CLOSE
Original image

The Origins of 9 Gab-Worthy 'Gilmore Girls' Terms

Original image

Put on another pot of coffee because the Gilmore Girls are back. It was announced recently that Netflix will be airing four 90-minute movies, satisfying Stars Hollow lovers everywhere. For those of you who haven’t visited the fictional Connecticut town lately — or gasp! ever — here’s a guide to a few Gilmoreisms.

1. LORELAI

There are three, count ‘em, three Lorelais in the Gilmore-verse. There’s the main Lorelai (Lauren Graham), a.k.a. Lorelai Victoria Gilmore, a.k.a. the reigning Lorelai after the death of her steely paternal grandmother, also named Lorelai.

Then there’s Rory, a childhood nickname for Lorelai. In the pilot, Rory explains that she was named after her mother. “She was lying in the hospital thinking about how men name boys after themselves all the time,” Rory says. “So why couldn't women?” Rory’s full name is Lorelai Leigh, which might come from Marilyn Monroe’s gold digging character Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. However, the connection is unclear.

According to Baby Name WizardLorelai derives from the Middle High German Lurlei, which means “ambush cliff." In Germanic legend, Lorelai was a siren who lured sailors to shipwreck. At one point, one-time fiance Max tells Lorelai that she’s “like a mythological creature that casts some kind of spell on [him] and makes [him] act stupid.”

2. CHILTON

Rory's Hartford-based prep school might be based on Choate Rosemary Hall, an exclusive boarding school in nearby Wallingford. Choate? Chilton? We'll buy it.

In an early episode, it’s mentioned that Sandra Day O’Connor attended Chilton (she was also a Puff, a member of the school’s secret sorority). So did the retired Supreme Court justice really attend a prep school in Connecticut? Alas, no. O’Connor is Texas born and bred, having attended the probably just as exclusive Radford School. But whether she was part of a secret society or not, she won't be saying.

3. HEP-ALIEN

While Rory’s best friend Lane Kim may look like a good girl, she has the soul of a rock goddess. She hides her extensive CD collection from her mother, secretly teaches herself drums, and starts her own band. However, by season three and their first gig, they still didn't have a name (although The Chops and Follow Them to the Edge of the Desert were front-runners). It’s not until season five that the band finally is introduced as Hep-Alien. Believe it or not. Hep-Alien is an anagram of Helen Pai, sometime show producer and always best friend of show creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino.

4. BOP-IT

Not just an annoying toy, the Bop-It is the Gilmore girls’ remedy for awkward social interactions. It’s also a signal that a situation needs livening up, which Rory misinterprets later. “You're pulling out the Bop-it?” she asks Lorelai. “You're already that bored of me?” Of course not: the Bop-It was merely accidentally bopped.

5. TOTSIED

“You’ve been Totsied,” Lorelai tells Luke. What’s a totsy? Lorelai’s odoriferous aunt. “Lovely woman,” says Lorelai. “She hugs you, you smell like her for a month.”

In addition to being Totsied, one might also be Gilmored, the act of having one’s life taken over by the rich, powerful, and pushy, such as Lorelai’s parents. Symptoms include a “tightness in the chest,” and “anger mixed with paralyzing weakness.” Again, Lorelai breaks the bad news to Luke: “You’ve been Gilmored.”

6. HUNTZBERGER

Speaking of the rich and powerful, the Gilmores have nothing on the Huntzbergers, the super-wealthy family of Rory’s Yale boyfriend, Logan. The Huntzbergers are unabashedly based on the New York Times-owning Sulzbergers, says Sherman-Palladino. “The word ‘berger’ is in there.”

So are the Sulzbergers as heartless and snobbish as the Huntzbergers, who have Rory over for dinner only to humiliate her and later tell her she doesn’t have “it” to be a journalist, her lifelong dream? Sherman-Palladino says she can't comment on the personal qualities of the Sulzbergers, only that she wanted the Huntzbergers to be “family of newspaper royalty.”

7. KROPOG

“I’d say it’s about ninety kropogs or so,” Logan says when asked how far his dorm is from Rory’s. “Fill me in here,” Lorelai says when her parents laugh a little too uproariously. “What’s a kropog?”

