.To quote from an early episode of the series Gilmore Girls, “Dean: So…it’s a show? Rory: It’s a lifestyle. Lorelai: It’s a religion.” The characters are talking about the Donna Reid Show, but it still applies to everything Gilmore Girls meant to their fan base who tuned in week after week, for seven seasons (even though season seven without creator Amy Sherman-Palladino kinda broke our hearts). Gilmore Girls tackled issues of class, family, and generations from a variety of perspectives with all characters struggling to find themselves. It pairs romantic and family drama with a signature quick and witty dialogue.
Throughout the series, fans watch fiercely independent, and stubborn but loveable, single mom Lorelai Gilmore try to afford her daughter Rory all of the luxuries of an Ivy League education. Lorelai is driven to provide the best for her daughter, all while attempting to maintain the down to earth values she’s raised her with in the quirky town of Star’s Hollow.
The show is well-known for the best friendship style of motherhood portrayed by the two leads, along with the class struggles between Lorelai (and eventually Rory) and her parent over the privileges of upper class life.
From fun pop culture references to adorably cute fashion trends, and the “will they or won’t they” tension among the many love interests of the mother-daughter duo this is a series worth revisiting. It’s time to go back to the beginning, watch for the first time, or flip through your favourite moments before the Netflix revival of four, 90 minute episodes is released at midnight on Friday November 25th. Let’s get poised to return to Stars Hollow with 15 pieces of Gilmore Girls trivia!
15. It’s Not Just All The Caffeine, They Really Do Speak Fast
With the show’s Tagline being, “Life’s short. Talk fast,” fans aren’t imagining the speed of the dialogue. Scripts for standard hour-long TV shows are generally 45-50 pages long, whereas the average script for an hour-long episode of Gilmore Girls was 75-80 pages. Actors were able to tear off a page of script in 20 to 25 seconds, and the show used fewer close-ups of cast than most series to help gain an extra few seconds of time. Because of the dense script, this left very little room for improvisation, which means almost every episode you see is verbatim as it’s written in the script.
While both Lorelai and Rory Gilmore are caffeine and coffee junkies, pairing their conversation with a cup of Joe, Alexis Bledel can’t stand coffee. During filming, her mug of coffee was usually filled with coke. Although Lauren Graham enjoys a good cup of coffee, she’d substitute with water sometimes when she’d had enough caffeine on set.
14. There Was Almost No Luke Danes
Luke’s character in Stars Hollow was originally supposed to be a woman named Daisy, but the network had other plans believing the show already had too many women featured as regulars in the town and wanted a strong male lead. Scott Patterson played Luke in the pilot episode, but wasn’t meant to be a series regular. He was contracted for more episodes after his intense chemistry with Lauren Graham became apparent to everyone watching the show. It was obvious not only to fans, but to the producers from day one that Patterson was a keeper.
Patterson says he channeled his father in order to play Luke; similarly Lauren Graham decided to model Lorelai’s relationship with Rory after her own close friendship with her dad. Although Scott was a natural as diner owner Luke Danes, he wasn’t always an actor. He was a baseball player who was drafted into the minor leagues having played for the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, and Atlanta Braves.
13. One Night in Paris
Actor Liza Weil auditioned for the role of Rory and didn’t get offered the part. Fortunately the producers liked her so much they wrote a character for her. Liza was introduced as Paris Geller, a complicated student at Chilton who rode the line between Rory’s foil, school friend, confidant, roommate, and sometimes frenemy. Liza prepared herself mentally for the role and tried her best to become the over-achieving Paris. Liza herself ironically wasn’t the best student in school, but struggled more with embodying the signature Paris sour attitude saying, “(It) was scary to be a judgmental, mean girl.” To be able to give a genuine and “strong” performance in season six, episode “The Perfect Dress,” both Liza Weil and Danny Strong (who played Paris’s college boyfriend and Rory’s newspaper editor-in-chief at the Yale Daily News, Doyle McMaster) took Krav Maga boot camp for a month to ensure their fight scene performance was realistic.
12. You Aren’t Imagining The Chemistry Between Jess and Rory
The character Jess Mariano was originally written to be a distraction or temporary obstacle to Luke and Lorelai’s budding romance, essentially preventing them from dating. The character was scheduled to make just a few guest appearances on the show, but fans and producers liked him so much he was offered a six season contract as a recurring character. Instead, actor Milo Ventimiglia negotiated his role for just two seasons. Milo and Alexis Bledel had a budding romance both on and off-screen with the couple really dating for three and a half years.
