S1:E4 – “The Deer Hunters”

After receiving a “D” in English, Rory Gilmore crams for an upcoming Shakespeare test. After a late night of studying, followed by a mishap en route to Chilton, Rory misses the test – with disastrous consequences.

PCR count for this episode: 48
Jump to: Pop Culture References | Soundtrack

Click the down arrows to read more about each reference! 

1. Lithium
As in: “These erasers are on lithium. So they seem cheerful, but, earlier, we caught them trying to shove themselves in the pencil sharpener.”
Calm your colors, erasers.

Used primarily in cases of Bipolar Disorder, lithium is a pretty serious medication for a variety of psychiatric disorders. Folks on lithium often need regular blood tests to ensure normal kidney and thyroid function. Fun fact: even though the erasers at the stationary store were probably young users of lithium (…kidding, y’all), it’s been around and in regular rotation since the 1800s.

2. Shakespeare
As in: “Shakespeare! The man we’ve been droning on about for the last three weeks finally comes back to haunt us on Friday.”
They really have been talking about him A LOT.

Who doesn’t know and love the Bard with the Beard? English poet, actor and playwright, nightmare of high school English classes everywhere and purveyor of such fine insults as “I bite my thumb at you, sir!” and “A plague on both your houses!” Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, As You Like It… Good stuff.

3. McDonald’s
As in: “A “D,” however, that would be cause for concern.” – “A cry for help.” – “A job application at McDonald’s.” – “Would you like fries with that?”
As in, Paris and Louise are kind of evil.

Did you know that McDonald’s is called “Maccas” in Australia..? I didn’t, either! Thanks, Wikipedia, for that and so many other things. Anyway, I’d also never visited McDonalds.com before writing this, right now, and had never really given any thought to the iconic burger-serving bastion of American fast food. Founded in 1940 by Richard and Maurice McDonald, Mickey D’s was originally a barbecue restaurant before 1948 found the brothers reorganizing their business model and employing production-line strategies into their new hamburger stand. The first franchise opened in Arizona in 1953, and the rest is pretty much history; today, McDonald’s is one of the world’s largest restaurant chains, with locations in 119 countries. They are proud to boast service to just about 68 million customers daily, and probably way less proud to be the butt of every “Would you like fries with that?” -style joke.

4. Mary
As in: “Hey, Mary!” – “And it just keeps getting better…”
I’ll take ‘Biblical Insults’ for 600, Alex.

Tristan the Charming (or something) is, once again, referring to Mary, Mother of Jesus, or the Virgin Mary. Or even Goody Two Shoes Mary, at least when you consider that Lorelai and the Chilton’ers hold up Mary Magdalene, sort-of town prostitute, as being on the other end of that judgmental circus train.

5. Chevalier
As in: “Back off, Chevalier.”
She really does like him, though. On some level.

I mean, take your pick on this one. A fairly common French surname, there’s a whole host of famous folks that would turn their heads if you shouted “Chevalier!” in a crowded French theater. It’s also the highest military order in the French Legion d’honneur – in layman’s terms (or, in English) a knight.

6. Italian loafers
As in: “These are $300 Italian loafers!”
That’s really not that expensive for Italian loafers, Michel.

If you’re wearing Italian loafers, you have the money to be wearing Italian loafers. To illustrate my point (sort of literally), I’ll direct you to this Google search for, simply, “Italian loafers.” Please note the lovely pair from Brooks Brothers for just under $2,000. A real steal, folks. Better step up your game, Michel…

7. Versace
As in: “I wonder if Versace makes a pacifier.”
That would be one fancy baby.

A luxury Italian fashion brand founded in 1978, Versace is a staple of high-end clothes and accessories – they make a lovely loafer. The brand is known for bright colors, bold prints – and the unfortunately tragic death of its namesake; Gianni Versace was shot to death for still-unknown reasons outside of his Florida mansion in 1997, at the age of 50, by a gunman who killed himself a week later. The brand and its Medusa logo live on, however, with sister Donatella at the helm. 

8. High tea
As in: “Can I kill her?” – “Not before high tea.”
If you kill her before high tea, Drella, the Independence will just seem cheap.

High tea is a British tradition of a meal eaten in the late afternoon, usually consisting of a cooked dish, bread and butter, and – you guessed it – tea. For the upper classes, this was a social event; for working classes, this was a necessary mini-meal after a day spent toiling away at manual labor. There are different theories as to the meal’s title, but it’s a ritzy thing for an inn to feature, and the Independence was going to need a harpist that didn’t belong in Weekend at Bernie’s, thank you very much, Michel. 

