Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Had More References Than You Realized
After years of hoping and waiting (and more than a little obsessing), Stars Hollow has welcomed every Gilmore Girls fan back with open arms. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premiered on Netflix just a few days ago, but hardcore fans didn't waste a minute before diving in and binge-watching the whole thing. And they probably noticed more than a few callbacks to the original series in the four-part revival. Some references were hilarious, and others more than a little heartbreaking. But all of them were reminders of why we loved Gilmore Girls so much. Read on for the full list! But beware, because many, many spoilers are ahead.
"Winter" Intro Quotes
You thought they would ease us into it, didn't you? Silly rabbit. In the opening credits of the very first episode, "Winter," we hear some of the original series' classic quotes. There are a few funny ones (thanks to Michel, Sookie, and the late great Richard Gilmore) and a few more serious lines that have everyone reaching for the tissues before the first scene.
Kirk's Many, Many Hats
Given that he's one of the town's more unusual characters, Kirk Gleason has held a lot of jobs over the years. He's nothing if not proactive, even if many of his ventures are less than successful (remember when he tried to be a dog walker?) He's still at it in the revival, with an on-demand car service that sounds an awful lot like a certain other company . . . and like always, it fails miserably, though Kirk never stays down for too long. Don't ever change, sir.
Troubadour Wars, Episode II
The town troubadour is one of the classic mainstays of Stars Hollow. He's always there making everyone's day a little more musical (and the music always seems to fit just right with what was happening in the episode).
In the original series, his position in town is threatened by another several other wandering musicians. While it seemed only right that Grant-Lee Philips would return, it's a fun surprise to see another troubadour (played by Louise Goffin, the singer of Gilmore Girls's anthem, "Where You Lead") make an appearance — provoking another confrontation over turf and reminding us all that there's only one REAL Stars Hollow troubadour.
Digger and Umlauts
Anyone who's stuck with Gilmore Girls for the long haul knows that Lorelai is always supposed to end up with Luke. Duh. However, no one can deny that (at least until the whole lawsuit thing) Jason Stiles and Lorelai make a pretty interesting couple. Their dynamic is made even more interesting by the fact that they've grown up in the same social circle, which was why Lorelai knows Jason's childhood nickname, "Digger," and uses it to purposely aggravate him during their first conversation in the original series. Jason fires back with an equally embarrassing nickname, "Umlauts," which Lorelai is horrified to hear again. Their first heated conversation is what piques Jason's interest (and relentless pursuit) of Lorelai. In the revival, Jason and Lorelai run into each other at Richard's funeral, and they teasingly use those nicknames again, calling back to that first conversation that started it all.
Bidding on Baskets
One of Stars Hollow's kitschiest traditions, the basket bidding event in the original series actually turns out to be a pretty significant point. Jackson tells Sookie he wants to get married (after buying her basket from Kirk for an insane price), Lorelai and Luke have another adorable "ugh come ON you guys!" moment when Lorelai begs him to buy her basket to keep out of the clutches of a Miss Patty set-up, and of course, Jess swoops in and steals Rory's basket away from Dean. If we weren't sure Jess was after Rory before, we are after that painfully awkward bidding war. Everyone wondered which classic Stars Hollow traditions would be reprised in the revival, and it just seemed fitting to call back to one that's so memorable. Only this time, it's Lorelai who does the bidding!
A(nother) Film By Kirk
Despite his lengthy resume, Kirk always has time for his art. Near the end of Gilmore Girls season two, he premieres his first short film for the whole town to see, and the result is exactly what you'd expect from the odd character we'd come to know and love. In the "Spring" episode of the revival, we're treated to another original film by Kirk, and of course, it's another classic, starring his adorable pig. We are not worthy.
Ugh, Hank From Woodbury
This reference is a bit more blink-and-you'll-miss-it. During the town hall meeting in the "Spring" episode, the idea of a gay pride parade is discussed — but Taylor laments that it won't be possible because Stars Hollow only has a few gay people and the surrounding towns refuse to "lend" any of their gay residents to participate. He points the finger toward his longtime nemesis Hank from Woodbury. Remember when Taylor is in a panic about impressing Hank at the Festival of Living Art in season four? Apparently the war is still going on.
