In the constant deluge of pop-culture references streaming forth from the mouths of Gilmore Girls characters, from Heathers to Two Fat Ladies to Tiger Woods, it was easy at the time to miss noticing that the Gilmores had an ongoing preoccupation with a certain someone–namely, the orange-skinned bogeyman currently stalking the halls of American politics, frightening small children with the threat of trying to date them when they turn fourteen.
But if you, like us, are going back to rewatch the seven glorious seasons of Gilmore Girls in preparation for the revival coming to Netflix on November 26th, you may have noticed that a few of those jokes are… no longer quite so funny. That’s always kind of a danger with pop culture references, but who was to know that the strutting reality star from The Apprentice and (shudder) the Miss USA pageant was soon going to be the US’s would-be first fascist dictator?
In honor of the upcoming revival and in… what’s the opposite of honor? Ignominy?… of the upcoming election, here’s a list of all five times Herr Trump was mentioned in the original Gilmore Girls, ranked in order of how the reference sounds to our sadder, wiser 2016 ears–from “slightly awkward” to “tragically cringe-inducing.”
Trump the Casino Exec
Season 6, Episode 11: “The Perfect Dress”
The setup: A recently reunited Lorelai and Rory return triumphantly from their belated celebration of Rory’s twenty-first birthday in Atlantic City.
The reference: Lorelai declares that she’s going to dedicate her life to video poker, “especially the third machine in the second row of machines as you hit the entrance of Trump Taj Mahal.”
What it meant then: What decadence! What debauchery! Lorelai and Rory were gambling at THE fanciest casino in Atlantic City!
How it sounds now: God, remember when the worst thing you could say about Trump was that he provided an incredibly trashy yet expensive setting for gambling addicts and prospective grooms to ruin their lives? Those were the days.
Trump the Reality Star
Season 7, Episode 13: “I’d Rather Be In Philadelphia”
The setup: Richard is in the hospital after having a heart attack while teaching Rory’s economics class. Rory is babbling about how great a teacher he is, and how he divided the class up into groups to compete on business projects.
The reference: Logan says that sounds like The Apprentice, and Rory says, “Yeah and he’s gonna be like Donald Trump, which is ridiculous.”
What it meant then: Richard would sound pretty silly saying “You’re fired” in a flamboyant New York accent.
How it sounds now: Hopefully in the revival Rory will not dishonor her grandfather’s memory (he was played by the great, recently deceased Edward Herrmann) by comparing him to Donald Trump, unless it’s followed by a very long list of caveats. You know, like: “Yeah, and he’s gonna be like Donald Trump, except without the whole thing where he thinks that the Chinese made up global warming and Obama is a Muslim from Kenya.”
Trump the Real-Estate Mogul
Season 2, Episode 8: “The Ins and Outs of Inns”
The setup: Lorelai and Sookie have found the perfect property to fulfill their dream of one day opening their own inn, so Lorelai orders a title search to find out who owns the property.
The reference: Sookie says, “Tell me it’s not that bastard Donald Trump.” (Lorelai confirms it’s Fran, “not some cigar-chomping, dirty-dealing city slicker.”)
What it meant then: Ugh, Donald Trump owns so many properties! That rich bastard. Aren’t you jealous?
How it sounds now:“Bastard” is actually a pretty mild epithet for a man who wants to strip away religious equality, build a wall to keep Mexicans out of the country, and throw his political opponent in jail and/or have her shot by a Second Amendment fanatic. And who has a habit of groping women without their consent and making fun of people with disabilities.
Mrs. Trump’s butt
Season 2, Episode 1: “Sadie, Sadie”
The setup: Lorelai stops by Bootsy’s magazine stand, about to buy a bridal magazine for inspiration for her never-to-happen wedding to Max, only to be accosted by Bootsy, who shares this fun fact:
The reference: “Apparently they shoot a gland from a pig’s head into Ivana Trump’s rear end twice a month to keep her looking young.”
What it meant then: Oh, that funny rich dude and his obsession with vain, shallow women!
How it sounds now: Oh, that terrifying orange presidential candidate and his predilection for objectifying and assaulting young women* and utterly devaluing the worth of any woman whom he doesn’t find attractive, thereby forcing his wife to inject questionable substances into her butt to try to sustain his interest, which, spoiler alert, totally failed! HILARIOUS!
*[Not to mention Ivana herself – Janes] [Right, I should have mentioned that! (Only read this if you have a strong stomach) – Nerdy Spice]
Now, normally, I would declare this one the winner, but the next one is a 2016 Election double whammy, so it gets the prize:
Season 5, Episode 2: “A Messenger, Nothing More”
The setup: Lorelai, fresh off the successful opening of her inn, passes by Miss Patty, who greets her as the “spunky entrepreneur.”
The reference: Lorelai agrees, “I am the uber-Trump-Murdoch-Maximus.”
How we were supposed to hear it: Lorelai is just like those successful entrepreneur dudes! Go, Lorelai!
How we hear it now: Take the “Murdoch” out and you probably have the title Trump will demand to be called by if he actually manages to get himself elected.
Bonus points to this one for also appearing in the same episode as a Hillary-for-President joke. On the phone with Lorelai, Luke promises he’s coming home that day from the Renaissance Faire that he went to the day after the two kissed. Lorelai, pretending not to believe him, responds: “See you when Hillary’s President.”
Think about this though: by the time we next see Luke and Lorelai on screen together, HILLARY MIGHT ACTUALLY BE PRESIDENT.
OK, President-elect. But still, it’s pretty damn cool.