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Every Single Modern Reference in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Gilmore Girls
Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

In the nine years since Gilmore Girls went off the air, it seems Rory and Lorelai have kept up a pop-culture diet almost as impossibly gluttonous as their actual diets. The Netflix revival Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life fires off a new round of quips about everything from Vine and Batfleck to Uber and Jennifer Lawrence.

As many critics have noted, though, there’s something odd in hearing your favorite WB characters make jokes about Marie Kondo. Maybe it’s because we think of Gilmore Girls as stuck in amber, or maybe because it’s a bittersweet reminder that we will all grow old and die someday. To get a better sense of what the Gilmores kept up with in the past decade, we collected all the pop-culture jokes in A Year in the Life that reference things created after the show’s original run finished in 2007. Expect a lot of Lena Dunham jokes.

Episode One: “Winter”                                                             

  • Lorelai tells Rory, “You should be singing ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ with a bad haircut while selling yourself to French dockworkers,” in a reference to 2012’s Les Misérables.
  • Rory has Princess Charlotte–branded iced-tea spoons as a present for Lorelai.
  • “You’ve been Gooped,” she adds, in a reference to everyone’s favorite lifestyle site.
  • Rory wonders where Superman will change to “save us from Ben Affleck” if Stars Hollow loses its phone booth.
  • They joke about Zoolander 2, a movie that really did come out.
  • Lorelai jokes that Rory has more burner phones than The Wire’s Omar Little.
  • Lorelai tells Rory, “I just hit my steps.”
  • Kurt’s latest business venture is like Uber, but it’s called “Ooober.”
  • Lorelai jokes about body shaming, trigger warnings, the so-called war on Christmas.
  • After leaving Brooklyn, Rory says, “Lena Dunham will just have to get along without me.”
  • Lorelai goes through Rory’s bag, saying “I thought there’d be something good in there, like a treasure map or the prequel to Huckleberry Finn where Huck is a Klan leader and terrified of water.” (Ahem, Go Set a Watchman.)
  • Of Rory’s boyfriend Paul, Lorelai notes, “He’s a superhero, but his power is no matter how much time you spend with him, you can’t remember him. Kinda like every Marvel movie ever!”
  • Lorelai is a fan of Inside Out, and has a Sadness sticker on her computer.
  • Lorelai references the 2006 movie Mini’s First Time, which features “Alec Baldwin pre-Yoga.”
  • Lorelai organizes her magazines by Kardashian.
  • Lorelai has a recurring dream that’s like the Eastern Promises steam-room fight.
  • Lorelai complains that Roy Choi, the chef of Los Angeles’s famous Kogi pop-up truck, is mucking up the kitchen. In her conversation with Michel, she also references culinary touchstones Alice Waters, David Chang, Dan Barber, the Blue Hill Farm.
  • Lorelai hates Twitter.
  • Emily complains that Rory is “traipsing around from one house to another like she’s Llewyn Davis.”
  • Paris tells Lorelai that she’ll send a copy of Gone Girl along with a list of surrogates. “NPH was great in that!”
  • Inspired by Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Emily declutters her life.

Episode Two: “Spring”

  • Rory’s British interview subject says, “I’m voting for Brexit. It’s just a protest vote. It’ll never win.”
  • The B-list actors staying in the Dragonfly Inn are known for their work on Blue Bloods.
  • The A-list actors staying nearby include Matthew McConaughey, who buys three newspapers a day; Jessica Chastain, who bought a full bag of toiletries and two sundresses; Jack Black and Cate Blanchett, who want mini-fridges; and Daniel Radcliffe.
  • Michel complains, “Jennifer Lawrence is never going to stay here, and what’s the point of living if we’re never going to bag Jennifer Lawrence?”
  • Lorelai makes a joke about Skrillex.
  • Paris is set to appear with Lena Dunham at the 92nd Street Y.
  • Rory gets a Vine message from the editor of Sandee Says, a digital-news start-up.
  • During a job interview, Rory makes a passing reference to Kathryn Schulz’s New Yorker piece on a potential earthquake in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Lorelai says,”My mother strikes more chords than [conductor and composer] Esa-Pekka Salonen.”
  • Rory and Lorelai wait in line for “the new cronut,” called a “crodough cake,” and reference the infamous “zombie McDonalds.”
  • Rory hooks up with a guy dressed like a Wookiee after waiting in line for a sci-fi convention.
  • Lorelai jokes that being a mom at 16 is “hot in Outlander, but elsewhere … “

Episode Three: “Summer”

  • Lorelai is reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild at the pool and has a “totes y’all” bag, which can be purchased through Reese Witherspoon’s lifestyle brand Draper James.
  • Luke and Lorelai binge-watch the French version of The Returned, a.k.a. Les Revenants.
  • Lorelai and Rory joke that the songwriter for the Stars Hollow musical looks like a “White Walker” and later make a passing reference to Khaleesi.
  • Sutton Foster’s character did not play Kinky Boots in Kinky Boots, despite Taylor’s insistence to the contrary.
  • The Stars Hollow Gazette is “not Spotlight at the Boston Globe,” as dramatized in the Best Picture winner Spotlight.
  • Rory wishes that her newsroom were more like an Aaron Sorkin movie, or possibly The Newsroom.
  • Rory only knows about the MS-DOS operating system from Halt and Catch Fire. “And quite frankly,” she says,” I didn’t watch the show that closely.”
  • The 30-somethings gang likes to drink milkshakes, in reference to There Will Be Blood.
  • Doyle reviews The Jungle Book for Rory. He has also written for Michael Bay.
  • Rory and Lorelai joke about Tori Spelling’s infamous fall at Benihana.
  • Taylor tries to incorporate Hamilton-like songs into the Stars Hollow musical. Another one of his songs, set during the present era, references “Putin” and “Jeff Koons.”
  • Doyle gives Rory a copy of The Mysteries of Laura. “Is that a show?” she asks.

Episode Four: “Fall”

  • Inspired by Wild (the book, not the movie), Lorelai heads off to the Pacific Crest Trail.
  • The members of the Life and Death Brigade joke that they’re remaking Kirk’s short film with Ryan Gosling. “First Arthur, now this? They never learn.”
  • Lorelai on her backpack: “The minute I open this thing up, it’s like The Hurt Locker. No one survives.”
  • A group of nuns reveal that Katy Perry wants to buy their property.
  • Lorelai tells Rory to “Drop the ‘the.’ Just Gilmore Girls. It’s cleaner,” parroting Justin Timberlake in The Social Network

All the Modern Reference in Gilmore Girls