Franchising Luke's Diner
Richard trying to push Luke into franchising his diner is a perfect example of how different Lorelai's two worlds are. Luke from small-town Stars Hollow is simply happy to be where he is doing what he does, and Richard the veteran businessman simply doesn't understand. Richard's intentions don't die with him, as Luke finds out in the "Spring" episode of the revival that his girlfriend's father left him a significant amount of money — under the condition he uses it to build his diner franchise. Unsurprisingly, Luke doesn't go for the idea the second time either, especially after Emily comes to town to show him some potential properties.
Disclaimer: The author of this article would frequent a Luke's Diner literally every day if one opened up near her apartment.
Lorelai and Her BFF, Headmaster Charleston
The Gilmore girls get themselves into a number of cringe-inducing situations over the years, but one of the most classic ones has to be when Lorelai wears booty shorts to Rory's first day at Chilton. Obviously it isn't entirely her fault, but it doesn't make her impression on the stuffy and judgy Headmaster Charleston any better. Their relationship doesn't exactly go up from there — remember when Lorelai is pressured into participating in a parent group at Chilton? Sigh. High school.
In the revival, Rory attends an alumni event at Chilton in the "Spring" episode, and mentions to Lorelai afterward that the headmaster told her to "say hi" to Lorelai. Lorelai isn't fooled for a second and immediately calls her out, knowing that the headmaster is likely no bigger fan of hers now than he was before. Whatever. She still rocked those shorts.
Gigi's Gone Parisian
Christopher's daughter with Sherry doesn't have too big of a role in the original series — Sherry getting pregnant comes between Lorelai and Christopher's fragile reunion at the end of season two, and boy, does she make an impression in season six as a HUGE brat. In the final episode of the revival Christopher tells Rory that Gigi has turned into a "full-on Parisian," which references the fact that Sherry abandoned him and Gigi for Paris, and that Gigi stays with her for a time after Lorelai and Christopher brought her abroad. Sounds like Gigi decides to stay in Paris for good?
Paris Goes Gaga Over Tristan . . . Again
At the height of her evil psycho ultra-competitive mean girl persona at Chilton, Paris Geller only has one weakness: Tristan DuGray. She'd had a thing for him for years, and he seems to be the only thing that could really distract her from being the best at basically everything. Tristan is out of the picture by season two and Paris moves on to far bigger and better things, but in the "Spring" revival episode Paris returns to Chilton for the same alumni event Rory attends and what do you know, there he is (even though he is NOT played by Chad Michael Murray in those two seconds of screentime). And she's just as rattled by seeing him as she is in high school. We later come to learn that this reaction is actually just exaggerated by her anxiety about her divorce from Doyle (boooooo) but it calls back to the days when even the great Paris Geller could be slayed by a crush.
Rory's Real Dream Guy, Pee Wee Herman
Everyone has a silly childhood crush, even Rory Gilmore. At the very end of the revival, when Lorelai and Rory are sitting in the gazebo, Lorelai brings up how Rory had a crush on Pee Wee Herman when she was a kid. But, it's not the first time Rory's had dreams of Pee Wee — in season two she tells Lorelai that she dreamed about Lorelai marrying Pee Wee Herman and joining their family. Awww.
It's understandable to miss that reference at first because of the, ahem, HUGE bomb that Rory drops like a minute later.
"Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Suuuummerrrrrr . . . "
We're always up for a good old-fashioned Stars Hollow festival. Silly, sure. Kitschy, of course. But we love them. Except for the one with that damn song. You know the one. The Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer festival is featured in the third season premiere, and the song that plays during the party immediately burrowed into our heads forever. In the revival episode "Spring" Taylor mentions this event again just before bringing up the idea of a Stars Hollow musical — and just the name is enough to get that song stuck back in our heads, amiright?
