25 Strange Secrets We Didn’t Know About Gilmore Girls
We don’t care what team you’re on as long as it isn’t Logan’s. Here are 25 dark secrets about the addicting drama that is Gilmore Girls!
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When I was around 8 years old, my mom called me into the family room to show me something on the TV. I was in the midst of playing with my toys in my room and I did not appreciate being interrupted. Didn’t my mother understand that I was busy? Those dolls weren’t going to play with themselves. Anyways, she called me into the family room to share her favorite show with her only daughter: Gilmore Girls.
For some reason my loud, opinionated, and constantly joking mother with a bookish, quiet, and shy daughter (whom she had at 16) greatly related to this show and wanted to share it with me. And I have to admit, I hated the show at first. I just wasn’t the target demographic and found myself quickly bored.
However, I returned to the show years later and fell in love. I watch the show nearly every day and usually go to sleep with it playing quietly in the background. I now have opinions, favorite characters, and will randomly message my mother with a solid wall of text explaining why a certain character (cough, Logan) is the absolute worst.
This show has become part of my life and in the spirit of keeping it alive, I spent a few hours this past week researching the show (its actors, sets, plots, and spelunking for any fascinating tidbits I could discover online) and wanted to share my findings.
So without further ado, here are 25 of the most interesting facts I found about this beloved show.
25 Endless Municipal Proceedings
The town meetings are, without a doubt, the greatest parts of any episode in which they feature. Ask any Gilmore Girls fan and they will tell you that the town meetings are the cream of the crop, the pinnacle of primetime television, the greatest thing since they starting putting cheese in the pizza crust. Watching Taylor squabble with Luke (or anyone else who dares go against his attempts at creating a quaint totalitarian small town regime) is the highlight of my life.
But even though these scenes are the most entertaining to watch, they were horrid to film. It turns out that these scenes took an incredibly long time to film (upwards of 12 hours). Since the scenes involved so many characters (who all had to hit their marks, get their lines out, and avoid laughing), filming these scenes could be exhausting at best and absolutely horrid at worst.
24 The Speed Of Lorelai
We all know that Gilmore Girls is famous for its insanely fast-talking characters and quick wit, but exactly how fast did these girls talk? It turns out that the characters on this classic show talked at such a speed that they required dialogue coaches on set in order to help the characters get through their lines as quickly as possible. And, in case you were curious, the characters’ words per minute was tracked.
It turns out that Lorelai Gilmore is the fastest talker of them all.
The show also used fewer close-up shots in order to keep the show as quick as possible and would often reshoot scenes in order to shave seconds off. But what is the biggest consequence of such fast-paced dialogue? Its script size. The scripts for the show ended up being nearly double the length of scripts for average television shows.
23 Absentee Father
During a pre-revival rewatch, I noticed that Lane often talks about her “parents” as a cohesive unit throughout the series. The way she talks about them makes it seem as though they are still together, even though her father is literally never seen.
Why is he often mentioned over the course of seven solid years, but never seen? Mrs. Kim does not seem like a divorced woman (especially considering her fundamentalist views) and, if she was a widower, you would think that someone would have said something. I mean, kids who’ve lost a parent don’t usually continue to refer to them as if they were still there for years on end. But, luckily, the revival solved this mystery for us. In a very brief moment in the Spring episode, Lane mentions that her father made it to an event. We’re quickly shown an elderly Asian man.
22 I Would Never!
Any fan of the character of Rory found themselves struggling to accept and adjust to Rory’s new personality that arose around the fourth/fifth seasons. The show builds up this strong, independent, stubborn, respectful, and determined character, and then throws that all away the moment one man doubts her. First-to-third-season Rory would not abandon her dreams and lifelong ambitions because one pompous jerk has the nerve to tell her she isn’t good enough.
The old Rory would not drop out of school (disrespecting the grandparents who paid out of pocket for it) in order to pout for a few months.
Neither would she think herself better than a wonderful job opportunity, disrespect them for stringing them on for a year, and then act unprofessionally with a potential source/client. And first-to-third-season Rory would not engage with multiple married men.
21 Seasonal Ch-Ch-Changes
Though it could be assumed that the seasonal format of the Year in the Life revival was done in order to showcase the changes that the clan have undergone since we last saw them without feeling rushed or clunky, it turns out there was an actual reason. The format was intended to be a tribute to Carole King.
She appeared as the music shop owner and also co-wrote the show’s original theme. The seasonal format references King’s song “You’ve Got a Friend,” which contains a verse that references the speakers’ devotion to an unknown party existing in each and every season of the year. Fun fact: the song “Where You Lead” was originally a song about a romantic relationship. King decided that the message of following the man you love went against ideas of girl power. She fell out of love with her own song.
20 Little White Truths
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Sometimes bigger and better things come up and actors find themselves leaving a role in order to pursue that new opportunity. Some shows simply recast the character and some shows just never mention that character ever again as if they never existed. However, that is not the Gilmore way.
When characters leave the show, a reason is always given and that reason is usually the actual reason why that actor left.