9. To your corner
As in: “Drella, to your corner, now!”
And he’s down!

A reference to boxers’ corners in the ring and Lorelai’s attempt to break up another of Michel and Drella’s fights.

10. The Thing
As in: “Behold, The Thing That Reads A Lot!”
The weirder the movie, the more beloved in the Gilmore house.

The Thing is a 1982 film starring Kurt Russell, where he plays an alien that basically eats and imitates people. The movie is basically an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation (give or take one), but is in part inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

11. You go, girl.
As in: “Shoot, the linen delivery!” – “You go, girl.”
Listen, 90s slang was where it was at. (See??)

Back when we were all saying, “NOT!” at the end of sentences, “As if!” and “Take a chill pill,” another phrase was born – a phrase used commonly for a very long time in spaces that were not mainstream media. Legend (or this website) has it that the TV show Martin brought “you go, girl” into the national lexicon. We all say it a lot, now. Maybe somewhat ironically, a la Rory regarding that not-really-empowering laundry delivery.

12. Marco Polo
As in: “Marco…” – “Polo!” – “Hey, Marco!” – “Hey, Polo!”
I still try to locate my friends this way.

Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveller who lived from the year 1254 until his death in the year 1324. He has literally nothing to do, however, with the much (much) more recent game that bears his name – with eyes closed, the player chosen as “It” must find and tag the other players, calling out “Marco!” and waiting for responses of “Polo!” to try and locate them. Marco Polo is played in a swimming pool; various “dry land” versions exist under different names.

13-16. Black Sabbath, Steely Dan, Boston, Queen
As in: “No Black Sabbath.” – “No one’s listening.” – “No Black Sabbath, no Steely Dan, no Boston and no Queen.”
Classic rock, all night, all day.

Black Sabbath: SHAAAARONNNNN! Fronted by singer Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath is an English rock band that formed in 1968 and are often hailed as the “pioneers” of heavy metal. Fun fact: the band is heavily associated with Ozzy, but his drug and alcohol abuse got him ousted in 1979; he didn’t reunite with the band until 1997. Even still, Black Sabbath’s most influential and memorable stuff – “War Pigs,” “Paranoid,” “Iron Man” – all happened when he was still a member. There was also the whole “biting a head off a bat” thing. Charming.

Steely Dan: “Steely Dan is an American jazz rock band whose music also blends elements of funk, R&B and pop. Founded by core members Walter Becker and Donald Fagen in 1972, the band enjoyed great critical and commercial success, starting from the early 1970s until breaking up in 1981… Steely Dan reunited in 1993 and has toured steadily ever since.”

Boston: Not the city! An American rock band from Boston (the city this time), popular in the 1970s and 1980s. You may be familiar with “More Than A Feeling,” aka: your dad’s favorite karaoke song.

Queen: Scaramouche, Scaramouche! You absolutely know Queen from “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and maybe also “We Will Rock You,” “We Are The Champions” and “Another One Bites the Dust.” Though frontman Freddie Mercury died in 1991, the band is still active and has released 18 albums, 18 singles and 10 DVDs that have all gone number-one. They’re estimated to have record sales between 150 and 300 million – making them one of the world’s best-selling musical groups/artists.

17. Mozart
As in: “We like that Mozart!”
Fun fact: He did NOT have Syphilis. Who knew??

Ah, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, born in 1756. A “prolific and influential composer of the Classical era,” Mozart’s full name was Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, and I dare, dare, dare you to say that even once without stumbling, let alone ten times. If you’re like me and learned about The Magic Flute in, like, 5th grade, then you’ve been in love with Mozart for a very long time; if not, then I encourage you to check out this Wikipedia entry, because Mozart’s life was almost as fascinating as his inimitable music.

18. Artie Shaw
As in: “I am the Artie Shaw of harpists.”
A true trendsetting malcontent.

Artie Shaw, who was 94 when he died in 2004, was an American clarinetist, composer, bandleader and actor. Though he was a traditional musician, he enjoyed blending different styles, like classical music and jazz – the same way Drella likes to play classic rock on her harp.

19. Joan of Arc
As in: “Fresh in my first lifetime, as Joan of Arc.”
It was REALLY old coffee.

The Hundred Years’ War, which began in 1337 and ended in 1453, was a conflict between France and England over English possession of several French territories. During the middle – or Lancastrian – phase of the war, a young French woman named Joan of Arc claimed that she’d had visions of angels that told her to support the (uncrowned) French king, who sent her to take part in a relief mission during the Siege of Orleans. She was captured, turned over to the English and burned at the stake in 1431, at nineteen years old. Joan of Arc was later declared a martyr by the Catholic church and sainted, making her one of nine patron saints of France.

