In the realm of beloved television series, few shows have managed to capture the hearts of viewers as passionately as Gilmore Girls. Among its vast re...
The beloved television series Gilmore Girls captured the hearts of millions of viewers with its endearing characters, witty dialogue, and captivating storylines. Among the numerous memorable episodes, "The Road Trip to Harvard" stands out as a quintessential example of the show's ability to blend humour, drama, and profound moments. While this particular episode primarily revolves around a road trip undertaken by the show's central characters after Lorelai quickly decides to not get married to Max, it is in the subtle intricacies and hidden details that the true magic of "The Road Trip to Harvard" lies.
Released during the show's second season, "The Road Trip to Harvard" takes Lorelai and Rory on a journey to visit the prestigious Ivy League institution, Harvard University.
“We're almost there, but nowhere near it. All that matters is that we're going.” - Lorelai Gilmore
What Happens In The Gilmore Girls Episode, "The Road Trip To Harvard"?
To escape the aftermath of Lorelai’s broken engagement with Max, the Gilmore Girls embark on a spontaneous road trip and stay at a terrible bed and breakfast with very boring people. To bring some happiness and excitement into the day’s events, the pair make their way to Harvard University, where Rory gets a glimpse of college life while Lorelai reflects on what could have been. At the same time, Lane returns home with bootleg CDs from Seoul after worrying her uber Christian mother sent her away to live with family rather than just visiting them for a holiday. Lane humorously mentions getting CDs into the US by strapping them to her body like in the movie Midnight Express.
When Loreali and Rory return home, the town are heartbroken at the ended engagement. Lorelai becomes emotional when she sees the chuppah that Luke had carved for her wedding. While angry at himself for not removing it from her yard, Luke is also secretly happy because of the cancelled wedding and his on-going crush on Lorelai. After learning that the wedding is off, Luke buys free coffee for the entire diner.
Inspired by the turn of events and needing to take charge in her life, Lorelai decides to take her dream of opening an Inn with best friend Sookie more seriously.
Hidden Details In The Gilmore Girls Episode “The Road Trip To Harvard”
Why Does Lorelai Look At The Photo In Harvard?
During the moment when Lorelai looks at pictures of Harvard valedictorians, she fixates on the graduate from 1990. This is speculated as being because 1990 would have been the year Lorelai would have graduated college had she pursued higher education, but instead, she became a mother to Rory in 1984 when Lorelai was 16.
Comedian Anthony Jeselnik Is One Of The Harvard Valedictorians
On the wall of Harvard valedictorians, a picture of comedian Anthony Jeselnik is seen, representing the class of 1985.
There Is A Connection With “The Munsters”
While exploring the Harvard campus, Lorelai shares Harvard trivia with Rory, including the fact that Fred Gwynne, known for playing Herman on The Munsters (1964), attended the university. Interestingly, Edward Hermann, who portrays Richard Gilmore, played Herman Munster in the 1995 movie Here Come the Munsters (1995).
There Is A “Heroes” Connection
Masi Oka has a brief role as a debater in the Harvard classroom, and this season marks the introduction of Milo Ventimiglia, who portrays Jess, Luke's nephew. Masi and Milo later co-starred in Heroes (2006).
There Are Many “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” Connections
Nancy Lenehan, who plays LaDawn, the owner of the bed and breakfast, also appeared as Pat in one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) as Joyce’s friend from Book Club who becomes possessed in the episode Dead Man’s Party in Season 3.
Susan Ruttan, who appears as a guest at the bed and breakfast in this episode, also appeared in an episode of Buffy as social worker Doris.
Both actors join Danny Strong, who later portrays Doyle, as individuals who have appeared on both shows. Danny Strong played the recurring character Jonathan in multiple episodes of Buffy throughout its seven-year run.
Despite these connections, in at least two episodes of Gilmore Girls, Rory references Buffy and mentions being a fan of the show.
Rizzo Is Not The Right Grease Character
In a scene at Harvard, when Lorelai leaves Rory at the lecture hall, she mentions someone putting "an aspirin in my coke." Rory responds with "Okay, Rizzo," referring to a character in Grease. However, in Grease, it is Marty, not Rizzo, who catches someone putting aspirin in her coke at the dance.
Lorelai’s Wedding Cake Is Named Clyde
In the episode “The Road Trip To Harvard”, we see inn chef Sookie preparing a wedding cake for Lorelai and Max. She names the cake Clyde.
There Is A Parallel Between Harvard And Chilton
There is a scene that mirrors Rory's first day at Chilton, where both she and Lorelai are in the car, tilting their heads to see something.
Lorelai Kills Off Her Fake Horse
The fake book Lorelai claims to have published to other guests at the terrible inn, "The Horse Who Wanted To Bark," ends darkly with the horse's death.
No One Knows What Emily Bought Lorelai For Her Wedding Present
Emily accuses Lorelai of eloping to exclude her from the wedding, but Lorelai clarifies that she simply called off the wedding. Emily bluntly says that she will have to return the wedding present she got Lorelai and Max. The audience never finds out what Emily got Lorelai for her wedding.
The Inn Lorelai And Rory Stay In Is Called “The Cheshire Cat”
The inn they stay at is named The Cheshire Cat. Rory likens saying "a cool B&B" to "an understated Nicolas Cage movie." Another great contrast the girls say in this episode is when Lorelai says "Christian rock" is an oxymoron.
Hello Kitty Waffles!
In this episode, we find out that Lorelai owns a Hello Kitty waffle iron.
Rory Feels Bad She Hasn’t Read 300 Books Yet
Rory berates herself for not having read thirteen million books yet, despite having read around three hundred in her life at the age of sixteen.
The Gilmore Girls favourite, "The Road Trip to Harvard" is more than just a physical adventure. It symbolises Rory and Loreali’s pursuit of their dreams, the unravelling of personal truths, and their enduring Mother and Daughter connection above all else. It also teases Rory’s journey to college and how well she fits into the life her Mother didn’t get to experience so it is a triumph for the pair of them.
The Road Trip To Harvard is one of the most loved episodes by Gilmore Girls fans and is often revisited on Autumnal re-watches. We hope our look into the hidden details and behind the scenes facts of the episode will add another dimension to your next viewing!
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