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The 16 Most Obscure References on Gilmore Girls, Explained

Updated May 7, 2020 22.3k views16 items

Everyone fan knows the best part about binge-watching every episode of Gilmore Girls on Netflix is just letting all that rapid-fire dialogue wash over you - especially Lorelai Gilmore's manic, mile-a-minute pop-culture references. She has a reference for every occasion, pulled from cinema, literature, Broadway, MTV, crappy '70s TV, the tabloids, and much, much more. The rest of the cast - especially fellow Gilmore Girl Rory - do their best to keep up, but no one holds a candle to Lorelai.

This is especially true with obscure references. Lorelai sometimes digs pretty deep, which is why we've compiled this handy guide to some of the most obscure zingers ever uttered by Stars Hollow's favorite hipster momma (plus a surprise pick from Paris!).

Once you've finished your deep dive into the mind of Lorelai Gilmore, make sure to check out these other shows like Gilmore Girls!

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  • Sign My Grapefruit!

    Sign My Grapefruit! is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 16 Most Obscure References on Gilmore Girls, Explained
    Video: YouTube
    • Reference: Lorelai: "Then I'll hop a fence and get Richard Widmark to sign my grapefruit."
    • Season: 5
    • Episode: 10

    In what has to be an inside joke between her and Sookie, Lorelai is referring to a bit of slapstick in a 1955 I Love Lucy episode called "The Tour." Lucy and Ethel fall off actor Richard Widmark's fence trying to grab a souvenir grapefruit during a celebrity homes tour and get trapped in his backyard.

  • Circling the Mattress

    Circling the Mattress is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 16 Most Obscure References on Gilmore Girls, Explained
    Video: YouTube
    • Reference: Luke: "We've been here before." Lorelai: "I recognize that tree."  
    • Season: 4
    • Episode: 2

    This exchange comes after a long back-and-forth between Luka and Lorelai about the logistics of getting rid of an old mattress. Lorelai is referencing how their conversation resembles the existential dialogue between Vladimir and Estragon in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. The duo famously waits for the titular Godot near a large tree.

  • Short Hair, Don't Care

    Short Hair, Don't Care is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 16 Most Obscure References on Gilmore Girls, Explained
    Video: YouTube
    • Reference: Lorelai: "And what are your plans today, Persis Khambatta?"
    • Season: 4
    • Episode: 4

    Lorelai is referencing Rory's new, surprisingly short haircut here. Persis Khambatta was an Indian model and actress best known for playing the totally bald Lieutenant Ilia in Star Trek: The Motion Picture

  • How a Proper Business Is Conducted

    How a Proper Business Is Condu is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 16 Most Obscure References on Gilmore Girls, Explained
    Video: YouTube
    • Reference: Lorelai: "Well, put Mrs. Huh-Wiggins on the phone. Have her tell me."
    • Season: 3
    • Episode: 18

    Lorelai mocks her father's relationship with his secretary by referencing Carol Burnett's inept secretary character from The Carol Burnett Show, Mrs. Wiggins. The "Huh-Wiggins" part is a reference to how Tim Conway's character Mr. Tudball pronounces "Wiggins."

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