No, Emily Did Not Make a ‘Tiger King’ Reference in ‘Gilmore Girls’ — Here’s Who She Was Actually Talking About

Fans watching Gilmore Girls in 2020 were quick to pick up a quote by Emily Gilmore that was seemingly a reference to Tiger King. So was Gilmore Girls super ahead of its time with a reference to Tiger King? Unfortunately, no. Here is who Emily Gilmore was actually referencing in the episode.

Kelly Bishop
Kelly Bishop played Emily Gilmore in ‘Gilmore Girls’ and ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life’ | Amanda Edwards/WireImage

The reference occurs in Season 5 of ‘Gilmore Girls’

In Season 5 Episode 5 of Gilmore Girls, “We Got Us a Pippi Virgin,” Richard and Emily Gilmore are separated. Emily is living in the main house, while Richard is living in the pool house. Rory and Lorelai visit for their weekly Friday Night Dinner.

Richard is away on a business trip, so Lorelai and Rory are only supposed to have dinner with Emily that night. To get gin to make Lorelai a martini, the three of them go down to the pool house. Emily insists on searching around, and she finds a glittery vest in a closet.

“Maybe it’s a vest of his from the old days,” Lorelai suggests.

“Our days never included Richard dressing up like that gay fellow whose tiger tried to eat him,” Emily replies. “I have definitely, positively never seen this vest. This is a party vest!”

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Three generations of Gilmores.

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Fans wondered if Emily made a ‘Tiger King’ reference

On Reddit, there are multiple threads comparing Emily’s quote in Gilmore Girls to Tiger King.

“Years ahead of her time,” one fan joked on Reddit.

“I watched this episode today and wondered if this was the reference,” another fan wrote in a Reddit thread.

While some fans of Gilmore Girls wondered if Emily was somehow referencing Joe Exotic from Tiger King, others were quick to point out who Emily was actually referring to.

“It wasn’t. She was referring to Roy from Siegfried and Roy,” a fan replied on Reddit.

Another Reddit user wrote, “I’m pretty sure this was in reference to Siegfried & Roy. Roy’s tiger attacked him in 2003. Not sure when this episode was released.”

‘Gilmore Girls’ filmed during the 2000s

Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn were part of the entertainment duo Siegfried & Roy. In 2003, during a show at the Mirage, Horn was attacked by a tiger named Montecore and suffered critical injuries. The duo retired in 2010, and Horn passed away in May 2020.

Gilmore Girls aired from October 2000 to May 2007. Season 5 of Gilmore Girls aired in 2004 and 2005, and “We Got Us a Pippi Virgin” originally aired on October 19, 2004.

Netflix released Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, a true crime documentary miniseries, in March 2020. The eight-episode documentary series was filmed over the course of around five years and began filming in 2014. The series primarily focuses on Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, and other big cat conservationists.