“Stop eating the paste.”
If you don’t get the reference above, don’t go anywhere: This post is specially written for you. If you haven’t watched the brilliance that was “Gilmore Girls” in the seven years it was on the WB or in the years since it has ended, I feel sad for you. It was a remarkable show for numerous reasons, some of which I will lay out for you later. First, let me say that great TV is possible. We are spoiled with all the shows currently on the air that are brilliantly written with incredible special effects and great costumes, and as awesome as those are, some shows survive on their wit and intelligence and demand it from their audience. So, here’s why “Gilmore Girls” is the best.
1. Cultural Awareness
I cannot even begin to list the things I learned from watching Lorelai and Rory speed-talk their way through the small town square to Luke’s Diner. Sometimes their conversations inspired me to Google or learn about what they were discussing. Other times I would sit in blissful ignorance and enjoy the dynamic of the characters. It would be unrealistic to think that everyone in this small town and everyone our main characters interact with would know about all these cultural events, but I think it worked well for the story they were trying to tell. We need to see characters who are intelligent and well-rounded, and this was something that “Gilmore Girls” offered us every week. However, don’t forget they did binge-watching before Netflix and before binge-watching was even an idea.
They are such a huge part of my life that to see a girl my age (slightly older) love reading and be unapologetically obsessed with words was remarkable. It was incredibly important for me to see someone who could love reading and still be a functional adult with ideas and problems. It was also important for me to know that my love of books doesn’t mean I can’t love anything else. Rory loved books, bands, TV, movies, and more. She was well-rounded while still being a constant reader. The list of books Rory read or referenced on the show would be my ultimate accomplishment-if I could ever finish it. I also love that not all the characters were as well-read as Rory. Lorelai liked reading, but she didn’t gravitate towards the same books as Rory and she was never put down or felt ashamed of the types of books she did read. Rory’s graduation speech will always be my favorite. Read it here.
The characters on “Gilmore Girls” were intelligent, and they didn’t curb their intelligence just because I didn’t understand something. Rory always seemed to be overwhelmingly book-smart where Lorelai had knowledge of business and common sense. To be honest, I learned important lessons from Lorelai about what being an adult was like. Aside from Lorelai and Rory, almost all the characters placed importance on intelligence—even the “stupid” ones like Kirk had an intelligent, if socially awkward, side. What I was inspired to learn more about while watching the show went a long way in the way I choose to pursue my education.
I think it is important to mention that not all of the characters are perfect. In fact, it is important to point out exactly how messed up they are. They made mistakes—sometimes huge mistakes that they couldn’t take back. Things they had to deal with head on and couldn’t avoid. It’s a nice change of pace to find characters with problems who are willing to put forth the effort to fix them instead of searching for the perfect guy to help them because they are unable to do things themselves. When Lorelai asked Luke for a loan she made a wonderful speech about how she prided herself on not needing help, but that she understood when she could no longer do it alone. In these mistakes we saw our favorite characters grow and change over the years. I think it’s one of the most realistic representations of people on TV.
5. Women in television
I was recently re-watching my seasons (which is what inspired this post) and was overwhelmed by the number of female characters. They grossly outnumber the men and generally the men on the show were there to facilitate the lives of the Gilmore girls, not to have their own story lines. In the past couple years the kinds of women being written have been complicated, strong, unwavering, kind, and generally awesome, and it has been amazing to watch. Most stories take an extraordinary circumstance and tell about all the unbelievable things that happen to characters in them. Those stories are amazing, but what “Gilmore Girls” special made them so was that they were regular, intelligent people. No aliens or plane crashes, just women living their lives and trying to understand what they wanted.
What I loved about the relationships on “Gilmore Girls” was that I experienced them with them. When they fell in love I fell with them and stood beside them when they decided to end it (except for that whole Luke thing—I did not approve of that). The men on the show helped us see our characters in a new life with new circumstances and we watched how all the relationships adapted to helping (or hindering) the romantic forays. They were interesting and complex just like the women on the show, but we loved and hated and loved again when our characters were ready for us to.
7. Mother-daughter relationship
This is a whole different section from the regular relationships because the mother-daughter relationship is what drove the show. Not just Rory’s relationship to Lorelai, but Lorelai’s relationship to her mother. When it was good it was good, and when it was bad it was terrible. I think seeing the different relationships mothers and daughters can have is good, and I was really glad when storylines came that made Rory and Lorelai’s easy relationship strained. It was real and honest and it showed that maybe me and my own mother don’t have that relationship, but it doesn’t mean we never can. My relationship with my mom grew as I got older and went from someone to take care of to someone to hang out with, and I think given everything, that is what happened in Lorelai and her mother’s strained relationship.
Lorelai: “Maybe if we concentrate really hard our combined psychic powers will move it closer.”
Rory: “I don’t think its working.”
Lorelai: “It’s my fault. I’m not focusing.”
Rory: “Yes, that must be why we can’t move a half a city block closer to us.”
8. Small-town life
There is a lot to be said for the small town life in Stars Hollow. Mostly that it’s impossible, and that might very well be true. As much of a big-city, I-don’t-wanna know-my-neighbors, hermit person I am there is much to be said for knowing the people around you and feeling that sense of community. Honestly though, I just want those town events. Seeing what Stars Hollow had in store was always one of the highlights of watching, and I hope I can find a show I like for all these reasons and more!