22 Things You Might Not Know About Gilmore Girls

warner bros
warner bros

Gilmore Girls, which featured a young mother-daughter pair who lived in a small town where everyone seemed to talk a mile a minute, began airing on the WB in 2000. Seven years of pop culture references and family drama later, it finished its run on The CW on May 15, 2007—10 years ago today. Though it would return nearly a decade later via Netflix, here are 22 things you might not know about the original series.

1. The show was inspired by a trip that creator Amy Sherman-Palladino was on.

The trip took her through the small town of Washington, Connecticut, where she stayed at an inn. “We're driving by, and people are slowing down saying, 'Excuse me, where is the pumpkin patch?'" she recalled. "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.” Within 24 hours, she had worked out the show and written some of the pilot's dialogue.

2. Alex Borstein was originally cast as Sookie.

She had to turn down the role due to her work on MadTV. She ended up making a few appearances as the harpist Drella, though. Borstein is also married to Jackson Douglas, who ended up playing the Jackson that dated Sookie on the show.

3. Liza Weil, who played Paris, originally auditioned for the part of Rory.

She was told that if the show got picked up, Amy Sherman-Palladino had an idea for a part that she wanted to write specifically for Weil. She struggled with the part at first, saying, it “was scary to be a judgmental, mean girl.”

4. Alexis Bledel had never acted before she was cast.

Before she played Rory, Bledel's only role was as an uncredited extra in Wes Anderson's Rushmore. She was a student at NYU who was modeling part-time when she decided to try her luck and audition for the show. Other jobs she was applying for at the time: waitress and census-taker.

5. Keiko Agena, who played Lane, was 27 when the show premiered.

That makes her a mere six years younger than Lauren Graham (Lorelai), though their characters had a 16 year age difference.

6. The score was composed by famous songwriter Sam Phillips.

It was Sherman-Palladino’s husband and co-producer, Daniel Palladino, who thought to approach Phillips. The Palladinos had used some of her songs as placeholders in the pilot before it went to air. So they decided to contact Phillips, who accepted.

7. One of the show’s hallmarks was fast-talking.

The production had to completely adjust to accommodate this style of dialogue. Normally, one page of a screenplay accounts for one minute of screen time. But for Gilmore Girls scripts, a page was about 20 to 25 seconds. There were also fewer close ups than on shows with regular pacing, and they often re-shot scenes to lose a mere few seconds of time.

8. The cast didn’t always understand the pop culture references, but they went with it.

Bledel told Entertainment Weekly that “We’d have to look them up on our own typically. There were no explanations written in the script.” Graham recalled Bledel asking her who The Waltons were and thinking, “I’m so old.”

9. In the first season finale, Lorelai received 1000 yellow daisies as part of a marriage proposal.

But the shot required many more flowers than that. “A thousand yellow daisies actually sounds like a lot," Sherman-Palladino told EW, "but when you put a thousand yellow daisies in a big room, like our set, it’s kind of like a table arrangement. Three or four times we had to send people back to get yellow daisies. I think we wiped out yellow daisies on the West Coast.”

10. Chilton student Brad Langford disappeared toward the end of season two through much of season three.

His character explained his absence by saying that he had been starring in Into the Woods on Broadway. It turns out that wasn’t much of a stretch—Adam Wylie, who played Brad, actually had been starring in that show during that time.

11. Sherman-Palladino wrote Jess onto the show so that Lorelai and Luke had yet another reason to not date yet.

“We're dealing with two people who, if they just opened their eyes and stared across the table at each other, would go, 'Oh sh--, it's you," she said. "So when you're playing that game, you have to find obstacles that are real to put in their way.'”

12. One season after Jess first appeared on the show, there was talk of a spinoff for his character.

The third season episode “Here Comes the Son” was a kind of pilot for the show, which would have been called Windward Circle. But the WB found that it was too expensive to shoot in Venice Beach, where the show would have taken place.

13. Graham’s favorite scenes to shoot were the Friday Night Dinners.

Especially when they involved Kelly Bishop, who played Emily, arguing with her. But the shoots were long, involving multiple camera angles, and, she said, “The food was always terrible.”