20. Hartford
As in: “I’m so exhausted, and I have to drive to Hartford tonight.”
Insurance capital of the world...

Ah, Hartford. Connecticut’s capital, the home of insurance tycoons and, formerly, the Whalers. This city is almost its own character in the world of the Gilmore Girls. It’s where Emily and Richard Gilmore live, where they raised Lorelai, and also the home of Chilton Preparatory, where Rory attends the latter years of her high school career. Also, it’s apparently thirty minutes with no traffic from Stars Hollow – a geography discussion you’ll likely hear much about in this reference guide. And it just so happens that Becky of our blogging team was born there at Hartford Hospital. This city is also boasts ownership of the houses of Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe, both of which you can tour.

21. Scrunchies
As in: “Last week, there was this huge debate over whether plaid scrunchies were acceptable headwear.”
Those were the days of the fancy-free.

Remember those days when you weren’t all about trying to hide your ponytail apparatus? Enter the scrunchie! Different sizes, different fabrics, different patterns – my favorite was a medium, black velvet scrunchie that I totally rocked to my 6th-grade band concert. I felt very, very glamorous.

Fun fact: If you really want to revel in first-season Gilmore, you can purchase a scrunchie with Hillary Clinton on it.

22. Shift in the space-time continuum
As in: “Did anyone else feel the shift in the space-time continuum?”
Cosmology. Galaxy. Universe. Major headache.

Listen, I’m not even trying on this one – thinking too hard about the cosmos gives me existential anxiety. #noshame #okayalittlebitofshame Here’s a really smart website (not an error – the website itself is almost certainly smarter than I am), and here’s a tidbit from Google/Wikipedia: “Space-time is a mathematical model that joins spaceand time into a single idea called a continuum. This four-dimensional continuum is known as Minkowskispace. Combining these two ideas helped cosmology to understand how the universe works on the big level (e.g. galaxies) and small level (e.g. atoms).”

23-28. Elizabethan literature; Shakespeare, Marlowe, Bacon, Ben Jonson, John Webster
As in: “We are going to be focusing on Elizabethan literature – Shakespeare, Marlowe, Bacon, Ben Johnson, John Webster.”
Basically Page Six of the English literary world.

The label “Elizabethan literature” refers to works produced between 1558 and 1603, or the reign of England’s Queen Elizabeth I. Some of the most notable authors during this time period include William Shakespeare (Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet, literally everything else you read in 10th-grade English class), Christopher Marlowe (Tamburlaine, The Jew of Malta, Doctor Faustus), Francis Bacon (philosopher, attorney and Lord Chancellor of England), Ben Jonson (Every Man in His Humour, The Alchemist), and John Webster (The White Devil, The Duchess of Malfi).

29. Advanced Placement/AP Test
As in: “Yes, but will he be on the Advanced Placement test?”
Anyone down for some pre-college college?

Advanced Placement – or AP – classes in the United States and Canada are high-school classes through which high-level or honors students can earn college credit. Curriculum for AP classes are audited by an organization called the College Board, and students must receive high marks on a course exam to receive post-high-school credit for taking the class. 

30. SAT Season
As in: “It’s a tense time for some people.” – “The SAT season?” – “The waking hours.”
So cool, it just goes by its initials, now.

Formerly the Scholastic Aptitude (and then Achievement) Test, this standardized exam – commonly used as a basis for college admissions in the United States – is now just officially called the SAT, which means it’s finally reached one-name-celebrity status. Congratulations, SAT! The test has a storied history and is pretty regularly undergoing criticism, revision and pushes to just be done with the damn thing already – but it keeps on keeping on, for better or for worse.

31. Harvard
As in: “But she’s always wanted to go to Harvard.”
A real smahty-pants school.

Get ready for A LOT of Harvard talk, Gilmore fans! The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Harvard University, founded in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States and is one of only eight Ivy League schools in the country, making the selection process pretty, well, selective. It also happens to be hard-working brainiac Rory’s college of choice. (There’s an excellent selection of coffee shops in nearby Harvard Square, so this seems like a pretty great fit for Rory on several levels.)

32. B-52s
As in: “So are you a B-52s girl?”
’World’s Best Party Band’ is totally a thing, guys.

An American new wave band formed in 1976, the B-52s are known for their trademark male and female vocals on songs such as “Rock Lobster” and “Love Shack.” Their band name comes from Southern slang for Marge Simpson-height bouffant hairdos and has stuck with them through so. many. member lineups. They are the – self-professed – “world’s best party band.” …Okay.