A kropog is a Yale-specific unit of measurement, Logan explains, “based on the height of a kid named Kropog.” Maxwell T. Kropog, specifically, class of 1944. While the kropog isn’t real, the smoot is. Created by a fraternity at MIT, one smoot equals five feet seven inches, the height of one Oliver R. Smoot, class of 1962. Smoot was chosen because he was the shortest pledge and because of his awesome name.

8. THE LIFE AND DEATH BRIGADE

Like the kropog, the Life and Death Brigade is fictionalized but probably based on Yale’s real-life secret society, Skull and Bones. The Bones — including Prescott S. Bush, grandfather to 43rd President of the United States George W. — have been accused of robbing the grave of Apache warrior Geronimo. The stunts of the Life and Death Brigade, while still dangerous, are far less controversial, and include old-timey picnics, speaking without using the letter e, and jumping out of airplanes.

9. FINAL FOUR WORDS

Sherman-Palladino chose the final four words of the series long ago, but was never able to reveal them. As most Gilmorians know, she and writer-director husband Daniel left before the last season due to contract disputes with network executives. However, now with the Sherman-Palladino-helmed revival, we’ll finally get to hear those final four words. We wouldn't be surprised if one of them is coffeecoffeecoffee.

Original image
MGM
arrow
entertainment
15 Inconceivable Facts About The Princess Bride
Original image
MGM

It's no wonder The Princess Bride is such a beloved film: It's action-packed but still lighthearted, sweet but not saccharine, silly but still smart—and, of course, endlessly quotable. Fortunately, in 2012, the movie's leading man Cary Elwes was inspired to write a behind-the-scenes book about the making of the movie in honor of its 25th anniversary, for which he interviewed nearly all of the key cast and crew (sadly, André the Giant, who played Fezzik, passed away in 1993).

Pulling from the impressively detailed text of As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride and various interviews Elwes and others have given over the years, we rounded up a series of fun facts and anecdotes sure to delight any fan of the film, which was released 30 years ago today.

1. IT WAS WRITTEN FOR THE AUTHOR'S DAUGHTERS.

William Goldman, who wrote the novel The Princess Bride in 1973 and penned the screenplay, told Entertainment Weekly that, "I had two little daughters, I think they were 7 and 4 at the time, and I said, 'I’ll write you a story. What do you want it to be about?' One of them said 'a princess' and the other one said 'a bride.' I said, 'That’ll be the title.'"

2. BOTH THE DIRECTOR AND THE LEADING MAN ALREADY KNEW AND LOVED THE STORY BEFORE FILMING EVEN BEGAN.

Cary Elwes' stepfather had given him Goldman's book in 1975, when the future actor was just 13 years old. Rob Reiner, who directed the movie, first read the book in his 20s when Goldman gave it to his father. It quickly became Reiner's favorite book of all time, and he had long wanted to turn it into a movie—but he had no idea that many before him had tried and failed.

3. FOR A LONG TIME, NO ONE WAS ABLE TO MAKE THE MOVIE.

At one point or another, Robert Redford, Norman Jewison, John Boorman, and François Truffaut all tried to get the book made into a movie, but due to a series of unrelated incidents—"green-lighters" getting fired, production houses closing—it languished for years. (In one of these proto-Princess Brides, a then-unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger was supposed to play Fezzik.) 

After several false starts, Goldman bought back the rights to the book. The movie only got made because Reiner had built up so much good will with movies like This is Spinal Tap and The Sure Thing that the studio, 20th Century Foxoffered to make any project of his choice.

4. MANDY PATINKIN FELT A PERSONAL CONNECTION TO THE CHARACTER OF INIGO MONTOYA.

Andre the Giant, Mandy Patinkin and Wallace Shawn in The Princess Bride (1987).
MGM

"The moment I read the script, I loved the part of Inigo Montoya," Patinkin told Entertainment Weekly. "That character just spoke to me profoundly. I had lost my own father—he died at 53 years old from pancreatic cancer in 1972. I didn’t think about it consciously, but I think that there was a part of me that thought, If I get that man in black, my father will come back. I talked to my dad all the time during filming, and it was very healing for me."

5. ANDRÉ THE GIANT COULD REALLY, REALLY DRINK.

Three bottles of cognac and 12 bottles of wine reportedly made him just a little tipsy. When the cast would go out for dinner, André—who, according to Robin Wright, ordered four appetizers and five entrees—would drink out of a 40-ounce beer pitcher filled with a mix of liquors, a concoction he called "The American."