Christopher Joining the Dark Side
Whenever Christopher Hayden shows up, he usually leaves the Gilmore girls in worse shape than he finds them. As teenagers, he and Lorelai had plans to break away from their parents' stuffy world and make their own way. While Lorelai found a stable job at the Independence Inn and Christopher seems to flit from one career to another, they both do remain separate from their parents' society. Christopher even tells Lorelai at one point in the original series that even through all his failures, he still knows that staying away from his parents' world is the one thing he wanted.
And then in the last episode of the revival, we find out that Chris has done a 180 and joined his family's business. He even acknowledges his own weakness by calling his office "The Cave," because he caved. Oh, Christopher. After all that time. Perhaps it's just further proof that he and Lorelai would never have worked long-term.
So. Many. Pop-Tarts.
One of the hallmarks of Gilmore Girls is the fact that the girls always eat insane amounts of junk food (and never gain a pound). But Pop-Tarts are always one of their favorites. To Lorelai, the first taste of Pop-Tarts symbolized freedom and independence. Rory serves them to Paris, Madeline, and Louise when they come to Stars Hollow to work on a group project. Icing practically runs through their veins. It's only appropriate that the girls eat Pop-Tarts multiple times throughout the series revival — especially during their serious conversation in the final episode of the revival following their big fight over Rory's book idea. When the Pop-Tarts get broken out, you know everything's going to be okay.
Sookie's Wedding Cakes
Sookie St. James is a culinary genius. We all know this. But Sookie's the special kind of genius who makes multiple cakes for her best friend's wedding. In the final episode of the revival when Sookie FINALLY makes an appearance, she shows Lorelai several different styles of wedding cakes, just so Lorelai and Luke can have the perfect one.
This is actually a callback to the first time Sookie makes a wedding cake for Lorelai. In season two when Lorelai breaks her engagement with Max at the last second, Sookie has already crafted a gorgeous cake — but doesn't make Lorelai feel bad about all her work going to waste. That's just the kind of person Sookie is. Considering that Luke and Lorelai's wedding is such a big deal for Stars Hollow, let's hope ALL those cakes make an appearance.
"In Omnia Paratus"
In the final episode of the revival, "Fall," Rory gets a little reminder about seizing the moment and having some good old-fashioned (if expensive) fun, courtesy of Logan and a few of his buddies, who come all the way to Stars Hollow to treat her to a raucous night.
But before Colin, Finn, Robert, and Logan even appear, we're given a hint (and a callback) in the form of three words: "In omnia paratus." It's the motto of the Life and Death Brigade, the secret society Logan belongs to that Rory investigates during season five (and where she's first endeared to Logan himself). The words immediately bring the Brigade to mind and symbolize the idea of throwing caution to the wind and taking risks. That idea certainly applies to much of Rory's behavior when she was with Logan and perhaps even more during the revival.
Rory's Portrait in Richard's Study
Remember in season two when Rory sits for that horribly awkward oil portrait that Emily gives Richard for his study? Shudder. But despite how weird it is for Rory, it's just the kind of thing Richard would love because of how much he cares for Rory — and Rory cares deeply for him, too, which is why she goes through it all. Since the show doesn't spend too much time in Richard's study we don't really see the painting again after it's done — until it pops up in the final episode of the revival, when Rory goes to her grandparents' house to write her book. Rory finds the perfect place for inspiration in Richard's study, and the portrait in the background seems like less of an embarrassing reminder and more of a callback to how close Rory and Richard were. Sniff.
That Chuck Berry Album at Richard's Funeral
Though it's hard to see anything through tears during that flashback to Richard's funeral, there's one detail that sticks out — a Chuck Berry album among the things gathered on the table beside Richard's casket. It's implied that these are some of the things most important to Richard, and no wonder: Rory gives him that album for his birthday in season three. When Lorelai asks how Rory found such a perfect gift, Rory replies that she simply called and asked him. It's another callback to the close relationship between Rory and Richard. And now we're crying again.
