Why Gilmore Girls Is One Of The Strongest Dramedies In TV History

My friend, Chelsea, and I decided to write about the Gilmore Girls after we found out that we had a mutual love for it. She recently collaborated with me on You’re Wrong, Daniel: Leonardo DiCaprio, and I’m really glad that she agreed to work with me on this project because otherwise, it probably would’ve ended up being just an introductory paragraph, and a promise to finish it later.

Daniel:

I was super hesitant to start Gilmore Girls. For me, it still kind of represented the saccharine sweet “in a small town, where everything is better” ideology that I, as a teenager in Pfafftown, NC, was doing my best to distance myself from. It’s not overly cynical, and it doesn’t feature a decapitation or a foul-mouthed saloon keeper in 1800s South Dakota? HARD PASS.

It was the kind of show that I didn’t watch in high school, but made fun of all the time. Did you watch it during its original run?

Chelsea:

I was late to the Gilmore Girls party. Re-runs on ABC Family were on in the background of most of my after school AIM sessions, though, and I caught up in time to watch the final two seasons in real time. Rory was aspirational for me, and realistically so – there’s only so much pleasure to be had in wishing you had Britney’s abs or a boy band boyfriend. I’d take studying in the Yale library over a ticket to the Grammys any day.

As a teenager, I found solace in one of the only realistic depictions of the female nerd in pop culture. Rory wasn’t especially popular, nor was she a social outcast. She didn’t have secret powers or special talents. She loved books, travel and bad movies. Sure, her mom was fun and her town was pretty quirky, but Rory herself was unapologetically normal. Maybe that makes her a Mary Sue, but it meant a lot to me – a shy girl looking for some kind of reflection of herself and finally finding it.

Re-watching nowadays, I see how boring Rory can be at times, but she’ll always be my favorite character. What about you? Who’s your favorite Stars Hollow-an? Hollow-ite? Hollow-ian?

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Daniel:

I like “Hollow-ite.”

I love Emily Gilmore. Whether she’s snarkily talking about Lorelai’s new boyfriend, or scrambling to find some kind of stability when Richard gets sick, or being a fiercely defensive pack mother when she finds out that Logan’s family is being mean to Rory, she’s a wonderfully developed character. I feel like I have the most in common with Kirk sometimes (because I can relate to Kirk’s inability to relate to anyone or anything,) but Emily is ceaselessly entertaining.

I think Rory gets more interesting in the latter half of the show, especially when she gets told by Logan’s father that she’s just not a very good journalist. I can relate to that. I went to college and threw myself into audio and video production, a field that I’m…decent at, at best.

And I’ve been told “Eh, you’re just alright at this.” Combine that with the questionable choices that she makes when it comes to relationships, and I feel like you start to see a complex character arise out of the girl who used to worry about English quizzes and nothing else.

Do you have any characters that you see that way – characters that become infinitely more interesting as the show goes on? Or are there any for you that become less interesting? I feel like Kirk, though he has a special place in my heart, definitely has a kind of rise and fall as he slowly becomes the Charlie Day of the show.

kirk

Chelsea:

I was always super annoyed by Paris the first few times I watched the show. She was bossy and didn’t talk like a real human being (a complaint I’ve heard about the show in general, but something I never noticed except for Paris’ lines). I’ve come to appreciate her brusque honesty, though, especially when it comes to calling out Rory’s bullshit. Dropping out of Yale was a terrible idea, and Paris was one of the few people telling Rory how dumb she was being. We could all use a friend who challenges our egos now and then. Plus, her insults were always on point. Pardon my gif, but this one is my all time fav:

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​Another character I didn’t initially give much thought to is Sookie. Re-watching her performance post-Bridesmaids fame has been fun but disheartening at times. She’s not only criminally underused, she’s perpetually unappreciated – and even mistreated – by Lorelai. In virtually every episode, Lorelai is either taking advantage of Sookie’s people-pleasing tendencies or droning on about her own problems, dismissive of her friend’s ideas or issues. You see shadows of this with Lane Kim, but I find Lorelei to be the far more selfish Gilmore girl.

Daniel:

Lorelai, I think, is a great character to watch when she’s dealing with family/Rory/business stuff, but abysmal whenever she’s dealing with a relationship. Maybe that’s because all of the guys that she dates kind of lack stakes – they’re either too boring, or have a character flaw that will eventually clash with Lorelai’s “coffee and Rory” personality. None of them feel permanent. Even Chris, who spends most of the show as Lorelai’s weird white whale of sorts, is going to obviously be shoved aside whenever Luke gets his shit together and finally says “I love you” on a consistent basis.