33. Saved By The Bell
As in: “Honey, you once told me you loved Saved By The Bell. What could be more humiliating than that?”
When I wake up in the morning and the clock gives out a warning...

If you were an 80s kid (Millennial, Oregon Trail-er, Gen X-er, etc.), you’re already familiar with Saved By The Bell, the NBC sitcom about a group of friends attending the fictional Bayside High School. The show aired from 1989 to 1993 (but didn’t it seem longer??) and spawned a few specials and spin-offs. What you may not know is that SBTB was actually a spin-off itself; it grew out of a Disney Channel show called Good Morning, Miss Bliss, a much less psychedelic-colors kind of show that featured Hayley Mills as a teacher at John F. Kennedy Junior High School; she had Zack Morris, Lisa Turtle and Screech Powers in her class. You could say Miss Bliss knew them all before they were cool. (Check out that pilot episode for a REALLY 80s and kind of creepy? opening title sequence. Yowza.)

34. Scotch Tape Store
As in: “Have we gone theme now? It’s gonna be like the Scotch tape store all over again.”
It had a thin product catalog.

Bring yourself on back to the fall of 1978, and Season 4 of the now-iconic Saturday Night Live. Gilda Radner, Dan Akroyd, John Belushi, Bill Murray and friends starred in a sketch called “The Scotch Boutique,” about a store that sells – you guessed it – only Scotch tape. The video’s apparently under lock and key somewhere, but you can read the transcript here.

35. “Glasses with the big nose” – AKA: Groucho glasses
As in: “Maybe he had a beard, false teeth or a wig – or the glasses with the big nose!”
They’ll never suspect a thing!

“The glasses with the big nose” are a now-standard mini-costume found at party stores everywhere. We’re all, of course, familiar with them, but what you may not know is that they’re actually called Groucho glasses, and they pay homage to the stage makeup Groucho Marx – a caricature comedian who starred in such Gilmore favorites as Duck Soup – used to wear.

36. The Comedy of Errors
As in: “‘The Comedy of Errors’ – written?” – “1590.”
We love those twin stories.

One of William Shakespeare’s earliest plays, The Comedy of Errors was likely written sometime in the early 1590s and is a farcical comedy that’s since been adapted for opera, stage, screen and musical theater. The play deals with the plights of two sets of identical twins who encounter each other later in life – and all of the hilarious hijinks that ensue. The title became so popular that it’s turned into a thing of its own; a “comedy of errors” is a dramatic work that usually features comical instances of mistaken identity.

37. Richard III
As in: “‘Richard III.’” – “1591.” – “BZZZ.” – “93?” – BZZZ.” – “96??” – “BZZ.” – “Okay, that’s getting really annoying, now.”
Bitter and murderous always makes for a great storyline.

Written by Shakespeare in approximately 1592 (you were getting colder, Rory), Richard III chronicles the rise to power and reign of King Richard III of England. According to SparkNotes, the plotline goes something like this: “After a long civil war between the royal family of York and the royal family of Lancaster, England enjoys a period of peace under King Edward IV and the victorious Yorks. But Edward’s younger brother, Richard, resents Edward’s power and the happiness of those around him. Malicious, power-hungry, and bitter about his physical deformity, Richard begins to aspire secretly to the throne—and decides to kill anyone he has to in order to become king.” Juicy!

38. Sonnets
As in: “The sonnets are 154 poems of 14 lines.”
Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds...

Rory pretty much explains it right there, but yes – Shakespeare’s sonnets are 154 poems of 14 lines each, first published in the year 1609. The first 126 are written to a young man, while the final 28 are to a woman. You can read all of the sonnets here – many of them are quite beautiful – and, for a special treat, you can check out Sonnet 116 (“Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments…”), which Paris so lovingly quotes to Rory between rubbing that “D” on Mr. Medina’s paper in her face and telling her she’s “going down.” What a peach, that Paris!

39. Pat Benatar
As in: “What do you think about Pat Benatar?” – “Great idea. Can she play the harp?”
A real tough cookie with a long history.

Pat Benatar, born 1953 (and still rocking, might I add), is an American singer and songwriter with lots and lots of hits; you might know her best from “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” (1980) and “Shadows of the Night” (1981). It’s another no, Drella. Just stop asking.

40. Going postal
As in: “We have stretched ourselves as thin as humanly possible without going completely postal.”
’Disgruntled postal worker’ is a real thing.

