The story of "Gilmore Girls" begins, as so many stories do, with wallpaper.
"We went to Connecticut to look at Mark Twain's wallpaper, because we had just bought a house and we needed decorating tips," Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of The WB series, told an audience Monday (April 21) at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
"We also discovered that he wrote some books," says her husband and collaborator, Daniel Palladino.
While they were in Connecticut, they stayed in a small-town inn and were struck by the town's charm, and the fact that everyone seemed to know one another. "I wanted to put on screen that feeling we got," Sherman-Palladino says.
They succeeded, of course, and gave viewers the fictional hamlet of Stars Hollow, which has a life of its own within the series. In addition to providing a colorful backdrop for the characters and a stable of quirky supporting characters, the town also has a big effect on the characters' relationships.
Because it's so small, Rory (Alexis Bledel) can't help running in to her old boyfriend Dean (Jared Padalecki), a fact that bothers current beau Jess (Milo Ventimiglia). The whole town knows Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and diner owner Luke (Scott Patterson) love one another -- at least on some level -- and everyone has an opinion on whether they should be together.
Don't count on it happening, though.
"It's more fun to wonder," Sherman-Palladino says. If Luke and Lorelai do get together, "It cuts off possibilities. The show seems to dictate stories for us. If the time comes for them, I hope it will dictate that to me, and I hope it will be loud and will write itself."
The natural flow of stories is something the show's cast appreciates. "When we go into a table read, we're continually surprised," Patterson says. "It's never predictable for us." At the same time, though, he says the cast "never feel[s] like the characters are forced into a situation that's false."
It also allows the characters to come across as real people rather than actors delivering jokes.
"I always think about where [Lorelai] being a wiseass comes from," Graham says. "About what kind of person ends up talking like this, where it comes from emotionally and what it covers up. She's not just quippy and funny; she's a real person."
With Rory set to graduate from high school at the end of this season, Sherman-Palladino and the show's writers were forced to make a decision about her college choice: Would it be longtime dream school Harvard or the geographically convenient Yale, where Rory's grandfather Richard (Edward Herrmann) went to college?
Rory chose Yale, and Sherman-Palladino acknowledges that the choice was initially made "out of necessity" to keep the lead characters close to one another. "It was either there or Wellesley, and Michael Bay went there," Sherman-Palladino says, making a sour face.
"But it also brings back into the fold that constant cycle of Lorelai and her parents. Rory is now firmly implanted in the Gilmore world, even though she may not know it. Sometimes the decision you make out of necessity turns out to be the best decision you can make."
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