As a coffee addict, aspirational Stars Hollow resident, and whole-hearted member of Team Jess, there was only one place I wanted to be last weekend … the Gilmore Girls Fan Festival.
During the three-day event, 1,500 hard-core Gilmore Girls fans gathered to experience the town that inspired Stars Hollow and the series: Washington Depot, Connecticut. From coffee at “Luke’s Diner” to perusing the bookstore like Rory would have, I fully took in the town — one Gilmore Girls reference at a time.
Throughout the weekend, I got to spend a lot of quality time with the actors that have frequented my TV screen for the past eight years (Yes, my 14-year-old self was freaking out a little bit).
Here are a few things I learned while hanging out with the cast and crew:
1. Keiko Agena (Lane) is an artist as well as an actress!
During the festival, Agena held a workshop where she displayed prints of her original artwork. (And they were super cool BTW.)
2. Jackson directed Gilmore Girls episodes.
While we all know and love Jackson as the quirky produce man, I was surprised to learn that in real life the actor who plays him (whose name, funnily enough, is Jackson Douglas) directed a few of the episodes! His favorite scene? The one where Paris asks for 50 cents in “To Live and Let Diorama.”
3. And when he’s not playing Jackson, he’s living it up in Barcelona!
Jackson Douglas told Babble that he moved to Barcelona with his wife and two kids because they love the culture and they wanted their kids to learn a new language and have the experience of feeling like the minority. (So awesome!)
4. Sean Gunn loves cats (and the Animal Welfare Society).
Despite the horrors of Cat Kirk.
5. Hep Alien is still a thing.
Hep Alien reunited this weekend for an acoustic performance of “Where You Lead” — and it was incredible!
6. Ted Rooney (Morey) actually has a lot to say IRL.
Despite his quiet and shady (pun intended) character on the show, Rooney was quite personable with his fans and joked about his minimal lines in the series.
7. Todd Lowe’s favorite scene was Zack and Lane’s first kiss.
Todd Lowe’s (Zack) favorite scene from the series was his first kiss with Lane — with Brian slung over his shoulder. “I had everything I loved right in front of me,” he joked.
8. John Cabrera (Brian) was not as pleased with the scene …
“It was NOT comfortable,” he said.
9. Speaking of Brian, he was the only Hep Alien member who didn’t actually know how to play an instrument.
Cabrera would learn the fingering of the chords on his bass for the Hep Alien scenes, but unplugged it when it was time to film (and someone else played off screen).
10. Todd Lowe is in a real-life band.
Not only does Lowe give off a cool, rocker vibe just like Zack, but he performs in a “bar band” as “just something [he] does for fun.” It’s called the LA Hootenanny.
11. Lowe’s character was almost written out of the show … until “Dave” left Gilmore Girls for The O.C.
“Thank God Adam Brody got hired on another show, or I would have been written out!” he joked.
12. Wedding cake tasting is just as delicious as it looks in the show.
I happily taste-tested these myself. Verdict: I don’t blame Lorelai and Rory for tasting cakes at Weston’s Bakery, even though Sookie was making Lorelai’s for free!
13. Babette and Miss Patty had the cutest friendship on and off set.
Before they came together for Gilmore Girls, Sally Struthers and Liz Torres hadn’t been on set together since filming All in the Family. Torres’s reaction to seeing Struthers after all that time? “I hope you’re walking better than me!”
14. But sometimes, it was a little too much for the producers to handle …
“They were old-school Hollywood,” says Ted Rooney (Morey) of the friendship. “They had a story for every situation, they had a joke for every situation. They’re cracking up. And it’s funny at first to the producers, it’s funny to us … but eventually the producers were like, ‘Shut them up, somebody SHUT THEM UP!’”
15. Gypsy was in love with Lorelai.
According to Rose Abdoo, who plays Gypsy, her character was in love with Lorelai! While some fan fiction has speculated a romantic relationship between her and Andrew, Abdoo disagrees, saying her secret crush on Lorelai is “ so obvious” — especially in the karaoke scene. (We re-watched it, and Gypsy does look pretty smitten as Lorelai sings “I Will Always Love You.”)
16. Jackson was originally only supposed to be on Gilmore Girls for three episodes.
Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino only cast Jackson Douglas as a guest role, but after watching the chemistry between him and Melissa McCarthy (Sookie), he was brought on as a reoccurring character.
17. Town Hall meetings were kind of the worst to film.
Apparently, they took FOREVER due to the many actors and camera shots involved. A day of shooting these scenes could result in up to a 22-hour work day!
18. So they invented games to pass the time on set.
To keep themselves entertained during the Town Hall meeting scenes, Sally Struthers (Babette) invented a game called “What’s in My Purse?” where cast members would try to guess the contents of her handbag.
19. The fancy dresses in the episode “You Jump, I Jump, Jack” were the same dresses from Rory’s cotillion.
Costume supervisor Valerie Campbell explained that she dyed the white dresses from the cotillion scene for the Life and Death Brigade gathering. The same dresses were later used at the Bat Mitzvah in “Bridesmaids Revisited.” Talk about up-cycling!
20. Sean Gunn recently officiated John Cabrera’s wedding.
The two have been friends for over 25 years, long before filming Gilmore Girls together.
21. These three fell right back into friendship mode this weekend.
Agena, Lowe, and Cabrera look like they felt right at home in Washington Depot.
22. The cast really misses Edward Herrmann (Richard), who passed away in 2014.
Ed’s wife, Star Herrmann, shared a story relayed to her by Kelly Bishop (Emily). While on set, Bishop, as well of the rest of the cast and crew, repeatedly thought of and asked for “Richard.” One day, as soon as they began filming, all of the lights went out and Bishop thought, “Ah, there you are, Ed.”
23. Sean Gunn’s favorite job of Kirk’s was the hockey announcer.
Gunn tells Babble that he thinks he could’ve been a good sports announcer as an alternative career.
24. He also didn’t mind running naked through the square in the fifth season!
Due to Kirk’s “night terrors” in season 5, Sean Gunn had to run out of the inn naked in the episode “Raincoats and Recipes.” “It comes with the territory,” he says. “Sometimes, you gotta run around naked.”
25. The cast had a dialogue coach to keep their infamous fast pace.
George Bell (who also played Professor Bell on the show) was hired to help the cast keep up with the script. He also commented that Lauren Graham was the best at talking quickly. No surprise there!
26. Most of the cast is Team Jess. (YESSS.)
Here’s the breakdown:
Keiko Agena (Lane): Jess
Aris Alvarado (Caesar): Jess
John Cabrera (Brian): Jess
Sean Gunn (Kirk): Logan
Mike Gandolfi (Andrew): “She’s a powerful woman who doesn’t need a man to define her.”
Jackson Douglas (Jackson): “No one’s good enough for her.”
Vanessa Marano (April): Jess
Todd Lowe (Zack): Logan
Rose Abdoo (Gypsy): “I’m Team Rory all the way.”
Rini Bell (Lulu): “Me too.”
Liz Torres (Miss Patty): Dean
27. The cast and crew love the show just as much as we do.
According to writer and producer Shiela Lawrence, after the final table read, everyone applauded — something that doesn’t often happen at table reads — and no one wanted to get up; no one wanted it to be over.
And I totally don’t blame them. Even though we still have a month to go before the release of the Netflix revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, I’m already planning where and when to watch it (over and over and over again).
Either way, I will most definitely have a coffee in hand and my new Gilmore Girls fest T-shirt ready to go on November 25.