So this is really depressing – especially as it’s apparently no longer such an anomaly in the mid-2010s – but this phrase does, in fact, have a specific origin. Coined in the early 1990s, “going postal” refers to a total freakout, usually involving anger and a LOT of hashtag-rage. It stems from a period in the late 1980s involving incidents in the United States where angry postal workers shot and killed people – from managers to co-workers and even the general public. In less than 10 years, more than 40 people were killed. I leave you with a link to the Urban Dictionary entry for this one, because Wikipedia just pales in comparison to this, uh, “creativity.”

41. Il Duce
As in: “Wouldn’t want you to get in trouble with Il Duce here.”
This is not an affectionate term for the headmaster, in case that wasn’t clear.

“Duce” is an Italian title, meaning “leader.” It came to notoriety with regard to Benito Mussolini, the leader of Italy’s National Fascist Party from 1922-1943. He decided to enter his country into WWII on Germany’s side, and, well – the rest is history, and nobody likes that guy. Fascists, as a rule, don’t like to take a lot of feedback or make a habit of seeking input into their actions – much like Chilton?

42-43. Gauchos, Flashdance
As in: “And now, I guess this goes on the ‘Boy-was-I-wrong’ list, right above gauchos but just below the ‘Flashdance’ phase.”
Swingy, and they breathe!

“Gaucho” is a Spanish word, most recently referring to a country person and/or cattle rancher. They’ve historically worn some pretty interesting pants, which – of course – spawned the fashion trend our dear Lorelai is referring to here. I will say that this trend made a comeback in 2005/2006, and they may have looked silly, but those things were damn comfortable. Kind of looks like they’re back yet again, if you’d like to give them a try. Don’t believe the websites that say, “These aren’t your gauchos from 2004!” because they totally, totally are.

Flashdance is a film from 1983 – a “romantic drama” – about a young welder who wants to be a professional dancer, and I’ll bet that’s not a plotline you hear often. Does she triumph or doesn’t she? You’ll have to find out for yourself.

44. Kamikaze
As in: “It’s dangerous in the car, what with the kamikaze deer running around.”
Actually considered a respectable thing to do, believe it or not.

“Kamikaze” is a Japanese word meaning “divine wind,” which is not what we typically think of when we think of the kamikaze fighters from World War II. Beginning in October of 1944 and coming to an end at the end of the war in 1945, the kamikaze pilots were suicide attackers who purposely flew their planes – usually carrying some kind of explosive – into enemy planes. Only roughly 11% of the attacks were successful. So. You know. Most of them were aerial, but others did involve different strategies and targets – like, for example, the attack on the USS Bunker Hill, which resulted in nearly 400 fatalities.

45. Jeep
As in: “Does he have any distinguishing marks, besides the word ‘Jeep’ imprinted on his forehead?”
Who doesn’t love a good zippered, plastic window?

Lorelai’s beloved vehicle of choice! Jeep is an American car company that currently produces only SUVs and off-roading vehicles. Their signature look is modeled off the original World War II-era Willys MB, a four-wheel-drive utility truck produced from 1941-1945.

46. Go ballistic
As in: “He said you went ballistic in class.”
I mean, technically, she didn’t...

Either the Gilmores were very angry people, or the late 90s/early 2000s were a super-weird time where the idiom-worthiness of uncontrollable rage was unprecedented. To “go ballistic” is basically the same thing as “going postal,” and refers to being really, violently enraged. Ballistics, in general, is “the science of projectiles and firearms,” so I guess this really boils down to being mad enough to use one of those..? Better if we just don’t think about it.

47. A woman’s prerogative
As in: “I do, however, reserve the right to change my mind.” – “That’s your prerogative, as long as you remain a woman.”
Bobby Brown approves!

So this is a bit of a tough one, because it would seem that it’s been around so long that the origin’s been lost or, at least, confused. There are references dating back to 1616, and a solid mention here, in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1951 masterpiece (no, really), Strangers On A Train. The quote varies somewhat, but is usually something like, “It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind,” or even “It’s a woman’s privilege to change her mind.” Either way, we’re allowed. I don’t know why we’re allowed, but we get the shaft on a lot of other things, so I don’t care, and I will take it, please and thank you.

48. Cantonese
As in: “You called him Il Duce.” – “Which means ‘kind sir’ in Cantonese.”
Spoiler: It doesn’t.

Cantonese is a variant of Chinese, spoken in southern China, and is the prestige dialect (read: fancy) of Yue. It does not, as it happens, include the phrase “Il Duce.”

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Soundtrack: Wilco – “My Darling”
“Go back to sleep now, my darling…” sings Wilco, softly, as Lorelai wakes in the middle of the night to find Rory passed out at the kitchen table. “My Darling” is track #11 on Wilco’s third studio album, Summerteeth, released in 1999. Hear it here!

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