Update: The Gilmore-ism Database Project is now online at Gilmore-ism.com!
“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 Gilmore-ism.com for information about how to keep up to date on Gilmore-isms and how to participate.
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.”)