On October 5, 2000, audiences tuned in to the WB to watch the birth of the pop culture phenomenon that was Gilmore Girls. Set around the lives of a very young, yet immature mother and very grown-up daughter, new fans fell in love with the duo. The series stood out to audiences thanks to their unconventional mother/daughter/best friends relationship. Lorelai and Rory soon became household names, and the fan base of the series grew early on. Not only was the series notable for its unique relationships but also for its face-paced and witty dialogue and an overabundance of pop culture references.
Many of the elements beloved by audiences were introduced in the first episode, along with many characters and places that would define the series. While the first episode established the direction of the series, several aspects of the episode were never fleshed out. Although some fans may not remember the details of the pilot, a re-watch will reveal elements from the storyline that either didn’t pan out or were forgotten. In addition, a number of the sets used for the first episode appeared vastly different than later episodes in the series. In this article, we want to take a look back at the first episode of Gilmore Girls and highlight some of the small details fans may have overlooked. Although some elements are insignificant, others have left plot holes that have never been resolved, to this day. From shifting buildings to the case of the missing parent, here are 20 Little Details Fans Completely Missed In The Pilot.
20 The Episode Didn't Open With The Theme Song
For seven seasons, Gilmore Girls fans would, undoubtedly, sing along out loud to the memorable theme song of the series. The song “Where You Lead” was composed by singer Carole King and lyricist Toni Stern back in 1970. The song was a favorite of Gilmore Girls series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, and she asked permission from King to use it for the show. However, King decided to make several changes to the song for the theme song version. With updated lyrics and a duet version with her daughter, Louise Goffin, the song gained a deeper connection to the mother-daughter themes. However, audiences didn’t experience this song when the series first debuted on October 5, 2000. The first music ever heard on the series was actually "There She Goes" by The La's.
19 Luke's Diner Was In A Different Location
Luke’s Diner became a mainstay for many of the characters of the show. We often found Lorelai and Rory frequenting the diner for several meals per day. Also, other residents of the town appeared there regularly including Kirk. The pilot does an excellent job of establishing the importance of the restaurant to the show. Unfortunately, they failed at establishing the actual location of the building. Luke’s Diner has always resided at the corner of the street. The pilot, however, placed the diner in a completely different location. As Lorelai entered the opening scenes, you can see her walking to the middle of the block to get to the restaurant. In addition, the diner is missing the “William’s Hardware” sign. Instead, the name of the hardware store is engraved above the doors.
18 The Inside of Luke's Diner Was Changed Too
Several elements within Luke’s Diner seemed to be missing in the pilot episode. One of the most notable fixtures was the “No Cellphone” sign. Luke often had to chastise Lorelai for ignoring the sign and proceeding to use her device anyone. However, in the introduction to the diner in the first episode, the sign didn't exist. We actually won’t see the infamous sign until later in the season. Also, the interior of the diner seemed to change later in the series. When we first entered the diner, the counter appeared to be situated more towards the left side of the establishment. When we get further into the series, however, the countertop will be positioned more toward the center of the restaurant.
17 17 Pop Culture References Occurred
Along with the faced-pace banter and quick-witted dialogue, Gilmore Girls also became popular for its numerous pop culture references. Luckily, the writers already knew they wanted this element within the show and started new viewers off with a large helping of references. In all, there were almost 20 pop culture references within the pilot episode. Beginning with Lorelai’s first appearance in the diner, the dialogue includes references to Jack Kerouac, RuPaul, and Macy Gray. From there, the pop culture jokes continued with mentions of Britney Spears when Rory gets her plaid skirt for Chilton. They even showed up when Dean was commenting on Rory’s reading habits (Moby Dick and Madame Bovary). By the end of the episode, the mother-daughter duo has resolved their issues for the episode and include a brief reference to Nick at Nite as their final pop culture namedrop.
16 Lorelai Doesn't Seem To Know Rory's Real Age
Audiences got a great introduction to the show’s dynamics within the first few scenes of the pilot. We are familiarized with Lorelai who, after begging for coffee, contently sat at a table in the diner. She managed to dismiss a patron that tried to flirt with her while waiting for Rory to arrive. However, he tried a second attempt at hitting on them both, complementing them on looking so young as a mother/daughter duo. Right before he can fully offer up his friend for a friendly foursome meetup, Lorelai broke the news that her daughter was only sixteen. Granted, it was a great way to deter him, however, it was inaccurate. Rory was actually fifteen at the time as we learned when she turned sixteen in episode six.
