On Gilmore Girls (Part 1 of the GIRLS ARC)
When I was a sixth grader in Georgia, a local weatherman by the name of Glen Burns was supposed to visit our school to talk about his job and the weather, presumably. As we kids excitedly waited for his arrival, word came that Burns would NOT be coming that day. A weather-related emergency, we were told, was keeping him away. We did not take the news well. We spontaneously erupted into chants of “Burn Glen Burns! Burn Glen Burns!”
What does this have to do with Gilmore Girls? I don’t know. Maybe I’m thinking about this episode in order to contrast my own raucous school experience with that of Rory Gilmore, the beautiful and delicate star of GG (for the sake of this post GG refers to Gilmore Girls, not The Golden Girls).
What can I say about GG show that has not already been said? People cleverer than I have said some very good things already. For example, on this very site, Leesa Cross-Smith wrote a brilliantly funny piece about Jess Marino, a significant GG character.
There is also the Gilmore Guys podcast. Which is just so awesome and perfect that I should stop writing right now. It’s just so good.
Here is what I can tell you about Gilmore Girls:
What is the show about? Like a truly good show it’s about nothing, which is actually everything. I would say it’s mainly about family, love, growing up, disappointment, mothers and daughters, daughters and mothers, fathers and daughters, friends, junk food, cooking, not cooking, kissing, eating, and coffee.
At the center of the show is Rory’s enrollment in the super exclusive Chilton School, which would not be possible if her grandparents did not pay her tuition. Rory’s mother, Lorelei, asks her wealthy and conservative parents to pay the tuition as she in unable to do it herself. They agree, on the condition that Rory and Lorelei attend Friday night dinners at their home(Wasp Shabbat?). This is the catalyst that starts the whole story – these forced dinners in which Lorelei must coexist with her parents, and in which Rory gets to experience the privilege her mother shunned and ran away from.
Written by Amy Sherman-Palladino (all seasons except for the 7th, which is the suckiest season, not surprisingly) the show is known for rapid-fire dialogue that has a lot of fun pop-culture references.
It focuses on the mostly dreamy relationship between Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, who play the mother daughter team of Lorelei and Lorelei Gilmore (though Bledel’s character goes by Rory). Dreamy = mother and daughter that are good friends with an excellent ability to communicate joy, frustration, vulnerability, and pain. They also eat bad food together, drink tons of coffee, and are just very adorable.
An aside: The vibe of naming a son directly after a father is one of patriarchy and weird “carry on the bloodline” feelings. Yet the vibe of naming a daughter after her mother is regal and badass and lovely.
It’s important to note that Lorelei was/is a single teenaged mother who chose to raise her daughter away from the wealth and privilege with which she grew up. Thus the estrangement from her own parents. This estrangement and the aftershocks of the estrangement is something the show deals with in every season, almost in every episode.
The show takes place in fictional Stars Hollow, CT. Which is the ideal small town with kooky small town characters and warm small town vibes. You will want to move there. (You can’t move there, but you probably can move to Washington, CT, where Amy Sherman-Palladino wrote the pilot for GG).
Further evidence of the power of GG:
GG inspires passionate discussion in those of us who have swallowed the Kool-Aid. Just this past weekend I engaged in a meaningful dialogue with fellow humans and GG watchers, Jeannie Hoag and Brian Mihok, about this very topic. Hi, guys!
You won’t believe that you are watching it, that you want to watch it, that you actually care about what happens to these characters.
I predict that if you haven’t seen it, you will be hooked by the middle of the second episode or the end of the third.