In S1E18, Emily gives a passionate speech about the Kennedy’s dinner conversation and the Gilmore’s intelligence and requests dinner conversation. When Lorelai’s reply is, “Do you know that a butt model makes $10,000 a day?” Emily comments, “Camelot is truly dead.”
Camelot is the fictional, romantic home of King Arthur. It is a term sometimes used to describe John F. Kennedy’s presidency. The comparison was created by Jackie Kennedy shortly after JFK’s assassination, when she said in an interview that John had liked the musical “Camelot,” especially the line, “Don’t ever let it be forgot, that once there was a spot for one brief shining moment that was Camelot.” Jackie herself said “there will never be another Camelot.” In doing this, she secured her husband’s legacy as a peaceful, benevolent, almost ideal president. Here’s a great article that goes more in-depth into the phenomenon of JFK’s Camelot.
In S1E15, Richard puts Rory on the spot in front of Strobe and Francine, Rory’s other grandparents. Rory doesn’t know what to say, so to rescue her, Lorelai yells, “I hate President Bush!”
George W. Bush was the newly elected president during the airing of this episode. He attended Harvard and Yale, and belonged to the Republican party. He worked in oil and owned a baseball team before being elected in 2000 and serving as president from 2001 to 2009. Many of his policies and decisions remain controversial, especially his response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, although this episode of Gilmore Girls aired before that.
In S1E10, Luke watches Lorelai come up with excuse after excuse not to see her father, who is in the hospital. Once Rory and Emily go in to see Richard, Lorelai struggles to think of a reason to stay outside. Luke says, “So who are you gonna go find now? How about Jimmy Hoffa? That’ll keep you busy for a while.”
Jimmy Hoffa was an activist and president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union who disappeared in 1975. Hoffa was supposed to meet with two mafia leaders in a restaurant parking lot, but they never showed up. Hoffa was seen driving away from the meeting location with another man. Investigations did not reveal Hoffa’s fate, but he was legally declared dead in 1982.
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, 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, Babette meets Dean for the first time and tells Lorelai, after Dean leaves, “Oooh is he cute! And that ‘Chuck Heston’ chin o’ his!”
Charleton “Chuck” Heston was an actor during the second half of the 20th century. He played Moses in the 1956 film “The Ten Commandments” and won an Oscar for starring in “Ben-Hur.” Heston also served in WWII and was a political activist, first as a Democrat and later as a Republican.
In S1E5, Rory finds out that Lorelai arranged a date with Max without telling Rory. She says she’s angry because Lorelai lied to her. Lorelai clarifies, “I kept information from you.” Rory yells, “Information that I should’ve had!” Lorelai counters, “Information that would’ve come out eventually, like the Iran-Contra scandal.” Rory says, “So you’re Oliver North!” Lorelai replies, “No, I’m Fawn Hall.”
The Iran-Contra scandal, sometimes called “Irangate” or “Contragate,” was a series of secret political actions that took place during Reagan’s second Presidential term. The Reagan administration helped provide arms to Iran, and some funds from the sale were diverted to Contra militant groups in Honduras. The actions helped to free American hostages in Lebanon, but both the sale of arms to Iran and the funding of Contra groups were illegal at the time.
Oliver North was a member of the National Security Council who was largely blamed for the scandal. Fawn Hall was his secretary, who was charged with conspiracy and destroying documents. Both were given immunity.
In S1E4, Lorelai is yelling at Max and Headmaster Charleston about their refusal to let Rory take her test, and she tells Max, “You say she’s smart and she’ll do fine, and this rotting, stodgy rathole could use somebody like her, and then you completely shut her out of a test she’s been cramming for, that she’s ready for, that she completely deserves to take!”
Max, keeping his cool, tells Headmaster Charleston, “I didn’t call this place a rathole.”
Lorelai says, “Oh no, that’s true. I added that. Wouldn’t want you to get in trouble with “Il Duce’ here.”
“Il Duce” refers to Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy from 1925 to 1942 (and Prime Minister before that, from 1922 to 1925). He is the founder of fascism. “Il Duce” means “the leader” in Italian. Mussolini led Italy to become one of the Axis powers in WWII. After being ousted by the King of Italy, he was eventually executed by Italian communists.
In S1E2, Headmaster Charleston is getting to know Rory on her first day at Chilton. She tells him that she wants to study journalism and political science and become Christiane Amanpour. Headmaster Charleston is genuinely surprised and says, “Really? Not Cokie Roberts? Not Oprah, Rosie, or one of the women from ‘The View?'” Rory firmly replies “no” to each of his other suggestions (and never gives up on her dream of being Christiane Amanpour).
Whew, so many references. This one’s a doozy.
Christiane Amanpour was discussed in this post.
Oprah was briefly discussed in this post. She is a talk show host who began her career as a news anchor and radio host. She pioneered the genre of “tabloid talk show” but later broadened her topics to include more emphasis on lifestyle and social issues.
Cokie Roberts is an award-winning journalist and news analyst for NPR and ABC. Much of her work has centered around American politics, though she has covered international affairs as well.
“Rosie” refers to Rosie O’Donnell, an actress and television host. She hosted the award-winning “Rosie O’Donnell Show” and hosted “The View” for many years. She tended to bring politically liberal opinions to “The View” and is known for voicing strong opinions on controversial subjects.
“The View” is an ABC television talk show that premiered in 1997 and began its 19th season in the fall of 2015. It features a panel of female co-hosts who discuss a range of topics from politics to celebrities.