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Welcome to my Gilmore Girls reference guide!

Stars Hollow illustration featuring church, gazebo, Luke's, Gilmore house, Dragonfly Inn. Autumn trees in background.

It isn’t the first of its kind, but I’ve never seen one that looked exactly as I would make it – so I figured, why not create an excuse to watch one of my favorite shows? As any Gilmore Girls fan knows, rapid-fire dialogue and eclectic cultural references are two of the show’s hallmarks. Inevitably, its sphere of reference has limitations (e.g. its Northeastern US setting, 2000s production dates, and primarily white cast and crew), but it touches on an impressive range of topics regardless. I believe it’s this dichotomy that makes the show special: it’s one thing for a show to be comforting and funny, but for it to also challenge its audience intellectually and inspire excitement about the world is more unusual.

I think many Gilmore fans share a similar sense of curiosity, and that’s where this 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. Thank you for visiting, and read on to see how I’ll be organizing the guide.

On this page: How to Read the Guide | A Few Notes on Sources | Indigenous Land Acknowledgment | Site Artwork | Disclaimers


How to Read the Guide

In this section: What the guide will include | What the guide won’t include | Reference Types | Reference Categories | My use of US English

What the guide will include

It is sometimes challenging to decide which references to include and which to omit, so I generally err on the side of all-inclusive. As a result, you may encounter some entries that seem self-explanatory to the point of being silly. My logic is that a) what is common knowledge to you may not be to someone else, b) you may learn something new about something or someone already familiar to you, and c) you may see something in the show you hadn’t noticed before.

What the guide won’t include

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 mainly sticking to the content of the show.

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 brand-name products featured in the background, for example, inside Doose’s Market.

English-language idioms: I will cover idioms on a case-by-case basis.

Aspect ratio: Gilmore Girls aired originally in 4:3 aspect ratio, the standard at the time. However, the version available on Netflix is 16:9, making the new image wider left-to-right and narrower top-to-bottom than the original. This means some things visible at the top and bottom of the screen in the original broadcast are cropped out, and some things at the left and right sides, never intended to be seen, are now visible. My episode write-ups are based on the series DVDs, which present the show in its original format. Therefore, I may include some things that are not visible, and exclude some things that are visible, on Netflix.

Reference Types

I will write a post for each episode and list each reference from that episode 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, event, or piece of media, and it’s clear that some background knowledge is required to fully understand their meaning.
  • mention – A name or title is mentioned, but there’s no implied meaning or context. The person, place, event, or piece of media is essentially just name-dropped.
  • feature – A piece of media or pop culture element is featured visually or aurally, and it may not be acknowledged explicitly through dialogue (sort of like Easter eggs). This may also include guest spots or cameos by real people.

Reference Categories

Each entry is further categorized as it relates 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 be consolidating 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) Gilmore Girls 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.

The show is set in the geographic area we call Connecticut (an anglicized form of the Mohegan-Pequot word for “long river,” in reference to the Connecticut River). Prior to colonization, the region was home to many small but distinct Indigenous groups who, though they spoke related languages and shared cultural similarities, each had their own leadership and territories. As European epidemics and warfare encroached on their lives, they were increasingly compelled to merge in order to survive (Chatham Historical Society). Today, their descendants often share heritage from more than one of the original communities, and Indigenous territories have changed and overlapped significantly over time (Native Land).

Additionally, Stars Hollow is a fictional town, and while the show contains references to many real-life locations that can be used as reference points, they aren’t completely consistent. According to one source, however, Stars Hollow might exist somewhere in the vicinity of Meriden, Connecticut. As such, it is my best guess that the bulk of the show takes place in the territory of the Podunk, Wangunk, Tunxis, Sicoag, and Poquonook peoples to the north (around Hartford) and the Wappinger, Quinnipiac, and Paugussett peoples to the south (around New Haven and the possible Stars Hollow).

The Revolutionary War was a war between colonizers, and the result established a nation where nations had existed for thousands of years. The outcome, for Indigenous populations, was not freedom or liberty, but an invasion that would gradually overtake their homelands from the Altantic Ocean to the Pacific, bringing genocide and dispossession in its wake. Today, only two of Connecticut’s peoples (the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan) are recognized by the Federal government, and only three (the Eastern Pequot, Golden Hill Paugussett, and Schaghticoke) are recognized by the state (National Conference of State Legislatures).

Recognized or not, the various Indigenous peoples of the region have endured, and they live, thrive, and carry on their cultural traditions to this day. To learn more about Connecticut’s Indigenous past and present, see a list of resources at ConnecticutHistory.org. This acknowledgment was written with guidance from the Native Governance Center’s webpage. I did my best with it, but if it needs adjustment or correction, feel free to let me know.

Site Artwork

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

Disclaimers

Spoiler Policy: 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.

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)

2 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!

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