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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The Super Mario Bros. Theme Song Has Lyrics You've Probably Never Heard

iStock
iStock

Anyone who owned a Nintendo Entertainment System as a kid likely has the Super Mario Bros. theme song committed to memory—or at least part of it, anyway. In 1985, Nintendo confirmed that the iconic, 8-bit tune has official lyrics that most fans of the video game have never heard.

According to Nerdist, the Mario song didn't have lyrics originally. Super Mario Bros. debuted to the world in 1985, and everything about the game's hero, including his poppy theme music composed by Koji Kondo, became a sensation. Shortly after its release, a Japanese radio station called on fans to submit lyrics to go with the catchy score. Nintendo saw one of the submissions and was so impressed that it decided to record the lyrics to music and release the song on vinyl.

In English, the song opens “Today, full of energy, Mario is still running, running / Go save Princess Peach! Go!" Characters and creatures from the Mario universe, like Goomba, Lakitu, and Cheep Cheep, are all name-dropped.

After reading the full lyrics, you can listen to the recorded version above, which sounds a lot catchier in the original Japanese.

Today, full of energy, Mario is still running, running
Go save Princess Peach! Go!
Today, full of energy, Mario runs
Today, full of energy, jumping!
Today, full of energy, searching for coins
Today, keep going, Mario!
Get a mushroom—it’s Super Mario!
Get a flower—it’s Fire Mario!
Goomba! Troopa! Buzzy Beetle! Beat them all!
Mario is always full of energy and strong!

Today, full of energy, Mario is still running, running
Go and beat the Koopa tribe, go!
Today, full of energy, Mario runs
Today, full of energy, jumping!
Today, full of energy, searching for coins
Today, keep going, Mario!
Get a star—become invincible!
Quickly, go save Princess Peach!
Lakitu! Blooper! Cheep Cheep! Beat them all!
Mario is always full of energy and strong!

Today, full of energy, Mario is still running, running
He’s made it to the castle and gets fireworks!
Lightly sidestepping the Hammer Bros.
Show the last of your power, Mario!
It’s been a long journey but it’s nearly at an end
You’ve done it, you’ve done it! You’ve defeated Bowser!
Princess Peach says “thank you”
Mario’s got a great big heart!
Mario’s adventure is over for now, but
Mario’s dream lives forever ...

[h/t Nerdist]

My Neighbor Totoro Is Returning to the Big Screen This Fall

© 1988 Studio Ghibli
© 1988 Studio Ghibli

Fans of Studio Ghibli’s 1988 animated film My Neighbor Totoro will have a few more chances to see this enchanting childhood tale unfold on the big screen. The Japanese movie, which follows two sisters as they explore a forest filled with fantastical creatures, will be showing at select theaters for three days in late September and early October, The A.V. Club reports.

The special event commemorates the 30th anniversary of My Neighbor Totoro, which was the first film by director and animator Hayao Miyazaki that many Americans ever saw. In his four-star review of the film, critic Roger Ebert wrote, “Here is a children's film made for the world we should live in, rather than the one we occupy. A film with no villains. No fight scenes. No evil adults. No fighting between the two kids. No scary monsters. No darkness before the dawn. A world that is benign. A world where if you meet a strange towering creature in the forest, you curl up on its tummy and have a nap.”

The film’s theatrical re-release is part of the ongoing Studio Ghibli Fest 2018, organized by GKIDS and Fathom Events. Nine films from Studio Ghibli are being presented in theaters throughout the year.

Two other Miyazaki classics will be returning to cinemas later this year: Spirited Away (2001) will be back in theaters October 28-30, and Castle in the Sky (1986) returns to theaters November 18-20. As for My Neighbor Totoro, dubbed versions of the film (with Dakota and Elle Fanning voicing the sisters) will be showing on September 30 and October 3, and the original Japanese version (with English subtitles) will be showing on October 1.

To find the nearest cinema showing My Neighbor Totoro, visit the Fathom Events website.

[h/t The A.V. Club]

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