Over the course of 7 seasons on The WB and The CW, Gilmore Girls proved itself to be equally touching and socially relevant. With sharply witty social commentary and pop culture references abound, the love letter to the friendship between mother-daughter duo Lorelai and Rory Gilmore quickly became something of a cult hit among audiences everywhere.
To this day, it remains obsessively beloved and rewatched. The fans’ level of passion is so intense, after all, that Netflix greenlit the four part revival series Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which premiered on the streaming giant in November 2016 and allowed viewers a return trip to the sweet comfort of Stars Hollow. The miniseries even stands as Netflix’s highest viewed series of 2016.
Yet, as wholesome and welcoming as Stars Hollow may have been for all those years and for many more to come, dramatic behind-the-scenes secrets lurk in the shadows of the sunny little hamlet. Whether it’s feuding costars, secret romances, or contract negotiations gone awry, even Stars Hollow isn’t immune to the workings of Hollywood.
Here are the 15 Dark Behind-The-Scenes Secrets Of Gilmore Girls.
15. Jess and Rory’s real life relationship
Kindred spirits who connected over their love of literature and dissatisfaction with certain parts of their lives, the relationship between Jess and Rory is Gilmore Girls‘ great star-crossed romance. For actors Milo Ventimiglia and Alexis Bledel, their relationship followed a similar trajectory. Although the two were in a serious relationship for over three years, and even discussed marriage, they separated late in the run of the series.
However, when Gilmore Girls returned in the form of a Netflix revival in 2016, the characters, whose journeys were so intertwined, scarcely shared any screen time at all, leading fans everywhere to wonder whether there hadn’t been some lingering awkwardness from the breakup even after all these years.
True, the actors appear to have found happiness on their own terms now: Bledel is now married to Mad Men‘s Vincent Kartheiser and the couple welcomed a son in 2015, and Ventimiglia is in a relationship himself.
14. Gilmore vs. Gosling
The life of an actor is filled with countless forms of rejection. More often than not, people just aren’t going to be chosen for the role they want simply because they’re not cut out for it. Also, apparently, that explanation holds true for even now household names like Ryan Gosling.
According to the series’ director of casting, Jami Rudofsky, she had seen Gosling for a part in a film she had been working on and felt that he would be a good fit for a small football player role in an episode of Gilmore Girls.
However, the audition couldn’t have gone worse, and it suffices to say that Gosling didn’t get the part, and Rudofsky’s coworkers were left to wonder what she had seen in the young star in the first place. Little did they know…
13. The on-set couple no one knew about
While Alexis Bledel and Milo Ventimiglia may have been a pretty low key couple in their time, their long term relationship was nonetheless one the media frequently covered. However, long before Ventimiglia came into town and stole the show, it turns out that not only was Dean Forester Rory Gilmore’s first love, but that Jared Padalecki was Alexis Bledel’s first costar boyfriend, too.
According to casting directors Jami Rudofsky and Mara Casey, the two hit it off all but from the very beginning, not even requiring the actors to take part in the usual chemistry read that’s part of most casting processes: “Sometimes with casting, the right person just walks in and you just feel it. There had already been two Deans cast before we found him. But there is something about Jared.”
12. Say it ain’t Sookie!
Casting a series is a long and winding process. Recasting in the middle of production, or after a pilot has been shot but not fully approved, are now pretty standard practices.
However, Gilmore fans may be surprised to know that Stars Hollow mainstay Sookie St. James didn’t originally look like the goofy, rosy-cheeked, clumsy chef we all know and love. In fact, Melissa McCarthy was not the first choice for the role, but MADtv‘s Alex Borstein was.
A pilot was filmed with Borstein in the role, but due to her commitment to MADtv at the time, they were forced to replace her as Sookie with McCarthy in a reshoot. While McCarthy would go on to make the role so much more than her own, and her star would rocket into the Hollywood sky at a dazzling rate, Borstein did still squeeze in a few cheeky guest appearances on the series as the lavish Miss Celine and the snippy Drella the harpist.
