Life is short. Talk fast.
Anchor series of The WB
, airing from 2000 to 2007. Roughly equal parts Teen Drama
and romantic comedy.
The titular Gilmore girls are, more or less, two sides of the same coin. Mother Lorelai (Lauren Graham
) was born to privilege, but saw her education cut short by her pregnancy at 16. Despite pressure from her parents Emily (Kelly Bishop
) and Richard (Edward Herrmann
), and a proposal from the erstwhile father Christopher, Lorelei chose to strike out on her own, moving to Stars Hollow, CT as a single mother. Daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel
), despite having been born in comparative poverty, is a gifted student. Both women are intelligent, witty, cynical, cute, and comically dysfunctional when it comes to men.
The show starts when 16-year-old Rory is admitted into the prestigious Chilton Academy for high school. Lorelei, who now runs the Independence Inn with the help of her best friend, chef Sookie St. James (Melissa McCarthy
), can't afford it... so she does the worst thing a fiercely independent woman could do, and asks her parents. Emily and Richard agree to finance their granddaughter's education, but only at the cost of Friday-night family dinners.
The main characters are complemented by a strong ensemble in the townsfolk of Stars Hollow, including an assortment of Nosy Neighbors
: town selectman Taylor, who rules with an iron fist; Kirk, the village idiot
who has dabbled in hundreds of professions
; and, of course, the Love Interests
. Both Gilmore girls play the "All Girls Want Bad Boys
" trope quite straight; Rory's father, Christopher Hayden (David Sutcliffe
) is of the idle rich, and Lorelei's other major romance, Luke Danes (Scott Patterson
), owns the town diner and struggles with anger and communication issues. Rory, meanwhile, shuffles between Dean Forester (Jared Padalecki
), Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimiglia
) and Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry
), each with their issues and instabilities.
What really sets Gilmore Girls
apart from other shows of its type is the heavy use of clever, fast-paced wordplay. Really fast. Think Aaron Sorkin on crystal meth
and Seinfeldian Conversations
. The show also seems to take a particular interest in music. In addition to a number of music-obsessed characters, numerous musicians—including Sebastian Bach and Carole King—have held recurring guest roles. Others, like Paul Anka and Sparks, have had cameos or guest spots. (King also provided the theme tune, "Where You Lead," re-recording it with—of course—her own daughter Louise Goffin.)
Most episodes employ some form of Two Lines, No Waiting
following the exploits of mother and daughter, though in later seasons, the plots more often alternated between the two from episode to episode.
Now has a character sheet
. Character-specific tropes should go there.
This series provides examples of:
- Aborted Arc:
- One of the most notable was the lawsuit Jason brought up against the Gilmores. It was a major development in the plot, but once it served its purpose of getting Richard his job back and breaking Lorelai and Jason up, it was never mentioned again.
- Or Jackson being voted Town Selectman, ousting Taylor. He campaigned hard and managed to win the election, then immediately regretted it. It gets mentioned maybe twice more, then Taylor's back to the job with absolutely no warning.
- Absentee Actor: Everyone except Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel misses a few episodes (Scott Patterson (Luke) is the most frequently seen after the two leads, appearing in all but five).
- All Girls Want Bad Boys:
- Rory and Jess. Jess smoked, stole things, and generally caused mischief in Stars Hollow. Thanks to poor communication skills on his part however, they didn't last. They had a hard time to get over themselves, especially Jess, and Word of God revealed that if the series had continued for one more season, Rory would have ended up back together with him, seeing as he was ultimately the one who complemented her the best.
- Later, Rory and Logan. Logan was a wealthy party animal and womanizer who got Rory into trouble when they stole a boat (which was her idea, though). Rory and Logan's relationship lasts for about 2.5 seasons, and ends only in the penultimate episode of the series, when Rory turns down Logan's marriage proposal.
- Alpha Bitch: Francine "Francie" Jarvis, leader of the Puffs, Chilton's "secret" sorority; recruits Rory (and in turn, Paris) for the club. In season 3, she's the senior class president, often clashing with both Paris and Rory.
- Ambiguously Gay: Viewers perceive Michel as such, though he is not intended to be gay. Though he has an obsession with Celine Dion and worries about his carb intake, Amy Sherman often says in the scripts he does this for the ladies. He is intended to be a dandy. When venting his frustrations toward Tobin, the night desk clerk, he insults him for his homosexuality. It's subtle, but it's there, and that's what makes it even funnier. We occasionally see members of his family, they're all like that. The simplest explanation for newcomers is that he's not gay, he's just French.
- Amicable Exes:
- Lorelai and Christopher, mostly.
- Rory and Dean in season 3.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: At a town meeting where the citizens of Stars Hollow list the crimes that Jess might have done, Lorelai pipes in at the end.
Lorelai: I heard he controls the weather and wrote the screenplay to Glitter!
- After being told by Rory that she's going to a movie with Dean and Lane: "Nothing sexual, violent, or French!"
- The Artifact: Luke's diner still has a large sign that says "Williams Hardware" on it (with a small one that says "Luke's"), in addition to the shelves and other remnants from his father's hardware store.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: When Paris is talking to her Portuguese nanny on the phone, what she says is mostly correct, although she says "mucho mac and cheese" at one point, probably due to Rule of Funny.
- The B Grade: Paris gets an A-minus on a science test and forces Rory to have an emergency study session with her.
- Inverted when Rory received an A in Asher Fleming's course and believed she only got it due to favouritism.
- Back to School: Lorelai is working toward her AA in Business degree in the first two seasons. She graduates in season 2, and the degree is referred to as an AA in season 3.
- Behind the Black: Paris is hiding to the left while having Madeleine ask Rory for her PSAT scores.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Paris and Doyle, although Rory and Jess and Rory and Logan were milder forms.
- Luke and Lorelai in early seasons. Emily, Rachel and Sookie confronted either one of them (or both) rather often about it, but they kept denying it and a lot of their interaction consisted of teasing or berating each other.
- Best Woman: Rory acts as best "man" when her grandparents renew their vows. She even wore a nice pantsuit.
- Beta Couple: Sookie and Jackson, possibly the Gilmore grandparents. Interestingly, both Lorelai and Rory would mirror each other's couplehood and act as the mutual Beta Couple to each other.
- Lane and Zach also fill this role.
- Paris and Doyle filled that role too. Especially since it's Danny Strong.
- Better Than Sex: In a Season One episode, Miss Patty tells Rory that the plums in Doose's Market are better than sex.
- Betty and Veronica: Wow, do the writers love this trope. With Rory alone, we have: (Bettys listed first).
- Dean (B) vs. Tristan (V), Dean vs Jess. Dean vs Logan. Marty vs Logan. Jess vs Logan. And in every one except Dean vs Tristan, Rory went with the Veronica. Sheesh, are the writers trying to tell us something? Logan eventually gets compared to each of Rory's romantic interests, except for Tristan. And Logan can be seen as a more developed version of Tristan.
- Luke plays Betty to most of Lorelai's love interests: Max in Season 1, Jason in Season 4 and Christopher throughout the series. He survives better than Rory's Bettys though.
- Beware the Nice Ones: On the very rare occasions Rory loses her temper you don't want to be in the blast zone.
- Big Eater: Both Gilmores demonstrate a more realistic version of this typically anime trait.
- This is a bit of an Informed Attribute. We see plenty of food on-screen, but they never eat much of it, and often have to leave Luke's less than a minute after sitting down. Of course, the actresses have to do an unknown number of takes, so having them actually eat a large meal is impractical.
