For the Love of Gilmore-isms

Update: The Gilmore-ism Database Project is now online at!

“Either your signature or your brains are going to be on the contract.”

Which Gilmore Girls character said that? In what episode? And what was he* talking about?

* I use the pronoun “he,” because it’s convenient. But this doesn’t mean the character is a man.

Where does that line come from, anyway? Here’s a hint: It’s a movie, the first of a trilogy. And there are references to that trilogy in at least 5 other episodes of Gilmore Girls. Do you know what they are?

I’m always becoming obsessed with Gilmore-isms, those witty Gilmore Girls allusions to pop culture. I end up spending hours digging up answers, and I still feel like I’ve missed a lot.

So, I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to have a website that had all the Gilmore-isms? And the more I thought about the idea, the more excited I grew. And the bigger the concept grew. And before I knew it, I was facing a grand vision of the Gilmore-ism Database Project, the comprehensive Gilmore witticism site. The theme has powder-blue menus and dark borders. Each quote has its own page, which includes the quote, which episode it’s from, maybe a screen snapshot, what the quote refers to, and an explanation of what it means in the context of the episode. Similarly, each episode, character, and pop reference has its own page, with links to all the Gilmore-isms associated with it. You can search or browse by quote, season, episode, reference, character, or whatever.

And from there, you can do almost anything you want. The site would probably have a blog and could have its own forums. It could have a feature to display a random Gilmore-ism. The site could have a “trivia game” mode, in which the computer asks you about a random Gilmore-ism. Or it could have a trivia area, with Gilmore-ism trivia quizzes that you can compete to win. And there’s no technological reason the site must be limited to Gilmore-isms. Any memorable Gilmore Girls quote could be included. Do you remember Squeegy Beckenheim and Tookey Clothespin?

The thing is, I can’t do this by myself. The actual website development is pretty straightforward. I’m a software developer, and I’ve done websites, and I (or any competent web developer) could throw together the basic structure of the site in a week or two. The real work comes in researching and writing up all those witty quotes. There are 6 full seasons of Gilmore Girls already on DVD and more episodes coming out all the time. And each episode is packed with Gilmore-isms. And I mean packed. I estimated, on average, one Gilmore-ism for every couple of minutes of program time. So it’s a mammoth task for one person. But there is a way out.

With enough eyeballs, all problems are shallow. In other words, if enough of you are willing to support this project, it is possible to actually do it. If enough of you are interested, I will pay for the web hosting,† make sure the web design gets done, and so forth. If enough of you are interested, I will put my other projects on hold for this.

† More accurately, I’m willing to put up the investment capital, as I intend to make the site self-supporting.

Contributors, Sign Up Here

EDIT: See for information about how to keep up to date on Gilmore-isms and how to participate.

Take care,


P.S. “Either your signature or your brains are going to be on the contract” is an allusion to the movie The Godfather. In the first scene, Michael Corleone explains how his father got Johnny his first big singing gig:

My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse… Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father assured the bandleader, that either his signature or his brains would be on the contract… That’s a true story.

The character who said this in Gilmore Girls was Jackson, in the episode “Emily Says Hello.” Having been elected town selectman, and having been bombarded for several weeks with town business, and handling it pretty poorly, at the end of his rope, Jackson discovers a pair of giant scissors on his doorstep. They clearly want him to preside at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. But Jackson, too overloaded, takes it as a threat. “This is the fish on the doorstep. It’s the horse head in the bed. It’s the ‘Either your signature or your brains are going to be on the contract.’”

The Godfather trilogy is clearly one of Lorelai and Rory’s all-time favorites. At least 6 different episodes reference these movies. There may be more, but the ones I know of are:

  • “The Bracebridge Dinner” (2×10) (“We have to rent Godfather 3 on DVD… In the audio commentary, Coppola actually defends casting Sofia.”)
  • “Ballrooms and Biscotti” (4×01) (“… the day of all days – Godfather I, II, and III, with extra showings of the Sofia death scene over and over as long as the Mallomars hold out.” Then, “and we’ll do Godfather I through ‘Monday, Tuesday, Thursday,’ and a quick Sofia dying.”)
  • “Chicken or Beef” (4×04) (“Remember in The Godfather, Michael telling Sonny how he was gonna kill Tattaglia and Captain McCluskey in that Italian restaurant?”)
  • “An Affair to Remember” (4×06) (“Every family needs its Fredo.”)
  • “The Festival of Living Art” (4×07) (“Bada-bing all over his nice ivy-league suit.”)
  • “Emily Says Hello” (5×09) (“Either your signature or your brains are going to be on the contract.”)


10 responses to “For the Love of Gilmore-isms”

  1. Rachael Avatar

    They are from the Godfather movies.

  2. Lauren Avatar

    ” OY with the Poddles Already”

  3. J. Timothy King Avatar

    Hee hee. I’ve actually used that one myself in actual conversation. “Oy with the poodles already!”

    That’s actually indirectly an allusion to Different Strokes. It’ll knock “Watcha talking ’bout, Willis?” right out of first place. Remember?


  4. Malinda Avatar

    OMG,I Use Every Gilmore-Ism! My 2 Fav.Are Copper Boom & Oy With The Poodels Alredy!Everyone Thinks I’m Crazy!LOL

  5. Jenny Avatar

    OMG! My absolute 3 favourite gilmore-isms are Copperboom! Oy with the poodles already! and I’m going to make out in the coatroom. Don’t eat my chicken! I swear to god, when I die, that’s gonna go on my tombstone!!:D:D:D

  6. Rebekah Avatar

    There is one more reference to The Godfather. In the episode in the second season, It should’ve been Lorelai, Rory and Lorelai are deciding which table to sit at. They say they should sit in the corner “so no one can come up behind you and wack you with a cannoli. Because he left the gun and took the cannoli.”

  7. Lauren (aka gilmore girl LOVER) Avatar
    Lauren (aka gilmore girl LOVER)

    Omg i am sorry but no one is as obsesed with gilmore girls as me i have watched all episodes from season 1-6 28 times and is half way through watching it again i just finished season 3 about half an hour age lol i love it and i have watched season 7 six times i LOVE it all but i am so upset about logan and rory breaking up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    my favourite lines are oi with the poodles already/ copper boom/ where is your pate, at sha sha gabor’s house/ do you want duck?? yeh if its made with chicken sure/ if you had your way you’d lock us up like veal, thats wat she wants veal children/ im going to have lunch with the provost or on the provost its still unclear and did you give her the cereal i’d rather not say!!!!!!!

    all my friend are always giving me wierd look as i say them obsessively and always saying”gilmore girls???” and im always like “yep”

    i love it and there has to be a 8th season!!!

  8. kaleigh Avatar

    I Love Gilmore Girls!!!!! I love the saying: step into a boxing ring and ur hand suddenly turn to cream puffs! another one: Fredy Fredy apple brown betty. Another: Oyi To the poddles already. Another: Lorali gilmore Disapointing Mother sence 1968. Another: Kirk: Yummie Morsells of manhood. Another:

  9. A'Lana Bates Avatar
    A’Lana Bates

    What about Luke’s rant about TJ? “I’m going be like Michael Corleone dealing with that sneaky brother in law of his!”

  10. Abby Avatar

    In ‘pulp fiction’ at the beginning when Lorelai brings in a enemy coffeein to the dinner Luke asks how dare she do this on the day of their reconciliation and she says at least I didn’t do it on the day of your daughter’s wedding in a spot on voice (I wish I could do that impressions but I have only watched Godfather once).

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