|Occupation||Television writer, director, and producer|
|Gilmore Girls and Bunheads|
|Style||Comedy-drama, screwball comedy film|
|Board member of||Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions|
Helen Pai is an American television writer, director, and producer.
Pai works at Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, founded by close friend of 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.
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. 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".
In addition to co-producing Gilmore Girls from 2001 to 2007, Pai acted as associate producer of Bunheads (2012–2013, 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.
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.
Gilmore Girls character Lane Kim was modeled by Amy Sherman-Palladino loosely after Pai. Pai's husband was the model for another Gilmore Girls character, Lane's love interest and Hep Alien guitarist Dave Rygalski, although the real Dave Rygalski plays bass. Additionally, the band name of "Hep Alien" is an anagram of "Helen Pai". The band's "reunion" occurred on October 4, 2014.