The first episode experience is finally here! I have had an absolute blast going through and re-watching (multiple times) this first episode of this series. Needless to say, I was completely surprised at how much more time and energy will need to go into this endeavor; however, if you’re willing to stick with me, I am more than honored to take this journey. Who knows what we will learn along the way!
I definitely view this first episode (first few episodes most likely) as a bit of an experiment as I try to figure out what works (and what doesn’t) and how to best to present everything. It is my goal to (by the end of the first season) get it all together. Without further ado, enjoy!
Behind the Scenes: The pilot episode of Gilmore girls originally aired on October 5th, 2000. This episode was written by Amy Sherman-Palladino (ASP) and directed by Lesli Linka Glatter. Glatter directed five episodes of Gilmore girls including the unaired pilot, “Rory’s Dance”, “Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers”, and “It Should’ve Been Lorelai.” Other notable director roles include: The West Wing, ER, Mad Men, Pretty Little Liars, True Blood, Nashville, The Walking Dead, and Homeland.
Have you ever been interested in the actual set locations for the show? Check out this great website that details the filming locations for each episode of Gilmore girls!
The Overview: As in most pilots, we spend a good deal of time getting to know the cast of characters and the town of Stars Hollow, CT where the show is set. Fifteen year old Rory has been accepted into a prestigious preparatory school called Chilton. The school is expensive and they are needing a lot of money in order for her to begin. When Lorelai is out of options, she is forced to ask her well off estranged parents for help in paying for Rory’s school.
Gilmore’s Can Eat (Food found in this episode):
– Peach Sauce (don’t let the maple syrup strangle that fruit!), Sookie’s Kitchen.
– Tea and muffins (no dairy, no sugar, no wheat). Soak in tea to make it soft enough to bite. Made from sprouted wheat, good only 24 hours, Mrs. Kim at Kim’s Antique’s.
– Oatmeal cookies (the Protestants love them), Sookie’s Kitchen.
– Pate? Duck? (See Zsa Zsa Gabor’s house). Chicken, Lorelai’s House.
– Uneaten leafy greens then burger and fries, Luke’s Diner.
– Perfectly cooked lamb and mashed potatoes that need a little more salt, Friday Night Dinner.
– Chili fries, Luke’s Diner.
Gilmore-isms (exclusions will be books/music found in other sections):
“God, RuPaul doesn’t need this much makeup.” -Rory Gilmore. Born RuPaul Andre Charles November 17, 1960. Known for: American actor, drag queen, TV personality, and singer/songwriter.
Lorelai calls Luke “Officer Krupke”. This is a fictional character from the movie “West Side Story” released in 1961.
Rory pulls a plaid skirt out of a bag and asks, “I’m going to be in a Britney Spears video?” This is referencing Britney Spears’ first hit “Baby one more time” released in 1998.
At Lorelai’s house, Sookie asks her where her pate is, and Lorelai responds with at Zsa Zsa Gabor’s house. Zsa Zsa Gabor was born February 6, 1917 and died December 18, 2016. She was a Hungarian-American actress and socialite. She was crowned Miss Hungary in 1936. “I am a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man, I keep his house.” -Zsa Zsa Gabor
Toward Dean… “God! You’re like Ruth Gordon just standing there with the tannis root. Make a noise!” -Rory Gilmore. Ruth Gordon was an American actress who won an Oscar and Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a supporting role for the 1968 movie “Rosemary’s Baby.”
After Lorelai discovers the reason why Rory doesn’t want to go to Chilton was because of a boy, she walks after Rory stating that she’s going to have to be faster than Flo-Jo to get out of talking about the situation at hand. Flo-Jo, short for Florence Griffith Joyner is considered the fastest woman ever. She broke records in 1988 for both the 100 and 200 meter dashes.
Lorelai and Rory arrive at the Gilmore house for Friday Night Dinner. They are still fighting; however, Lorelai begs for peace at least during dinner and then afterward Rory can “Pull a Menendez.” This reference shows the gravitas of Lorelai’s need for peace in her home front at least in front of her parents. In 1989, Erik and Lyle Menendez brutally shot and killed their parents. They were convicted in 1994.
Lorelai: Is he dreamy?
Rory: Ugh, that is so Nick at Night.
Nick at Night was the evening hours on the Nickelodeon channel where they played old/classic reruns of shows such as, “Bewitched,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” “I Love Lucy,” and “The Donna Reed Show.” These shows/Nick at Night is referenced a lot throughout the series and is safe to assume that this is a channel that the Gilmore girls frequented on a regular basis.
Stars Hollow Books:
Author: Jack Kerouac, born: March 12, 1922 in Lowell, MA, died: October 21, 1969 St. Petersburg, FL. American author and poet, most recognized for his method of spontaneous prose. Best known for his novel “On the Road” published in 1957.
“I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”
Book: “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain. Originally published December 10, 1884 in the UK, and February 1885 in the US. 366 pages, picaresque fiction.
Author: Stephen Edwin King, born September 21, 1947. American author of horror, science fiction, supernatural fiction, suspense, and fantasy.
“The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them.” -Stephen King
Book: “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville. Originally published October 18, 1851 during the American Renaissance. Genre: Adventure, Epic, Nautical, Encyclopedic Novel.
