Part of the many things that makes Gilmore Girls a fan-favorite TV show is the fast-paced, whip-smart pop culture references that pepper Lorelai and Rory’s daily dialogues. Most of the time, though, they come so fast and quick that you may miss them the first time you watch an episode.
Here’s a list of our favorite, smartest pop culture references on the show, and what episodes to find them in.
1. Edies of Grey Gardens, “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving”
Much has been said in the pop culture universe about the 1975 documentary about Edith Beale and her mother Edith Beale (Little Edie and Big Edie), two former socialites that lived in poverty at Grey Gardens estate together. It’s fitting that Lorelai and Rory compare themselves to the odd duo, as they too share the same name and closeness.
2. “See you when Hilary’s president!,” “A Messenger, Nothing More”
When Luke has to go out of town to help Liz and T.J. in season five he stays much longer than he means to, causing Lorelai to wonder if he will ever return to Stars Hollow, and she expresses this concern by referencing a certain presidential candidate.
3. The Rocket, “The Long Morrow”
When Logan leaves to work in London during season seven he and Rory are forced to do long distance. Rory is confused when Logan leaves her a model rocket as a parting gift, but she later finds out it’s a reference to a romantic Twilight Zone episode.
4. Luke and Star Wars, “Fight Face”
When Luke goes on a Star Wars rant in season six it’s both hilarious and true. Especially when Lorelai tells him that he can find people on the Internet to talk about his issues with Episode III.
5. The Way We Were, “Say Something”
The Redford/Streisand flick is referenced as one of Lorelai’s favorites, but it becomes a heartbreaking reference when she calls Luke after their breakup citing the movie and Hubble coming to Katie’s side after their breakup to comfort her because he was her best friend.
6. “As You Wish,” “Teach Me Tonight”
This Princess Bride reference is subtle but can often go unnoticed when Jess says it to Rory. She tells him to keep driving around Stars Hollow instead of going back to their studying. He, of course, can’t say no. And everyone loves the bad boy for that.
7. Quentin Tarantino Party, “Pulp Friction”
Rory attends a college party that is Quentin Tarantino movie-themed in season five. There was a lot of blood. Because at Yale, college parties are smart and snarky, just like those Gilmores.
8. Hep Alien
Lane’s band Hep Alien and its members were responsible for hundreds of band and music references throughout the show’s run. Their influences ranged from The Clash to Joy Division and beyond, and when Zach started acting like a diva they gave him a dreaded Axl Rose comparison.
9. Casablanca, “The Fundamental Things Apply”
One of the all-time great films, Lorelai references Casablanca consistently throughout Gilmore, often citing it as her favorite movies. Once when Luke admits that he’s never seen the classic, she arranged a movie night for them just so he could understand the magic of “here’s looking at you, kid.”
10. Lord of the Rings, “The Hobbit, the Sofa, and Digger Stiles”
In season four while Lorelai and Sookie are working on getting the Dragonfly up and running, they start a catering business. When they cater a Lord of the Rings-themed birthday party a little girl asks Lorelai why only boy Hobbits go on adventures. Lorelai responds telling her girls go on adventures too, and we do it in heels.