In S1E17, Lorelai tells Luke that Dean broke up with Rory. Luke is angry and starts ranting about how he always knew Dean was no good. Luke says, “Well, forget it! Good riddance, adios, bienvenidos, hasta la vista.” Lorelai responds, “Can we get off the small world ride and get cooking, please?”
“It’s a Small World” is a ride, found in every Disney theme park worldwide, consisting of hundreds of dancing and singing dolls dressed in costumes from various world cultures.
If you really want to, you can watch the whole ride here:
In S1E14, Rory is studying in the kitchen with Lorelai. Rory says, “Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst.” Lorelai chimes in, “But everybody called her kitten.” Rory continues, “Married to Grand Duke Peter of Holstein in 1754.”
Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst, otherwise known as Catherine the Great, was the longest-ruling female leader of Russia. She expanded Russia’s power and influence following the assassination of her husband, Peter III, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp.
(Catherine the Great actually had one additional name- she was born Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg.)
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 S1E10, Richard is in the hospital and Emily is frantically trying to find out how he is. Rory wants to call her mom again, but Emily tells her, “Rory, go get your grandfather a paper. The Wall Street Journal or Barron’s, whatever they have. He’ll want something to read when he gets back to his room.”
Barron’s is a weekly newspaper that covers business topics. It was founded in 1921 by Clarence Barron.
The Wall Street Journal is a daily newspaper with an emphasis on business. It was founded in 1889 by Charles Dow, Edward Jones, and Charles Bergstresser.
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.
In S1E9, Rory is getting ready for her school dance and Lorelai sprays Rory’s hair with hairspray. Lorelai says, “Ok, that’ll be good for 6 slow dances, 4 medium ones, 1 lambada, but if you plan on doing any moshing I suggest another coat.”
Lambada is an upbeat Afro-Brazilian dance style that was popular in the 80’s and 90’s. Kaoma’s song “Lambada” was released in 1989 and is considered one of the most well-known singles in the world. (The song was actually a cover of a 1981 song by Los Kjarkas.) A sample of Kaoma’s “Lambada” can also be heard in Jennifer Lopez’s 2011 song, “On the Floor.”
In S1E9, Rory suggests that she and Lorelai stay in the hostel that used to be Vaclav Havel‘s cell. Lorelai responds, “Absolutely. Then we should go to Turkey and stay in that place from ‘Midnight Express.'”
“Midnight Express” is a 1978 film based on the true story of Billy Hayes, an American who was imprisoned in Turkey for trying to smuggle drugs out of the country. The film was criticized for portraying Turks in too negative a light, but nonetheless, the prison is depicted as horrifying and brutal.
In S1E9, Richard goes to Prague. Back in Hartford at a Friday night dinner, Rory comments, “Did you know that the cell that Vaclav Havel was held in is now a hostel? You can stay there for like $50 a night.”
Vaclav Havel was a writer and president of Czechoslovakia, as well as the first president of the Czech Republic. Prior to his presidencies, his anti-communist activities led to his imprisonment on several occasions.
In S1E8, Emily tells Lorelai that Rory should probably stay in Hartford overnight because of a snowstorm. Lorelai tells Rory, “Alright now honey, tell Grandma that you arrived there not a member of the Junior League; I’d like you to leave there the same way.”
The Junior League is an international non-profit organization of women dedicated to volunteering and charity work. It boasts many prominent women among its members, including Nancy Reagan, Shirley Temple, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Julia Child.
In S1E7, Rory and Lorelai are waiting for Dean to arrive for their movie night, but he’s late. Rory says, “Maybe something happened. Maybe he’s not coming!” Lorelai responds, “Maybe he’s just late, Miss German Train!”
This is a weird reference, for sure. I think Lorelai is just talking about the stereotype that the Deutsch Bahn and Inter-City Express trains in Germany always run on time. Germans tend to be punctual. Plenty of people contest the veracity of this claim, but it remains a stereotype nonetheless.