Helen Pai

Helen Pai is an American television writer, director, and producer.

Helen Pai
OccupationTelevision writer, director, and producer
Notable work
Gilmore Girls and Bunheads
StyleComedy-drama, screwball comedy film
Board member ofDorothy Parker Drank Here Productions
Spouse(s)David Rygalski

Pai works at Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, founded by close friend Amy Sherman-Palladino, and is co-producer of the television series Gilmore Girls and Bunheads. Pai also is a producer on SMILF. Gilmore Girls character Lane Kim was modeled by Sherman-Paladino loosely after Pai.[1][2]

Life and careerEdit

Helen Pai is a Korean-American and was raised in an Adventist household. She and Amy Sherman-Palladino met making the pilot of Love and Marriage (1996 TV series). The two have worked together on Gilmore Girls and Bunheads. She is married to David (Dave) Rygalski, who is the basis of the character of the same name on Gilmore Girls.[3] Pai's mother taught Korean to Emily Kuroda who acted as Gilmore Girls character Mrs Kim. Pai often contacted her mother on sections of scripts dealing with Korean language and culture, and has quoted her mother as telling her: "Helen, you have to be very careful, because you're representing the Korean community".[4]

In addition to co-producing Gilmore Girls from 2001 to 2007, Pai acted as associate producer of Bunheads (2012–2013,[5] 18 episodes) and Grimm (2014, 2 episodes). More recently, Pai produced, again with Amy Sherman-Palladino, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life in 2016/17.[6]

Gilmore GirlsEdit

When Gilmore Girls started, Pai was one of the script coordinators: "I type like a madwoman," Pai said in an interview, "My typing speed is insane, and I think Amy was always impressed by that." Through her years working on the show, she was also involved with outside projects, and by the end of the sixth season, Pai had become involved in everything from set design, publicity, DVD special features, and legal clearances, to sound mixing and post-production tasks. Pai was also the coordinator in charge of any scene in Gilmore Girls in which Hep Alien performed on-camera.[7][8]

Gilmore Girls character Lane Kim was modeled by Amy Sherman-Palladino loosely after Pai.[2][3][9] Pai's husband was the model for another Gilmore Girls character, Lane's love interest and Hep Alien guitarist Dave Rygalski,[1] although the real Dave Rygalski plays bass.[3] Additionally, the band name of "Hep Alien" is an anagram of "Helen Pai".[1] The band's "reunion" occurred on October 4, 2014.[10]


  • Gilmore Girls: The Other Side Of Summer by Amy Sherman-Palladino and Helen Pai (2002, ISBN 0-06-050916-3)


Television creditsEdit

  • 1991–1995: Married... with Children – production staff (80 episodes)
  • 1999: Veronica's Closet – writer (1 episode)
  • 2001–2007: Gilmore Girls – producer (87 episodes, 2003–2007), co-producer (35 episodes, 2001–2003), script coordinator (15 episodes, 2001)
  • 2012–2013: Bunheads – associate producer (18 episodes)
  • 2014–2016: Grimm – associate producer (24 episodes, 2014–2015), co-producer (8 episodes, 2015–2016)
  • 2016: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life – producer (4 episodes, 2016)

Film creditsEdit


  1. ^ a b c Julius Nam (December 20, 2007). "Adventism According to Gilmore Girls: A Prime Time Commentary". spectrummagazine.org. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Keiko Agena in the 7th season DVD special "A Day on the Set with Keiko Agena".
  3. ^ a b c Todd Van Luling and Lily Karlin (September 4, 2015). "10 Stories You've Never Heard About 'Gilmore Girls' Band Hep Alien". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  4. ^ David Lavery and David Scott Diffrient (May 14, 2014). Screwball Television: Critical Perspectives on Gilmore Girls. ISBN 9780815650690. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  5. ^ "Amy Sherman-Palladino Says Goodbye to 'Bunheads' With Ballet (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. August 26, 2013. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  6. ^ Stephanie Webber (November 23, 2016). "'Gilmore Girls' Star Todd Lowe: Revival Will Show How 'Married Life' Has Affected Lane and Zack". usmagazine.com. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  7. ^ Ada Tseng (May 14, 2008). "Ode to Gilmore Girls: Behind the Musicality of TV's Beloved Show". gilmorememories.com respectively asiaarts.ucla.edu. Archived from the original on October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  8. ^ Steven Foster (January 1, 2010). "An Interview with Amy Sherman-Palladino". outsmartmagazine.com. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  9. ^ Keiko Agena (January 21, 2016). "With the Real Life #LaneKim, Helen Pai. Good #Gilmore things are coming..." Keiko Agena on facebook. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  10. ^ Erin Strecker (October 15, 2014). "'Gilmore Girls' Band Hep Alien Stages One-Night-Only Reunion". billboard.org. Retrieved October 16, 2014.

External linksEdit