Did You Catch All of the Times ‘Gilmore Girls’ Referenced ‘The Graduate’

Gilmore Girls showrunner, Amy Sherman-Palladino, is known for her love of pop culture references. Peppered through the show are some seriously obvious references and plenty of obscure ones, too. Rory Gilmore and her mother, Lorelai Gilmore, speak in pop culture riddles. Some movies, shows, and musicians are referenced multiple times in the show’s seven-season run. Did you ever notice just how many times The Graduate gets talked about? It is probably more than you think.  

Gilmore Girls referenced The Graduate for the first time in season 2

The first reference to The Graduate in Gilmore Girls appeared in the second season. Lorelai was presented with a gift basket by Christopher Hayden after she graduates from college. In the basket, he including a copy of The Graduate. Also included was a savings bond and a guide to getting a job.

Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham on 'Gilmore Girls'
Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham on ‘Gilmore Girls’ | Mitchell Haddad/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

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Christopher, Rory’s father, and Lorelai have a complicated relationship for much of the show’s seven-season run. In season 2, they sleep together, despite Christopher’s relationship status. The pair almost rekindle their love affair, but then Christopher’s girlfriend finds out she’s pregnant. Christopher gifts Lorelai with The Graduate before they hook up.

The Graduate was mentioned again during the third and fourth seasons of Gilmore Girls

Purists argue that only scenes that directly reference The Graduate in some ways count. Still, there are several less obvious mentions sprinkled throughout the show’s third and fourth seasons. In season 3, as Jess is leaving Stars Hollow, he runs into Rory on the bus. The pair sit together at the back. Eventually, Rory gets ready to get off and asks him if he’ll call her. He says he will. As they sit together, fans can’t help but notice the scene is set up just like the final scene of The Graduate.

Anne Bancroft pulling on stocking in front of Dustin Hoffman in a scene from 'The Graduate'
Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman in ‘The Graduate’ | Embassy Pictures/Getty Images

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In season 4, Lorelai directly mentions the film when she asks her then-beau, Jason Stiles, if Emily Gilmore is his “Mrs. Robinson.” Jason jokes that she is and eludes to a scene in the movie. Lorelai’s Mrs. Robinson quip directly references the movie’s main character, Mrs. Robinson, portrayed by Anne Bancroft. In the flick, she is having an affair with the much younger Ben Braddock, portrayed by Dustin Hoffman.

Amy Sherman-Palladino paid homage to the movie twice in season 6 of Gilmore Girls

Sherman-Palladino didn’t pen Gilmore Girls’ final season. Before she and Dan Palladino, walked away from the series, they referenced The Graduate two more times. A Tumblr dedicated to the series notes that viewers see Rory watching a portion of the film in season 6, episode 2.

Alexis Bledel and Matt Czuchry on 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life' in 2016
Alexis Bledel and Matt Czuchry on ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ | Saeed Adyani/Netflix

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In season 6, episode 3, the title seems to pay homage to the film, too. In “The UnGraduate” Rory grapples with her decision to drop out of Yale. Logan Huntzberger also returns from his summer abroad and tries to avoid mentioning school to Rory.