subject by saying, “How’s it coming with that pan?” Rory responds, “Cleopatra, queen of denial.”
Cleopatra VII was the second-to-last pharaoh of Egypt before it came under the control of the Roman Empire in 30 BC. Her son, Caesarion, whose father was Julius Caesar, ruled with her from 44 BC until her death in 30 BC (she and Mark Antony both committed suicide after they lost a battle to Octavian).
Anyway, the joke has nothing to do with her actual rule, it’s just that the Nile River runs through Egypt, so Cleopatra was literally the Queen of the Nile. Oh, puns…
In S1E16, Rory comes home to find Lorelai sitting at the kitchen with a baking mix in her hands. Rory says, “No, put that away!” Lorelai replies, “I wanna cook!” Rory says, “You can make soup.” Lorelai says, “No, I wanna really cook, like on the food channel. I wanna saute things and chop things and do the ‘bam!’ And I wanna arrange things on a plate so they look like a pretty little hat. I wanna be the Iron Chef!”
Ok, let’s unpack this. The food channel is actually called “Food Network” and was launched in 1993 (“Food Channel,” strangely enough, is a website and not a television channel).
The “bam!” comment was referring to Chef Emeril Lagasse, a celebrity chef who has hosted multiple cooking shows on the Food Network. “Bam!” is one of his catchphrases.
Iron Chef America was not created until 2005, so Lorelai was talking about the original Iron Chef, a Japanese cooking show that premiered in 1993 on the Fuji Network. In the show, visiting chefs compete against a master “Iron Chef” to create the best dish centered around a specific ingredient.
In S1E16, Dean is waiting for Rory at the Stars Hollow bus stop. When she arrives, she asks him, “So?” Dean replies, “It’s depressing.” Rory counters, “It’s beautiful!” Dean says, “She throws herself under a train!” Rory says, “But I bet she looked great doing it.”
Anna Karenina is a novel by Leo Tolstoy, published from 1876-1877 in a Russian magazine. The main character, Anna, is a member of the Russian elite who falls in love with Vronsky, a flirtatious count. A series of events tear Anna apart: her affair with Vronsky alienates her from high society, her husband refuses to divorce her, and she becomes paranoid that Vronsky is having an affair with someone else. Anna eventually commits suicide by throwing herself under a train.
In S1E15, Miss Patty tells a group of kids the story of how Stars Hollow was founded, then asks, “Who wants to hear about the time I danced in a cage for Tito Puente?”
Tito Puente, “The King of Latin Music,” was an American musician and composer in the twentieth century. His parents were from Puerto Rico but Tito grew up in Spanish Harlem. He fought in World War II and studied at Juilliard School of Music.
In S1E15, Christopher is making some nonsense plea to Lorelai about how Rory might be his only child, and Lorelai scoffs, “That’s not true. If Tony Randall can crank one out in his seventies, you have decades left to spawn.”
Tony Randall was an actor, best known for playing Felix in the 1965 television show “The Odd Couple.” When he was 75 years old, he married a 25 year old. The couple had two children together.
In S1E15, Christopher is trying to convince Lorelai to marry him. She protests that they don’t even really know each other as adults. Christopher says, “Well… let’s get married and get to know each other as adults.” Lorelai replies, “Well, that’s very ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ of you.”
Fiddler on the Roof is a 1964 musical about a Jewish family living in Russia in 1905. Arranged marriages were the norm, and Tevye just wants to see his daughters married well. However, some of them prefer to marry men they love.
In S1E15, Christopher is trying to convince Lorelai that he’s ready to get married, but Lorelai is having none of it. She accuses him, “The Offspring is your favorite band!” Christopher replies, “So? You’re into Metallica!” Lorelai counters, “Well, Metallica is way more substantial than the Offspring!” Christopher yells, “Here we go, it’s the same Black Sabbath riff all over again.”
The Offspring is a punk rock band that gained popularity in the early 90’s. As of 2016, they are still recording together, and actually just released a song in June 2016 called “Sharknado.”
Metallica is a heavy metal band that also gained widespread popularity in the early 90’s. They are considered one of the most successful bands of all time.
Black Sabbath are a rock band who became popular in the US and UK in the 1970s. They were pioneers of heavy metal music.
In S1E15, Christopher announces to Lorelai, after a disastrous night at her parents’, that he wants to marry her. She freaks out, at one point yelling, “Charlie Manson is freaked out by you right now!”
Charles Manson led a cult-like group of followers to commit 9 murders in California in 1969. He thought he could start an apocalyptic war with the murders, supposedly. As of 2016, he is still alive in prison, serving multiple life sentences.
In S1E15, Lorelai is describing to Christopher why their evening at her parent’s house had been terrible. She says, “My father almost hit someone! My father has probably only hit a man in college, wearing boxing gloves and one of those Fred Mertz golden gloves pullover sweaters.” Christopher repeats, “Fred Mertz?” Lorelai confirms, “I Love Lucy, Fred Mertz.” Christopher, offering us a brief glimpse into why he and Lorelai ever worked well together, responds quickly, “Landlord to Ricky, husband to Ethel, I know. It’s just a weird reference.”
Fred Mertz is a character, played by William Frawley, from the 1951 television show “I Love Lucy.” Fred is, as Christopher says, Lucy and Ricky’s landlord. His wife is Lucy’s best friend Ethel. Fred is known to have been a boxer in his younger days, and he does indeed wear a golden gloves sweater in one episode.