15 Kirk and Taylor Didn't Make An Appearance
The first episodes of the series managed to set up the relationships, characters, and expectations of the show. From the intelligence of a young to the underlying attraction between Lorelai and Luke, fans got their first taste of what was to come for the series. However, a couple of series regulars did not make it into the initial episode. Kirk and Taylor were nowhere to be seen in the pilot. Kirk didn’t make his first appearance until episode 2 but as Mick, the DSL installer. Then, in episode 3, he became the swan delivery guy. He didn’t formally begin his portrayal of Kirk until episode 5. As for Taylor, he is mentioned in the pilot by Miss Patty but never seen. He finally appeared in episode 7.
14 The Missing Mr. Kim
Lane Kim quickly became a fan favorite thanks to her rebellious spirit. Living in such a restrictive household, she found small ways to rebel against her family. Maintaining her dual lifestyle was the only way she could finally get the chance to be herself. However, one of the details of her home life became something of a mystery for Gilmore Girls fans. In the pilot, Lane mentioned her parents when referring to the hayride. However, when they arrive at the antique shop, we only see Mrs. Kim. In fact, from that point on, we only see one parent in what is assumed to be a two-parent household. This missing character from the series didn’t even make an appearance at Lane’s wedding. Another element from the pilot that let us with more answers for the rest of the series.
13 Rory's Brief Time In The Public School System
Chilton Preparatory School became such a huge facet of Rory’s life in the series. From bumping heads with other students to scandals surrounding her mother, the institution became integral to many plotlines. It wasn’t until the season 3 finale that she finally left the stuffy halls for Yale University. In fact, she spent so many episodes as a student at the private school that you almost forget she did spend some time in public school. In the pilot, we see Rory as a student at Stars Hollow High for a brief time. We get very limited scenes of her within the halls of her public school and hanging out with her best friend in its halls. We would have loved to have seen that first year with her and Lane together at high school.
12 Dean Was Low-key Stalking Rory
Rory’s love life definitely became a large part of her storylines throughout the series. Her various boyfriends and love interests changed so many aspects of her life (for the good and the bad at that). Fans were introduced to Dean (played by Jared Padalecki) in the first episode. In fact, their meeting actually made Rory question if she should leave public school for Chilton. Their first meeting, however, revealed that Dean has been watching Rory for some time. As sweet as the moment was supposed to be, that came off a little creepy. Not only that, but she caught his interest because of her habit of reading books. He even named off the last few she had read. Not the best first impression, honestly.
11 Rory’s English Teacher Became "Crazy Carrie" In Later Seasons
It’s not uncommon for actors and actresses with small roles on a series to reappear in later seasons. Usually, the stars come back in additional bit roles and simply blend into the background. In the pilot episode of the series, we get a brief glimpse at Rory’s English teacher at Stars Hollow High School. Look familiar? Actress Jill Brennan appeared as Mrs. Traister for that one episode. However, she made a return to the series five years later as “Crazy Carrie’ Duncan. She was good friends with Luke’s sister, Liz, and even let her stay with her while Liz was in town. For three episodes, she played the new character in seasons 4 and 5. After her final appearance in “Jews and Chinese Food”, she did not return to the series.
10 Dual Roles For Another Actress On The Series
In another instance of a returning star to the series, fans can spot the reappearance of actress Jacqui Maxwell in the series. Our first look at the actress came within one of the classrooms of Stars Hollow High School. In the scene, we see several girls in the class not paying attention to their teacher. Instead, they are passing around a bottle of nail polish and coating one single nail. As the bottle got passed further down the line, one girl noticed Rory doing her work (like the good student she was) and peered at her over her shoulder to get a better look. This would be Maxwell’s first appearance on the series. However, just a few episodes later, she reappeared in the halls of Chilton. She was recast as Summer, Tristan’s girlfriend later in the season.
9 Lorelai and Sookie's Dream Of Opening Their Own Inn
Lorelai and Sookie met while working at the Independence Inn years ago. Rory also grew up at the hotel, with her and her mother living in the shed on the property. Soon, the two became friends, and the three women got closer over time. Although they enjoyed working at the Independence Inn, Lorelai and Sookie had dreams of starting their own establishment. Through several instances of luck and some financial backing from Luke, they make their dreams come true in season 4. However, back in the pilot, the two share a conversation in the kitchen of the Independence Inn about their own place. Even though it takes several years for the plans to reappear in the plot, the idea for their own inn began from the very start of the series.
8 Mrs. Kim’s Store Sign Had The Wrong Name
The pilot episode of the series established not only many of the characters of the series but also the establishments that make Stars Hollow so unique. Of course, Luke’s Diner was the first place we see as the episode opens. In addition, we ate introduced to Stars Hollow High School, the Independence Inn, and even Miss Patty's School of Ballet. Also, we get a glimpse of Kim’s Antiques, the business owned by Lane’s “parents”. However, on our first visit to the antique shop, eagle-eyed viewers may have caught an error with the sign. While on the outside of the show, a sign clearly displayed “Kim’s Antiques.” However, once Rory and Lane step inside, the sign behind them said, “The Glass Chimney.”