When Adam Brody left in order to feature in The O.C., his sudden absence was explained by him moving to California (where his new show was filmed). When Brad made his sudden return to Chilton, his absence was due to his stint on Broadway, where he played a role in the musical Into the Woods (which is what the actor was actually doing at the time of his absence).
19 My Backyard Is Your Front Yard
The greatest thing about movie magic is the fact that it can trick viewers into seeing something entirely different than what is really happening on set. Sets are small and building them can be incredibly expensive, so corners are often cut. As long as it looks good and realistic on screen, it doesn’t matter what it actually looks like.
For example, the exteriors of Lorelai’s house and the exterior of Sookie’s house are connected. It turns out the Sookie’s house is actually the back of the Gilmore home. This point is briefly mentioned when Lorelai says she “knows a shortcut” to Sookie’s house and cuts around the side of their own house (though a bit of movie magic is used to extend their walk). This brings a whole new meaning to having a good friend right around the corner.
18 Busting With… Something
The Gilmores are known for their bottomless bellies and their love of coffee. However, both of these defining character traits are the direct product of movie magic. First off, a coffee aficionado Alexis Bledel is not. It turns out that her coffee cup was usually filled to the brim with Coke.
The Gilmores eat an unprecedented and ungodly amount of food.
Nearly every episode features the girls chowing down on piles and piles and piles of junk food at least once. And that large amount of food is enough to make any normal person sick. Imagine having to eat that much food upwards of 60 times while they do take after take? The girls relied heavily on spit buckets in order to not burst themselves. It is important to note that unlike most other shows, the girls actually did eat a large amount of the food during the shows numerous takes.
17 Mother Dearest
Everyone knows that once a woman hits 35, she is essentially fired from Hollywood. It is the moment where an actress finds herself no longer receiving calls to play the heroine nor the lead and, instead, finds herself landing roles of the aging widow, the evil mother, and the jealous ex-wife. This is why actresses are told to hold on to youthful roles for as long as they can.
Once you paint the matronly picture of yourself in Hollywood, it tends to stick. Which is precisely why Lauren Graham’s agent initially advised her against taking her most well-known role. Once Graham labeled herself as a “mom” in Hollywood, that label would be impossible to shake. Male actors seem to gain respect and prestige as they age and can play both a father, an aging writer, or the hero of whatever film they are cast in without being typecast.
16 Namesake Debate
Though we all know that Lorelai Leigh Gilmore (a.k.a Rory Gilmore) was named after her own mother during a moment of feminist idealization and that her mother was named after Lorelai the first (a.k.a Richards mother), there is another possible source of inspiration for Rory’s name.
It turns out that Lorelei Lee was the name of the title character in the old Marilyn Monroe film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Now, this could be a coincidence, however, I feel as though that the classic film loving Lorelai Gilmore might have found inspiration for Rory’s second name in this classic romantic comedy. I know that Lorelai named her daughter after herself because “if men can do so, then why can’t women?” but I cannot believe that the combination of her first and middle name was not inspired by this classic Monroe-lead film.
15 Double Duty
As mentioned before, sets often pull double duty when filming a show. As long as it is hidden and changed up a bit, audiences will respect the effort even if it is noticeable. I’m sorry to break the hearts of all those who are reading this, but Stars Hollow is not a real place. Though, the town is based on a small town in Connecticut that Amy Sherman-Palladino visited during a trip. The actual town of Stars Hollow was created and filmed on a popular studio backlot. In fact, that same backlot (and the sets used for Gilmore Girls) were repurposed and used to film the recently ended teen mystery drama Pretty Little Liars. Also, the opening shot of the town used during the title sequence is the same stock small town overhead shot used in both Pretty Little Liars and the new small-town thriller show Riverdale.
14 Genetic Lottery
Sometimes you spend months and months trying to find characters that look like they could really be genetically related to each other and sometimes you just luck out.
That was the case with the casting of Lorelai Gilmore, both junior and senior.
Though both actresses maintain a stunning likeness to one another (right down to their darkest brown hair and stunning blue eyes), neither actress was cast because of their likeness to one another. Showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino claimed that the actresses shared traits was merely due to dumb luck as each actress was cast for their abilities rather than looks. Although, the girl that played Lorelai in her youth did have to alter her appearance in order to perform the role. She was made to wear bright blue contacts (as the actresses eyes were naturally a dark brown) which ended up making her eyes appear purple on camera.
13 Stranger Than Fiction
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Writers find inspiration in reality. When writing a show filled with dozens of uniquely entertaining and fascinating characters, it can be difficult to come up with enough differing personalities off the top of one’s head. Which is why writers (especially those who write for television) usually base one or two characters off of people that they know from their personal lives and past experiences. An example of which being the character of Lane Kim. This character was actually inspired by the woman who created this beloved show, Amy Sherman-Palladino’s, real-life best friend, Helen Pai. Amy’s lifelong friend, Helen Pai, is not only a personal contact but a business one as well as she holds the title of “producer” on the show itself. Fun fact: Lane’s band, “Hep Alien” is actually an intentional anagram of her name.
