23 'Gilmore Girls' Pop Culture References You Totally Forgot About
No matter how many times you've watched Gilmore Girls, it always feels like a pop culture history lesson. So, obviously, re-watching all seven seasons and the Netflix revival A Year In The Life is the only way to revisit all the Gilmore Girls' pop culture references that you may have forgotten. Honestly, with all the coffee, coffee, coffee that Lorelai and Rory drink, no one blames you for missing some of these the first time around. Boy, do those ladies talk fast.
Luckily, this list will serve as a reminder of some of the high- and low-brow entertainment that the Gilmores just couldn't get enough of. Some of the show's references are a tad dated now, since Gilmore Girls did start way back in the fall of 2000. When it ended seven years later, the iPhone didn't even exist yet, and everybody was only starting to keep up with the Kardashians. Doesn't that feel like forever ago?
The show's creators couldn't possibly predict all the ways pop culture would change between the Gilmore Girls finale and now, but they did get a few things right. Leonardo DiCaprio is still dating models, and Donald Trump is still in the news whether you like it or not. (Turns out, Sookie didn't like it much either.) Let's take a walk down memory lane to see what the Gilmore Girls were into all those years ago.
1. Alexander Hamilton
Before Lin Manuel Miranda was turning the world on to the story of Alexander Hamilton, Gilmore Girls was getting turned on by the forefather. In Season 6, Nora, a member of the DAR, goes as far as saying that Hamilton was probably the greatest lover out of the founding fathers. "Direct, proud, that chin and those blazing eyes," she explains. Unfortunately, that detail was not confirmed or denied in Hamilton.
2. Howard Dean
Remember in 2004 when then-Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean let out a yelp that would forever be known as the "Dean scream"? Well, Kirk lets out one of his own Dean-inspired shrieks when trying to rally the Stars Hollow troops to find some of his misplaced Easter eggs. Just like Dean, that yelp didn't lead to victory.
3. Leonardo DiCaprio
In Season 2 when Lorelai is asked to model with her mom for a Chilton fundraiser, Rory says, "My mom's a model. Maybe you'll get to date Leonardo DiCaprio now." That was way back in 2001, but, 16 years later, Leo is still dating models. Some things never change.
4. The Cranberries
“God, I know this is crazy," Lorelai says in Season 1. "I have my mother’s voice stuck in my head. It’s like that annoying Cranberries song.” That would be a diss to The Cranberries' "Zombie," which, whether you love it or hate it, you can't deny is an earworm. In fact, right now you're probably singing that chorus and cursing the show for reminding you of it.
5. 'The Princess Bride'
"As you wish." Those three words work for Westley when he was trying to win over Princess Buttercup, and they certainly help fuel the romance between Jess and Rory. It's those three words that lead Jess to keep driving Rory's car. And despite the scene ending in a car accident and a broken arm, it also results in their first kiss.
6. Arcade Fire
Lorelai is a cool mom, but even she didn't know Arcade Fire way back when they were still an indie band. You know, right after their debut Funeral dropped in 2004. It's Rory who asks her mom if she wants her to burn a copy of their CD. "I don’t know, do I?" Lorelai asks. "Yes," Rory says, because Funeral is a classic.
7. Barack Obama
When people were still trying to figure out just who then-Senator Barack Obama was in real life, Rory heads out on the presidential campaign trail with him in the original finale. Did Rory help Obama win? Probably not. But it shows that the Gilmore Girls had their finger on the pulse without us even realizing it.
9. 'Grey Gardens'
This reference to the Beales, big and little Edie, is a little too on the nose for the Gilmore girls, who, after watching the documentary, are concerned they might grow up to be them.
10. The Offspring
As Lorelai reveals in Season 1, Chris' favorite band is The Offspring — you know, the band that sang "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)." And it's easy to agree with Lorelai wholeheartedly here; Metallica is way more "substantial" than The Offspring.
Of course Lorelai would love Showgirls. So much so that she buys the DVD set complete with shot glasses. "Will you be mad if it's Showgirls again?" Lorelai asks her daughter on movie night. No surprise, the answer will always be a resounding "no" in the Gilmore household.
