Rory Gilmore, the main character of the WB’s primetime drama “Gilmore Girls” who is in the middle of her freshman year at Yale has already seen a naked boy in her entryway, asked a classmate out, and experienced life in Durfee. And now she will participate in another Yale tradition — watching the Whiffenpoofs perform.
The all-male, all-senior Whiffenpoofs, Yale’s oldest a cappella group, recently finished filming the Nov. 11 episode of the show, which is now in its fourth season.
But Whiffenpoof member Brian Stromquist ’04 said the Whiffenpoofs enjoyed their trip to California where the show is taped.
“We got to fly out and live it up in a great hotel, and the WB paid for everything,” Stromquist said.
But Stromquist said the trip was not all luxury.
“We filmed about six hours for maybe a minute or 30 seconds worth of show,” he said.
The Whiffenpoofs will appear on the show at a Yale-Harvard football game tailgate — an event producers recognized would likely occur in weather very different from that in Southern California.
“It was an odd situation,” Stromquist said. “We were enclosed, but we had to imagine we were at a Yale-Harvard tailgate. We were bundled up, and it was sweltering.”
In the show, Rory, played by Alexis Bledel, is a small-town Connecticut girl who has just started at Yale. Her grandfather, played by Edward Herrmann, is a Yale and Whiffenpoofs alumnus.
“Gilmore Girls,” which runs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on the WB, chronicles the lives of Rory and her mother, Lorelai, played by Lauren Graham. For the first three seasons of the show, Rory lived in fictional Stars Hollow, Conn. and attended Chilton, a fictional prep school in Hartford.
Rory’s surprise decision to attend Yale over Harvard at the end of the show’s third season has been as exciting for some Yalies as it seemed to be for the characters. Although the show is filmed on a sound stage in Universal City, Calif., producers have promised accurate reproductions of the Yale campus.
Stromquist said he was impressed and surprised by how true-to-life he thought the reproductions were.
“It’s incredible,” Stromquist said. “There are — amazing [recreations] of [Linsly-Chittenden Hall] and Durfee. They’re perfect down to every single detail, from door moldings down to the font used on door plaques and classroom plaques.”
But Stromquist said the extras and actors playing Yale students and faculty, all “decked out” in Yale paraphernalia, proved to be the strangest part of the experience.
“It was all very disorienting, being on the Yale set and eating lunch with simulated Yale people,” Stromquist said.
But Maren Ludwig ’05, who said she watches the show occasionally, said the show’s characterization of Yale is not very realistic.
“I think they’re playing on the stereotype of Yale rather that actual Yale,” Ludwig said. “Having the Whiffenpoofs on might increase the authenticity because they’re one of the groups that people outside Yale know, but the Whiffenpoofs singing at a tailgate seems a little bizarre.”
Adam Mehes ’05, who said he has seen the show a couple times, said the singing group’s presence enhanced the setting of the show but failed to add depth to the show’s portrayal of Yalies.
“Putting the Whiffenpoofs on is kind of like showing Yale’s buildings,” he said.
Nina Pan ’05, who called herself a regular “Gilmore Girls” watcher, said she thought including Yale icons like the Whiffenpoofs on the show improved its level of realism.
“Sometimes you see something and you say, ‘That looks like Calhoun, but that part over there really doesn’t,'” Pan said. “It’s sort of a feeling of dissonance. I think its really cool that [the Whiffenpoofs] got to be on it.”
The Whiffenpoofs will also appear on ABC’s “JEOPARDY!” at 7 p.m. on the same night that the “Gilmore Girls” episode airs. The group will sing the game show’s famous “think music.”
[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”19045″ ]