every reference in Gilmore Girls S1. Episode 2

Thursday, February 17

By Cerys McAdam

This is the second part of my new series where I go through every pop culture reference in Gilmore Girls, episode by episode. There will be a new one every week or two (starting now, anyway).

This week we will discuss all of the references (and some stuff you just might not understand) in the second episode of Gilmore Girls: ‘The Lorelai’s First day at Chilton’ - in chronological order of course.


  1. “Guys, new CD. XTC- Apple Venus Volume 2”

Said by Lane, to Lorelai and Rory, when Lorelai is painting Rory’s toes. Lane comes running up to the house – screaming this, with the CD in her hand.

explanation: This CD is the 14th studio album by the English rock band XTC, released in May 2000. It is the follow up to Volume 1 and contains rock-based material.

  1. “You know what, time lady?”

Said by Lorelai, to Rory, when she keeps telling Lorelai the time because she's late for school.

explanation: Before the internet and other devices existed, you could dial a speaking clock that would tell you the time- right down to the second. The female voice that told you the time was called a time lady.

  1. “I didn’t know the Rodeo was in town.”

Said by Rory, to Lorelai, when she comes downstairs wearing cowboy boots, denim shorts and a pink tiger-striped top.

explanation: By definition, a rodeo is “an exhibition or contest in which cowboys show their skill at riding broncos, roping calves, wrestling steers, etc”, or “a round-up of cattle on a ranch for branding, counting etc”. Perhaps obviously, Rory is saying this to Lorelai because she is wearing clothes similar to a cowgirl.

  1. “I remembered it being smaller” “yeah, and less...” “off with their heads”.

Said by Lorelai and Rory, to each other, when they arrive at Chilton (Rory’s new private school) and are discussing how it looks.

explanation: The phrase ‘off with their heads’ may be a reference to a couple of things. Most likely it is a reference to a character in Alice in Wonderland - the Queen of Hearts, as this was her famous catchphrase. She would declare this and guards would immediately kill who she wanted. It could also be a reference to Henry the 8th, a British Monarch who beheaded two of his six wives, as this phrase has been commonly associated with him.


  1. “I’m just trying to see if there’s a hunchback up in that bell tower”

Said by Lorelai, to Rory when looking at Rory’s new private school, Chilton.

explanation: A reference to Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831). Lorelai is referring to Quasimodo, the main protagonist in the novel, who was born with a hunchback and therefore seen as a monster by townspeople. A hunchback is a medical condition where the spine curves more outward, making people look hunched/ slouching.

  1. “I look like that chick from the Dukes of Hazzard”

Said by Lorelai, to Rory, when Rory is trying to make her go into the Chilton building to meet Headmaster Charleston. Lorelai is insisting she can’t meet anyone because of her outfit.

explanation: Lorelai is referring to Daisy Duke, a fictional character from an American series called The Dukes of Hazzard. She is known for wearing extremely short denim shorts, much like the ones that Lorelai is wearing.

  1. “I was in the hospital all whacked out on Demerol”

Said by Lorelai, to the secretary at Chilton when explaining why her daughter is named after her.

explanation: Demerol is a painkilling drug, used particularly for women in Labour – as is the case with Lorelai.

  1. “Low maintenance, like a Honda”

Said by Lorelai, to Headmaster Charleston when talking about how easy Rory is and how she won’t be a problem.

explanation: Honda is a manufacturer of cars, motorcycles and power equipment. Honda has the lowest annual maintenance cost of any brand (source: https://www.motor1.com/reviews ).

  1. “Do you need a ride or is your horse parked outside?”

Said by Emily, to Lorelai, when they are leaving the headmasters office.

explanation: Emily is referring to Lorelai’s outfit ( see explanation 3). 

  1. “Dinner. Friday Night. No spurs, please”

Said by Emily, to her daughter Lorelai, when they are separating at Chilton. 

explanation: This again refers to Lorelai’s outfit (explanation 3). A spur is “a device with a small spike or spiked wheel that is worn on a rider’s heel and used for urging a horse forward”.

  1. “Two left for French club after seeing Schindler’s list”

Said by Rory, to Headmaster Charleston, when discussing her extracurriculars. Rory explains she used to be one of three in a German club at her old school but two left for French club after seeing this movie.

explanation: Schindler’s list is a 1993 American historical war/ drama movie. A summary of the movie:  A businessman arrives in Krakow after the start of World War Two, ready to become rich. After joining the Nazi party primarily for political expediency, he staffs his factory with Jewish workers for similarly pragmatic reasons. When the SS begins exterminating Jews in the Krakow ghetto, Schindler arranges to have his workers protected to keep his factory in operation, but soon realizes that in so doing, he is also saving innocent lives. (Source: google, film synopsis).