- When they are ordering Chinese food, Richard is horrified by how much food they are ordering, saying it's way too much for 3 people. Lorelai explains that they usually get a lot, and some of it is meant to be leftover.
- Bilingual Dialogue: Kyon and Lane have an argument in Korean and English respectively when they first encounter each other.
- Black Sheep:
- Lorelai, at least in Hartford society.
- Logan, to the Huntzbergers.
- Book Ends:
- The series ends with Lorelai and Rory eating at Luke's Diner.
- Paris appears in the second and penultimate episode.
- Book Worm: Rory and Jess. Rory's interest in Jess is piqued when they discover they share a mutual love of literature.
- Breakout Character: Paris.
- Brilliant but Lazy:
- Jess. Reasonably Intelligent But Arrogant.
- But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Sookie's third pregnancy. She was led to believe that Jackson had a vasectomy after her second child.
- Butt Monkey:
- Taylor is basically the town butt monkey of Stars Hollow and is even the butt monkey amongst his family. Shockingly enough, Lorelai seems to be the only person to have any sympathy for him.
- Kirk seems to be on the same path, but is actually somewhat likable. Rory tells Lorelai she should just let him win the dance contest because he has nothing going for him - he has no real career, no friends or girlfriend, no pets, and still lives with his mother . When he went on his first date with Lulu, he was shocked that the date went well and she stayed; most of his dates had him run out of conversation topics and the girl sneaking out of the bathroom window.
- Michel to Lorelai, Sookie and Rory.
- California University: Despite being a real university, Yale fits this trope as it keeps Rory and high school rival Paris close to each other and also close to Stars Hollow despite earlier indications that both girls were Harvard-bound. The switch from Harvard to the more-nearby Yale was justified by making it Richard Gilmore's alma mater.
- The Cast Showoff: Alex Borstein got to show off both her harp-playing skills as Drella and her skill at playing silly characters as Miss Celine.
- Alexis Bledel showed off her Spanish-speaking in season 6. Not many people know that the actress is actually Latina.
- Cassandra Truth: Lorelai tried to tell Richard and Emily that Logan's family was no good, but they just dismissed it, thinking she was being overdramatic and didn't like rich people. It takes them a while to realize she's right.
- Character Filibuster combined with That Makes Me Feel Angry, mostly in the last season.
- Toward the end of the series run, the fast, snappy dialogue that Gilmore Girls was famous for slouched into a 7th Heaven-esque series of conversations in which all the main characters were having extended conversations with all the other main characters about exactly how they felt regarding everything, inverting the Show, Don't Tell principle.
- Characterization Marches On Dean was originally written to have more indie tastes (he was a Nick Cave fan, for example), but then when Jess comes along, Dean gets recast as having more conventional tastes so that rival love interest Jess could provide contrast by being more cosmopolitan and intellectual, liking obscure books and music.
- Chekhov's Gag:
- There was a Running Gag about Emily being unable to keep a maid, which became a plot point when she was sued for wrongful termination by one of her former maids.
- When she was a teen, Lorelai went into labor and went to the hospital by herself, leaving a note for her parents instead of telling them where she was. Emily complained about how ridiculous is was that she just left a note, and later in the episode, her parents find that Lorelai left another note when she ran away from home.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- Jason kept asking Lorelai to go out with him, and, though she kept declining, set up a reservation at a restaurant, just in case she changed her mind. He also previously mentioned the fact that it would upset her mother if she went out with him, since Emily hated him. After having an argument with her mother, Lorelai decided to go on the date.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
- Lorelai's boyfriend Alex, which may have been due to Max showing up.
- Jason Stiles, Lorelai's season four boyfriend. He showed up in Stars Hollow and tried to get back together with Lorelai, but Sookie prank-called him, saying he had a problem at home, so he went back home. Lorelai and Luke became official that night, so Jason must have realized he didn't have a chance and moved on.
- Eventually happened to Dean, as well, who never really got a proper sendoff and just disappeared to make room for Logan and Rory's relationship. After breaking up with Rory, he showed up in a couple of scenes with Luke late in season 5, telling him that his relationship with Lorelai is doomed like his and Rory's.
- Class Trip:
- Rory and Paris spend the summer before their senior year in Washington D.C. as part of student government.
- Luke chaperoned one of these from Connecticut to Philadelphia, allowing him to meet up with his nephew Jess, too.
- Cock Fight: Dean and Jess have it off in a party on season 3. Some episodes earlier have Dean trying to pick a fight with Jess and Rory mistakenly believe that Jess' black eye was caused by Dean.
- Crazy Cat Lady: Lorelai is once worried she might became a crazy cat lady if she stays alone. She thinks that stray cats sense it when a woman lives on her own and that eventually they would find her house. One cat comes to her door and Lorelai brings her some food, but eventually she shoos her away.
- A not-single example is Babette, who is as obsessed with cats as she is with garden gnomes.
- Also - Kirk, for a brief moment on season 3. Rory comments that "Kirk has always been a cat person, he just never had a cat". Kirk, main Cloud Cuckoolander in a very nutty town, fits the trope down to a tee, except for being male.
- Crazy Jealous Guy:
- Dean towards Jess and Logan, and to Tristan before he was Put on a Bus.
- To a much lesser extent, Luke towards Christopher and vice versa.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Most of the inhabitants of Stars Hollow.
- Lorelai is a mild case compared to her neighbors, many find her to be eccentric.
- Babette is a major example.
- Kirk, who does the impossible and is deemed local weirdo in a town of full of weird like Stars Hollow.
- Collapsed Mid Speech: Rory's grandfather has a heart attack and goes down in the middle of a lecture, but he makes it. This also apparently happens to Asher Fleming during a Shakespeare class at Oxford ("He was doing Puck, and then suddenly he wasn't"), though it happens offscreen, and is fatal.
- Convicted by Public Opinion:
- In season 1, Lorelai angrily confronted Dean for breaking up with Rory, and Dean got angry as well, saying that it wasn't fair that everyone in town was mean to him without hearing his side of the story. Rory told her mother about the break-up, but didn't explain why it happened, though breaking up with someone for not saying "I love you" back doesn't make him look much better.
- Jess, who is summarily convicted for getting in a car accident and Rory's wrist being broken, despite the fact that anyone could have had an animal run out in front of them and swerved.
- Coordinated Clothes: In "Application Anxiety", Lorelai suggests to Rory that the siblings they just met are acting like they're together too much to just be brother and sister. Once they come back having changed their clothes, Lorelai notes to Rory that they're color-coordinated as further proof.
- Cousin Oliver: April, an especially grating version. She was perhaps an attempt at having a geekier version of Rory but she still ended up being a blatant Hollywood Nerd.
- Cute Bookworm: Jesse's adoptive sister, who hides in closets while reading.
- Deadpan Snarker: The list is a mile long but primarily Lorelai, Rory, Luke, Paris and Jess. It is after all a World of Snark.
- Deep-Fried Whatever: Poor Sookie in the Thanksgiving episode. Jackson and his family get drunk and start deep-frying everything (one even suggests deep-frying a baby), and Sookie copes by getting absolutely trashed on margaritas. Luke notes at the end of the episode that he thinks saw flames erupting - they burned the lawn.
- Dinner and a Show: Lampshaded by Lorelai when she and Rory arrive for Friday Night Dinner and they watch an argument between Richard and Emily.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Luke and Lorelai... seriously?