Book: “Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert, contributing author Chi-hyang Pak. Originally published December 15, 1856. Original language: French. Genre: Literary Realism.
Book: “The Little Match Girl” by Hans Christian Andersen. Short story from this danish poet. Published in December 1945. Original title: Den Lille Pige med Svovlstikkeme.
The Hep Alien Review:
Composer Same Phillips: Responsible for all of the Gilmore “La la’s”
“There She Goes” by The La’s. Released in 1990. This song was also redone by Six Pence None The Richer. This song is prominent in the cold opening (scene before opening credits).
“I Try” by Macy Gray. Released in 1999. Macy Gray was referenced in the first scene between Rory and Lorelai and later when the girls are fighting they both put on this song.
“Where The Colors Don’t Go” by Sam Phillips. Released in 1991. This song is centralized around Lorelai being at her parent’s house.
“Heartland” by George Strait. Released in 1992. This song was playing during the hayride Lane was forced into going to.
“My Little Corner of the World” by Anita Bryant. Released June 1960. This song was playing as the pilot episode ended.
Coffee, Coffee, Coffee:
This section was harder than I expected to complete this week. Even after seeing the episode so many times, I get so caught up in the dialogue I forget to count cups! I watched the pilot episode four times and what I came up with was 10 cups of coffee (let me know if you get a different count!).
Kirk-of-all-trades: Our beloved Kirk did not make his entrance in the pilot episode, but have no fear, he will be arriving soon!
The Quotable Gilmore:
Lorelai: Please Luke, please, please, please!
Luke: How many cups have you had this morning?
Lorelai: Five. But yours is better!
Luke: You have a problem.
Lorelai: Yes I do.
(Luke grabs her cup and pours her some coffee)
“This is it! She can finally go to Harvard like she has always wanted and get the education that I never got and get to do all the things that I never got to do and then I can resent her for it and we can FINALLY have a normal mother-daughter relationship.” -Lorelai Gilmore
“People are particularly stupid today. I can’t talk to any more of them.” -Michel Gerard
Dean: Are you moving?
Rory: No, just my books are.
“Well fine. You have your precious pride and I have my weekly dinners. Isn’t that nice? We both win.” -Emily Gilmore
The Good, The Bad, and The Awkward:
Overall, this was a very solid pilot episode. The fast-paced dialogue was refreshing, fun, and something that is missing from most shows on television.
I really liked how awkward Rory was with Dean as she was walking him through town on their way to Miss Patty’s to help him look for a job. I feel as though more times than not most shows portray the guy struggling to speak/tripping over his words, so it was great that Rory struggled here.
I love the chemistry (although subtle) between Luke and Lorelai. I have shipped them from the beginning.
The majority of the characters are well developed and unique. The only two that fell a little flat for me were Luke Danes and Richard Gilmore. I understand Richard’s more as he was always a man that was the bread-winner in the family. That was his role, not the loving and caring father/grandfather. He appeared one dimensional mostly due to his disconnect over the years from Lorelai and Rory. As far as Luke is concerned, we just weren’t given enough with him to establish more than the fact that he was a diner owner that has the best coffee.
The only “bad” thing I couldn’t seem to overlook in this episode is when Rory and Lane were walking into Stars Hollow High and they passed Dean with his mouth hanging open all dumbfounded. It seems oafish and over the top.
After having watched Gilmore girls every year for years, it has made it harder for me to watch the earlier episodes. To me, Luke’s Diner was awkward (I’m so happy they update the set for the diner and location). Knowing Luke, the frilly curtains, the desserts being displayed in the windows, all felt wrong.
The only other awkward moment for me was in the very beginning when Lorelai tells the boy trying to hit on Rory (and her) that she was sixteen years old. We establish later that she is actually fifteen.
Episode Rating (1-10 cups of coffee):
Gilmore girls Theme Song: Where You Lead (I Will Follow) by Carole King. Originally penned with lyricist Toni Stern. The original song appeared on Carole King’s 1971 album “Tapestry.” This was originally written as a song written about a woman’s love for a man and her need to follow him. King didn’t perform it much as she quickly discovered that women don’t need men to survive. I personally cannot and do not ever want to live without my husband, so we’ll just leave things there.
King’s daughter Louise Goffin whom is also a singer/songwriter got together and rewrote recorded the song to better fit a mother/daughter relationship and is the song we hear at the start of every Gilmore girls episode from seasons one through seven.
Season One Cast of Characters (as they appear in the opening credits):
Lauren Graham as Lorelai Victoria Gilmore
Alexis Bledel as Lorelai Leigh “Rory” Gilmore
Melissa McCarthy as Sookie St. James
Keiko Agena as Lane Kim
Yanic Trusdale as Michel Gerard
Scott Patterson as Luke Danes
Kelly Bishop as Emily Gilmore
Edward Herrmann as Richard Gilmore
I’m Seeing Stars (Guest Stars this episode):
Liz Torres as Miss Patty
Jared Padalecki as Dean Forrester
Alex Borstein as Drella the great harp player
Emily Kuroda as Mrs. Kim
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Until next week…