In addition to its unique brand of fast-talking wit, Gilmore Girls is known for one other element: its pop culture references. As OG fans who owned the DVD sets may recall, the discs came with booklets explaining each season’s many “Gilmore-isms.” These most often included mentions of classic music, films, and television. However, Gilmore Girls also had some modern (well, at the time) pop culture references that weren’t so timeless. Here are a few references that didn’t age well.
The slow DSL days
Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) didn’t have the most technologically advanced household. In season 1 episode 2, “The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton,” Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop) pays for a DSL setup at Lorelai’s house. At the time, this would have been the fastest internet option for Rory to get her schoolwork done. However, Lorelai wanted nothing to do with it.
“Well, we like our internet slow, OK?” Lorelai said in a beloved quote. “We can turn it on, walk around, dance, make a sandwich. With DSL, there’s no dancing, no walking, and we’d starve. It’d be all work and no play. Have you not seen The Shining, mom?”
These days, there are likely very few people who would argue in favor of dial-up internet as Lorelai did. No one has time for slow!
Talking to a VCR
Just a few episodes later, in season 1 episode 5, “Cinnamon’s Wake,” Emily references another piece of outdated technology: a VCR. With how much Lorelai and Rory loved watching movies, fans saw VCRs on the show plenty of times. In the early 2000s, that was very normal. Even Emily had one, although she might not have understood how it worked.
“If I wanted to talk to a machine, I’d talk to my VCR,” she said, explaining why she doesn’t leave messages on answering machines.
In 2021, VCRs might be considered dinosaurs. By this point, Lorelai probably would have reluctantly traded in her videotape player for streaming service subscriptions.
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were just one of many early 2000s couples referenced in Gilmore Girls. The two famously started dating in 1999 and got married just a few months later. Their relationship seemed strong for a while, but in 2005, they announced their split.
Years before the end of Aniston and Pitt’s marriage, though, Gilmore Girls basically predicted the divorce. In season 2 episode 22, “I Can’t Get Started,” which aired in 2002, Rory mentioned the celebrity duo. Lorelai was trying to tell her daughter about Christopher Hayden’s (David Sutcliffe) breakup with his girlfriend.
“Guess who’s in the process of breaking up?” Lorelai asked.
“Brad and Jen?” Rory replied with a little too much enthusiasm.
Lorelai quickly feigned offense at the remark, telling Rory to bite her tongue. Unfortunately for Lorelai, that news did come true eventually.
‘It’s Avril Lavinge’s world’
Another outdated Gilmore Girls pop culture reference came in season 4 episode 8, “Die, Jerk.” In this episode, Rory wrote a particularly harsh review of a ballet recital at Yale University. When a disgruntled ballerina confronted Rory about the article, the young journalist tried to talk her way out of trouble. She argued that most people probably wouldn’t have read the review or shown interest in ballet.
“It’s unfortunate and awful, and I hate it, but what can you do?” she said. “It’s Avril Lavigne’s world, and we’re just living in it.”
At the time, Lavigne was a big name in pop-punk and served as inspiration for the fashion styles of teens everywhere. While she’s still releasing music today, she doesn’t hold quite as much influence on pop culture.
‘When Hillary’s president’
Some Gilmore Girls references are too painfully accurate today. In season 5 episode 2, “A Messenger, Nothing More,” Lorelai playfully argued with Luke Danes (Scott Patterson) about when he would be home from helping out at the Rennaissance Faire. He insisted that he would come home that day, but after hearing that so many times, Lorelai didn’t buy it.
“I’ll see you when Hillary’s president,” Lorelai said.
At the time, a reference to Hillary Clinton running for president didn’t hold much meaning. However, years later, she did run for president. Nowadays, hearing this quote in a way that says “see ya never” can sting as a reminder to many people that Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election.
Just like Gwen and Gavin
And finally, another outdated celebrity couple reference: Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. In season 6 episode 12, “Just Like Gwen and Gavin,” Rory used the couple to illustrate how Lorelai and Luke could work through their troubles. Lorelai had just found out that Luke knew he had a young daughter and hid it from his girlfriend.
“Maybe this is a cheesy perspective to offer you, but Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale went through the same sort of situation. He found out he had a kid that he didn’t know about, but they made it work … as far as I know,” Rory said.
While Stefani and Rossdale’s split reportedly didn’t have much to do with his child, they did eventually divorce in 2015. Their relationship has come a long way since then, as the two are now co-parents to three children. These days, Stefani is also newly married to country star Blake Shelton.
All episodes of Gilmore Girls are now streaming on Netflix.