6. ANDRÉ HAD AN UNCONVENTIONAL METHOD FOR LEARNING HIS LINES.

Reiner and Goldman met André, then a famous wrestler, at a bar in Paris. "I brought him up to the hotel room to audition him. He read this three-page scene, and I couldn’t understand one word he said," Reiner recalled. "I go, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do? He’s perfect physically for the part, but I can’t understand him!’ So I recorded his entire part on tape, exactly how I wanted him to do it, and he studied the tape. He got pretty good!"

7. WILLIAM GOLDMAN WAS INCREDIBLY NERVOUS ON THE SET.

Of all the projects he’d written and worked on—which included the Academy Award-winning Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid—Goldman loved The Princess Bride best of all. This manifested itself as extreme nervousness about the project. Reiner invited Goldman to be on set for the duration of the filming—which Goldman did not want to do, saying, “I don’t like being on set. If you’re a screenwriter, it’s boring”—but on the first day, he proved to be a slight nuisance. The first couple takes were plagued by a barely-audible chanting, which turned out to be Goldman praying things would go well. And when Wright's character's dress caught on fire, he panicked, yelling, "Oh my god! Her dress is on fire!"—even though Goldman himself had written that into the script.

8. WALLACE SHAWN WAS BRILLIANT, BUT ALWAYS ON EDGE.

Wallace Shawn and Robin Wright in The Princess Bride (1987)
MGM

Shawn, who played Vizzini the Sicilian, really is, like his character, a man of "dizzying intellect." He has a history degree from Harvard and studied philosophy and economics at Oxford. In fact, on a day off from filming The Princess Bride, Shawn went to Oxford to give a guest lecture on British and American literature. But Shawn was inconsolably nervous for the entirety of filming.

After learning from his agent that Reiner had originally wanted Danny DeVito for the part, Shawn was wracked with insecurity, perpetually convinced that he was going to be fired after every bad take. "Danny is inimitable," Shawn said. "Each scene we did, I pictured how he would have done it and I knew I could never possibly have done it the way he could have done it," he said.

9. THE DUEL BETWEEN WESTLEY AND INIGO WAS EXCRUCIATINGLY RESEARCHED AND REHEARSED.

Goldman spent months researching 17th-century swordfighting manuals to craft Westley and Inigo's duel; all the references the characters make to specific moves and styles are completely accurate. Then Elwes and Patinkin, neither of whom had much (if any) fencing experience, spent more months training to perfect it—right- and left-handed.

"I knew that my job was to become the world’s greatest sword fighter," Patinkin recalled in Elwes's book. "I trained for about two months in New York and then we went to London and Cary and I trained every day that we weren’t shooting for four months. There were no stuntmen involved in any of the sword fights, except for one flip in the air.” Even after months of pre-shooting training, the fencing instructors came to set and, when there were a few free minutes, would pull Elwes and Patinkin aside to work on the choreography for the scene, which was intentionally one of the last to be shot.

10. IT WAS ELWES'S IDEA TO DIVE HEADFIRST INTO THE "QUICKSAND."

That particular Fire Swamp stunt was accomplished by having a trap door underneath a layer of sand, below which there was foam padding for the actors to fall onto. Originally, the direction called for Westley to jump in feet-first after Buttercup, but Elwes argued this wasn't particularly heroic. Switching up the direction was a risky move—if the trap door wasn't opened at exactly the right instant, Elwes risked banging his head—or even breaking his neck. After the stunt double successfully executed the dive, Elwes himself tried it, and nailed it perfectly on the first take.

11. MIRACLE MAX REALLY WAS THAT FUNNY—AND YOU'RE NOT EVEN SEEING HIS BEST STUFF.

Billy Crystal brought two photos for his makeup artist, Peter Montagna, to draw inspiration from when creating Miracle Max: Crystal’s grandmother and Casey Stengel. As for the acting, Elwes wrote in his book, "For three days straight and 10 hours a day, Billy improvised 13th-century period jokes, never saying the same thing or the same line twice." Unfortunately for viewers, many of the improvised jokes were not fit for a family-friendly film. Only the cast and crew knows how funny his more crude Miracle Max takes were, but judging from the fact that Patinkin bruised a rib trying to stifle his laughter, as he recounts in the book, they were probably pretty good.