- Also, in an episode of season 1, Jackson catches Sookie looking at strawberries at the market, and gets mad that she is trying to buy produce from someone else. He confronts her about it, and she says she was desperate for it, since she wasn't getting any from him. He didn't have any strawberries good enough to give to her, so he tried to give her something else.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: Emily convinced Luke to get back together with Lorelai and just expected Lorelai to just forgive her and continue going to Friday night dinners again. She didn't understand that Lorelai was still angry about her breaking them up in the first place.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Asher Fleming has a very convenient heart attack between seasons 4 and 5.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In a couple of the early episodes there is a town mayor, played by David Huddleston. Taylor is one of the town selectmen but not as important as he later became.
- In the second episode, Sean Gunn plays a DSL installer named Mick, who Lorelai has never met before. In another early episode he brings swans to the inn and again, Lorelai has no idea who he is. It's not until the episode Cinnamon's Wake that his character is named Kirk but even then he does not know who Miss Patty is, while later on in the show it is well established that he has lived in Star's Hollow his whole life and used to take dance classes with Miss Patty.
- References are made several times to Lane's father—or parents, plural—through the first season, in the context of him clearly being alive and present in Lane's life. He is never seen for some reason, and eventually ceases to be mentioned.
- Easter Egg: Paris rants about a fellow Chilton student taking too much time to film her video yearbook segment towards the end of season three. Not too interesting a scene...until you look at the episode credits and realize that the girl is played by Liza Weil's sister.
- Eating Lunch Alone:
- Rory was shown to prefer eating alone with her headphones and a good book. The headmaster of Chilton thought she wasn't being social enough and pushed her to reach out to her peers. Hilarity Ensues.
- Kirk states that he used to eat lunch alone in school as well, causing Lorelai and Rory to immediately panic.
- Eccentric Townsfolk: And how!
- Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: A possible interpretation of Michel.
- Elaborate University High: Chilton for the first few seasons. It should be noted, the school is based on Real Life high school Choate, and in many respects the portrayal is fairly accurate.
- Embarrassing Nickname:
- Jason "Digger" Stiles.
- Lorelai's camp nickname is "Umlauts." Apparently there was a problem with an unsteady canoe and an absent bra.
- Lorelai apparently once called Rory 'Droopy Drawers' as a baby.
Lorelai: That's right. Once you had these little Oshkosh cords and they were way too big. Once at the mall they fell right down to your knees and I said, "Whoa there, droopy drawers".
- Rory was called "Mary" when she first came to Chilton, mostly by Tristan. It refers to the Virgin Mary and that she is seen as a goody-goody.
- Everyone Can See It:
- Luke and Lorelai, for the first four seasons.
- Emily noticed Luke and Lorelai had a thing for each other within seconds of meeting him. She noticed the way they look at each other. When she repeatedly asked Lorelai if she had feelings for Luke, she eventually stopped saying no and admitted that she wasn't sure how she felt.
- Max asked her if she dated Luke while they were broken up and thought she was lying when she denied it.
- Almost an Exaggerated Trope - while picking the vibe by Lorelai's mother and some other outsiders, as well as the common knowledge on the matter by the pair's friends are plausible, the scene where Lorelai heading to tell Luke she's gotten engaged gets stalked by a large crowd of townspeople (most of them being not their close friends, but never to be seen again extras) curious what's going to happen like it's the hottest soap opera on TV, is not. Also, after Lorelai accidentally walks down to the diner full of people, when dressed in Luke's shirt, after the sex for the first time, no one bats an eye, as if just the obvious has happened. Shortly after that it's revealed that it was perceived this way to the point that there was a town's meeting about "the union everyone had feared by a long time" (by Taylor's words) organized.
- Dean when dumping Rory—in front of the entire town (to be fair, "the entire town" was five or so half-asleep dance contestants and not many more and fully asleep observers)—when he's fed up with her blatant interest in Jess. He actually uses those very words.
- Everyone Went to School Together: First Chilton and then Yale.
- Also happened with Luke and some other adults in Stars Hollow, since it's a small town.
- Evil Matriarch: Both Emily and her mother-in-law. Shira Huntzberger tries hard to be one, but comes off as more Upper-Class Twit.
- Exact Words: When Jess first meets Rory, he says that he doesn't read much. When she asks him about it later, he says "What is much?" i.e. "much" can mean different things to different people.
- Fake Guest Star: "Special appearance by" Edward Herrmann. In at least 82 episodes.
- Fan Disservice: Kirk is sometimes shirtless or partially nude. Not that Kirk is all that hideous from the neck up, but from the neck down... well, he's no buffed hunk. Though the actor himself has never mentioned his condition, the general consensus among fans is that Sean Gunn has pectus excavatum; which is literally a sunken chest. The fact that he was brave enough to go shirtless on a popular TV show seems like more of a Take That to the media's beauty standards more than anything else. Noted in-universe by Rory.
Lorelai: So, how are you feeling?
Rory: Haunted by the sight of Kirk's bare chest.
- Fiction Business Savvy: Bedazzled first-aid kits.
- Fight Scene: Two over the course of the entire show. First was Jess vs. Dean (after Rory left Dean for Jess), when Dean thought Jess had just forced himself on an in-tears Rory upstairs at a party (he wanted to have sex, she didn't and got upset, and Jess was frustrated but ok with it and didn't pressure her). The second was between Chris and Luke (and the fans rejoiced). There's not even any dialogue in that scene, they just see each other across the square in the middle of the night and both seem to understand that it's time to beat the crap out of someone they really dislike (each was pretty pissed off about something else in their life right then). The fight ends wordlessly as well, with them just stalking off in opposite directions after trashing the town's Christmas scene, and neither ever talks to anyone else about it.
- First Guy Wins: Sort of between Dean and Jess. Rory eventually hooks up with Jess, but since Dean broke it off with her as abruptly as he did, she never really got the chance to get over him. Eventually, Jess suddenly disappears after problems with school, causing Rory to lose her trust in him and miss the reliability she always had with Dean. Because of this, she rejects Jess' advances when he returns, and eventually sleeps with Dean despite the latter being married at that point. However, after Dean has left his marriage, it doesn't take long before Rory remembers the lack of excitement Dean had eventually failed to offer her, and he ends up Put on a Bus to make way for her relationship with Logan.
- 555: Luke's lawyer works at Dewie, Cheetum and Howe. Their number is 555-5555.
- Flanderization: Name someone who wasn't flanderized in the last two seasons of Gilmore Girls. Lauren Graham expressed her distaste for the way her character was being written in an early interview about the CW.
- Emily started out as controlling and somewhat snobby, but mostly old-fashioned and concerned about her daughter living "properly", not being a single mother and finding a husband. She even approved of Luke, recognized his feelings for Lorelai before her, and called them "a match made in Heaven". Cue Season 5, and she acts like a social class-obsessed stereotypical Evil Matriarch and makes ridiculous schemes to break Lorelai and Luke up to make space for Christopher. And fails to understand why her daughter could be possibly mad at her.
- Much like in Northern Exposure, the town folk went from being cute and quaint to ridiculously quirky for the sake of being quirky.
- Flat "What.": Rory to Pete from Pete's Pizzeria when he tells her that the world's biggest pizza she's having made for Lorelai's birthday has to be cheeseless after Kirk suffered a hot cheese incident when trying to put it on the pizza rack on his car.
- Forced into Their Sunday Best: often, particularly Lorelai Sr.
- Foreshadowing: Lorelai and Sookie get into an argument in season 1, with Lorelai saying she doesn't want dating advice from someone who hasn't dated in a while. Sookie says that she has reasons for not dating, like not having time due to being at work and the hospital, but seems to be unhappy about it. At the end of the episode, she asks Jackson out for the first time.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: Parodied.
Lorelai: My life stinks. Hey, let's look into each other's eyes and say "I wish I were you" at exactly the same time - maybe we'll pull a Freaky Friday!
- The Gadfly: Lorelai. It's her main coping mechanism when it comes to her parents. In season 3 she even admits this to her mother, and "teaches" her the trick so she could cope with Trix, her mother in law. As Lorelai later tells Rory, Emily has done it beautifully.
- One episode has Emily do it to Lorelai, who accused her of not being able to take a joke.
- The Ghost: Mr. Kim (Lane's dad), Al from Al's Pancake World, and Kirk's mother.
- Girl Posse: Unusual, in that their leader, Paris, is an Academic Alpha Bitch.
- Francine, a fellow Chilton classmate, led a more typical high school version.
- Glamorous Single Mother: If Lorelai ever suffered serious hardship having to drop plans for higher education to raise a child by herself as a teenager, the show gives little indication of it.
- At least on the show. Pre-series had Rory and Lorelai living in a potting shed at the Independence Inn until they bought their house. Lorelai only went to her wealthy parents as a last resort to pay for Chilton. By the beginning of the series, she's the manager of a successful inn, but it took her years to get there, as she originally started out as a maid and had to work her way up.
- One episode had Lorelai come in as a career day speaker at the local high school (after Rory was in college) where she gets ambushed by the girls in class who are far more interested in her infamous teen pregnancy and single motherhood. She's gets backed into a corner and outright states that she does not regret her past because it resulted in her amazing daughter. Later, when the mothers of these girls confront her on the street as if she had been extolling this trope as Truth in Television, Lorelai tries to be diplomatic. But when they cross the line (implying she should have told their daughters she regretted Rory) she goes full Mama Bear on them.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: In the backstory (as shown in the flashbacks). Apparently, a 16-year-old Lorelai never even considered abortion although she didn't want to marry the father, having the baby meant she had to quit school, and it turned living with her family into such a nightmare that she ran away. It could be she simply left it too late - she was already "starting to show" by the time she realised she was pregnant. In a flashback, Christopher's father makes some oblique reference to " taking care of it", everyone in the room acts shocked and it's never brought up again. Interesting to note that Lorelai wasn't even in the room, so her opinion on the matter is never touched on.
- Good Old Ways: Luke. Runs a small diner out of his late father's hardware store, lives in the building's attic, and tends to be oblivious to/annoyed by Lorelai's constant pop culture references.
- Gossipy Hens: Miss Patty and Babette. It's mentioned that nothing gets past them. Especially Patty, there have been times where people will tell her something if they want the news to travel fast.
- Grandparental Obliviousness: Richard and Emily had no idea for the longest time that Rory had been having sex with Logan while living in their pool house.
- Heroic BSOD: Rory has one after Mitchum's evaluation of her, leading into most of the conflict for the sixth season.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners:
- An odd case being that Lorelai and Rory are mother and daughter.
- Rory and Paris.
- Rory and Lane.
- Lorelai and Sookie, an inn manager and a supreme chef.
- High School: Chilton, adhering to type mostly in that classes always seem to last exactly the length of one scene.
- Higher Education Is for Women: Rory was attracted to each of her three boyfriends because of their intelligence but they would disappoint her with their lack of interest in college. Even her college boyfriend.
- Subverted with Paris, who dated a Princeton man while still in high school, a college professor (no less) and one very avid college newspaper editor.
- Holiday Volunteering: One episode has Paris attempting to volunteer at a soup kitchen over Thanksgiving so she can put it on her college application, only to be told they don't need any more.
- Hollywood Nerd:
- Paris and Rory
- Lane and Dave.
- This is played with a bit. All three girls are attractive but are incredibly awkward in situations with the opposite sex. One great example is Rory attempting to date casually in her freshman year of college and failing miserably. Hilarity Ensues.
- Rory in the early seasons is very awkward around other people. So much so that the school decides she needs to socialize more, or they won't recommend her for Harvard.
- Hollywood New England: The show takes place in a Connecticut where Hartford is a gleaming state capital and New Haven is the home of intellectuals with everyone being happy, while in real life Hartford has an incredible amount of problems, while Yale is contained within a literal Green Zone that can pretty much do whatever the heck it wants to fix crime-ridden New Haven, seeing as its citizens have given up on their government.
- In all fairness, Lorelai once describes New Haven to Rory by saying she should "take a look at the coffee pot tomorrow before I clean it."
- Rory and Paris actually live in an apartment in a crime-ridden neighborhood for some time while at Yale. At least until Rory moves into boyfriend Logan's ridiculously extravagant suite.
- Stars Hollow is mentioned as being right near New London, and about half an hour from New Haven. New London is almost an hour away from New Haven. Woodbridge is also frequently mentioned as a town near Stars Hollow. In real life, Woodbridge is a neighboring town to New Haven, making it probably much closer to Rory's school than Rory's home.
- Hopeless Suitor: Marty for Rory, who didn't have any romantic feelings for him.
- Hot for Student: Asher Fleming. He has quite a reputation for this, having a new love interest every semester, but genuinely loves Paris.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Lorelai begins giving the speech to Dean, but he interrupts to tell her he knows what she's going to say. She then tells him that Rory is beloved by the whole town, and there would be nowhere to run if he broke her heart. Sure enough, when he breaks up with Rory, everyone in town hates him and [Luke refuses to let him in the diner.
- I Got You a Drawer: Luke did this for Rachel once he decided to give her another chance.
- In-Joke: Lane's band, not named onscreen until "Tippecanoe And Taylor Too," is called Hep Alien - an anagram of Helen Pai, one of the show's producers and pal of creator Amy Sherman-Palladino (and the woman on whom Lane is based).
- I Need a Freaking Drink:
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Rory.
- It Tastes Like Feet: Sookie and Lorelai just had a rather useless class about opening an inn and they reach a refreshment table, hoping to make up the admission fee in cookies. Sadly, they taste like feet.
- Also - Sookie's cooking while in first months of pregnancy tends to suffer from said taste.
- Ivy League for Everyone: A rare justified example as the writers emphasize exactly how hard it is to get accepted into Harvard and Yale, with Paris participating in numerous extra-curriculars and charities to add to her application and Rory actually moving schools to improve her grades. Those who just don't work as hard don't go there - like Madeline and Louise.
- I Warned You: Lorelai warns Rory whenever she can see that Richard and/or Emily are trying to manipulate her. Rory always says she knows and that she can handle it, but it always turns out worse than they expect it to be.
- Jerk Ass:
- Jess, Paris, although both characters evolve to Jerk with a Heart of Gold in the later episodes.
- Mitchum Huntzberger.
- Floyd Stiles (Jason's father).
- Francie, who outshines Paris as Chilton's primary Alpha Bitch.
- Christopher's parents. They appeared in one early episode and were abysmal not only to Chris and Lorelai, but also to Rory. Richard almost got into a fight with Christopher's father for insulting Lorelai.
- Paris's mother, who also appeared on one episode.
- Karma Houdini: Francie manipulates Paris and Rory into renewing their hostile attitude towards each other and is never seen again afterwards. Paris and Rory do eventually make up however.
- Kissing Cousins: The original Lorelai ("Trix")—our main character's grandmother and Rory's great-grandmother—had the maiden name of "Gilmore." She married her cousin. This squicks out the youngest Gilmores to no end.
- Late for School: Rory, on several occasions, more so at Chilton than at Yale. One notable episode had her running late because a deer hit her car. No, you didn't read that wrong.
- Like an Old Married Couple: Lane calls Rory and Jess "a sweet old agoraphobic couple" after she witnesses them snark at their movie night choices. Jess takes it as a compliment.
- Hilariously enough, Luke and Lorelai have the same dynamic, which amuses everyone else in town who witnesses it.
- Love at First Sight: Dean and Rory. She is very smitten when she first sees him in the pilot. So much that she balks at transferring to Chilton. And he didn't even have a motorcycle.
- Love Triangle:
- Rory, Dean and Jess - the classic type 7 variation. While still with Dean, Rory develops feelings for Jess, who is also interested in her. She and Dean break up, and she hooks up with Jess.
- Later on in the series, with Jess out of the picture, Rory gets back together with the married Dean. That created another triangle, somewhere between a 4 and a 7 - Rory and Dean hooking up with Lindsay, the forgotten wife, as the "spare".
- Lorelai, Luke and Christopher. Type 4. Lorelai is very happy with Luke, until Emily pushes Christopher, who just can't get over Lorelai, to Lorelai's direction. It ends badly.
- Luke had to deal with another one of those with Digger Stiles, who also made a point out trying to win Lorelai back when she and Luke were just getting started. Luckily, Digger struck out, and we got one of the best They Do moments ever.
- Another type 4 triangle was with Rory, Dean and Tristan, though it's hard to say if Tristan had actual feelings for Rory or if he just enjoyed the challenge. (Pre-series, there was a type 5 triangle revolving Tristan, when he was with the indifferent Summer, while Paris was pining for him).
- Paris was on the less dramatic end of a type 5 traingle when she started an affair with professor Fleming while still with Jamie.
- Luke, You Are My Father: April finds out that Luke is her father through a DNA test she did for a school science fair.
- Mama Bear: Do not get between Lorelai and Rory.
- Manipulative Bastard:
- Mitchum Huntzberger
- Floyd Stiles.
- Emily can be a manipulative bitch at times.
- Richard manipulated things so Jason would lose his job, which led to Jason and Lorelai breaking up. (That was the result of Jason's father putting Richard in jeopardy of losing a lot of money. Richard then manipulated things and backstabbed Jason, who had been loyal to him, so Jason got screwed rather than himself.)
- A "minor league" example: Francie. Jerk Ass With A Heart Of Gold also has her moments.
- May-December Romance: Paris and professor Asher Fleming. While Paris did not make a secret of their relationship, when Asher died she was at pains to stress he did not go out with a bang:
Paris: No, this great man was not brought down by my vagina!
- Meddling Parents:
- Mostly Lorelai's parents.
- Richard Gilmore's mother, also named Lorelai.
- Mrs. Kim, the strict Korean mother to Rory's best friend.
- Logan's parents.
- Floyd Stiles (Jason's father).
- Metaphorgotten: In an early episode, Rory tells Lane she wants to give Dean a copy of Kafka's Metamorphosis as a present, but Lane says she should reconsider since he might take the gift the wrong way, comparing it to Dean giving Rory a football. She concludes by calling the present a "Czechoslovakian football".
- Military School: Where Tristan was exiled to. In North Carolina. Har har.
- Although, One Tree Hill didn't start filming for over a year after Tristan left. The actor was, however, leaving for Wilmington to guest star on Dawson's Creek.
- Mood Dissonance: When Babette talked about finding her cat Cinnamon's dead body: They poked her to check if she was alive, and she fell off the couch, slid across the room on the freshly waxed floor, and crashed into a table, causing the vase on it to fall and break. When Lane hears hears about it from Rory, she asks "Did you laugh?" (Rory shook her head) and "Did you want to?" (Rory nodded).
- Mood Whiplash: Notably, the season 4 finale, which combines Luke and Lorelai finally getting together while also having Rory sleep with a married Dean.
- Motor Mouth: The scripts for each episode were usually twice the length of a standard script.
- Despite this, in "It Should've Been Lorelai", Paris is preparing for a school debate and thinks Rory doesn't talk fast enough.
- Ms. Fanservice: Both Madeline and Louise seemed to fit the role, especially during college when they discovered that they can get boys to do what they want by kissing each other.
- Must Have Caffeine: Lorelai and Rory live off of it. So much that Alexis Bledel, the actress who played Rory, became sick of coffee. When Rory is drinking coffee onscreen, she is actually drinking cola or tea. When Richard retires, he notices that Emily drinks a lot of coffee as well, noting that she drank at least 3 cups of coffee every morning that week. When he visited Lorelai, he observed that she also had 3 cups of coffee that morning.
- New Transfer Student:
- Rory transfer mid-year to Chilton. Reality Ensues in that it takes a lot of time and work for her to catch up on her assignments and start getting good grades.
- Dean moves to Stars Hollow in the first episode.
- Brad goes back and forth between Chilton, another school, and portraying Jack in the then revival of Into the Woods. This was a reference to the actor, Adam Wylie, who actually was playing Jack onstage in real life.
- Nephewism: The reason Jess shows up in Stars Hollow is that his mother gave up on parenting him and decides to ship him over to her brother Luke's care. Luke only discovers this from her the day Jess arrives and naturally, both uncle and nephew clash.
- New Old Flame. Though it rarely holds:
- Christopher and Lorelai.
- Rory and Dean.
- Not So Different:
- Lane and her mother. At Lane's wedding, it turns out her mother has the same strained relationship with Lane's grandmother that Lane does with her.
- Lorelai and Emily. This, of course, upsets Lorelai on the occasions that she sees it. In a classic scene from season 2, Rory sees Emily and Lorelai in their beauty routine- which is creepily identitcal. [[ Little Miss Snarker She then notes]]: "Ladies and gentlemen - my future". Lorelai is mildly horrified and stops immediately. A few episodes later, it's shown that Emily drinks a lot of coffee as Lorelai and Rory do.
- When Rory complains about Lorelai being too stubbornnote , Dean starts to say something, but stops himself. She realizes he meant to say that she is just as stubborn as her mother and agrees.
- Obsessed Are the Listmakers: Rory and Paris are able to write up quite elaborate lists.
- Rory's love for Pro/con lists is actually a running gag in the series. It's how she decides to go to Yale.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. The series has three characters named Lorelai Gilmore. Lorelai "Rory" Gilmore is named for her mother, Lorelai Victoria Gilmore, who is in turn named for her grandmother Lorelai "Trix"/"Lorelai I" Gilmore.
- Once per Episode: Lorelai or Rory will sit down with a plate full of food, take one bite, get distracted, and abandon the food. Lorelai usually gets coffee and/or a burger each time she goes to Luke's.
- One Head Taller:
- Rory and Dean. Rory is rather tall, but her boyfriend Dean is very tall.
- Emily and Richard. Emily is a petite woman and Richard is impressively tall. (Kelly Bishop is 5'6", while Edward Herrmann is 6'5").
- Babette and Maury. They also fit Chubby Mama, Skinny Papa, even though they are not parents, but they have pets. And gnomes.
- One-Hour Work Week: Despite being the manager and the chef of the Independence Inn ( and later co-owners of the Dragonfly Inn), Lorelie and Sookie spend an awful lot of time out and about. Lampshaded by Luke when they have lunch in his diner in an early season one episode.
Luke: How do you guys get any work done?
- The Oner: almost Once an Episode has a long shot of at least a minute as characters spout off their Motor Mouth dialogue. This isn't super-impressive compared to some of the other long shots on the page, but the fact that it happens so frequently speaks volumes about the actors' skills and professionalism.
- OOC Is Serious Business:
- When Rory was running late to school and couldn't take her English exam, The Headmaster told Lorelai that Rory threw a fit very similar to Lorelai's, and Lorelai was shocked and said it was unusual for her.
- When Lorelai and Rory argued in the first episode (she wanted to stay at her high school to be with Dean), Lorelai said it was the first time they had a big argument. They have arguments later on, but they're not that common. Whenever they got into very big arguments, Rory would be uncharacteristically mean and say hurtful things to Lorelai.
- Sookie and Lorelai had an argument in season 2, with Lorelai being reluctant to start their new inn and calling Sookie unreliable. Lorelai was afraid of leaving the Independence Inn, which she considered her home, and said that she and Sookie never fought. They also got into an argument in season 1, when Sookie told Lorelai that she only wanted to break up with Max because she was afraid of getting too close to him. Lorelai got really defensive and snapped at her, saying she didn't want relationship advice from someone who hadn't dated in a very long time.
- When Richard is under a lot of stress at work and close to being "phased out", he and Emily argue a lot, even in front of Lorelai and Rory. Lorelai says they never argue in front of other people.
- In season 2, Rory skipped school and accidentally missed Lorelai's graduation because she went to visit Jess in New York. When she apologizes about it profusely and wonders why she did something that was so unlike her, Lorelai told her she must have fallen in love with Jess.
- Discussed, when Rory got arrested for stealing the yacht with Logan and decided to drop out of school. Lorelai couldn't believe that someone who once grounded herself for returning a library book late, could have committed a felony, and someone who loved school and worked hard could just quit, so she knew she must have been really distressed.
- Open Secret: The Puffs are supposed to be a secret society/sorority, but all the students know about them. The Life and Death Brigade at Yale is also a secret society, and Rory writes a story about them for the school paper.
- Trix is aware that Emily keeps their gifts from her in the basement and only takes them out when she comes to visit.
- Opposites Attract:
- Played with, in terms of Town Princess Rory and Bad Boy Jess. The town is initially horrified they'd even talk to each other. However they are ultimately revealed to be Birds of a Feather with their shared passion for reading and alternative music.
- Luke and Lorelai, the couple that redefined Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl.
- Orange/Blue Contrast: The series uses this colour scheme a lot, especially in its first season.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: Rory meets Francine in a Parking Garage in a scene that parodies several Film Noir tropes.
- Over-the-top Christmas Decorations: In season 7, Lorelai and Rory celebrate Christmas in January because Rory spent the actual Christmas in London with her boyfriend Logan. They insist on a Christmas tree in every room and they decorate all their downstair rooms with garlands. Christopher gets enormous stockings for the whole family, too.
- Pair the Smart Ones: Rory and Jess's mutual interests in literature and music drew them together. But Jess's personal issues drove them apart.
- Parents Walk In at the Worst Time: Lorelai walks in on Rory and Jess making out on the couch in Jess and Luke's apartment. It's uncomfortable for all three of them, and Luke admitted that he set up a deliberate Moment Killer system of walking in every 10 minutes or so to make sure nothing gets past the kissing stage. In hindsight, that was fairly harmless. Lorelai and Christopher would end up walking in on Rory and Logan half-undressed. It sends Christopher in to a rage at Logan.
- Parental Hypocrisy: Lane's mom eventually found out that she was hiding her life away from her. How she found out was a mystery to us for a long while (how did she know to look under the floorboards?). Then, on Lane's wedding day, we find out that Mrs. Kim hid her life away from her mother under the floorboards, and still does to this day! And she needs to hide her lifestyle fast before her mother arrives for the wedding!
- Perma Stubble: Luke is constantly on the brink of a beard, but manages to always look like he hasn't shaved in a couple of days.
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: For an aborted spin-off about Rory's ex-boyfriend Jess moving to California and meeting his new family
- Pregnancy Scare: Lorelai has a sudden craving for fresh fruit, which hadn't happened since she was pregnant with Rory. She starts to think she might be pregnant by Luke but later finds out she is not. He never finds out about the scare.
- Product Placement:
- The sixth season episode I Get a Sidekick Out Of You which... well, as you can imagine, really concentrates on the Sidekick, a T-Mobile phone.
- April praises the wonders of Target when she convinces Luke to decorate his apartment. Cut to several scenes later, decorating with said Target merchandise and Luke (yes, the very same grumpy, corporate-hating, doesn't-give-a-damn Luke) marveling at their purchases with almost child-like wonder. Pick wall and proceed accordingly.
- The Aerie Girls as part of the CW's incredibly awful "content wrap" strategy which meant viewers had to peek in on these girls for three minutes instead of a non-offensive commercial break. These "real girls" were torn apart by the most vocal parts of the fandom for having about the most inane responses to the show, mostly involving the subject of their wish that Matt Czury was shirtless and Rory would be stupid to dump him. And all this? To sell underwear.
- Pursue the Dream Job: Lorelai and Sookie want to have their own hotel. They are seen working on it and they start their business in later seasons.
- Put on a Bus:
- Jess, literally.
- Tristan. Tristan left for military school. He did a recurring role on Dawson's Creek and starred in "One Tree Hill", both were filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina.
- Dave (played by Adam Brody) left to go to college in California. Adam Brody began starring in "The O.C.", set in Orange County, California.
- Marty was set up as a very possible love interest for Rory and even given quite a bit of attention, but then got completely dropped in favour of Dean and Rory having an affair, and then for Logan. He did tell Rory that he didn't really want to be friends with her anymore because he had an unrequited crush on her, and became increasingly more uncomfortable around her once she started hanging out with Logan and his friends.
- Dean, and a somewhat infamous case at that. While it's great that in mid-2005 he went on to kick demon ass, the writers never gave Jared Padalecki's character a proper send-off as already mentioned above. In fact, Dean is never heard from again after his final appearance in "To Let Live and Diorama"; so viewers are left to wonder if he left town, or if he stayed but decided to keep a very, very low profile.
- Purely Aesthetic Era: Hoo boy, the Bracebridge Dinner. Characters keep insisting that it's an "authentic 19th-century" event, but then then make repeated references to "Old English" (which is more like 5th-12th century — think Beowulf) and then just sort of speak in generic Shakespearean-type language, with lots of "methinks" and "verily." Even more baffling because resident pedant Paris points out inaccuracies like the use of cubed ice and a server's modern wristwatch, but fails to notice the other stuff. Seems overall to be a Shrug of God, like so many details on this show.
- Quirky Town
- Real Song Theme Tune: Carole King and Louise Goffin — King's daughter and a musician herself — re-recorded "Where You Lead".
- Rebel Prince: Logan.
- Also Lorelai.
- Colin is also implied to be one.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Paris Gellar and Rory Gilmore.
- Relationship Upgrade:
- Luke and Lorelai.
- Rory and Jess.
- Lane and Zach.
- Paris and Doyle.
- Sookie and Jackson.
- Replacement Goldfish:
- Emily sees Rory as a new and improved Lorelai, and Lorelai repeatedly calls Emily on it, as early as the second episode. It's most obvious when Rory moves in with her grandparents. When Rory starts "rebeling" by getting her life back on track, Emily throw a verbatim "Wait Till Your Father Gets Home" her way (referring to Rory's grandfather)
- Mrs. Kim gets one in the form of a Korean exchange student after Lane moves out to live with her band. Lane is jealous at first, but starts bonding with her and introducing her to junk food and television, things her mother forbids, and teaches her how to hide things from her.
- Rhetorical Question Blunder
Lorelai: How many other Lorelai Gilmores do you know?
Taylor: Your daughter?
- The Rival: Paris is this to Rory, though they eventually become close friends. Paris said that she needed Rory because, in addition to being her best friend, she challenged her to do better (as the only real competition she had) and without her she would have gotten lazy.
- Romantic False Lead:
- Any of Luke's romantic interests.
- Christopher. He went on about he and Lorelai "belong together and everyone knows it".
- Jason Stiles, though his storyline was very much built into the elder Gilmores' before he was unceremoniously Put on a Bus to make way for the Luke/Lorelai relationship.
- Roofless Renovation
- Running Gag:
- "Dirty!" which is essentially a classier version of "That's what she said." It is most often uttered by Lorelai, but Luke and Rory get their own moments, as well.
- Lorelai telling jokes that completely pass over the heads of people or leads to people taking her literally.
- Al's Pancake World, which was the never-seen competitor to Luke's served all kinds of cuisine from across the world, but never pancakes, a point made often by the Gilmores and the townspeople.
- Emily Gilmore's inability to keep a maid. It's pointed out to her at one point (and revealed that other people sometimes snicker about it behind her back) so she tries to not fire her current maid (whose blundering and poor performance become a running gag for the episode until Emily gives up and just fires her anyway).
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl:
- Luke and Lorelai, who pretty much own the trope. She's a Chatterbox, while Luke is a laconic Deadpan Snarker with a rather pessimistic approach to life.
- CloudCuckoolander Babette and Murray, her very cool husband.
- Jackson and Sookie.
- Paris' first two relationships on the show were failed attempts at this. Jamie couldn't keep up, and was dumped for Asher Fleming. Asher has such a hard time keeping up it literally killed him.
- Saying Too Much: At Emily and Richard's vow renewal ceremony, Christopher, who by that time was drunk and angry, let it slip that Emily is the reason why he came to try and get back together with Lorelai.
- Sexy Shirt Switch: Lorelai wore Luke's plaid shirts when she stayed the night at his place.
- Shipping Torpedo: Emily loves doing this to boyfriends she considers 'unsuitable' for Lorelai and Rory. She tries to break up Luke and Lorelai by bullying him and pushing Christopher back into the picture. (They split up temporarily but get back together soon after).
- She pulls a similar trick with Rory and Dean by introducing Rory to "better prospects" (including Logan). This time she succeeds. When Dean realized he couldn't fit into her world, he broke up with her.
- School Newspaper News Hound: Rory herself, working for both the Chilton's paper and the Yale Daily News. But much more so are Paris and Doyle. To a lesser extent, Logan.
- School Play: A memorable episode shows an elementary school production of Fiddler on the Roof... with Kirk as the lead.
- An early episode had Rory and Paris perform Act Five from Romeo and Juliet at Chilton. Rory was Juliet and Paris had to play Romeo herself, much to her chagrin. Brad was supposed to be Romeo, but he got such stage fright Paris had to take over. And that's only after Tristan backed out of the role due to being sent to military school.
- School Uniforms Are the New Black: Rory is seen very often in her Chilton outfit, even when she's lounging around Stars Hollow and presumably has had time to change.
- Rory even uses her Chilton skirt for a Tarantino-themed costume party while in college (she goes as Gogo from Kill Bill).
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!:
- Logan repeatedly. When he and Rory get into trouble with the law, he suggested to Lorelai to get help from his father's lawyers since they have practice.
- Defied by the judge who sentenced Rory when she agreed to a plea bargain. She said she was sick of spoiled rich kids getting off easy because of their parents, so she gave her 300 hours of community service to complete within six months and 1 year of probation with the option of having her record expunged after 5 years.
- Science Fair: April discovers Luke is her dad while doing an elaborate project for the local Science Fair, testing the genetic material of three potential fathers.
- Secret Relationship: Lane had a lot of those - Dave really went an extra mile on that one, and pretended to be really mean to her in front of their bandmates. In order to hide that specific relationship from her mother, she pretended to date Yung Chu (who was using her to hide his relationship with his secret Japanese girlfriend). Earlier, she had a secret relationship with Henry, who broke up with her when he got sick of all the effort and not being able to go out on a real date with her.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: This happens with delightful frequency.
- Shipper on Deck:
- Emily, of all people, for Luke/Lorelai, though this fades whenever Christopher was around.
- Lorelai pushed heavily for Rory to stay with Dean, long after it was obvious she had feelings for Jess.
- Shout-Out: The writers seem to love namedropping classic literature or film into their scripts. There is even a virtual Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge.]
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Rory and Jess's first kiss was a variation. Jess returns to Stars Hollow and finds Rory at a pond at the Independence Inn. In shock over seeing him back in town and after an awkward greeting, Rory pulls him into a kiss. Once they broke away, she realizes what she just did and runs away from him, leaving Jess looking a bit confused.
- Silent Offer: Lorelai is receiving a loan from Luke and insists on writing numbers for a payment plan on a scrap of paper and passing it across the counter to Luke despite the fact that this seems to agitate him. When they finally come to an agreement, Lorelai writes one last thing which is apparently "Thank you," because Luke answers "You're welcome."
- Small Reference Pools: Averted. Besides commonly seen Shout Outs, this show referenced obscure works and people as well. Some viewers might fail to understand references to Duck Soup or Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. And what other American TV show would have a character (Paris) admit to having had a crush on British politician Neil Kinnock?
- Smug Snake: Logan and his mother Shira
- Snark-to-Snark Combat/World of Snark: It's the Gilmore and Stars Hollow way of life.
- Special Guest: The late author Norman Mailer, of all people.
- Speech-Centric Work: The fast-paced, quirky Aaron Sorkin-esque dialogue which formed the backbone of every episode was the show's primary distinguishing characteristic.
- Spy Speak: Parodied.
Emily: I need a hat rack.
Lorelai: The fish flies at night!
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: In "A Tale of Poes and Fire", to a couple that just arrived at the Independence Inn.
Lorelai: Let me assure you, there are no human body parts buried in the floor of your room to keep you awake tonight.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Arguably Rory and Jess: Their initial attraction is clouded by the presence of Dean and even when they begin a relationship, it is plagued by the town's disapproval and Jess's own issues. He then runs away after failing school, leaving Rory heartbroken and relationship-less for almost a year. (A long time in Gilmore land). After several aborted declarations of love, Jess returns to find Rory back with Dean, leaving HIM heartbroken. He then remakes himself and returns again, as an accomplished author and publisher ready to redeem past mistakes, only by now RORY is a mess and with Logan. After he convinces her to 'fix' her life, they kiss for a final time only for her to decide to stay with Logan instead, causing Lit fans to lose all patience with the writers.
- Also Lorelai and Christopher's epic "timing" problems throughout the first few seasons.
