After seven years, 153 episodes and countless cups of coffee, it’s hard to imagine anyone else other than Lauren Graham playing fast-talking, quick-witted, fried food-loving Gilmore Girls protagonist Lorelai Gilmore. From a fan perspective, actor and character are virtually impossible to separate. But what was it like for Lauren to play that character for all those years? In her new book, Talking As Fast As I Can, she sits down for a marathon viewing of each season, sharing what she remembers from filming, anecdotes with cast members, favourite storylines and, of course, fashion disasters.
From the pilot to the final season, it’s the perfect companion to re-watching Gilmore Girls. Straight from the pages, here’s some of her thoughts from re-watching Season One.
Times were different: Lorelai complains when Emily tries to install a DSL line, claiming she doesn’t need one. AHAHAHA, yes, you do, Lorelai, and just you wait a few years till your BlackBerry stops working altogether. Rory wonders if there’s still hope for Sean Penn and Madonna (there isn’t!); Kelly complains about kids today wasting their time watching ‘MTV and a hundred TV channels,’ which doesn’t seem like all that many by today’s standards; and I write my number down for Max Medina on a business card!
Fashion and hair: Wow, lots of leather blazers and blue eye shadow? For some reason, I was very into blue eye shadow this year. My makeup artist at the time worried it was a bit much, but I liked anything bright and bold for Lorelai. Donna Karan nylons abound. They were new and very popular; there were no Spanx back then, and these stockings, with serious control top built in, were revolutionizing ladies’ stomachs all across the land. My skirts are very short this year and my hair is veeeeery black and I remember there was much discussion about what to do about it. (The hair, not the skirts. No one in the history of television has ever worried about skirts being too short.) Boring but important hair note: The color was just one of my hair issues. My hair is also naturally curly and extremely sensitive to the weather. This means that in order for me to wear it curly, it has to first be straightened, then curled, which sort of defeats the whole supposed ‘luck’ of having naturally curly hair in the first place. So figuring out how best to make it last throughout a fourteen-hour day took some experimentation over the years. Stay tuned for the exciting results!
What I love: There are so many great episodes from this year, but for me, the show really hits its stride in episode six, ‘Rory’s Two Birthdays,’ where the Gilmores have a very fancy party for Rory that’s in stark contrast to the cozy one Lorelai throws, full of junk food and a cake with Rory’s face on it and Stars Hollow locals. Kelly is marvelous in the scene in Lorelai’s bedroom where she sees a picture of Lorelai with a broken leg and they both really begin to get, in a new way, how much they’ve missed not being part of each other’s lives. From the start of the show, Kelly named herself my TVM, or TV mom, by which she meant she was taking her character’s role seriously, beyond the pages or the sets and out into the real world. Right away we developed the easy rituals of old friends: meeting for lunch at Joe Allen in New York, or out for guacamole at our favorite Mexican place in L.A., or allowing ourselves to split a little bag of Cheetos when we were filming in the middle of the night. In a maternal, protective way, she found most of my boyfriends at the time lacking, and once told me I needed someone who was more my equal, like ‘that wonderful actor on Six Feet Under.’ Hmmmm.
Season finale: Over the course of this first season, we began to realize that our tough time slot might actually have been a gift. What expectation could the network possibly have for us to get any ratings against such tough competition? Yet bit by bit, we began to accumulate nice notices and loyal viewers. In the last episode, Rory finally says ‘I love you’ to Dean, and Max Medina proposes to Lorelai with a thousand yellow daisies. (Although, weirdly, he does it over the phone.) If you’ve ever seen series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino in person or read her interviews, you already know she’s very, very funny, and very, very bright. But the mind of the person who conceives of such a grand romantic gesture as this? Genius.