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Series: Gilmore Girls
Life is short. Talk fast.
Anchor series of The WB. Roughly equal parts Teen Drama and romantic comedy.

The show's central premise is this: the titular Gilmore girls are, more or less, two sides of the same coin. Mother Lorelai was born to privilege, but saw her education cut short by her pregnancy at 16. Daughter Rory, 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 main characters are complemented by a strong ensemble in the townsfolk of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, 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 Luke, owner of the town diner, who enjoyed a protracted Will They or Won't They? with Lorelai for four seasons before they finally "did it" in an early fifth season episode.

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.

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.

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.

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. Needless to say, they didn't last. However, 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 Jess, 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:
    • Michel. Viewers perceive him 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.
    • Brad, a minor Chilton character, could count as well.
  • 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!"
  • 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.
    Paris: All I had to do was move a decimal point, and none of this would have happened.
    • 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 degree in the first two seasons. She graduates in season 2, and the degree is referred to as an AA in season 3.
  • 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.
  • 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: (Betty's 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 Betty's 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.
  • 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.
    • Rory 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.
    • Logan.
  • 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.
    • 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 her harp-playing skills as Drella.
  • 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.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Jason Stiles, Lorelai's season four boyfriend.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Collapsed Mid Speech: Rory's grandfather has a heart attack and goes down in the middle of a lecture, but he makes it.
  • Comic Role Play
  • 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 colour-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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The list is a mile long but primarily Lorelai, Rory, Luke, Paris and Jess.
  • Deep-Fried Whatever: Poor Sookie in the Thanksgiving episode. Jackson and his family get drunk and start deep-frying everything and Sookie copes by getting absolutely trashed on margaritas. Luke notes at the end of the episode that he thinks saw flames erupting.
  • 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?
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Asher Fleming has a very convenient heart attack between seasons 4 and 5.
  • 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 was being antisocial 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 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 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".
  • Everyone Can See It:
    • Luke and Lorelai, for the first four seasons.
    • Dean when dumping Rory—in front of the entire town—when he's fed up with her blatant interest in Jess.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: First Chilton and then Yale.
  • Evil Matriarch: Both Emily and her mother-in-law. Shira Huntzberger tries hard to be one, but comes off as more Upper-Class Twit.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • "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 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 a Hollywood Nerd.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • High School Sweethearts:
    • Rory and Dean.
    • Rory and Jess.
    • Lorelai and Christopher.
  • 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.
  • 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 anymore.
  • 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.
  • Hot for Student: Asher Fleming. He has quite a reputation for this, but genuinely loves Paris.
  • I Got You a Drawer
  • 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:
    • Emily when she's distressed.
      Emily: Richard! I need a gimlet!
    • Frequently Lorelai in order to get through the weekly Friday Night Dinners
  • 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.
  • Ivy League For Everyone: A rare justified example as the writers emphasise exactly how hard it is to get accepted into Harvard and Yale, with Paris participating in numerous extra-curriculars to add to her application and Rory actually moving schools to improve her grades.
  • 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).
    • Christopher's parents. They appeared in one early episode and were abysmal not only to Chris and Lorelai, but also to Rory.
    • Paris's mother, who also appeared on one episode.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Read about Richard in Manipulative Bastard, the whole thing is not even addressed in later episodes.
    • Lorelai coldly cut her daughter out of her life because Rory wasn't making the life choices she approved of - pretty much the exact same thing Emily and Richard did to her as a teenager. She was never called on this, and the story ended with Rory realizing her mother was right all along. To be fair, Rory was acting like a spoiled brat and basically expecting to just drop out of college and do nothing. When Lorelai ran away from home at 16 or 17 with baby Rory, at least she went straight to the Independence Inn for a job and made a life for herself.
