‘Gilmore Girls’: 3 Obscure Cultural References Explained

Gilmore Girls ran for seven seasons from 2000 until 2007. The series was unique in a lot of ways. Its witty banter and thousands of cultural references truly set it apart from other shows of its time. Not all of those references were mainstream, though. Some of the cultural references were so obscure that even the actors had no idea what they were talking about. We’ve found three cultural references that we think need explaining. 

Jason Stiles referenced the Monks of New Skete, and they are real 

In season 4, Lorelai Gilmore started dating Jason Stiles, her father’s business partner. During one of their earlier dates, Jason takes Lorelai back to his apartment, where he lives with his dog. When Lorelai encounters the dog for the first time, Jason explains that he’s incredibly well behaved because the Monks of New Skete trained him. 

It’s entirely possible that Cyrus was trained by the Monks of New Skete, a religious order in upstate New York known for its dog training and breeding program. The Monks of New Skete are well-known for their work with German Shepards specifically, although Cyrus appeared to be a beagle. The order has written several books on dog training. The Nuns of New Skete are famous, too, although they are best known for their baked goods. 

Lorelai Gilmore referenced an obscure dress pattern company in season 5 of ‘Gilmore Girls’

In season 5 of Gilmore Girls, Jackson Belleville inadvertently becomes town selectman. Jackson, however, has a hard time transitioning from a full-time farmer to a politician. He melts down on his front porch when someone drops off a pair of giant scissors for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Lorelai, trying to make light of the situation tells Jackson, “Yeah, those people at Butterick Patterns play pretty rough.”

Michael Winters stands behind a podium on the set of 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life'
Michael Winters as Taylor Doose in a scene from ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ | Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Butterick Patterns might seem like a pretty obscure reference, and it is to anyone who isn’t into sewing. Crafty folks, however, will recognize the brand name. Butterick Patterns is the oldest pattern company in the world. It was founded in the 1800s and operated as an independent entity until a larger publishing company absorbed it in 2001. Sewing and craft stores still sell the patterns. 

Lorelai’s quip about powering her Jeep with dilithium crystals is a ‘Star Trek’ reference 

During Mia’s visit to Stars Hollow in season 2 of Gilmore Girls, she reveals that Luke Danes was a fan of Star Trek. In fact, Lorelai teases him for being a “Trekkie” during the episode, indicating that she was not a fan of the cult classic. A few seasons later, though, Lorelai would make her own Star Trek reference. In season 6 of the series, Lorelai tells Luke she could get everything done and return to Paul Anka if dilithium crystals fueled her Jeep. 

Dilithium crystals are referenced in Star Trek as a fuel source. Dilithium is a molecule in the real world, but Dilithium crystals are a fictitious mineral invented for the show. According to Fandom Dilithium crystals are used in the engine of the ships in Star Trek and are mined for on planets where they naturally occur. The crystals are shown to be pink in Star Trek

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