12. Macy Gray
"Sorry, I lost my Macy Gray CD, and I need caffeine" is one of the first things Rory tells her mom in the Gilmore Girls premiere. The pilot is actually chockful of Macy Gray references. The two even play Gray's 1999 single "I Try" as a symbol of their angst.
13. Jude Law
Back in the 2000s, Jude Law was everywhere, but the biggest story about him was his rumored affair with the nanny, made worse by the fact that he reportedly cheated on Sienna Miller. Lorelai is definitely a fan of a good Jude Law joke about this supposed womanizing. "Oh, does Sienna know about this?" she asks Chris when he mentions hiring a nanny.
14. Jennifer Lopez's Dating Life
Lopez was the butt of Lorelai's jokes about pretend weddings and too many engagements. "Mom, it's just a pretend wedding," Lorelai tells Emily. "J.Lo has them all the time." Nowadays, Lorelai would probably be as obsessed with J. Rod as the rest of us are.
15. Paul Thomas Anderson Movies
Lorelai will likely not be watching any Paul Thomas Anderson movies anytime soon. At least according to Rory, who, in Season 1, turns down Dean's proposal to bring over Boogie Nights for a movie night. "You’ll never get it past Lorelai," she tells him. "She had a bad reaction to Magnolia. She sat there for three hours screaming 'I want my life back!'"
Lorelai confirms this during her first date with Luke. When reading the very long menu at Spiffy's she asks, "Oh my god, did Paul Thomas Anderson write this? Edit, people."
16. Condoleezza Rice
Since the show took place during the George W. Bush years, it shouldn't be a surprise that Condoleezza Rice, then Secretary of State, would get a shoutout. In this case, Kirk designs a mailbox in the shape of her face. "I'm a fan," he said. "And her big mouth is perfect for shoving mail in."
17. Angelina Jolie
Before Jolie was the Mother Teresa of Hollywood, she was wearing vials of Billy Bob Thornton's blood around her neck, which was confusing. In Lorelai's opinion, this was as confusing as her falling for Max Medina. “You can’t always control who you’re attracted to, you know?" she tells Rory. "I think the whole Angelina Jolie, Billy Bob Thornton thing really proves that.”
The world may know them as the band who sang "Freak On A Leash." But Gilmore Girls fans know Korn better as the band that was renting out Trix's house and planted tulips.
19. Destiny's Child
To spite Michel, Sookie uses Destiny's Child's name in vain telling him, "May Destiny's Child break up if I count these blueberries."
“Since I’m currently one of the women sitting home, thinking, ‘If I could only find a man like Aragorn,’ he picked me," Lorelai says about Luke possibly asking her out on a date. Yeah, Luke is definitely a Viggo Mortenson-type, and what woman wouldn't be waiting around for his legendary Lord Of The Rings character to sweep them off their feet?
21. Spike & Drusilla
To question Paris' late hours, Rory made a pretty good Buffy joke. “It’s 11 o'clock at night," Rory says. "Who are you hoping to hook up with now? Spike and Drusilla?” Nailed it.
22. Quentin Tarantino
There's a whole party dedicated to the director who was coming off Kill Bill. It's that movie that inspires Rory's look, which has her reusing her Chilton uniform to dress up as Gogo Yubari.
23. Donald Trump
Gilmore Girls was very aware of Donald Trump, not as a political candidate, but as a millionaire real estate scion and TV personality. Throughout the series, the Gilmores reference the Donald. For example, there were his Apprentice days, which Rory fears her grandfather might be channeling for a class project. “Yeah and he’s going to be like Donald Trump, which is ridiculous," she says. And there was Lorelai referring to herself as "the uber Trump-Murdoch-Maximus.” But the best Trump line may be Sookie's response to Lorelai asking if she knows who owns the land that they'd like to build their inn on: "Tell me it's not that bastard Donald Trump!"
Even the modern references from Gilmore Girls still feel a little dated, so don't feel bad if this makes you feel a bit old. Still, hopefully this list makes you feel nostalgic for the show's early aughts.