12. BILLY CRYSTAL AND CAROL KANE, WHO PLAYED HIS WIFE, INVENTED AN ENTIRE BACKSTORY.

Carol Kane and Billy Crystal in The Princess Bride (1987)
MGM

"Billy came over to my apartment in Los Angeles and we took the book and underlined things and made up a little more backstory for ourselves," Kane said. "We added our own twists and turns and stuff that would amuse us, because there’s supposed to be a long history—who knows how many hundreds of years Max and Valerie have been together?" How has that pair not gotten a spin-off film yet? 

13. ELWES FILMED MANY OF HIS SCENES WITH A BROKEN TOE.

Six weeks into production, André convinced Elwes to go for a spin on the ATV that was used to transport the larger man to and from filming locations because he didn’t fit in the van. Almost immediately, the vehicle hit a rocky patch and Elwes got his foot stuck between two mechanisms in the vehicle, breaking his big toe. The young actor tried to hide the injury from his director, but, of course, Reiner quickly found out. He didn't find a new Westley, as Elwes feared he might, but they did have to work some movie magic to allow Elwes to limp around in many of the scenes undetected.

14. ONE PARTICULAR ON-SCREEN INJURY WASN'T FAKED.

As soon as Westley recognizes Count Rugen as the six-fingered man, the script calls for the Count to knock our hero unconscious with the butt of his sword. In filming, Christopher Guest, who played Rugen, was naturally reluctant to really hit Elwes for fear of hurting him. Unfortunately, this reticence was reading on screen and take after take failed to look convincing. Finally, Elwes suggested Guest just go for, at least tap him on the head to get the reaction timing right. The tap came a little too hard, however, and Elwes was knocked legitimately unconscious; he later awoke in the hospital emergency room. It's that take, with Elwes actually passing out, that appears in the film.

15. ONE OF THE FINAL SCENES NEVER MADE IT INTO THE FINAL FILM.

In an alternate ending that was eventually cut, Fred Savage—who plays the initially reluctant audience to Peter Falk's reading of The Princess Bride—goes to his window after his grandfather has left and sees Fezzik, Inigo, Westley, and Buttercup all on their white horses.

Original image
HBO
arrow
entertainment
Neil deGrasse Tyson Just Answered the Game of Thrones Question That Everyone's Asking
Original image
HBO

Serial debunker of movies and TV Neil deGrasse Tyson took on Game of Thrones on Sunday evening, analyzing everything from the chains the army of the dead used to pull up dead dragon Viserion (wrong angle) to the dragons themselves (good wing span, though experts we spoke with say they're still too heavy to fly). And then he dropped an intriguing tweet that just might explain Ice Viserion's blue fire, which easily cut through the Wall:

Inverse's Yasmin Tayag took a deep dive into the physics of dragon fire after the season finale and concluded that, according to science, blue flames are the hottest of them all. Typical Game of Thrones dragon fire—the red, yellow, and orange kind—is the result of incomplete combustion. The color is caused by the fuel in the dragon's gut (likely carbon) releasing chemicals as gas in a process known as pyrolysis. Blue flames, though, mean complete combustion, which, according to Tayag, "can only occur when there’s plenty of oxygen available to allow a flame to get super hot, and the fuel being burned doesn’t release too many additional chemicals during pyrolysis that might lead to a different colored flame."

In August, Game of Thrones sound designer Paula Fairfield—perhaps in an attempt to answer viewers’ nagging question about whether Viserion was blowing fire or ice—told Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson that, “He’s just going at it and slicing with this. It's kind of like liquid nitrogen. It’s so, so cold. So imagine if that’s what it was, but it’s so cold it’s hot. That kind of thing.”

This could have big consequences if Ice Viserion and Drogon face off. "If the HBO series decides to follow these particular laws of thermal physics (and why should it when Thrones so flagrantly disregarded chain physics?!?), then Viserion will surely be at an advantage if and when he ever goes talon-to-talon with his brother Drogon," wrote Robinson in response to deGrasse Tyson’s tweet.

Game of Thrones's final season won't debut until late 2018 or 2019, so we have a long time to wait before we see which dragon's fire comes out on top. 

[h/t: Vanity Fair]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios