In S1E18, Richard’s mother Lorelai is talking to Rory’s mother Lorelai (so confusing) about how she borrowed money to pay for Rory’s school. Lorelai the elder says, “You know Shakespeare once wrote, ‘Neither a borrower nor a lender be.'”
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be” is a quote from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3. It is advice given by Polonius (King Claudius’ advisor) to his son Laertes before Laertes departs for Paris. Read here for a good summary of the whole play.
In S1E18, Emily is trying to find all the awful gifts her mother-in-law has given her over the years. She rants about the “lion tables and stupid naked angels with their butts!” Lorelai says, “Woah! Stupid naked angel butts? What, did David Mamet just stop by?”
David Mamot is an American playwright and screenwriter, known for “Sexual Perversity in Chicago,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” and “The Verdict.” Mamot does have a rather distinctive style for writing dialogue, although I’m not sure “stupid naked angel butts” really fits. Lorelai could be connecting Emily’s use of language to “Sexual Perversity in Chicago,” which is full of profanity and insults.
In S1E15, Lorelai is avoiding telling Sookie about Christopher by talking about her broken toaster. She says, “It’s been cold pop-tarts for a week; it’s like a damned Dickens novel!”
Charles Dickens was a 19th century English novelist, famous for many works including “A Christmas Carol,” “Oliver Twist,” “A Tale of Two Cities,” and “David Copperfield.” Dickens’ stories frequently feature themes of poverty and oppression, such as the poor orphans and street urchins in “Oliver Twist,” the Cratchet family in “A Christmas Carol,” and Gaspard in “A Tale of Two Cities.”
In S1E14, Rory asks Richard what trips he has coming up, and he says, “Uh, Madrid, the 12th!” Rory comments, “Wow!” Richard says, “I think there’s a nice edition of Cervantes in it for you.”
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was a Spanish writer in the late 16th century, considered one of the greatest authors of all time. He is primarily known for his novel “Don Quixote,” which follows the adventures of a semi-delusional wannabe superhero/knight and his sidekick, Sancho Panza.
In S1E14, Lorelai is naming the bird that Rory brought home for her school project. First, Lorelai names the bird Stanley, but after Rory points out that the bird is female, Lorelai updates the name to Stella. She says, “Stella’s nice, and Stella was married to Stanley!”
“A Streetcar Named Desire” is a 1947 play by Tennessee Williams. Stella and Stanley Kowalski, working-class residents of New Orleans, are two of the main characters in the play. Interestingly, in relation to the 1950’s housewife/Donna Reed theme of this episode, Stanley Kowalski was physically and emotionally abusive, but in the original story, Stella stayed with him anyway. Later adaptations were changed so that Stella leaves Stanley in the end, taking their child with her.
In S1E14, Lorelai suggests to her parents that they go to Europe that Spring instead of their usual trip to Martha’s Vineyard. Emily says, “We only go to Europe in the Fall.” Lorelai quips, “You know Mom, I heard a rumor- Europe’s still there in the Spring.” Rory adds, “I heard that too!” Emily responds, “We know that it’s there in the Spring, but we never go in the Spring because we always go in the Fall.” Lorelai says, “It’s getting a little too ‘Lewis Carroll’ for me.”
Lewis Carroll was a nineteenth century author (also a logician and mathematician) known for “Through the Looking Glass” and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” He occasionally wrote in the style of literary nonsense, making up words and ridiculous scenarios. He often used humorous wordplay and repetition to demonstrate logical concepts, such as, “Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would.”
In S1E13, Rory tells Lane that Paris, Madeline, and Louise are coming over the next day for a school project. Lane says, “All three of ’em, huh?” Rory responds, “Double, double, toil and trouble.” Lane adds, “Well, it should make for an interesting afternoon.” Rory says, “With the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” Lane comments, “You’re doing very well in that Shakespeare class, aren’t you?”
Both of Rory’s quotes are lines from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” “Double, double, toil and trouble” is part of a song that the three witches sing in their cave as they are working over their cauldrons. “With the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes” is a prediction from one of the witches that Macbeth is about to arrive at their cave in search of prophesies.
Personally, I always think of the melody these lyrics are set to in “Harry Potter.”
In S1E11, Madeline and Louise are talking about who Mr. Medina is dating, and Louise guesses that his girlfriend is dumb, because “dumb girls crave smart men. It’s the whole ‘Marilyn Monroe/Arthur Miller’ syndrome.”
Marilyn Monroe was an actress in the 1940’s and 1950’s. The characters she played tended to be “dumb blondes.” She actually hated the typecasting and almost turned down the leading role in “The Seven Year Itch.” She married Arthur Miller in 1956 and they divorced in 1961.
Arthur Miller was an American playwright who was very active in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. He is probably most well-known for “The Crucible” and “Death of a Salesman.”
In S1E11, Lorelai picks up Max’s copy of “Swann’s Way” by Proust. She tells Max that she’s always wanted to read Proust. She explains, “Every now and then, I’m seized with an overwhelming urge to say something like, ‘As Marcel Proust would say…’ but of course I have no idea what Marcel Proust would say so I don’t even go there. I could do, ‘As Michael Crichton would say’ but it’s not exactly the same, you know?”
Marcel Proust was a French author during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is considered one of the greatest authors of all time. “Swann’s Way” is the first of Proust’s 7 part novel entitled “In Search of Lost Time.” The story is written in first person and describes the narrator’s life and introduction to French society and art.
Michael Crichton was an author of sci-fi and thriller novels in the late twentieth century. He is known for writing “Jurassic Park,” “Congo,” and “The Lost World.” He passed away in 2008, several years after this episode of Gilmore Girls aired.
In S1E10, Rory is telling Lane about all the Christmas gifts she bought for people. When Rory says that she got Dean a book, Lane interrupts, “You got Dean a book?” Rory says, “Yeah, ‘Metamorphosis.'” Lane goes on to refer to the book as “a really confusing Czechoslovakian novel” and (metaphorically) as “a Czechoslovakian football.”
“The Metamorphosis” is a short novel by Franz Kafka, published in in 1915. The story is about one man’s adjustment to life as a monster.
Kafka was a German writer who was born in the Kingdom of Bohemia, which later became Czechoslovakia. In 1993 Czechoslovakia split into two separate countries- the Czech Republic and Slovakia.