“Gilmore Girls” is Witty, Charming, and Optimistic

Cover art by @walker_cates on Instagram

“Gilmore Girls” is a heartwarming, refreshing series about family, relationships, and growing up. With feel-good messages, a unique ensemble of offbeat characters, and clever jokes, this seven-season show from the early 2000’s gives many viewers a sense of calm happiness. It’s been an especially enjoyable show to watch during quarantine with its optimistic feel and short, addictive episodes. Through its unique, quick-paced writing style, the show brings viewers relatable situations as well as more specific ones, allowing the viewers to empathize with the characters and enjoy watching them.

The show is about Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham), a single mother of her teenage daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel). Set in the fictional small town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, this show displays lessons about love, family, and life in general. As Rory grows up and makes her way through high school and eventually college, viewers watch the mother and daughter go through various relationships, difficult situations, and familial drama with Lorelai’s parents. The show has a talented cast with actors such as Melissa McCarthy, Edward Hermann, and Kelly Bishop, and is overall a wholesome, enjoyable show. After having Rory at sixteen years old, Lorelai left home with her parents as soon as possible and raised Rory alone, with little help from Rory’s father, Christopher. Throughout the series, viewers watch as Lorelai becomes more dedicated to her work (running the town’s inn) as well as more committed to her relationships and slightly closer to her parents. Her daughter, Rory, is an intelligent, caring girl that wants to be a journalist. Rory’s three main love interests throughout the show are Dean, Jess, and Logan. The debate between which of these boys Rory should end up with divides Gilmore Girls fans, as well as unites them through a shared love of the show.

The town of Stars Hollow is charming and Norman Rockwell-esque, as it gives viewers a calm sense of nostalgia for small towns, even if the viewer has only seen small towns in other shows or movies. The town contains many wacky, over-the-top characters that blend nicely with the more realistic main characters. Lane Kim, who is best friends with Rory, is creative, bold, and relatable to anyone who wants to change society’s expectations of themselves. Throughout the show, we watch her break the Asian American stereotypes mainly enforced by her mother. Watching her become more proud of who she was and less secretive of what she wanted in life throughout the show was inspiring, especially when she stood up to authority such as her mother in respectful and genuine ways. Lorelai’s parents, Emily and Richard Gilmore, are also interesting characters. They are both wealthy, rude, and condescending. Their slightly exaggerated rudeness is often comical, but it also makes for interesting drama when Lorelai confronts them every once in a while. I enjoyed the rare moments when Emily Gilmore would show her more vulnerable and emotional side. Even though Emily and Richard were harsh to others the majority of the time, I thought that the show did a good job of humanizing them when necessary. The side characters, such as Luke, Kirk, and Sookie, were all hilarious and lovable. Luke Danes, who owns the town’s favorite diner, often acts grumpy and uninterested. Despite his ill-tempered facade, Luke is a very caring and warmhearted person deep down. I really enjoyed the moments when he was more genuine and unguarded, and he was overall one of my favorite characters in the show. I also liked the characters with smaller roles such as Kirk, the eccentric, quirky Stars Hollow resident. It was comical watching him go from one odd job to the next, although I do think he was a little too random to be realistic at times. Sookie, Lorelai’s partner in running the inn, is kindhearted, clumsy, and lovable. Played by Melissa McCarthy, Sookie was a hilarious and charming character. I thought all the actors in this show did a great job when it came to bringing authenticity to their roles. Even the actors that play more funny characters, such as Lorelai or Sookie, still brought emotion and depth to their characters when needed.

Certain relationships and plot lines seemed to happen just for shock value, which could get a little irritating at times. There is also barely any diversity within the cast, and there are a few slightly offensive jokes about sexuality. The storylines could get predictable, and the dialogue could sometimes seem a little cheesy or forced. The plot goes around in circles a lot, and is often very repetitive. This can be especially annoying when watching several episodes in a row. The series also has a lot of small plotlines thrown in seemingly just to fill time, and it’s not the best choice if you’re looking for a more serious or dramatic thing to watch. 

Ten years after the end of the original series, Netflix made a revival show (“Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”) that featured almost all the original characters and showed what they were doing with their lives in the present day. This four-part series, set nearly a decade after the original show, finds Rory struggling to find a job and Lorelai trying to get closer to her mother. I really enjoyed how this revival touched on more serious issues and had a more concise plot. The sequel also allows Lorelai to become a little more mature and has Rory learn about how she needs to work hard for what she wants. It was nice seeing where each character ended up in their lives, although some of the cameos did seem a little forced or unnatural. The writing style of this revival was a little more sarcastic and cynical than the original, which was a little surprising considering the more optimistic feel of “Gilmore Girls”, but I did enjoy the drama and character evolution. It was interesting to find out what these beloved characters were doing years later, and I thought it was a nice way to give closure to viewers.

Overall, “Gilmore Girls” is a wonderful show to watch when you’re in the mood for something more casual or lighthearted. It has an amazing cast of many quirky characters, and although the writing could sometimes be a little predictable, I thought it was a very entertaining show. If you want more of the “Gilmore Girls”, then definitely check out the revival. I recommend watching both if you enjoy dramedies with a large tightly-knit ensemble of characters such as “Sweet Magnolias” or “Glee”.

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