- Stealing from the Hotel: Lorelai works as a hotel manager. Michel, also an employee at the Independence Inn, spends one episode worrying that a pair of people who had stolen from them a while ago. He insists that Lorelai let him check their suitcases.
- Student Council President: Paris.
- Supreme Chef: Sookie. She's so obsessed with cooking and baking that she has minor meltdowns when someone other than her does the cooking or baking.
- Sustained Misunderstanding: Lorelai does this several times on purpose.
Emily: [So] you were on the phone…
Richard: Long distance.
Lorelai: God lives in London?
Richard: My mother lives in London.
Lorelai: Your mother is God?
Lorelai: So, God is a woman.
Lorelai: And a relative! That's so cool. I am gonna totally ask for favors.
Richard: Make her stop.
Rory: Oh, that I could.
- Sweet Tooth: Combine this with being Big Eaters and you have the Lorelais' eating habits. When they have movie night, they eat a bunch of junk food, mostly sweet stuff. In one episode when they are walking around town with Max and Dean, they run off to get ice cream cones.
- Teen Pregnancy:
- Lorelai in hers and Rory's Back Story.
- Jess was the product of one.
- That's What She Said: Sookie and Lorelai say it in regards to a massive house Lorelai is contemplating buying.
- Those Two Guys:
- Madeline and Louise.
- Finn and Colin.
- Rory's "artsy" friends, Olivia and Lucy from the final season, who are better known as Madeline and Louise Lite. Their personalities are pretty identical, although the latter two are arguably more annoying.
- For a while (and before Dave is Put on a Bus), Zach and Brian were this.
- To a lesser extent, Patty and Babette.
- Three Successful Generations: Rory harbours a long-held dream to study at Harvard University and become a journalist, Lorelai's legacy is her daughter Rory and the goal of owning her own Inn that she's been working toward for twenty years, and Emily invests in Rory's education and seeks to bring her into their lifestyle.
- Title Drop: Christopher does it in season 1 episode "That Damn Donna Reed".
Christopher: Well, my folks are back in Connecticut, so I'm here to see them and on the way I thought I'd stop by and surprise the Gilmore Girls.
- Troubled, but Cute: Jess, a bad boy with a soft side.
- Truth in Television: Jess being attacked by a swan is played for laughs...except swans are vicious and will totally attack people. They're dangerous, to the point that rowing teams will cancel a meet if there's a swan in the way.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: Richard's cousin Marylin looks exactly like Lorelai I.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Christopher and Lorelai. To their defense, it did get complicated. He asked Lorelai to marry him in season 1, but she saw him as being too irresponsible.
- Uptown Girl: Lorelai for Luke. Even though Lorelai has run away from her wealthy background, her parent's mistreatment of working class, blue-collar Luke is enough to break them up for a while. They work through it and agree avoid her parents as much as possible.
- Visit by Divorced Dad: Though Lorelai and Christopher were never married, he starts showing up more frequently after the first season because he wanted to have a larger role in Rory's life.
- Vitriolic Best Buds
- Rory and Paris
- Luke and Jess
- Wacky Parent, Serious Child: The titular characters. Also - Jess with both his parents, though mainly with his father.
- Wham Episode: Season 1's "Christopher Returns". As the name implies, Rory's dad Christopher, as well as Rory's estranged paternal grandparents, appears for the first time, and the result is one of the most dramatic and darkest episodes of the series. It's revealed that Christopher is not as successful as Richard seems to think; Richard and Rory's paternal grandfather nearly come to blows over Lorelai; Richard reveals his deep disappointment and embarrassment to Lorelai; Emily, with uncharacteristic tenderness, assures Rory none of this is her fault; Lorelai and Christopher sleep together on a balcony; and, finally, Christopher asks Lorelai to marry him, and Lorelai tells him to leave.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Lorelai briefly dates a guy named Alex in season 3 and they seem to hit it off, but he eventually disappears and it's never mentioned what happened.
- Poor Jason simply disappears from the story after suffering a bad Humiliation Conga, it's never mentioned what happened to him and no one seems to care.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Mitchum Huntzberger verbally rips into Rory after she demands to know why he is sending Logan to London. He is quick to point out that Logan needs to grow up and stop partying and so does Rory.
- Jess, of all people, gives one of these to Rory to point out the complete mess she's made of her life in season 6.
- Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: Lorelai's bachelorette party in season two is held at a drag club.
- Where There's a Will, There's a Sticky Note: Emily and Richard Gilmore ask Lorelai and Rory to put Post-It notes on anything they'd like to inherit in one first season episode.
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Kirk has installed alarms, repaired computers, worked as a waiter, a cook, assistant manager at Doosey's, photographer, and so, so much more.
- Lampshaded and used as a plot point later on, when it is revealed that all those jobs gave him quite a fortune.
- Will They or Won't They?: Especially Luke, but also all the rest of Lorelai and Rory's love interests. With one exception, they always do. This particular plot point was established in the first episode and did not resolve until the final scenes of the series finale. Much like Ross and Rachel, it literally could not have been dragged any further.
- The town considered the relationship with Luke a constant source of entertainment.
- Rory and Jess during Season 2. They do but break up at the end of Season 3. Come and go, during Season 4 and 6 as Jess reappears a few times, leaving the question of them dangling.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Just when it seems like Trix and Emily are about to have a nice moment together, Trix manages to ruin it by sending the maid to tell Emily how to make tea. Whenever Lorelai starts getting along with one of her parents, something always manages to start them arguing again.
- You Look Familiar:
- Sherilyn Fenn played Jess's stepmother in the Poorly Disguised Pilot, and later played Anna Nardini, the mother of Luke's lovechild.
- Marion Ross played Richard's mother and shortly after, Richard's cousin Marilyn after Trix passes away.
- Alex Borstein originally portrayed Drella, the harpist at the Independence Inn in season 1. A few seasons later, she played Miss Celine, Emily's fashion consultant in a few episodes. Alex Borstein was originally going to be Sookie, but couldn't because of contract obligations to MADtv. A short clip can be found in the special features of the season 1 DVD.
- Kirk showed up as Mick in an early episode to install an alarm. Fanon claims that he didn't bother to change the name tag and ran with it.
- Your Cheating Heart: Rory is a cheater. Regardless of those actions, she's portrayed as the series' "good girl". Other characters are unfaithful as well.
- Rory first cheats on Dean with Jess (only a kiss involved, but they're all high-schoolers at the time and kissing is the hottest action anyone gets, even among couples).
- Dean, who cheats on his wife Lindsay with Rory. Lindsay is devastated, and Dean too. Rory is called out on it by Lorelai. Rory accused Lorelai of being hypocritical because she started a relationship with Christopher while he was on a break with Sherri.
- Rory kisses Jess when she dates Logan.
- Logan slept with a girl (or girls) when Rory thought they were dating, but his understanding was that they were casual. She forgave him. By the time they'd had the big fight they weren't 'casual' any more, and he was happy with referring to her as his girlfriend (which surprised his sister as he was not that kind of person, not up until then at least). His excuse was more of a 'we were on a break' type.
- Paris started her relationship with Asher while she was still with Jamie. She just stopped talking to Jamie, hoping he would "take a hint", and ignored him when he came to visit, but eventually broke up with him over the phone.
- Lorelai kissed Max when she was dating Alex.
- Richard was engaged to Pennilyn Lott when he started dating Emily.
- Lorelai sleeping with Christopher in the season 6 finale is arguably this, considering that it was still ambiguous whether she and Luke had broken up at that point.