Some fans may remember a Jess-centric episode where he heads off to California to reconnect with his father. This was setting up for a spin-off series picked up by the WB in 2004, entitled Windward Circle and would centre around Jess’s move from Connecticut to California. The cost of filming in Venice, California was quite high and the show was scrapped. Don’t worry about Milo Ventimiglia though, he has a starring role in the new hit show This is Us alongside Mandy Moore.
11. Stars Hollow Really Does Look Familiar, It’s Not Your Imagination
If the external shot of the fictional, but beautiful Dragonfly Inn makes you feel nostalgic, it’s probably because it’s also the home of The Waltons from the 1971 TV show. Other exterior show sets used in Stars Hollow’s town square, including the Gazebo, Luke’s Diner, and Doose’s Market, were previously featured sets in the 1979 television series The Dukes of Hazzard. The set for Stars Hollow can also be seen as Rosewood on the show Pretty Little Liars, with both shows featuring an episode called, “Welcome to the Dollhouse.” Speaking of dollhouses, the similarities between Lorelai’s treasured childhood dollhouse and Lorelai and Rory’s house is not a coincidence. No one’s afraid to recycle sets and props. Gilmore Girls fans with keen eyes may have noticed that Lorelai’s dollhouse is the exact same model as the one displayed in the 20 percent off section in Stars Hollow store, Kim’s Antiques.
10. The Friendship Age Gap
Shows have been using actors older than the characters they play for years. Keiko Agena who portrays Lane Kim, Rory Gilmore’s, Stars Hollow bestie was 27-years-old playing a 15 year-old when the series started. Her onscreen best friend Alexis Bledel was just 18 years old. This means that the age difference between Graham and Agena was only six years, whereas Lane was really nine years older than her onscreen friend Rory. The character of Lane Kim is based on the co-producer of the show Helen Pai, who is also the best friend of series creator Amy-Sherman-Palladino. In the show, Lane is a part of a band called “Hep Alien,” an anagram for Helen Pai’s name. Rocker Sebastian Bach plays bandmate Gil for 13 episodes in the series, and is set to return to the Winter Season of the series revival! Keiko Agena has notable rock roots in real life having studied puppetry because her puppeteer work can be seen featured in the Foo Fighters music video for the song “Walk.”
9. Mother & Daughter Connection
It makes sense for a show with so many ties around the relationship between mothers and daughters to have other familial connections. Artist Carole King sings the show’s theme song, “Where You Lead” which was written by King in 1970 for her hit 1971 album Tapestry, brought a family connection to the show. She sings the theme song alongside her own daughter, Louise Goffin. The opening credits aren’t the only time Carole King is a part of the cozy little town of Stars Hollow. In season three she guest stars as the town’s music store owner and reluctantly agrees to let Lane use her store drum set to practice to help keep Lane’s musical ambitions a secret from her over-protective, overbearing, and highly religious mother Mrs. Kim. When Lane forms her band, practice moves to Lorelai’s garage for a short time before moving to the band apartment in later seasons.
8. Will The “Real” Sookie Please Stand Up?
Gilmore Girls fans were devastated just a few months ago when the revival was set to occur without series favourite Sookie St. James. Fortunately Melissa McCarthy and the Gilmore Girls cast have since confirmed her participation in the reboot, because it wouldn’t be the same without Lorelai’s best friend who also served as one of the show’s other parental figures to Rory. It’s hard to believe that McCarthy wasn’t meant to be Sookie. Comedic actor Alex Borstein (of Family Guy and MadTv notoriety) was cast to play the character. At the time, Borstein was married to the actor playing Jackson, Sookie’s love interest and eventual husband on the show. Alex dropped out of the series due to scheduling conflicts, but returned several times to play three different characters including: the harpist Drella, Emily Gilmore’s eccentric stylist Miss Celine, and some voice work as Lorelai’s complaining neighbour who only makes an appearance over the answering machine.
7. Not Even Second Choice Sookie?
Despite fans loving McCarthy’s warm and real performance as the sweet and highly accident prone Sookie St. James, she wasn’t even the second choice to take on the role. Amy Sherman-Palladino was glad she fought hard to convince others to cast Melissa McCarthy as Sookie commenting in 2015, “It wasn’t that people didn’t like her, but she was a different energy. She was a different kind of chick. The part was just written for a woman—there was no body type, there was nothing specific about it. I was just like, ‘I need someone who’s funny and can really act.’” Fans are glad she was finally selected. McCarthy’s real pregnancy was written into the storyline as Sookie’s third pregnancy in the final season. Since the series concluded, Melissa McCarthy has enjoyed success with her hit television show Mike and Molly and numerous blockbuster movies, most recently with a lead in the reboot of Ghostbusters.
