In S1E14, Rory asks Richard what trips he has coming up, and he says, “Uh, Madrid, the 12th!” Rory comments, “Wow!” Richard says, “I think there’s a nice edition of Cervantes in it for you.”
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was a Spanish writer in the late 16th century, considered one of the greatest authors of all time. He is primarily known for his novel “Don Quixote,” which follows the adventures of a semi-delusional wannabe superhero/knight and his sidekick, Sancho Panza.
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.”
In S1E14, Emily and Richard are on the phone with a realtor discussing buying a new property at Martha’s Vineyard, and Emily wants to take the deal even though the grounds fees are higher. Richard holds out, however, and their realtor agrees to negotiate the grounds fees. Richard hangs up looking very pleased with himself, and Emily says, “Careful Richard, that canary you ate is going to spoil your dinner.”
“You look like the cat that ate the canary” is a saying used to describe someone who looks very smug and self-satisfied.
This isn’t really a cultural reference, but I personally wasn’t familiar with that idiom!
In S1E14, Sookie explains to Lorelai that Luke might have gotten the wrong impression when Lorelai invited him over late at night. Sookie mentions that Lorelai had been picking out paint samples with Luke to help him paint the diner, and Lorelai freaks out. She says, “All of a sudden, I’m trying to get any poor, unsuspecting person in bed with me! I’m like Michael Douglas!”
Michael Douglas, born in 1944, is an actor and producer. He is known for his roles in “Romancing the Stone” and “Wall Street” as well as for producing “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” He was married to Diandra Luker from 1977 to 1995, and he married Catherine Zeta-Jones in 2000.
It’s unclear why Lorelai references Michael Douglas to describe her situation.
In S1E14, Lorelai tells Sookie that she named Rory’s chick “Stella” after “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Sookie asks, “Vivian Leigh or Jessica Tandy?” Lorelai answers, “Hello! Tandy!”
Vivian Leigh was the actress who played Blanche in the 1951 film adaptation of “A Streetcar Named Desire” (also discussed here).
Jessica Tandy played Blache in the original Broadway production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” in 1948 alongside Marlon Brando. Her performance earned her a Tony Award.
In S1E14, Lorelai tells Sookie about losing Rory’s chick and Apricot, then finally finding Apricot in Babette and Morey’s piano. Sookie responds, “Wow, that’s very ‘Wild Kingdom’ of you.” Lorelai responds, “Yeah, I’m like the Marlin Perkins of Stars Hollow.”
“Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” (1963-1988) is a television show starring Marlin Perkins, a zoologist. The show described the lives and habitats of various animals, and was often filmed on location in their natural habitats.
In S1E14, Lorelai calls Luke in a panic because Rory’s baby chick escaped. Lorelai says, “Luke! Stella got out and I don’t know, do I put seed on the floor, do I make cheeping sounds, or do I pull a Lucy Ricardo and walk like a chicken so she thinks I’m her mother?”
Lucy Ricardo, briefly discussed previously, is the fictional name of Lucille Ball’s character on the show “I Love Lucy.” She did indeed walk like a chicken, as evidenced in the clip below.
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.”