Rory + Logan = Trouble
Rory's relationship status is one of the biggest questions we all had going into the revival, and when we see that she's with Logan again, many fans were likely thrilled, despite the fact that she's technically in a relationship with Paul. Did you forget about him? And then we find out that Logan isn't exactly single either. In fact, he's ENGAGED. And he and Rory have some sort of arrangement where they simply spend time together when they can and nothing beyond that. It's not only a callback to when Rory and Logan first get together and attempt to just "be casual" (with less-than-fantastic results), it's also a callback to the other time Rory dates someone who was seriously involved — that one married guy called DEAN. Come on, Rory.
Luke's Speech to Lorelai
If there's anyone who can relate to the idea of waiting for your soulmate, it's Luke Danes. He stays patient year after year while the woman he loves dates one guy after another. Luke himself has some relationships along the way, too, though they never last too long.
That's why his big speech to Lorelai in the final episode of the revival is so significant, because it calls back to Luke's whole experience over the years agonizing over whether he'd ever get to be with Lorelai. He calls back to Max, Christopher, even Nicole — he even admits how especially hard it was to watch Lorelai marry Chris and face the possibility that he might have lost her forever. It's an unusually emotional scene for Luke, and it reminds the audience of just how far these two have come.
Rory's Flashbacks in Her Grandparents' House
In the revival, Rory needs just the right place to write her book about herself and Lorelai, and finally decides on the perfect spot — in her grandparents' house in Hartford. As she walks through the house in the final episode, she flashes back to several scenes of herself and her mother with her grandparents. Not only is it a callback to simpler times, it also kind of brings things full circle. Rory's story begins here, when Lorelai gets pregnant at 16. And now Rory is back in the same house, to tell that story from the beginning.
That Whole Dean/Rory Conversation
Who knew there could be so many feels in a scene at the grocery store. In the final episode of the revival, Rory finally runs into her first boyfriend Dean Forester in Doose's Market (of course). We learn that Dean is remarried with kids and seems very happy. Their conversation has multiple references to their relationship — most notably when Dean mentions that his younger sister is living in Germany with her boyfriend. Rory tells him not to worry because he's "her first love," and then trails off, embarrassed that she implied first loves don't really matter — because Dean mattered very much to her.
And just when our poor hearts had just about had enough, Rory picks up a box of corn starch, the item she stole in surprise from that very store in season one after Dean gave her her very first kiss. And Dean tells her to "pay for it this time." Oof.
Lorelai Asks For Help With Money
In the very first episode of Gilmore Girls, Lorelai does something she clearly wishes she never had to do: ask her parents for money. Richard seems to know what she's come to say, however, and keeps repeating the same phrase: "You need money." When Lorelai finally admits that he's right, he says "I'll get the checkbook." Emily chimes in with her "one condition" (that Rory and Lorelai come for dinner on Friday nights), and Lorelai remarks that she was "so close" to getting away scot-free.
In the final episode of the revival, Lorelai and Emily have nearly the exact same conversation, this time about using the money Richard left to Luke to expand the Dragonfly instead of Luke's Diner. It's a near-perfect callback to that original conversation, even down to Emily's "one condition," which entails Luke and Lorelai visiting Emily in Nantucket.
"I Smell Snow . . . "
In the original series Lorelai expresses her love for snow many times and even seems to have an uncanny ability to smell it coming. So did you really think we'd get through an episode of Gilmore Girls called "Winter" without Lorelai smelling snow? She's talking with Rory and then suddenly stops and says it: "I smell snow." And then a few seconds later, boom. It's like a welcome back into the world of the girls we know and love.
Luke and Lorelai in the Gazebo
While Luke and Lorelai's wedding is perfect for many reasons (the biggest of which is they get MARRIED), it's the actual location of the ceremony that's significant. The gazebo is obviously a very picturesque location, but it's also the same place where the couple goes to celebrate their engagement — the first time, in the season six premiere, when Lorelai proposes to Luke after Rory drops out of Yale. Was there really any other place more perfect for them to actually tie the knot? Plus, that music choice couldn't have been coincidental.