Surprising Facts from Behind the Scenes of Gilmore Girls
As one of the most prominent flagships of The WB network — the channel that eventually became The CW — Amy Sherman-Palladino's seminal hour-long dramedy Gilmore Girls has managed to remain an important part of the world of cult television. Starring Lauren Graham as the inimitable Lorelai and Alexis Bledel as her quirky daughter, Rory, the show provided a heartwarming look at life in the small New England town of Stars Hollow.
Fans ate up every minute of it, and they still stream the series in large numbers today. Think you’re a superfan who already knows everything about the popular show? Take a look at these behind the scenes surprises to see if you’re right!
Rory's Cola Coffee
One of the most integral parts of the relationship between Lorelai and Rory Gilmore is their shared love of coffee. Most days, the two take a trip down to Luke's Diner — owned by Lorelai's on-again, off-again love interest Luke Danes — for the best cup of coffee in their small town.
Lane Kim's Strange Age
It's not uncommon for a show about high schoolers to feature actors who are already out of high school. The same is true for college-aged characters. It's a standard practice in Hollywood, with almost every movie or show being guilty of casting at least one actor who is a bit older than the character they're playing.
Luke's Longer Contract
Another common Hollywood practice is completely overhauling character dynamics and relationships as the show tries to find its footing. First seasons are where continuity errors and inconsistencies are most likely to happen. It’s the time when characters are figuring themselves out as the writers iron out the kinks and sometimes change course entirely.
A Very Different Rory Gilmore
The relationship between Rory's rival — a mean private school girl named Paris Geller — and the titular Gilmore girl is one of the most compelling in the show's history. The two go from being foes to friends to foes and back again, always evolving as they grow up side-by-side.
Rory's Behind-the-Scenes Romance
As is common when actors spend many years in each other's company shooting a long-running television show, actors sometimes end up developing relationships similar to the ones they're playing on TV. This is true of Lauren and Alexis, but it's also true of a certain couple, as well.
Shooting television can sometimes be as expensive — maybe more — as a movie shoot. From the greater number of hours to the typically larger cast and crew, a 22-episode season of a TV show can cost the studio as many millions as the latest theater blockbuster. Luckily, they can sometimes cut corners to reduce expenses.
Alexis Bledel's Blended Family
Occasionally, throughout Gilmore Girls' run, Rory is seen speaking Spanish in various academic environments. This is chalked up to just being one the many facets of her very intelligent personality, but the reality is a lot simpler than that.
Milo Ventimiglia's Contract Variations
Like his uncle, diner owner Luke Danes, Milo Ventimiglia's character, Jess, was only supposed to appear on Gilmore Girls for a few episodes before departing from Stars Hollow for good. Fortunately for him, his chemistry with Alexis Bledel and the rest of the cast scored him a permanent gig.
The Best Excuse Is Often the Truth
Because shooting a television show can be incredibly time consuming, actors with other prior commitments have a tough choice to make — split their time between various projects or miss out on one in exchange for the other.
Dirty Dancing's Direct Connection
A signature characteristic of Gilmore Girls and showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino was an almost incessant referencing of classic Hollywood films and stars. Rory and Lorelai are portrayed as huge movie lovers, constantly quoting films and referencing pop culture whenever they can.
A Charitable Connection
More often than not, when one character gives their phone number to another, viewers hear the numbers "555" and immediately know the phone number isn’t real. It's sort of an unspoken understanding — phone numbers in movies and TV don’t really belong to anyone.
For many movies and television shows, especially ones starring comedians and actors who are familiar with comedy, improvisation can be a key part of the creative process on set. If a line doesn't work out loud, then the actors are often encouraged to make something up on the spot to replace the lines.
Kirk's Exhaustive Resume
Any long-running television show has its share of running gags and in-jokes that permeate throughout the show's episodes and seasons. From Seinfeld's "Newman..." to The Office's "That's what she said," the trend is a popular one, so it's not shocking that Gilmore Girls also managed to have a few of their own.
A Fictional Town's Real Inspiration
Stars Hollow, Connecticut, is one of the most idyllic, warm towns ever portrayed on TV. Unfortunately for fans of the show, it's not actually a real place. Like Parks and Recreation's Pawnee, Indiana, Stars Hollow is fictional but inspired by a real town that viewers simply don’t know about.
