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Welcome to my Gilmore Girls reference guide!

This isn’t the only Gilmore Girls reference guide in existence, but I’ve never seen one that looked exactly the way I would make it – so I figured, why not create an excuse to watch one of my favorite shows? As any Gilmore fan knows, rapid-fire dialogue and eclectic cultural references are two of the show’s hallmarks. Its sphere of reference has limitations (e.g. its Northeastern US setting, 2000s production dates, and primarily white cast and crew), but it covers an impressive range of topics regardless.

I think it’s this worldly quality that makes the show so special and enduring: the writing is not only comforting and funny, but intellectually stimulating and expansive. The show is set mostly in the confines of a small town, yet it’s endlessly engaged with the world outside itself. I was in middle school when it aired originally, and I was always inspired by these characters who are seemingly so interested in everything. For years, I’ve wanted to systematically research the references I didn’t understand.

I think many Gilmore fans share a similar curiosity, and that’s where the guide comes into play. As the show ages, some of its references may fall out of the realm of common knowledge, especially for younger audiences just discovering it. An international audience may also miss out on details too specific to the United States. This website exists for anyone wanting to fill in the blanks and expand their base of general knowledge as they watch the show.

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you find it helpful! Read on to learn how I’m organizing the guide.

What the Guide Will Include

It can be difficult to decide which references to include and which to omit, so I generally take an all-inclusive approach. As a result, some entries will seem self-explanatory; I don’t expect that anyone reading this guide has never heard of Coca-Cola, the city of Paris, or the Virgin Mary. My logic is as follows.

  • What is common knowledge to you may not be common knowledge to someone else.
  • You may learn something new about someone or something you were already aware of.
  • You may notice details in the show you hadn’t seen before.

What the Guide Won’t Include

  • Background brands. For the sake of simplicity, expediency, and my sanity, I will cover brand names only when they are featured prominently, in isolation, or in dialogue. I will skip large arrays of products featured in the background (for example, inside Doose’s Market).
  • Geography. I will include geographical references up to the national level, but I’m drawing the line at continents. I’m also skipping references to languages (e.g. Rory’s French homework) and cuisine (e.g. Chinese food).
  • Idioms. I will cover English-language idioms on a case-by-case basis, usually depending on their origins in history or literature.
  • Spoilers. As a rule, none of my posts will contain Gilmore Girls spoilers beyond whichever episode that post is about. However, there may be spoilers for books, movies, or TV shows referenced within the show.
  • Technical details. Continuity errors and production trivia aren’t really my purview. I may include a bit of detail about actors or crew members, but I’ll be sticking mainly to the content of the show.
  • 16:9 aspect ratio. Gilmore Girls aired originally in 4:3 aspect ratio, the standard at the time. The version on Netflix is 16:9, making the new image wider left-to-right and narrower top-to-bottom than the original. My episode write-ups are based on the original format, as seen on the series DVDs. Therefore, I may include some things that are not visible and exclude some things that are visible in the Netflix version.

Reference Types

I will write a post for each episode and list each reference individually. You’ll notice I don’t always use the word “reference,” but sometimes “mention” or “feature.” For my purposes, these are defined as follows.

  • reference – A character alludes to a real-life person, place, or thing, and it’s clear some background knowledge is required to fully understand their meaning.
  • mention – A character names a person, place, or thing, but there’s no implied meaning or context. The person, place, or thing is essentially just name-dropped.
  • feature – A person, place, or thing is featured visually or aurally. This includes cameos by real people, establishing shots showing real-life locations, songs played on the show, books and CDs seen on screen, etc.

Reference Categories

Each entry is further categorized as it pertains to 🎥 Film, Television & Theater, 🪶 History, 📖 Literature, 🎧 Music, 🕊️ Religion, ⚽ Sports, etc. Things don’t always fit neatly into a single category, but I will try to make the best choice for the given context. I will also consolidate references by category at the bottom of each post.

My Use of US English

I try to keep an international audience in mind when writing this guide, and I have decided to go with a day/month/year date format. However, the show and I are both US-based, so you will have to forgive me for following US spelling and punctuation conventions (except in quoted text).

A Few Notes on Sources

If I quote directly from a source, I will include a link to the original source page; otherwise, the information I supply is independently verifiable. This guide is intended to serve as a cheat sheet, and I rely heavily on Wikipedia for summary information. I would encourage any reader to double check what I write here and seek additional information. If you come across a factual error, broken link, or outdated piece of information, please let me know!

In 2017, someone else started a project similar to mine called The Annotated Gilmore Girls, so I sometimes use that to crosscheck my own reference lists. Gilmore Girls Soundtrack (a podcast and blog) has also been helpful to me in identifying some of the show’s more obscure tracks.

Indigenous Land Acknowledgment

In beginning my work on this guide, I’ve come to realize just how many references (however subtle) the show contains to the Revolutionary War and the colonial history of the United States. It is important and necessary to acknowledge the people whose lands were usurped when these events took place, though this is not a simple matter. Please visit my land acknowledgment page to view the results of my research.

Fair Use Statement

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. (Journal of Science and Technology Law)

Site Artwork

All of the illustrations on this site were created by me, Emma K. B. © 2020-2024. Please do not use or reproduce any of these images without permission. Thanks!

12 thoughts on “Welcome to my Gilmore Girls reference guide!”

  1. It’s been a while since you last posted, I’m not sure if you’re planning to continue but I’d love it if you did! This blog is really useful 🙂
    Have a good day!

    1. Thank you for commenting! It’s so cool to know this site has been seen by any real people. I’ve been busy with other projects for a long time, but I always planned to return to the Gilmore Guide eventually since I really enjoy working on it — it definitely motivates me to make it a higher priority if I know there are people out there who look at it!

      1. I keep coming back to this site, and really hope you find the time and energy to continue working on it some day since I desperately need this in my life! 😀

        1. It’s taken a long time, but comments like yours have definitely motivated me to get back to it! Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to your comment.

  2. dean’s girlfriends club

    Dear Emma,

    Please please do finish this project! I would be sooo helpful if you do so. I’m in my mid 20s now and since I hadnt had any chance to watch Gilmore Girls before, this is my first time watching the show. Your blog has been really helpful for me with all the references you made. I’m sending you some love and please do write some more.

    Best wishes from Vietnam 💕

    1. It’s been ages since you wrote this comment, but I wanted to thank you for leaving it regardless. (Better late than never? 😁) I hope you enjoyed your first time watching the series!

  3. Hey! I’m currently on a fall rewatch and was curious about all the references. I think this is so cool that you started this. The detail is great 🙂 hope you’re able to come back and finish.

    1. Thank you for commenting, and I’m sorry it’s taken me so many months to respond! I’m happy to finally be back working on the site. The level of detail can be a little overwhelming at times, but it’s all worth it if someone finds it useful. 😊

  4. Just stumbled across this website in July 2024! and wow this is the coolest thing EVER! I’m rewatching Gilmore girls (for the 1st time) and i’m wanting to understand the references more and this is absolutely the best way! I hope to see more episodes coming soon cause I can’t get enough. Thank you!!! 🩵 P.s I will be sharing this website with my fellow Gilmore Girls fanatics.

    1. Thanks so much for the lovely comment. Even though it’s a lot of work, I have a lot of fun working on the site. I’m so glad to know it’s helpful!

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