14. In season five, Norman Mailer made a cameo for the episode, “Norman Mailer, I’m Pregnant!”

Originally, the script just called for a well-known author. They asked Mailer, who initially said no until the show asked his son to take a part as well. According to Mailer, “I told them I couldn’t memorize any lines; it had to be improvisation. The hard part was having to repeat things over and over.”

15. Another unexpected star on Gilmore Girls: Sebastian Bach of Skid Row.

He played Lane’s bandmate, Gil. How’d he get the gig? He said, “When I got the call, I was like, ‘Do you guys have the right phone number?’ They wanted a ‘rock star’ to [play] the guitar player [in Lane's band] and [the casting director saw me on] VH1's I Love the '70s.”

16. In 2006, Sherman-Palladino and Palladino announced that they would not return to the show for season seven.

They released a statement that said, “Despite our best efforts to return and ensure the future of Gilmore Girls for years to come, we were unable to reach an agreement with the studio and are therefore leaving when our contracts expire at the end of this season." Later, Sherman-Palladino would explain that she was particularly frustrated by The CW network not allowing the pair to hire more writers.

17. David Rosenthal took over as executive producer in the final season.

Of the new gig, he said, “I spent a terrific year last year working with Amy and Dan, and she was incredibly supportive, and she told me from the beginning that this was a distinct possibility that she would be moving on and I would be running the show. When she brought me in at the beginning of last year, that's one of the things she told me. She brought me in as an executive producer for that reason.”

18. Graham was also given a producer role in the final season.

According to Scott Patterson, who played Luke, there was a very different vibe on set after Sherman-Palladino left. He said, “There was a little more leeway in how things were shaped. The actors had more input than in the previous six years.”

19. Graham requested that changes be made to the series finale script.

She thought the episode was “too light.” Rosenthal listened to her and found a way to give more characters a moment to shine.

20. After it was clear that the show wasn’t going to continue beyond season seven, a spinoff with Rory was considered.

Graham had officially told the producers that she would not be returning, but discussed the possibility of producing a show about Rory. Eventually, they deemed the whole thing too complicated.

21. Sherman-Palladino has her own ideas for how the Gilmore story was supposed to end.

In 2009, she told Entertainment Weekly, “I wanted different things for Rory. I wanted her to follow a different sort of path… [go] off on her own adventure, which I guess she sort of did. I haven’t [actually] seen the last season, but I heard about it from other people.”

22. Sherman-Palladino had four words planned for the final words of the show.

But she still hasn’t revealed those words. She has said, “I feel like now I’ll let people down because it’s been so built up. ‘Really? That’s what we waited all these twelve years for? Well, thanks so much.’”

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8 Facts About Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Bloomsbury Children's Books via Amazon
Bloomsbury Children's Books via Amazon

Longtime Harry Potter fans who feel like first-years at heart may find it hard to believe, but the books have been around for decades. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third installment in J.K. Rowling’s fantasy series, which follows Harry as he faces Dementors, investigates the mysterious Sirius Black, and gets through his third year at Hogwarts.

From Rowling’s writing process to how it changed The New York Times Best Sellers list, here are some facts you should know about the wildly popular book.

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was J.K. Rowling’s "best writing experience."

In a 2004 interview with USA Today, Rowling described the creation of Prisoner of Azkaban as “the best writing experience I ever had.” This had more to do with where Rowling was at in her professional life than the content of the actual story. By book three, she was successful enough where she didn’t have to worry about finances, but not yet so famous that the she felt the stress of being in the public eye.

2. The Dementors represent depression.

Readers who live with depression may see something familiar in Prisoner of Azkaban’s soul-sucking Dementors. According to the book, “Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself ... soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life."

Rowling has stated that she based the Dementor’s effects on her own experiences with depression. "[Depression] is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again," she told The Times in 2000. "The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it's a healthy feeling. It's a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different."

