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 discussing Tristan’s usual “type.” Louise says, “Tristan usually likes his girls bad.” Madeline tells Paris, “Looks like we’re going to have to do a Pink Ladies makeover on you.” Louise adds, “Turn you from a sweet Sandy into a slutty Sandy dancing at the school fair in high heels, black spandex, and permed hair.”
“Grease” is a musical that opened on Broadway in 1972. It was made into a movie in 1978 starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. The story follows two groups of high school students in 1959: the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies. Both groups consider themselves rebels, but Sandy, a new student, is accepted into the Pink Ladies despite being a “good girl.” In the end, Sandy ends up getting a makeover to impress Danny Zuko, a member of the T-Birds. She ditches her skirts and sweaters in favor of black leather and spandex and shows up at the school fair singing “You’re the One that I Want.” Danny actually earned himself a letterman’s jacket to impress Sandy, too, but he quickly takes it off when Sandy shows up.
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, Rory gives Tristan some advice: to go out with girls with more substance, like Paris. Rory says, “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship.” Tristan asks, “Who’s Louis?”
This is a line from the 1942 film “Casablanca” starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid. Casablanca is considered one of the best films of all time. The main character, Rick, played by Bogart, runs a cafe in Casablanca during World War II. Rick is trying to help get a Czech Resistance leader out of the country. He strikes a deal with police officer Louis Renault but ends up threatening Renault at gunpoint to help them. In the end, Renault covers for Rick, and the two of them make plans to leave Morocco and join the French Resistance. At the end of the film, Rick tells Renault, “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
In S1E18, Tristan tells Rory that he’s thinking about swearing off girls for a while. Rory laughs, and Tristan says, “You don’t think I can!” Rory answers, “No, I… I think you can. I just think it would be hard for you. It would probably involve some kind of lockup facility and one of those Hannibal Lecter masks.”
Hannibal Lecter is a character portrayed in a series of novels by Thomas Harris as well as in several movies and a television series based on those novels. He is a forensic psychiatrist and a cannibalistic serial killer. When he is imprisoned, he is fitted with a straightjacket and a mask that covers half his face, acting as a muzzle.
In S1E18, Tristan hands Rory a notebook that she forgot in class, and they both move to exit through the doorway at the same time, almost colliding. Rory says, “Well, that could’ve been a potential Marx Brothers moment.”
The Marx Brothers were a comedy troupe consisting of the brothers Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, and Harpo Marx. Gummo and Zeppo Marx also performed with them for a time. They actually began as a singing group, but switched when they realized they had a penchant for comedy. They performed on Broadway and made many films.
In S1E18, Paris asks Rory for feedback on her “manifesto” for their mock government project. Rory says, “My first thought, lose the word ‘manifesto.'” Paris asks, “Too ‘Cabin in the Woods?'” Rory answers, “Don’t open your mail.”
This is a reference to the Unabomber, aka Ted Kaczynski. In 1958, when he was only 16, he began studying at Harvard. Several years after earning his PhD, he became a recluse, living in a cabin in rural Montana while trying to become self-sufficient. He started sending out mail bombs in 1978, and continued for almost two decades before being arrested by the FBI. His manifesto, in which he calls for people to fight against “the system,” is actually what got him caught: he mailed it to The New York Times and said he would stop sending mail bombs if they published the letter. They did, and Kaczynski’s family members recognized the writing and contacted the FBI.
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 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 S1E18, Lorelai is rambling jokingly about Richard’s mother being God. At the end of their conversation, in which Richard informs them that his mother is visiting, Lorelai says, “I just can’t get over that I’m related to God. That’s gonna make getting Madonna tickets so much easier.”
Madonna and her songs have already been referenced and discussed here, here, and here. Madonna Ciccone was born in 1958 and rose to fame in the 1980s. She is one of the best-selling musicians of all time.