Gilmore Girls: Behind The Scenes SecretsPublished on November 8, 2016. Updated June 8, 2020
Gilmore Girls was one of the best shows on television back in the early 2000s. The series ran for 7 whole seasons and developed a strong fan following throughout its entire time on air. Featuring a now iconic mother-daughter duo living in the fictional town of Stars Hallow, Gilmore Girls is widely recognized as a cult classic and was so popular among viewers it was revived into a miniseries on Netflix called Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life a whopping nine years after the series finale. Because the show was so popular, here’s a look at 10 behind the scenes secrets from the original Gilmore Girls series!
10. Only 1 Gilmore Girl
In 2007, Lauren Graham did an interview with TV Guide and revealed that, when the show was winding down and it was clear it was the right time to end the show, the network tried to think of many angles to keep the show going. They even threw out the idea of continuing the show without her and having Gilmore Girls primarily focus on Rory. “I did formally say at one point, ‘I’m not coming back.’ Then they thought, ‘Well, can we do it with just Alexis?’ I don’t want to speak for her, but we both went back and forth. Ultimately, neither of us wanted to do it without the other one…If [Bledel] was in a place where she wanted, like, her own show or her own spin-off…They were trying to think of everything,” she said. In the end, neither Alexis Bledel nor Lauren Graham wanted to continue on without the other and they were tired of their hectic schedules. They both felt like it was time to say goodbye and eventually the network agreed.
9. Theme Song
The theme song of any given series becomes like a signature for the show and often reflects what the premise of the show is about. This is not what happened with Gilmore Girls! According to creator Sherman-Palladino, the iconic theme song we hear play out at the beginning of every Gilmore Girls episode tells the story of a woman following a man, not a mother and daughter relationship. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Sherman-Palladino reflected on what happened when she asked King for the rights to the song: “What’s interesting is I just wanted to use the song off of Tapestry, and we thought there’s no way that was ever going to happen, because how would that happen? We’re a tiny show, we don’t really exist and Carole King is a legend. We got to her and what was weird is she said, ‘I don’t do that song anymore in concert because it’s about a woman following a man and I feel that the times are different and I don’t want to be singing about a woman following a man. But I love the idea of a mother and a daughter and if I could re-record it with my daughter and turn the song that I wrote into something more relevant, I would love to do that.'” That’s how the Gilmore Girls theme song was born!
8. Rory and Loreli
There’s no doubt the amazing chemistry in the mother daughter relationship between Rory and Lorelai was one of the show’s best assets. When the show first started out, Alexis Bledel was a rookie actress who had never acted prior to landing this gig so she needed a lot of help from her co-star, Lauren Graham. Not surprisingly, Graham was a much more seasoned actress, so she kind of took Bledel under her wing to help her make her marks on screen. In an interview with the Today Show, Graham revealed that sometimes she had to actually physically move Bledel to make sure she was standing in the right place during a shot. “The camerawork on that show is very specific and we really had to hit certain marks, which especially when you start out, is just a foreign concept…I remember a lot of times just kind of grabbing her, just kind of leading her arm. So, in the beginning, people are like, ‘You have such great chemistry.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m mauling her. That’s why,'” said Graham.
7. Too Much Coffee
A large portion of Gilmore Girls was shot at Luke’s diner. Lorelai and Rory were usually there having a greasy meal or a quick cup of coffee — it was one or the other, or both in nearly every episode of the show! As a result, Lauren Graham said she had to drink A LOT of coffee while working on set. This wasn’t a problem for her because in real life she admits she’s a big coffee drinker, but even she couldn’t keep up with Lorelai sometimes. It’s easy for actors to hide what they are really drinking in a mug or glass which is exactly what Graham had to do. At one point she was drinking so much coffee that she had to ask to switch over to water: “I drink a lot of coffee. I would get to this place on-set [of Gilmore Girls] in real life where if I had anymore, I was going to keel over dead. So sometimes there was water in there.” On the other hand, Alexis Bledel doesn’t actually drink coffee in real life so her mug was often filled with soda.
6. Liza Weil Auditioned for Rory
Liza Weil had an important role on Gilmore Girls as Paris Geller, but she was originally gunning for an even more coveted spot on the show! When the network was casting for the show, Weil auditioned for the part of Rory Gilmore. According to Sherman-Palladino, she was obviously not right for the part, but she liked her so much she told Weil that if the show got picked up, she would write a character into the show specifically for her. “When I first got the material [for Paris], I was really unsettled. I was like, ‘How on earth could they think this is something that is in me at all?’ I found her intimidating. I love Paris now, and I’ve always loved her, but it was scary to be a judgmental mean girl,” said Weil.
5. Spit Buckets on Set
Similar to the endless cups of coffee, there was a lot of greasy fast food on the show. In fact, viewers rarely ever saw Lorelai or Rory eat a healthy, well-rounded meal! We’re totally envious that Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel got to indulge in so much delicious food, but Graham revealed on the Today Show that, although they actually did eat all of that food, it wasn’t long before they were feeling sick from eating so much of it. It got so bad they had to have spit buckets on set so the girls didn’t have to swallow every bite. We knew it! Nobody can eat that much greasy food and get away with it!
4. Lauren Graham’s Father
Similar to the relationship between Rory and Lorelai, Lauren Graham’s relationship with her father was quite close because he was her primary caretaker. She told Rookie magazine in an interview that while working on the set of Gilmore Girls she modeled a lot of Lorelai’s relationship with Rory on the one she had with her father. “He has been married to my stepmother for over 25 years, but there were about 10 years before that when it was just me and my dad. It was a win. I remember thinking, ‘I am so lucky.’ We had a special kind of friendship: I came along to dinner and dates. He took me to concerts. We’d go on road trips. I didn’t have a strong idea of how to play a mom — my mom was in my life, but not on a daily basis. I came into it without an idea of how moms ‘should act’ or how it ‘should be.’ I came in thinking of my friendship with my dad — that was my model,” she said.
3. Lane Kim Based on Real Person
The loveable character of Lane is based of creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s best friend and co-producer on the show, Helen Pai. The name of Lane’s band Hep Alien is a play on Helen Pai’s name. Lane’s Adventist household with a strict mother was modeled after Pai’s actual childhood home. Pai’s mother taught Emily Kuroda, who played the character of Mrs. Kim, how to speak Korean and often contacted her own mother when dealing with certain parts of the Gilmore Girls script that dealt with Korean language or culture.
2. Pop Culture References
Surprisingly, the cast didn’t always understand those famous pop culture references that were written into the Gilmore Girls script and one of the main things the show was so well known for. Alexis Bledel admitted in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that she often had to look them up! “We’d just say them. No, we’d have to look them up on our own typically. There wasn’t time for anything like that. There were no explanations written into the script,” said Bledel who also admits she doesn’t really watch television. Graham then chimed in and said Bledel once asked her who “The Waltons” were which was a popular American television series. “I was like oh my God, I’m so old!” joked Graham.
1. Stars Hallow Modeled After a Real Town
The famous fictional town of Stars Hallow was designed after a real town that show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino stayed at while on vacation with her husband. It was a small town in Washington, Connecticut, where Sherman-Palladino was staying at a local inn. “We’re driving by, and people are slowing down and saying, ‘Excuse me, where is the pumpkin patch? 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.” In the 24 hours after she left the town, Amy had conjured up the idea of Gilmore Girls and wrote part of the pilot’s dialogue.