R: “I want to go to Harvard and study Journalism and Political science”

HC: “On your way to being…”

R: “Christiane Amanpour”

HC: “Really?”

R: “yes”

HC: “Not Cokie Roberts?”

R: “No”

HC: “Not Oprah, Rosie, or one of the women from the view?”

A conversation between Rory and Headmaster Chilton, when discussing Rory’s ambitions and who she aspires to become.

explanation: There are numerous references made in this conversation but as they are all linked, I have combined them into one.       

Christiane Amanpour – An English Journalist, one of the leading war reporters in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.                                                        Cokie Roberts –               An American Journalist and author, multi-award winning. She was a political reporter and analyst for National Public Radio, PBS and ABC news.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Oprah –                          An American talk show host – best known for her award-winning talk show The Oprah Winfrey show                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Rosie –                              An American talk show host – best known for her award-winning talk show The Rosie O’Donnel Show.                                      The view –                            An American morning talk show where a female panel discuss political, social and pop cultural topics, do celebrity interviews etc.

  1. “Ooh, a dixie chick”

Said by Louise to Paris when looking at Rory’s file. Paris tells Louise that Rory is from a place associated with “haystacks” and “cows”.

explanation: The Dixie Chicks are an American country music band.

  1. “Screw up the curve”

Said by Paris, to Louise and Madeline when complaining about new kids (such as Rory) and how they screw up everything.

explanation: Maybe this seems unusual to put in as a reference but lots of places don’t use this marking scheme. When you grade on a curve, the grades are adjusted to reflect the professor’s desired distribution of scores for an exam/ assignment. As I understand it, the problem with grading on a curve is that a certain number of students have to get an A, and a certain number have to fail.  If Rory attends and gets an A, someone else in the class won't get that A. 

  1. “This is a jumbo coffee morning. I need coffee in an IV”

Said by Lorelai, to Luke when begging him for Coffee

explanation: An IV is a tube placed inside a vein, that doctors use to give the patient medicine or fluids.

  1. “You’re a sadist, you’re a fiend”

Said by Lorelai, to Luke when he jokes about not having coffee

explanation: A sadist is a person who gets pleasure from inflicting pain on others. A fiend is an “evil spirit or demon”.

  1. “It’s a Thanksgiving Day parade. You’re standing on 5th Avenue”

Said by Miss Patty (the town dance teacher), to her students when teaching them to visualise the act.

explanation: Again, most of you will know this but thanksgiving isn’t celebrating everywhere, or by everyone, so I will explain regardless. Thanksgiving is an annual holiday in the US and Canada to celebrate harvest, thanks and blessings that have happened the past year – the first thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the ‘new world’.

5th Avenue is a major street in Manhattan, known for its expensive shopping district. There are also many theatres that showcase ballet and dance.


  1. “And while French Culture was the dominant outside cultural influence, especially for Russia’s moneyed class, English culture also had its impact. Tolstoy’s favourite author, for instance, was “Dickens”. And of course, last week we covered Dostoevsky’s main authorial influences “George Sand and Balzac”. As Tolstoy commenced writing both war and peace and Anna Karenina count Leo would turn to David Copperfield for inspiration… great expectations, A tale of two cities, Little Dorrit – all major influences on Leo Tolstoy.“

Said by a Chilton teacher, to the class that Rory is in – with answers from Paris every now and then. Rory’s teacher is discussing Leo Tolstoy and the influences on his work.

explanation: Lots to unpack here.

Leo Tolstoy – a Russian author who is known for realistic fiction work.                                                                                                                                                Charles Dickens – British novelist.                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dostoevsky’s – A Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist and journalist.                                                                                                                               George Sand – A French Romantic writer, known for her rustic novels. This was a pseudonym name.                                                                                      Balzac – French Novelist, known for his realism and unfiltered representation of society.

