Welcome back, friends! I’ve been off the grid for the past few weeks living the life of a jet-setting celebrity…the kind that flies coach on lesser known airlines and brings her own wine to hotels to save money, but still. Getting to fly off to California twice in as many weeks is enough to make a Minnesota girl who spends her days in stretchy pants planning her day around trips to Target feel downright famous. Especially when the second trip included a few days in Hollywood.
Because the Things are now on different spring break schedules (thanks a lot, COLLEGE) we had to—for the first time—make vacation plans with only one child.
So we flipped a coin.
Nah, just kidding. I very thoughtfully and lovingly and selflessly decided that both girls should get a short break from all their hard work, which meant that I, naturally, would get two trips. Hey, it’s what we as mothers must do when called upon, am I right?
My time in La Jolla with my college girl who I miss dreadfully was wonderful, and since we’ve never taken a trip just the two of us, was something I’ll never forget.
Ten days after returning—her back to school and me back to my days of
surfing the web research for my writing—my husband and I took Thing 2 on a whirlwind behind-the-scenes trip to Hollywood, a place that, as a family of stargazers (and I don’t mean the gaseous ones), we’re all ridiculously and probably a bit unnaturally intrigued with.
After being dorks at Madame Tussauds and the Chinese Theater, and after taking the obligatory drive up to the Hollywood sign, we spent a morning in a place that if I had my way, I’d still be rooted to, five days later.
You know you recognize it, Gilmore Girls‘ fans…IT’S THE STARS HOLLOW GAZEBO.
(Or the Bluebell, Alabama gazebo for you Hart of Dixie fans…or the town square from Pretty Little Liars…or the gazebo from a lot of other, less awesome shows.)
The Warner Brothers Studio Tour was like Christmas morning, Disneyland, and a trip to Maui with unlimited Appletinis ALL IN ONE PLACE to me. I cannot tell you how ridiculously excited I was as our cart pulled through the gates.
I’m a huge Gilmore Girls fan, ya’ll.
I’d be lying if I said I haven’t imagined myself as one of the quirky characters living in Stars Hollow on multiple occasions. (For the record, I’d be the slightly high-strung, equally energetic and fast-talking third BFF of Lorelai and Sookie who runs a funky shop on Luke’s block where Lorelai and Rory get their cute, ironic t-shirts and who gets along splendidly with Luke but is married to her college sweetheart so isn’t ever a threat. I mean, or something like that.)
Being in Stars Hollow was everything, and seriously surreal…even though it was undressed. What’s “undressed”? GLAD YOU ASKED!! Now that I’m an INSIDER I’m hip to the industry lingo and can fill you in on the deets. (Wink.)
Since they’d just finished filming all the exteriors (#morelingo) for the Netflix GG movies (can’twaitcan’twait) and had moved inside to Stage 19 (which, yes, I did try to bribe my tour guide to get me into but he didn’t take me—or my tears—seriously), all the things that make Stars Hollow not one of the other many, many less fabulous towns were gone: the store signs, the props in the windows, Luke’s truck, Kirk. It was basically just a shell of a town, although I did see a few fake Christmas trees on the street and some Christmas lights still in one of Sookie’s trees (which I considered climbing and hiding in) from the recently filmed “Winter” part of the upcoming series.
But it was still very much Stars Hollow to me.
There were people—horrible, but lucky people—all over the buildings re-painting and tearing things down. Luke’s was all *whispers* BROWN.
Even so, I may or may not have tried to jump off our cart and run inside, but they had me strapped in. It’s almost like someone made a call to warn them ahead of time, HUSBAND.
In our whole group of about 15, I was, astonishingly, the only Gilmore Girls junkie, and so while we did get to roam around to a few houses, I was really the only one posing for pictures and taking up everyone’s time. I’m sure they wouldn’t have been broken up if I’d have gone AWOL and hidden inside of Sookie’s house like I considered and am still kicking myself for not doing. What’s the worst that could’ve happened? Warner Brothers jail? LOCK ME UP!
Here’s the Kim house, minus the yard full of antiques and the judgmental Korean woman –
And Miss Patty’s, minus the little girls in tutus twirling batons and the fabulous smoking woman in a mumu –
Here’s the corner where the deer ran into Rory on her first days at Chilton –
And Rory’s leaning tree at Yale (which also doubles as Central Park in shows that need a Central Park, in fact, Phoebe’s funny run in Friends was on that path) –
And finally, you guys, here I am trying not to collapse because I’M STANDING IN LORELAI GILMORE’S FRONT FREAKIN’ YARD –
If you’re a true Gilmore fan, you’ll notice the house has several things TOTALLY WRONG with it, which bothered me more than I care to admit.
1. The porch stairs
2. The front door windows
3. The porch railing
4. The landscaping
5. The lattice from the roof
But I managed to deal with it and pull myself together.
Although I’d be lying if I said that a full week later these inconsistencies aren’t still keeping me up at night.
When I was standing on the front lawn looking around, I said to Travis (our tour guide), “Oh! There’s where the jeep was always parked,” and pointed to the area across the yard from the stairs. “No, the jeep was parked over there,” he said, pointing to the trees TO THE RIGHT OF THE PORCH. “Um, really?” I said, trying my best not to grab Travis and shake his scrawny little body and yell into his face full of lies, “Because they always just ran off the porch, crossed the yard and hopped in the jeep.” “Haha,” Travis CHUCKLED, “Nope, the jeep was parked over there.” AGAIN WITH THE POINTING. I somehow managed to keep my mouth shut and not harm the obviously delusional tour guide, and as we walked away, me still mumbling about TRAVIS’ MISTAKE, my husband leaned down and whispered in my ear, “I’d totally bet on you on this one.” Smart man.
Fun fact (or horrible truth I now know): Lorelai’s house is actually the BACK of Sookie’s house. One thing I wished I’d asked? WHERE THE HELL IS BABETTE’S HOUSE? Because, you guys, all that was to the left of the house was a dirt road. The same one I wish I’d taken off running down so Travis could never find me and I could live in Stars Hollow FOREVER.
Were there other cool things on the tour? Sure, I guess.
Here’s the Full House house –
And here’s both Wade’s cabin from Hart of Dixie and one of Dexter’s kill rooms in a later season –
And I guess you could say this was cool to see in person –
I’M JUST KIDDING! WE WERE FREAKING OUT!!
I was INSIDE Central Perk. Like, I was SITTING ON THE COUCH and WALKING UP TO THE BAR and standing by the door where ROSS AND RACHEL HAVE THAT UNFORGETTABLE AND MOST INSANELY ROMANTIC KISS.
Another place I had to be dragged from.
I’m not kidding.
I could’ve stood there another few hours reliving all the moments in Central Perk—and believe me, I tried to—but I was finally pulled away.
Apparently there’s other Friends fans in the world.
I have more to tell, you guys, if you can believe it, but I think I need to take a break. Reliving all of this has wiped me out and made me emotional. I think I need to go watch a few episodes of Gilmore Girls and Friends and shout out “I WAS THERE!” “I WAS THERE!” some more before my family gets home. They’ve threatened to take away my Netflix a few times already this week.
Come back next week and I’ll fill you in on part 2 of our trip, where we may or may not have run into AN AMERICAN IDOL WINNER outside The Dolby Theatre and I may or may not have asked for a picture with him…or her, and where I made a fool of myself fangirling ON CAMERA on a NATIONWIDE SHOW without realizing it. Don’t worry, there’s video.
*Part 2: Fangirling and video bombing <– Click right there for the whole hilarious, embarrassing story.
This post brought to you by YMFT’s Friday Favorites, because obviously.