11. Stars Hollow: Unpleasantville?
The life of an extra in TV and film is one that is bound to be filled with good and bad experiences aplenty, but if the rumors are true from unverified reports online, the set of Gilmore Girls sounds like it was a horrible place for aspiring walk on extras.
In a long series of Facebook comments by actors within the industry, criticisms of the series’ treatment of extras range from diva-like behavior from the leading ladies, verbal abuse from the crew, excessive hours, and much more non-specific encounters.
10. A bad business decision may have led to the show’s cancellation
It’s a touchy subject for Gilmore fans everywhere, but season 7 of the series was neither written nor helmed by Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband Daniel Palladino, and the difference is so far beyond noticeable that it nearly smacks you over the head every time you watch an episode.
However, what makes this final season’s failure all the more unfortunate is the fact that it was totally avoidable.
According to Sherman-Palladino, she and her husband had requested The CW hire additional writing staff to help lighten their load on the aging series, and when the network refused, the duo walked. But of course, with the large Palladino void to fill, The CW wound up having to hire even more new talent than they would have had they heeded ASP’s initial request.
9. Even TV executives don’t do their homework
Have you ever shown up for a test or a presentation feeling totally unprepared for what you’re about to deal with? Apparently, that happens to even the best minds in the TV industry, too. And even more surprisingly, sometimes, it works in their favor.
When Amy Sherman-Palladino pitched the idea for Gilmore Girls to network executives, she did so with a single sentence. As she explains it:“I sold [the series] off of a line, ‘It’s [a] mother and daughter and they’re more like friends than mother and daughter.’ And they all perked up and literally said, ‘Great, we’ll buy that.’ I walked out of there and turned to my manager at the time and said, ‘That’s all I got. I don’t know what the show is.'”
8. Lauren Graham rejects much of seasons 6 and 7
While season 7 is largely considered a total anathema to the overall series of Gilmore Girls, there’s no denying that certain elements of season 6 really set the show up for failure. This includes the horrible Lorelai-Rory rift, the disastrous decision to give Luke a daughter he never knew about, and the horrible choice to have Luke and Lorelai end the season broken up and with Lorelai rebounding with her ex, Christopher.
All of this, of course, comes before considering one of season 7’s worst offenses: Lorelai and Christopher, toxic for one another from the very beginning, decide to marry on a whim.
However, fans many take solace in knowing that they’re not the only ones who reject some of these plots. Leading lady Lauren Graham is outspoken about her dislike of the Lorelai-Rory feud, and when it comes to the Lorelai-Christopher marriage, she admits that “this seemed so odd to me back then (especially after all that time apart; I just don’t think Lorelai would get married without Rory present) that I somehow managed to completely forget it ever happened.”
7. When Graham wanted out, a Rory only spinoff was considered
Long before Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was even a hint of ink on a piece of paper, there were already talks of spinning Gilmore Girls off into something markedly different… and a whole lot less plural.
After season 7, when Lauren Graham made it clear that she wanted to depart the series, The CW briefly considered shopping a short run spinoff focusing on Rory and Rory alone. This, of course, makes little to no sense, given the close bond between mother and daughter that comprised the majority of the original series.
Thankfully, the idea was dropped early into the deliberation process, and the show was allowed to end (sort of) on its own terms… until Netflix brought the gang back to wrap it all up in more or less the way Sherman-Palladino originally intended, almost a decade later.
6. No shirt, no shoes, no service
In the early 2000s, crop tops and tank tops and low rise jeans were all the rage. If you turned on any other teen-oriented series, you would undoubtedly see them, and in ridiculously bright colors and patterns typical of the era. But on Gilmore Girls, you’d be hard pressed to find any of the same wardrobe choices.
According to Valerie Campbell, the series’ costume supervisor, Amy Sherman-Palladino banned exposing any part of the midriff on screen, not least of all “Because if you were in Connecticut, in winter, you’d be freezing! You’d have a coat on, you wouldn’t show that.”