  • 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.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Rory, especially in college. She acts like she's set for a brilliant career in journalism, despite how profoundly sheltered her life has been. We're supposed to be outraged along with her when Mitchum Huntzberger tells her that she doesn't have what it takes. Mitchum Huntzberger's appraisal of her was unnecessarily mean. He later admits to Richard it was intentional on his part; Rory has talent but she's not perfect and has never faced real rejection or had anyone tell her she wasn't good enough. He wanted to see if she was tough enough to overcome his harsh criticism (she wasn't). Particularly when you realise Rory is praised for all her accomplishments despite the fact that she was given everything from Chilton to Yale on a platter. When you consider having her tuition paid for by her grandparents, having a quarter million dollar trust-fund from her great-grandmother, her father giving money from his inheritance to help pay for tuition, then later having Logan pay for everything including their apartment... one really questions how much she really has accomplished. Emily often praises Rory, yet never does so for Lorelai, despite her having nothing at the same age and managing to raise a daughter, go from maid to manager, and run two successful inns, the last of which she owns, and complete her business degree whilst doing all that. Lorelai also never asked for any money either. It also stands out compared to Paris, who despite an abrasive personality is undoubtedly driven and hardworking, and in the later seasons has to deal with the hamstring of her absentee parents leaving her to clean up the mess of their tax evasion which bumped her out of the 1% (she doesn't even blink and pushes on despite her new obstacles). Though she does go from a villain to friendly(ish) rival.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • Motor Mouth: The scripts for each episode were usually twice the length of a standard script.
  • 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.
  • New Transfer Student:
    • Rory to Chilton
    • 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. You'd think he would have corrected the script when they got the lyrics to the show entirely wrong. There's nothing in the show about "I’ll take my beans, my magic beans, who’s got the beans, we need some beans, I love the beans" although possibly Paris was just mocking Brad. Then again, she's the sort to even get her mocking precisely accurate.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Obsessed Are the Listmakers: Rory and Paris are able to write up quite elaborate lists.
  • 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" 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.
  • 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.
    • Babette and Maury. They also fit Chubby Mama, Skinny Papa, even though they are not parents, but they have pets.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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 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.
    • 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.
  • Quirky Town
  • Real-Life Relative: TJ's brother was played by Michael De Luise's real life brother David.
  • Reality Subtext:
    • See New Transfer Student.
    • Jess and Rory's relationship also underlies Alexis Bledel and Milo Ventimiglia's real life relationship, although they were together much longer than Jess and Rory's on-screen relationship.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Carole King and Louise Goffin — King's daughter and a musician herself — re-recorded "Where You Lead".
  • Rebel Prince: Logan.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Paris Gellar and Rory Gilmore.
  • Relationship Upgrade:
    • Luke and Lorelai.
    • Rory and Jess.
    • Lane and Zach.
  • 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.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder
    Lorelai: How many other Lorelai Gilmores do you know?
    Taylor: Your daughter?
  • Romantic False Lead:
    • Any of Luke's romantic interests.
    • Christopher.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Logan repeatedly.
  • 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.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Ohhhh yeah this happens with delightful frequency
  • Shout-Out: The writers seem to love namedropping classic literature or film into their scripts.
  • "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!
  • 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.
  • 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?
    Richard: London.
    Lorelai: God lives in London?
    Richard: My mother lives in London.
    Lorelai: Your mother is God?
    Richard: Lorelai…
    Lorelai: So, God is a woman.
    Richard: Lorelai…
    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.
  • 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 written off), Zach and Brian were this.
  • 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.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Jess.
  • 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
  • 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, 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.
  • 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 later, Richard's cousin Marilyn after Trix passes away.
    • Alex Borstein originally portrayed Drella, the harpist at the Independence Inn. 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 Nick 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 is devastated.
    • Rory consciously sleeps with Dean who cheats on his wife Lindsay. Lindsay is devastated, and Dean too. Rory is called out on it by Lorelai.
    • Rory kisses Jess when she dates Logan.
    • Logan slept with a girl (or girls) when Rory thought they dated 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.

FringeCreator/Billy BurkeLaw & Order
FelicityCreator/The WBGrounded For Life
Full HouseCreator/Warner Bros.Gossip Girl
GCBDramedyGirls
Hollywood NativesImageSource/Live-Action TVHigher Education Is for Women
Gilligan's IslandAmerican SeriesThe Girl from U.N.C.L.E.

alternative title(s): Gilmore Girls
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