6. What Really Happened at Friday Night Dinner
The beginning of the Gilmore Girls series plotline centres on Lorelai trying to afford to send Rory to Chilton, an exclusive school and her first stepping stone toward an Ivy League path. After not being able to come up with the money herself, she is forced to go to her wealthy parents for a loan. Emily and Richard Gilmore are happy to oblige, with just one catch: Lorelai and Rory join them every Friday evening for a family dinner. This weekly dinner becomes a huge part of the show and a recurring source of conflict over the course of the series. Lauren Graham differs from her alter ego Lorelai when it comes to Friday night dinners. In fact these were her favourite scenes to film, particularly when they were ones where she was arguing with Kelly Bishop who played Emily. These shoots were usually particularly long involving several perspectives and camera angles.
5. Bledel’s First Acting Gig
The show took a chance on Alexis Bledel, offering her first major acting role as Rory Gilmore. Prior to her acting, Bledel was a working model, and had a small, uncredited extra role in the 1998 comedy film Rushmore. While she took on the role swimmingly, fans may notice that during the first season Lauren Graham has her arm around Alexis Bledel much more frequently than in later seasons of the show. This was so Graham could help direct acting rookie Bledel to the correct spots for various scenes. Since Alexis Bledel had just arrived in Los Angeles, after having moved from New York City, when she was cast as Rory, she didn’t know anyone in the city yet, so she celebrated solo with pizza at her new home. It is said that in reality Lauren Graham is more like Rory, and Alexis Bledel shares qualities of her mother’s character Lorelai.
4. Books and Culture
Books and culture are prominent in the show with Rory Gilmore as a diehard book worm, no matter how large her scholastic workload is. Over the seven seasons of the series, 339 books were referenced. During her high school graduation speech Rory acknowledges this love saying, “I live in two worlds, one is a world of books.”
Throughout the series, Rory’s character can be seen speaking to some characters in Spanish; turns out the language is Bledel’s first, having grown-up in a Spanish speaking home. Bledel didn’t even learn English until she first went to school.
Fans of the tightly wound Inn concierge, and later manager, Michel Gerard, know that the character hails from France. However actor Yanic Truesdale is French Canadian coming from Montreal, Canada, and not the continent. When the show Gilmore Girls is dubbed for a French, audience Michel’s character isn’t French, he’s portrayed as being from Italy.
3. Cross Connections
Show stars Lauren Graham and Scott Patterson had previously worked on the same shows, but at separate times. Both were cast as romantic interests on Seinfeld. Lauren played one of Jerry’s girlfriends, Valerie, the one with the speed-dial ranking on her phone, where Scott played the boyfriend who Elaine decided was “sponge worthy.”
Before her time on Gilmore Girls, Lauren Graham had arcs on hit shows including Caroline in the City, Law & Order and Newsradio. After the completion of Gilmore Girls, Graham went on to star on another hit family drama, Parenthood. Graham has been in a relationship with her Parenthood co-star Peter Krause (who people might remember as Nate from the show Six Feet Under) since 2010. Graham wrote a novel called Someday, Someday, Maybe: A Novel in 2013 loosely based on a fiction version of her own experiences as a struggling actor in New York in the 1990s.
2. Shout Outs & Working Together
Mad Men star Jon Hamm was cast for a short arc as a boring date who Lorelai quickly dumped, and Alexis Bledel later returned the favour by joining the cast of Mad Men as Pete Campbell’s neighbour, Beth Dawes. Alexis Bledel later wed Vincent Kartheiser in 2014 and the two have one child together.
The show not only featured many up and coming stars, but also made references to cast members’ previous roles, and their next ones. Kelly Bishop had a part in the movie Dirty Dancing, and the film is mentioned a few times over the course of the series. When Lane’s almost boyfriend Dave Rygalski, played by Adam Brody, ended his stay in Stars Hollow for the role of Seth Cohen in The O.C., the show decided that his character had moved to California. Lane later went on to date (and eventually marry) her other bandmate Zach Van Gerbig, who was played by Todd Lowe. The “rockin” father of Lane’s twin boys will be back for the Netflix revival.
1. Show’s Inspiration
When show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino was on a trip which took her through a small town called Washington, Connecticut, she stayed in a charming little inn and was inspired. She remembers driving by and observing people slowing down to find the pumpkin patch. Sherman-Palladino added, “And everything is green and people are out, and they’re talking. And we went to a diner and everyone knew each other and someone got up and they walked behind the (counter) and they got their own coffee because the waitress was busy.” Less than 24 hours later she had worked on the concept for the series Gilmore Girls and had even written some dialogue for the pilot. The pilot of the show was filmed in Unionville, a small town on the outskirts of Toronto, Ontario, Canada whereas the actual series was routinely filmed on Warner Brothers Burbank Studios stages.
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