3. Rowling regretted giving Harry the Marauder’s Map.

In Prisoner of Azkaban, the Marauder’s Map is introduced as a way for Harry to track Sirius Black and learn of the survival of Peter Pettigrew. But this plot device proved problematic for Rowling later on this series. In Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, she wrote, “The Marauder’s Map subsequently became something of a bane to its true originator (me), because it allowed Harry a little too much freedom of information.” She went on to say that she sometimes wished she had made Harry lose the map for good in the later books.

4. Rowling was excited to introduce Remus Lupin.

One of the aspects Rowling most enjoyed about writing Prisoner of Azkaban was introducing Remus Lupin. The Defense Against the Dark Arts professor and secret werewolf is one of the author's favorite characters in the series, and as she told Barnes & Noble in 1999, “I was looking forward to writing the third book from the start of the first because that's when Professor Lupin appears.”

5. Crookshanks is based on a real cat.

Harry had Hedwig the owl, Ron had his pet rat Scabbers, and in book three, Hermione got a pet of her own: an intelligent half-Kneazle cat named Crookshanks. J.K. Rowling is allergic to cats, and she admits on her website that she prefers dogs, but she does have fond memories of a cat that roamed the London neighborhood where she worked in the 1980s. When writing Crookshanks, she gave him that cat’s haughty attitude and smushed-face appearance.

6. Prisoner of Azkaban was the last Harry Potter book Americans had to wait for.

Harry Potter fans based in America will no doubt remember waiting months after a book’s initial release in England to buy it from their local bookstore. Prisoner of Azkaban was the last Harry Potter book with a staggered publication date: Beginning with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the rest of the books in the series were published in both markets on the same date.

7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban broke sales records.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban sold 68,000 copies in the UK within three days of its release, making it the fastest-selling British book of all time in 1999. The book has since gone on to sell more than 65 million copies worldwide and helped make Harry Potter the bestselling book series ever.

8. It changed The New York Times Best Sellers List.

For part of 1999, the first three Harry Potter books—Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (which is known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone pretty much everywhere besides America), Chamber of Secrets, and Prisoner of Azkaban—occupied the top three slots on The New York Times Best Sellers list. It didn’t stay that way for long, though: Prisoner of Azkaban was the book that pushed the paper to create a separate list just for children’s literature, leaving more room on the original list for books aimed at adults. That’s why Harry Potter is missing from the famous bestsellers roundup during the 2000s, despite dominating book sales at this time.

Game of Thrones Star Emilia Clarke Turned Down the Lead in 50 Shades of Grey

Dia Dipasupil, Getty Images
Dia Dipasupil, Getty Images

Though Emilia Clarke is undoubtedly best known for her starring role on Game of Thrones, she has landed some other plum parts over the past several years, including Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys, the role of Qi'ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the lead in Phillip Noyce's upcoming Above Suspicion opposite Jack Huston. But there's one major role Clarke passed on, and has no regrets about it: Anastasia Steele in the 50 Shades of Grey franchise.

The movies, based on E. L. James's erotic book series, trace the sadomasochistic/romantic relationship between college graduate Anastasia Steele and millionaire businessman Christian Grey. Both the books and the movies have garnered a lot of criticism for their graphic nudity and sex scenes. While Clarke is no stranger to appearing nude on film for her role as Daenerys Targaryen, she said that 50 Shades of Grey would have taken her too far out of her comfort zone.

“There is a huge amount of nudity in the film,” the British actress told The Sun of her reasons for not wanting to get involved with the film series. “I thought I might get stuck in a pigeonhole that I would have struggled to get out of.”

Even without 50 Shades of Grey on her resume, Clarke says she has dealt with a lot of negative backlash because of the nudity in Game of Thrones. “I get a lot of crap for nude and sex scenes,” the 32-year-old star said. “Women hating on women. It’s so anti-feminist.”

When we last left Daenerys, she seemed to be getting serious about Jon Snow—who, unbeknownst to the two of them, is her nephew. We'll see how that unpleasant discovery plays out when Game of Thrones returns on April 14, 2019.

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