12 Childhood Toys
If shows consistently reuse sets without shame, then why wouldn’t they reuse props as well? Remember Lorelai’s dollhouse? The dollhouse that she fought her parents in order to regain possession of as a grown-up because it was the only thing from her childhood that brought her joy as a grown-up? Well, it turns out that people are wrong about only children being greedy because Lorelai Gilmore did a lot of sharing as she was not the only person who owned this beautiful antique toy.
This dollhouse has changed hands many times.
It can be seen as a “for sale” item in Mrs. Kim’s antique shop and was also belonged to Monica (after she inherited it from a deceased family member) in an episode of the classic sitcom Friends.
11 Let’s Make It Official
In the olden days, you had to use allusions and implications in order to convey something on-screen that the censors (and the general public) would deem too inappropriate to broadcast. Now, things are much more open and out there, but some shows still prefer to hint rather than outright say things in order to prevent alienating their audiences. Though typical stereotypes on masculinity and how gay males present themselves caused many fans to assume Michel’s preferences for years, his place on the Kinsey six scale was never explicitly stated in the original series. However, Michel was “outed” so to speak in the revival when he was finally given a husband. Though many fans assumed this was the case, based on his effeminate personality, it is important to note that one should never assume someone’s preferences unless explicitly stated, especially when those assumptions are based on stereotypes.
10 Casting Conundrums
Like many shows, Gilmore Girls struggled to find the perfect cast combination for several of their roles and found themselves bouncing actors around until it all fell into place. The casting directors saw hundreds of boys when they were trying to fill Dean’s oversized shoes. None of the boys were “right” for the role. That is until someone suggested Jared Padalecki and he essentially was cast immediately.
The role of Sookie also proved hard to cast.
The role initially went to Alex Borstein before going to Melissa McCarthy. Borstein did stay on the show in a series of small roles. Also, the character of Luke was a last-minute addition. Originally, he was supposed to be a woman named Daisy. They thought the show needed some testosterone and Daisy became Luke. Luke and Lorelai had such intense chemistry that the character became part of the title cast.
9 They Grow Up So Fast
People often complain when shows use young people to fill the roles of teen characters, but I believe that, so long as the actors can pass as teens, the age of the actor does not matter. Filming with underaged actors can be insanely difficult due to the extensive list of laws that exist to protect them. These laws include strict work hours, content rules (underaged actors cannot feature in scenes with bad content of any sort without a parent on set and child safety organizations being notified to assure that the child is safe), and set schooling hours to be taken from the set work hours. It’s fine as long as I can’t tell that these actors are nearly as old as those playing the adult characters. Case in point, Alexis Bledel was 19 and Keiko Agena (Lane Kim) was 27 when they were offered their respective roles.
8 Working 9 To 5
Even though I’m firmly team Rory (that is, up until her personality 180 that takes place around the show’s fifth season), I maintain that Kirk is one of the greatest fictional characters to ever grace the small screen. If I lived in Stars Hollow, I would wake up every day and go out into the town looking for Kirk so I could see what his new job of the day was and what whacky situation he is currently stuck in.
Did he get another cat that despises him with every fiber in its tiny feline body?
Did he invent a new sort of barnyard-themed beauty product? Did he try to do another topical tee shirt line? Fun fact: Kirk held 62 jobs during the entire series (not counting the two jobs he held while he was the character of “Mick”).
7 Stutters And Lies
When Rory makes the misguided decision to abandon her dreams, drop out of school, and move into her grandparents’ pool house because the pompous father of her equally nauseating boyfriend tells her that she “hasn’t got what it takes,” Rory finds herself interacting with her grandmother’s Hispanic maid. Rory speaks with her in broken Spanish that is entirely composed of basic conversational phrases that she stutters through whenever they interact. This, funnily enough, was an inside joke on the set as Alexis Bledel is incredibly fluent in the language considering that her first language is actually Spanish due to her Hispanic heritage. In fact, Bledel didn’t begin to learn English until she began schooling. Sometimes writers slip in inside jokes into shows that playfully poke fun at the actors themselves and those moments always amuse me.
6 Musical Cast
Though child me (and, to be honest, grown-up me as well) primarily watches the show for the character of Rory, the true stars lie in the secondary cast. Both the characters that play Emily and Richard Gilmore (Kelly Bishop and Edward Herrmann respectively) won Tony awards in the year 1976 for their theatrical pursuits. Not to mention the fact that the actresses that play both Babette and Miss Patty (Sally Struthers and Liz Torres respectively) are both theatrically trained and have performed on Broadway.
Fun fact: the casting directors sought out Sally Struthers after casting Liz Torres due to their amazing chemistry on the 1971 hit All in the Family.
And I have got to say that the show would not be the same had it not included those actresses as Babette and Miss Patty, because no one else could do those roles justice.
Zooey Norman is a writer, mother, and film enthusiast. This tender-hearted optimist spends her days rereading the same books she has had since childhood, loves nothing more than a good behind the scenes featurette, and never manages to finish her tea before it gets cold. Zooey’s first book, “Lavender Reverie” is now available to purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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