In S1E18, Lorelai is teasing Emily for giving her a present that had initially been a gift from Richard’s mother to Emily. Lorelai says, “What would Miss Manners say about this?” Emily replies, “If she met your grandmother, she’d understand.”
Miss Manners is the pen name used by Judith Martin. She writes a column, carried by hundreds of newspapers, about the rules, history, and theory of etiquette. She began “Miss Manners” in 1978 and received a National Humanities Medal in 2005 for her work.
In S1E18, Madeline and Louise are contemplating spying on Tristan and Paris as they talk about some unknown subject in the hall. Rory is against it, but Louise says, “Those who simply wait for information to find them spend a lot of time sitting by the phone. Those who go out and find it themselves have something to say when it rings.” Rory asks, “Nietzsche?” Louise answers, “Dawson.”
Frederick Nietzsche was a 19th century German philosopher. He was believed to be an atheist, often remembered for his bold statement, “God is dead.” Most people equate Nietzsche with nihilism, although he did seem to find hope in the idea of “working for the future.”
I think Louise is talking about the character Dawson Leery from the television show “Dawson’s Creek.” It premiered on the WB in 1998 (the same network as Gilmore Girls). The story followed the life of Dawson and his friends, Joey and Pacey, as they attend high school in a small Massachusetts town. (I can’t find this exact quote, but it does seem like something Dawson would say, and I can’t find any indication of another “Dawson” Louise might be talking about).
In S1E18, Paris is suspiciously questioning Rory about why she didn’t want to be the queen of their fake government. Rory says, “Not all girls want to be queen, Paris. Even Barbie ended up being a stewardess.”
Barbie is a doll manufactured and sold by Mattel, first released in 1959. Many different versions of Barbie are sold, often with different “career” themes. She has been a stewardess, an astronaut, a doctor, a military officer, the U.S. President, and more. Barbie also has a backstory, as told in various novels. She is usually dating Ken and has a little sister named Skipper.
In S1E16, Lorelai is ranting to Rory about how she made a fool of herself in front of Luke’s ex-girlfriend, Rachel. She says, “And he’s looking at her like she’s Miss September, and she’s looking and him like he’s Johnny Depp, and I was just babbling like a moron. What is wrong with me?” Lorelai proceeds to yank on Rory’s hair too hard and gets kicked off “hair duty.”
Johnny Depp is an American actor who rose to fame on the 1980s TV series “21 Jump Street.” He also acted in many successful films in the 1990s, including “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?,” “Benny and Joon,” and “Edward Scissorhands.” Since this episode aired, Johnny has become even more popular through the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, “Sweeney Todd,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and many others.
In S1E15, Emily says to Christopher and Lorelai, “Do you remember when you two were, what, 10? And you put on that adorable show for us?” Lorelai asks, “What show, Mom?” Christopher answers, “Lucy, Schroeder, you laying on the coffee table…” Lorelai finishes, “You pretending it was a piano!” Richard asks Christopher if he wrote the song they performed- “Suppertime.” Lorelai says, “Dad! That’s from ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.’ It’s a famous musical!”
Schroeder is a piano-playing friend of Charlie Brown from the “Peanuts” comics. Lucy has a crush on him. Lucy laying on the piano while Schroeder plays is a classic scene from the comics.
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” is a 1967 musical written by Clark Gesner. It was also adapted into TV Specials in 1973 and 1985. “Suppertime” is a song in which Snoopy dances and rejoices that Charlie has finally brought him supper.
In S1E15, Christopher comes to town and runs into Jackson and Andrew in the bookstore. Jackson says, “Boy, I gotta tell you, did they get your description wrong.” Christopher asks, “Really?” Jackson replies, “Oh yeah, much more George Clooney than Brad Pitt. Hey Andrew, don’t you think he’s much more George Clooney than Brad Pitt?” Andrew says, “I’m going with a Billy Crudup comparison, myself.”
Brad Pitt (left photo), born in 1963, is an American actor known for “A River Runs Through It” and “Ocean’s Eleven,” which he starred in with George Clooney. He and his wife Angelina Jolie are also very involved in humanitarian work.
George Clooney (middle photo), born in 1961, is an American actor known for the television series “ER” and the 2001 remake of “Ocean’s Eleven.” He was named one of Time magazine’s “Most Influence People in the World” in 2009 for his humanitarian work.
Billy Crudup (right photo), born in 1968, is an American actor known for “Almost Famous” and “Big Fish.” He was also a theater actor, winning a Tony Award for his performance in “The Coast of Utopia” in 2007.
In S1E15, Lorelai is telling Sookie that all her worst moments have happened with Christopher. She elaborates, “My worst fashion choices, my big-hair days, the wearing of Bonne Bell lip-smackers around my neck… It was all with Christopher!”
The Bonne Bell company first released “Lip Smackers,” a line of flavored lip balms, in 1973. They were sometimes sold as pendants that could be worn as necklaces or keychains. Lip Smackers were known for partnering with soda and candy companies, and for their huge range of flavors. Lip Smackers still exist today, although the brand has changed somewhat since the 70’s. Here’s a kind of fun timeline of Lip Smackers history: http://www.lipsmacker.com/timeline.html
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, Rory is telling her grandparents about the bird (Stella) that she had to take care of for class. Rory says, “Everything has to be logged. Eating habits, sleeping habits…” and Lorelai chimes in, “Houdini habits.”
Harry Houdini was an American magician and escape artist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He escaped from straightjackets, graves, and even wooden crates that had been dropped into rivers.
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.”