War and Peace – A novel by Leo Tolstoy, focusing on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812                                                                                                        Anna Karenina – A novel by Leo Tolstoy – centres on an affair that scandalises the social circles and forcers the lovers to flee to Italy and later return to Russia                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          David Copperfield – A novel by Charles Dickens, following the life of David Copperfield from childhood to maturity                                                                Great expectations – A novel by Charles Dickens, following the childhood and adult years of a blacksmith’s apprentice in a country village. He suddenly, and mysteriously, comes into large fortune and moves to London where he enters high society.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             A tale of two cities – A novel by Charles Dickens, set against conditions that led up to the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror (a period in the French Revolution).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Little Dorrit – A novel by Charles Dickens, discusses injustice of the English legal system.                                                                                                                                                                                         

  1. “Looks like we got ourselves a Mary”

Said by Tristian, to his friend when talking about Rory

explanation: As Lorelai later explains, Tristian means the Virgin Mary – meaning Rory is innocent, a teacher’s pet, goody-goody etc. (see explanation 28 for more detail).

  1. “I intend to be Valedictorian when I graduate”

Said by Paris, to Rory when introducing herself not-so-nicely to Rory

explanation: Again, not all countries have Valedictorians. It is an academic title of success for the student who delivers the final speech at a graduation ceremony. They are normally the person with the highest GPA or academic standing amongst all classmates.


  1. “I was supposed to look together and fabulous, and not like I’d been up all-night playing quarters.”

Said by Lorelai, to Jackson when talking about her failed outfit that morning (see explanation 3).

explanation: Quarters is a drinking game which involves players bouncing an American quarter (or similar) off a table in an attempt to have the quarter land in a certain place e.g., a shot glass.

  1. “Walk smooth. That’s the new Harry Potter on your heads, if they should drop, Harry will die and there won’t be any more books.”

Said by Miss Patty (the town dance teacher), to her students – she seems to be making them walk with books on their heads to improve balance.

explanation: Harry Potter is a seven-book fantasy series by J.K. Rowling.

  1. “I’m supposed to install a DSL for a Lorelai Gilmore”

Said by Kirk (or, then-Mick) to Lorelai when she asks him what him and his van are doing in front of her house.

explanation: DSL stands for Digital Subscriber line and is a technology for high-speed network or Internet access.

  1. “Nothing Shakespeare couldn’t turn into a really good play”

Said by Lorelai to Babette when she asks her if there is a problem.

explanation: William Shakespeare was a 1600s English playwright and poet.

  1. “The Romanists have, with great adroitness, drawn three walls around themselves with which they have hitherto protected themselves, so that no one could reform them, whereby Christendom has fallen terribly – who said this?” “Martin Luther”

Said by a Chilton teacher, to the class (with Rory answering correctly).

explanation: Martin Luther was a 16th century monk and one of the most significant figures in Christian history. His beliefs helped birth the reformation, giving rise to Protestantism as the third major force within Christendom, alongside Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. (Source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Martin-Luther )

  1. “It would be all work and no play. Have you not seen ‘The shining’ mom?”

Said by Lorelai to Emily when arguing against a DSL.

explanation: The shining is a 1980 psychological horror film. The quote “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy” is from the shining, hence Lorelai’s reference to it.  

  1. “Do they validate parking here”

Said by Lorelai, to Emily when she is leaving the hairdressers that Emily is getting her hair done at.

explanation: When a parking ticket is validated it means that the business pays for a customers parking, or at least a portion of it. I know this is not a reference, but again some countries don’t have this.

  1. Rory: “What would they have called me if they thought I looked like a slut?”                                                                                          Lorelai: “Well, they might have added a ‘Magdalene’ to it.”

A conversation between Lorelai and Rory after Lorelai explains that ‘Mary’ means the Virgin Mary/ a goody-goody (see explanation 19).

explanation: Mary Magdalene was a disciple of Jesus. While there is no reference to her being one, she is often portrayed as a prostitute who met Jesus and he cleansed her sins.

  1. “You guys can shop, and study, and join a cult, and shave your heads”

Said by Lorelai, to Rory and Lane when suggesting ideas for them to hang out.

explanation: A cult is “a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object”. Tonsure is the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair on the scalp as a sign of religious devotion.

  1. “She found a web site that sells Tofu in bulk”

Said by Lane, to Lorelai and Rory. The ‘she’ in the quote refers to Lane’s mother.

explanation: Tofu originated in China and is made of condensed soy milk – it is pressed into solid white blocks.

  1. “Do you want me to talk to anybody? A parent, a teacher, a big guy named moose?”

Said by Lorelai, to Rory when talking about how horrible Paris is.

explanation: Marmaduke ‘moose’ is a character from the Archie comics, he is very loyal and often protects his friends from bullies.

See you soon with Episode 3!

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