An Uncommon Script Length
Most hour-long dramas, despite their presumed runtime of 60 minutes, actually have a script length of about 45 to 50 pages — equal to about the same number of minutes — because of commercial breaks. Amy Sherman-Palladino doesn't work that way, though. Gilmore Girls still had commercials, of course, which meant that her much longer scripts needed to be read a whole lot faster.
The Cast Acting as Crew
When an actor spends a lot of time on set, it's not uncommon for them to start to get a creative desire to work behind the camera as well as in front of it. While it's harder for an actor to break into the filmmaking scene, it's actually not too hard for them to get the chance to try their hand at directing television — not when it’s their own show, anyway.
Shortcuts on Set
When a television show's crew assembles a particular show's set, it's not strange to see them cut a corner here and there. After all, as long as the illusion works, the audience will be none the wiser. Gilmore Girls happened to have quite a few on-set shortcuts.
An Ill-Timed Spinoff
Due to the fan-favorite status of Milo Ventimiglia's character, Jess, throughout his time on Gilmore Girls, it's not a huge shock to learn that The CW hoped to develop a spinoff about his character to hopefully keep the Gilmore Girls magic alive a little longer.
Differences Between Pilot and Premiere
A show's pilot doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be good enough to portray the program's main ideas and general feel, so the network can determine if it wants to pick the show up for a full-season order.
Sherilyn Fenn's Surefire Casting
When Amy Sherman-Palladino was developing the show in the late ‘90s, she had her sights set on a very different actress to play Lorelai: Twin Peaks alum Sherilyn Fenn. When the show finally went into development a couple of years later, the actress was unavailable, and the part was recast.
Reusing B-Roll Footage
Like the various sets that Gilmore Girls and Pretty Little Liars share, it's not a surprise to see certain B-roll footage get reused from show to show. B-roll scenes are key to establishing different locations and scenes in television and film, and it's footage that can often be purchased, much like stock photos.
Guardians of the Gilmore Girls
It's nice to see actors from a favorite TV show appearing in a different project. It provides a nice glimpse at what the actors are up to today. That's why it's so fun to see two Gilmore Girls alums in Marvel's hit comic book film Guardians of the Galaxy.
One of the most confusing things a TV show can do is say farewell to a key character off screen. It's not always their fault, of course. When an actor decides not to return in between seasons, there's nothing the writers can do but try and write a story that makes sense.
Making Room for Sookie
When an actor goes through a major life change off camera, showrunners have one of two choices: either write the change into the show or try to work around that change and hide it through clever camera tricks. When Melissa McCarthy became pregnant around the time of season seven's shoot, the crew chose the former.
The Gilmore Girls Revival
For the longest time, fans were very unhappy with the way Gilmore Girls came to an abrupt and unceremonious end. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband, Dan, were fired between seasons six and seven, and the writers they brought on to replace them were widely considered to be much less gifted at Gilmore Girls lore than the original writers.
Funny How Time Flies
Gilmore Girls’ return was one of the most hyped revivals of the 2010s. Arriving in November of 2016, A Year in the Life takes place during each of the four seasons of a given year in Stars Hollow. Most of the original show’s cast returned, but the most surprising fact had to do with everyone’s age.
Surprising for some of the biggest Gilmore Girls’ fans is the fact that Lane and her mother are not the only two members of the Kim household. There is actually a Mr. Kim. He is only discussed a couple of times on the show, so it’s understandable if viewers missed this while watching.
Parenthood Reunions Are Abundant
Fans of Lauren Graham know that the Gilmore Girls alum didn’t have to wait long before scoring her next starring role on a television show. NBC’s long-running family drama Parenthood, loosely based on the 1980’s Steve Martin film of the same name, starred Lauren Graham as a very different kind of mom.
Gilmore Girls Nostalgia
Gilmore Girls was always a very nostalgic show. Amy Sherman-Palladino clearly loves old Hollywood and 20th century relics, and she made sure to include these things in the bones of Gilmore Girls. For this reason, it’s strange to see the show demonstrating a meta nostalgia for itself.
Sticking the Landing
Because Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband never got to end Gilmore Girls the way they wanted after being fired before the final season began, fans were excited to see the way the two would wrap up the revival without having to worry about studio interference. Before A Year in the Life even debuted, talk of the final scene set the internet ablaze.