7 Was Chilton a Religious School?
Lorelai wanted to help her daughter achieve her dream of attending Harvard University. To get her to such a prestigious school, she had to get her enrolled in Chilton Preparatory School. Her attendance would almost guarantee her daughter’s acceptance into her dream college. In the pilot episode, we see Lorelai excitedly sharing the news with Sookie that Rory got accepted into the school for the remainder of her high school career. Sookie then replied with, “I’ll make cookies, Protestants love oatmeal.” Fans may have missed this, but the joke referred to the school being affiliated with a specific religion. In later episodes, there have been no such references or mentions made. This small mention was either a mistake or a detail about the school that was rewritten.
6 The Inside of Lorelai And Rory's House Looks Very Different
So many hours of the series have been spent within the home of Rory and Lorelai. The home served as the location of so many movie nights, terrible meals and a few make-out (...and more) sessions. Even the personal touches within the house reflected the journey of the two women. However, before Lorelei’s home became a place of comfort and familiarity for so many fans, we get a quick peek inside, but it looked very strange and unrecognizable. There were even random stairs that led to the kitchen that didn’t exist later on. However, it wasn’t just the unfamiliar setting but the lack of the two women in it. Normally, we would be greeted with a scene with the duo seated on the couch together fairly often. We missed having that familiar scene in the pilot.
5 That One Time We Saw The Gates At The Gilmore Estate
Although the pilot helped to establish many aspects of the Gilmore Girls world, there still seemed to be many details that were not concrete. In addition to small differences to the background stories of some of the characters, many locations and sets were vastly varied as well. For example, when Lorelai arrived at her parents’ home to ask for help with Chilton costs, we actually get a glimpse of the outside of their home. Usually, she parked within the gate near the front of the house. However, viewers got a rare glimpse of the very outside of the home and the large black gates at the entrance. This would be the one, and only time fans would ever see this location on the series.
4 The Missing Second Floor Staircase
So many painful (but hilarious) evenings were spent at the home of the Gilmores, over the years. The start of the Friday night dinners in the pilot set the series up for constant head-to-head battles between Lorelai and Emily. Since the dinners became a frequent setting for so many episodes, fans became very acquainted with the home. However, upon a review of the pilot episode of the series, fans may have noticed pronounced differences to the Gilmores’ home compared to later seasons. Most notable would be the absence of the staircase to the second floor. Although we see the multi-story home from the outside, the staircase that usually resided behind Rory and Lorelai’s couch was missing. Hmm.
3 The Final Scene Is Shown In The Middle Of The Episode Accidentally
The error took place when Lorelai and Rory go to Luke’s Diner for dinner later in the episode. Around the 27:07 mark, viewers can see the two through the winding sitting at a table. However, their clothes are different a few seconds later when they are shown close up inside the diner. From the outside shot, you can see Rory is wearing a blue top and Lorelai is wearing a black one. However, when we move inside, Rory is now wearing black, and Lorelai is wearing purple. This scene shown as the exterior is actually from the final scene of this episode. In fact, a shot similar to this is used as the ending scene for the intro of the series.
2 Lorelai and Rory are Eating Salads for Dinner At The Diner? Salads?
One of the most widely known quirks of the mother-daughter duo was their terrible eating habits. Not only did they frequent the diner regularly (living on coffee and fast food, mind you) but their meals at home were horrible too. Since Lorelai rarely cooked, the duo often ate takeout food including Chinese food and pizza. However, these notable habits hadn’t been established yet in the pilot. So, in a rare instance, we see the two women eating a salad at Luke’s Diner. Although, you can’t really call it eating. They play with the food on their plates while arguing over Chilton. In the end, they ended up leaving without really eating their meal (which is another trademark Gilmore habit in the series).
1 That Macy Gray CD
Now it’s time to talk about this magical Macy Gray CD that managed to be in two places at once. We first see the CD mentioned in Luke’s Diner when Rory said that she couldn’t find it. Of course, Lorelai produced the CD in no time. Although they don’t have any issues with their music choice (although it is a bit dated now), we did note a problem with its use. After Rory and Lorelai argue in Rory’s room about Chilton, we see Rory reaching over to turn on her CD player and started the CD. However, Lorelai does the same thing in the living room (started the cd player and the track began to play). Given that she the song turned on precisely at the beginning for both characters, we know it has to be a CD. However, how can they both play it if Rory has it?