In S1E15, Kirk is heckling Dean and Luke as they’re playing softball (Kirk is just watching). Kirk makes up some insult about Dean and Luke having a show called “Zero and Zero,” and Luke says, “That doesn’t even resemble clever.” Kirk calls, “I’m dumbin’ it down for you, Alfalfa!”
Alfalfa is the name of a character who originally appeared in the short film series “Our Gang” in the early twentieth century, which was adapted into the movie “Little Rascals” in 1994. He was played by Carl Switzer in the short films and Bug Hall in the 1994 film. The stories centered around the antics and adventures of a group of young children (who act comically grown-up). Alfalfa is usually remembered for his cowlick and off-key singing.
In S1E14, Emily and Richard are making fun of their dead friend’s taste in decor as they plan to rent his old vacation home. Lorelai jokes, “Well, he’s dead now, so he got his!” Emily looks horrified and replies, “Lorelai, you’re being morbid.” Lorelai says, “I’m being morbid?” Rory interjects, “New subject, please,” and Lorelai tells her, “Joan and Melissa Rivers think I’m being morbid!”
Joan Rivers, born in 1933, was a comedian and actress known for her sharp and yes, sometimes morbid sense of humor. Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, is also an actress and has appeared in several collaborative projects with her mother. After Joan’s death in 2014, Melissa took over her hosting spot on the show Fashion Police.
A few noteworthy morbid jokes from Joan:
“The fashion magazines are suggesting that women wear clothes that are ‘age appropriate’… for me that would be a shroud.”
“I knew I was an unwanted baby when I saw that my bath toys were a toaster and a radio.”
In S1E14, Lorelai comes home to find that Rory’s baby chick, Stella, has escaped. Lorelai rants, “Oh, this is unbelievable. All day long, just chirps like a maniac at the top of her lungs and now, nothing. Silence. Marcel Marceau chicken.”
Marcel Marceau was an award-winning French mime who performed during much of the twentieth century. He became well-known in the United States in the 50’s when he toured the country performing in major cities. He performed in Mel Brooks’ “Silent Movie,” in which he was ironically the only character who spoke (just a single word).
In S1E14, Lane is showing Rory her CD collection and listing off genres and musicians at a rapid-fire pace. In her miscellaneous section, Rory pulls out a CD and exclaims, “William Shatner? Is this the one where he sings ‘Tambourine Man?'” Lane replies gleefully, “And Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”
William Shatner is primarily an actor, known especially for his role as Captain Kirk on “Star Trek.” He also won two Emmys for his performance on the show “Boston Legal.” He has released 4 studio albums, the first of which was entitled “The Transformed Man.” The album featured dramatic poetry readings as well as covers of well-known songs, including “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” and “How Insensitive.”
In S1E11, Rory tells Lorelai that Madeline and Louise were being friendly to her at school. Lorelai exclaims, “Wow, you’re the new ‘Heather.'”
“Heathers” is a 1988 dark comedy film starring Winona Rider and Christian Slater. The story centers around a popular clique of girls, three of whom are named Heather. The “boss” Heather is tyrannical and ruthless, but adored by much of the student body. After she is murdered, another Heather rises to take her place as the most popular girl in the school.
In S1E10, Rory is trying to clear the air with Lorelai about what happened the night Rory and Dean stayed out all night. Lorelai says, “Rory, there are only two things that I totally trust in this entire world: The fact that I will never be able to understand what Charo is saying no matter how long she lives in this country, and you.”
Charo is a Spanish-American musician, actress, and comedian. She rose to fame in the 1960’s and began appearing on talk shows, where jokes often centered around her poor English. She toured around the country and appeared on many more television shows throughout the 1970’s and beyond.
In S1E9, Dean discovers that Rory takes a book with her everywhere, even to the school dance. Dean asks what she’s reading, and she says, “The Portable Dorothy Parker.” Dean then reads this poem:
“There’s little in taking or giving, there’s little in water or wine, this living, this living, this living, was never a project of mine.”
Dorothy Parker, born in 1893, was an American poet and screenwriter known for her satire and wit. In the 40’s, she was accused of being a Communist and blacklisted by Hollywood. Parker willed her estate to Martin Luther King Jr., and it was passed on to the NAACP after his death.
In S1E9, Emily is talking to Lorelai on the phone and says, “Regret can make you bitter. Do you want Rory to be bitter?”and Lorelai responds, “Well, sort of.” Emily scolds, “Lorelai!” but Lorelai explains, “What, Mom? She could make some cash off of it, become a crazy Oscar Levant kind of celebrity, go on talk shows, heckle Regis!”
Oscar Levant was a twentieth-century comedian, musician, and actor known for his crazy, unstable persona. He frequently made jokes about his mental status.
Regis Philbin is a television personality who has been hosting talk shows since the 1960’s. At the time this Gilmore Girls episode aired, Regis was appearing on his talk show “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” with co-host Kathie Lee Gifford. In 2001 the title was changed to “Live! with Regis and Kelly” when Kelly Ripa replaced Kathie Lee.
In S1E7, Rory is warning Lorelai about meeting Dean. Rory says, “No kissing noises, no stories from my childhood, no referring to Chicago as ‘Chi-town,’ no James Dean jokes, no father-with-a-shotgun stares, no Nancy Walker impressions.” Lorelai responds in her best Nancy Walker voice, “Oh, come on!”
James Dean was an actor known for his role in the 1955 film “Rebel Without a Cause.” Already considered an American icon, he was killed in a car crash at only 24.
Nancy Walker was a comedic actress and singer, known for the 1970’s sitcoms “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Rhoda.”
In S1E7, Lorelai and Rory invite Dean over to watch “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” with them. At the market, a cashier asks, “Isn’t that the one with Gene Hackman?” Dean corrects her, “Uh, Gene Wilder.”
“Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” is an iconic 1987 film starring Gene Wilder and Peter Ostrum. It’s based on the book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl.
Gene Wilder, known for his comic acting, was immediately offered the role of Willy Wonka when he auditioned. As the story goes, Wilder actually thought up the idea for his introductory scene in “Willy Wonka,” when Wonka loses his cane and pretends to fall, but somersaults instead.
Gene Hackman is an actor known for “Unforgiven” and “Enemy of the State.” He played the villain Lex Luthor in the 1978 “Superman.”