In S1E5, Lorelai walks in on Babette cleaning out Cinnamon’s abundance of medications. Lorelai says, “Wow. It’s like a scene from the kitty version of ‘Valley of the Dolls.'”
“Valley of the Dolls” is a 1967 film based on a book by Jacqueline Susann. The story follows three young women who meet on the set of a Broadway show and become friends. Their paths diverge, but they all eventually turn to “dolls” (prescription drugs) to cope with the difficulties of life.
In S1E5, Lorelai is explaining to Rory that she never set out to date Rory’s teacher. She tells Rory, “You can’t always control who you’re attracted to, you know? I think the whole ‘Angelina Jolie, Billy Bob Thornton’ thing really proves that.”
Angelina Jolie is an actress who married actor Billy Bob Thornton in 2000. Thornton is known for being anti-celebrity, and Jolie is known for her humanitarian work. Their relationship was eccentric; they wore vials of each other’s blood around their necks. They eventually divorced in 2003.
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 S1E5, Lorelai tells Sookie, “Life’s a funny, funny thing, huh?” Sookie doesn’t get that Lorelai doesn’t really mean “funny,” and a Jim Carrey reference ensues. Lorelai says, “He is funny. But I don’t mean funny funny, I’m being philosophical.” Sookie responds with a fake-somber expression, “Oh. Very serious face. Jean-Paul Sartre.” Lorelai says, “Well, I can’t talk to you with that face.”
Jean-Paul Sartre was a French existentialist philosopher in the twentieth century. He declined a Nobel Prize in in 1964 because “a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution.”
In S1E5, Lorelai and Sookie are having lunch in the diner, and Lorelai says wistfully, “Life is a funny, funny thing, huh?” Sookie, not catching on, responds, “Yeah, I love that Jim Carrey!”
Jim Carrey is a comedian and actor. At the time Gilmore Girls season 1 aired, Carrey was already known for several films, including “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “Dumb and Dumber,” “The Truman Show,” and “Man on the Moon.” His comedy style tends to be very physical and slapstick, so it’s no wonder Sookie likes him, being so clumsy herself.
In S1E5, Lorelai meets Max in a coffee shop in Hartford. He tells her, “I think we should date.” Lorelai asks, “Why?” Max answers, “Because I think we both want to.” Lorelai responds, “Well, I want to be in the Bangles. It doesn’t mean I should quit my job and get a guitar and ruin my life to be a Bangle, does it?” “The Bangles broke up,” Max quips.
“That’s not the point!”
The Bangles are an all-female rock band, known for “Walk Like an Egyptian,” “Eternal Flame,” and “Manic Monday.” They broke up in the late 80’s, but interestingly, the same year Gilmore Girls season 1 was airing, the Bangles had a reunion tour. They released a new studio album in 2003.
In S1E5, Rory asks Lane where she would live if she could live in any city in the world, and Lane picks Philadelphia because M. Night Shyamalan lives there. Rory asks, “But what would you do there?” Lane responds, “Hang out with M. Night Shyamalan!”
M. Night Shyamalan, as the episode explains, directed the successful 1999 movie “The Sixth Sense.” He also directed and produced many other films, including “Signs” and “The Village.” He was highly praised for “The Sixth Sense,” though many of his subsequent projects have been received more negatively.
In S1E5, Rory is concerned that Lorelai forgot about the Chilton bake sale. Lorelai, however, says that she has it covered. Rory protests, “They expect the things to be homemade. By someone other than Dolly Madison!”
Dolly Madison Bakery, owned by Hostess, is a brand of snack cakes. The brand was sold, along with Hostess, to Apollo Global Management in 2013. Dolly Madison snack cakes, called “Zingers” are similar to Twinkies.