The rule was adhered to so strictly that, if any scenes involved the slight showing of skin, the scene would have to be cut and reshot. Bledel and Graham likewise developed a habit of pulling down on their shirts whenever necessary to ensure that didn’t happen.
5. Windward Circle: the spinoff that never was
Of all the many male characters to have come and gone over the years, Jess Mariano very well might be the most iconic male character Gilmore Girls produced.
Totally representative of the brooding bad boy with a heart of gold trend that has captivated audiences (and hearts) for many years, Milo Ventimiglia’s character was immediately recognized as something special, with the network extending a six year contract to Ventimiglia almost off the bat.
Although Ventimiglia turned the offer down, The WB did later follow up with a different offer: a spinoff series, titled Windward Circle, that would follow Jess in California as he attempted to make amends with the father who abandoned him.
Yet although a still unseen pilot was shot, The WB decided not to move forward with the series for financial reasons, and Jess’s exit from the series remained in tact until his few guest appearances in seasons 4 and 6.
4. Crossing enemy lines: Team Dean vs. Team Jess
Before there was Twilight and Team Edward vs. Team Jacob, there was Gilmore Girls and Team Jess vs. Team Dean (and Team Logan, we guess, but he was always the worst). Fans were (and still are) completely divided as to whether bookish Rory Gilmore belonged with her first love Dean Forester or bad-boy-turned-good Jess Mariano.
Yet, when it comes to the opinions of the men behind these iconic characters, their own allegiances may surprise you. Totally contrary to their portrayals, Milo Ventimiglia is avowedly not Team Jess, finding himself rooting for Team Dean instead. Likewise, Jared Padalecki is all in on Team Jess, despite playing Dean for the series’ first five seasons.
3. A last minute injection of testosterone
Luke Danes is such an integral part of the Gilmore Girls world that it’s hard to conceive of a version of that reality without him. However, apparently, the original script for Gilmore Girls called for a female diner owner named Daisy, only for the network to request the gender swap to add a little bit of testosterone into the highly female series.
Once Luke became Luke, Scott Patterson was only cast for a one off role in the series’ pilot, but given how seamlessly he fit into the world, as well as his sparking chemistry with Lauren Graham, it was all but a no brainer decision to make his character a permanent fixture and Lorelai’s soulmate in the process.
For his part, Patterson admits that he knew this would be the ultimate outcome: “I knew it from the moment we met, and I knew it was going to work on screen. We just had a rhythm.”
2. Much ado about Sookie
Getting all original members of a series to return for a reunion or revival isn’t an easy feat. Look no further than the debacle of Fuller House and the Olsen twins to see how these kinds of things can get blown out of proportion with media coverage and hurt feelings everywhere.
Unfortunately, the same thing happened with Melissa McCarthy in the Gilmore Girls revival, as she initially claimed that no one had asked her to take part in it. What followed this announcement was a carefully worded series of back and forth messages between representatives, leaving many to wonder who was really to blame here.
Thankfully, everything was sorted out in time, and McCarthy was able to reprise her role as Sookie for one lengthy scene with her best friend, Lorelai. And despite all the bad press, it truly did feel like nothing at all had changed between them.
1. Scott Patterson and Lauren Graham have long been rumored to hate each other
It’s the long-simmering love story that’s undeniably the beating heart of the series, apart from Lorelai and Rory’s unbreakable bond. Perky caffeine addict Lorelai and curmudgeonly diner owner Luke long for one another from afar, before admitting to their feelings, getting together, breaking up, getting together again, breaking up again, and finally getting their acts together for good in the series finale and revival.
But according to long-standing rumors, Lauren Graham and Scott Patterson may have had considerably less favorable feelings about one another. The rumors have flown for at least 12 years now, with Graham herself asserting that “we’re not intimates” in any way, but the recent reunions and revival series have allowed the costars to maybe put those rumors to rest… at least until the next revival, that is.
What other dark secrets about Gilmore Girls did we miss? Let us know in the comments!
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