The classic movie references you may have missed on the Gilmore Girls

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Netflix’s highly anticipated revival of the Gilmore Girls will be released this week. Cue the excitement, guys! Unlike many of the people of my generation, I was late to the Gilmore Girls party. I was tapped to cover its reunion while I was working in Austin two years ago so I had to binge watch it in a short amount of time. I have to admit I have a love/hate relationship with the main characters Lorelai and Rory but it’s for the most petty reason: I wish people would get the classic movie references I throw out in real life like they do on the show! Lorelai and Rory have great taste in film and I wish I was their friend. As a classic movie fan in the real world, it’s hard to find people who would want to take a moment to watch a film with you as many can attest. The wise-cracking pop culture references in the show add to its legendary status within its community of fans. For me, the classic film nods are a real treat. I am not a mega fan of this series but I’ve watched this current Gimore the Merrier marathon on the UP channel, just to create this blog post. Here is a list of some of my favorites.

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William Holden and Sunset Boulevard (S2, Ep. 13)

Right after the opening credits of the season two episode A Tisket, a Tasket, Lorelai tells her daughter she’s saving herself for William Holden and it was in that moment that I felt a personal connection with Mama Gilmore. She goes onto say she was watching Sunset Boulevard the night before and explains her bond with the actor. I feel ya, girl! This isn’t the only time the film noir classic is mentioned in the series. It gets two more shout outs in season 3 and season 7.

The exchange from the season 2 episode is as follows:

LORELAI: So I’ve decided I’m saving myself for William Holden.

RORY: Wow, it’s nice out here in left field.

LORELAI: Hey, I’m sorry. Sunset Boulevard was on last night, and I don’t know…I’ve known him for years – Sabrina, Stalag 17 – and yet last night something snapped.

RORY: I’ll say.

LORELAI: I think it was the monkey scene.

RORY: You know he’s dead, don’t you?

LORELAI: The monkey?

RORY: William Holden!

LORELAI: Ugh, every great relationship has its obstacles. You’d know that if you weren’t dating Andy Hardy.

Sunset Boulevard also appears a few other times throughout the series. The episodes include: S3, Ep. 14: Swan Song, S4, Ep.7: The Festival of Living Art, and  S7, Ep. 1: The Long Morrow.

Casablanca

References to my favorite film of all time pop up throughout the series’ run but I love that Lorelai introduces the film to Luke in the season 4 episode The Fundamental Things Apply. When she invites him to movie night, I love the list of so many great films that he’s been missing all his life: It Happened One Night, His Girl Friday, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and Diner.  The romantic adventure is also referenced in The Third Lorelai (S1, E18), The Lorelais First Day at School (S4, Ep. 2), The Nanny and the Professor (S4, E10), S’Wonderful, S’Marvelous (S 7, Ep. 4), French Twist (S7, Ep. 7), and Santa’s Secret Stuff (S7, Ep. 11)

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My Man Godfrey (Season 5, Episode 14)

One of my favorite moments in the series is where Lorelai finds Luke after a quarrel in a movie theater and the film he is watching is My Man Godfrey. My Man Godfrey is one of the greatest screwball comedies ever made and it works because of Carole Lombard’s adorable performance. For some reason the juxtaposition of the gruff, tough on the outside, doesn’t care for anyone Luke watching this romantic comedy by himself tickles me. In some ways, Luke is the Godfrey of the series beginning with his humility and understanding of the fact that there’s more to life than the problems the rich characters in the Gilmore universe face.

Funny Face (Season 7, episode 4)

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S’wonderful, S’marvelous is the fourth episode of season seven that takes its name from a song from the Fred Astaire-Audrey Hepburn musical Funny Face. Lorelei and her on again/off again love interest/baby daddy Christopher watch the film in a barn. It’s a sweet setting for such an adorably romantic musical. I like that the two watch Funny Face as it’s not one of Hepburn’s most popular films but shows just what a cinephile the Gilmore Girls were.

West Side Story

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West Side Story is another film referenced throughout the series but my favorite is this quip said by Jess to Dean during a confrontation in the season 3, episode 9 episode Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving:

“It’s gettin’ a little West Side Story for me and I gotta tell ya, my dancing skills just aren’t up to snuff.”

Jess, I so appreciate this reference! Recently a co-worker was humming “I Feel Pretty” and I began to tell her how much I love West Side Story and she replied saying she had no idea that was from West Side Story. I must say, my heart broke in two.

 Now, I know there are a plethora of other classic movie references scattered throughout Stars Hollow but I just did not have the time for this post. What are some of your favorite references? Tell me in the comments.

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