I know that, when it comes to Gilmore Girls love interests, the focus is always on the Dean/Logan/Jess triangle. (Jess is Charmander, Dean is Bulbasaur, and Logan is Squirtle.) And it should be. But what about Lorelei’s beaus? What about Max and Jason? How do they compare to Hurricane Chris and Luke: The Paladin of Gruff Goodness?

Chelsea:

I still want to ring Lorelai’s neck for dumping Max. He was by far the best guy she ever dated. He’s handsome, intelligent and the perfect father figure for Rory. The proposal flowers are the stuff of every girl’s dreams! To this day, I can’t understand why Lorelai was so afraid to go through with their marriage. It’s one of the rare false emotional notes of the entire series, constructed to keep the plot moving and centered on the Girls themselves. I’m convinced Max just arrived at the wrong time in the story.

“Digger” is the worst! I never understood the appeal. He’s Lorelai’s boyfriend equivalent of Logan, right? Rich guy from the “right” kind of family that Lore shouldn’t like, but finds herself attracted to in spite of herself. But why is she into him? Contrast him with Max, and I’m at a loss. Where Max was romantic and kind, Jason is snarky and persnickety.

dinner

Luke and Chris lie somewhere in between Max and Jason on the spectrum of love interests. Luke and Lorelai have undeniable chemistry, but I always liked them better as friends. Chris is pretty bland. A motorcycle and a history with Lorelai does not a romantic hero make. Their Paris trip was pretty fun, though, I guess.

I’m curious to see where these new Netflix plot points will take Lorelai’s love life. Any predictions?

Daniel:

I have no idea. It’s 4 ninety minute episodes, right? I kind of hope that, if they do have a big romantic plot line for Lorelai, that it’s someone new. It would seem pretty silly if we spent the last “season” of the Gilmore Girls being reintroduced to the old “Chris has his shit together! Maybe!” story.

Yeah, I was not a fan of Jason. I remember, when I first watched it, I thought “Is this snarky commentary on dating when you’re in your late thirties/early forties? When there’s no one left, so you end up dating Digger?” Max is nice, and I kind of like the send-off they gave him, where he wouldn’t even listen to Lorelai apologize. He was just like “I can’t be near you. I have to go.” I actually like all of the send-offs that they gave Lorelai’s love interests. There was rarely some TV-friendly emotional crescendo. Sometimes, it ended in a big way, and sometimes, in a small way. Like, the last time we see Digger, he’s waiting for Lorelai to get done with her shift so that they can talk. That rings true to me. They do the same thing with Rory’s. When Dean is like “I don’t fit in with your new friends, and you have a thing for this guy. I’m done.” That’s usually how it is. We rarely ever get the defining end to the relationship that is satisfying in a dramatic way. It just flickers out.

You mentioned Paris earlier, and I agree with you. She got better as the series went along. But what about Rory-s best Hollow-ite friend, Lane? Sure, she and Rory would have chats every few episodes, but she was mostly caught in the “We’re in a band!” story that ran for six seasons. Before we move onto the most epic decision in modern television “Dean, Jess, or Logan?,” were there any Hollow-ites that you think deserved a bit more than the plot they were given?

Chelsea:

Lane got the shortest end of any stick on the show. We spend season after season watching her obsess about music, sneak around behind her mother’s back and play in a kick ass band. Then she has sex once, gets pregnant with twins and is shackled to a life she never wanted. Her and Zach getting married is one of the most nonsensical plot points of the entire series. He gets to go on tour while she’s home with the babies? Are you kidding me? 16-year-old Lane would never have stood for such bullshit. Plenty of people get married young, have kids and give up on their creative dreams for a more ordinary life. But I never expected that of Lane – and I don’t think she did, either. I’m eager to see how the writers fix the mess that is her life.

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I’m also eager to see which boyfriends will make reappearances on the new episodes. I’d love to see Jess as long as he’s stayed on the indie-publisher-in-Philly track and hasn’t regressed back to the angsty, vaguely misogynistic teen he once was. Dean puts me to sleep and Logan is such a one percenter douchebag that I can’t take him seriously. Rory’s attraction to him is confusing. He’s attractive in an early 2000s metrosexual kind of way, I suppose, but his personality is repellent. Instead of seeing him again, I’d rather we meet up with Marty, the guy Rory should’ve been dating in college. I say this as someone dating a sometimes goofy but affable, kind-hearted guy who’d also rather stay home and watch the Marx Brothers than go out for sushi with social climbers. But that’s just me.

Daniel:

The biggest problem with Logan, for me, is that we never got to see Logan’s “evolved form.” Dean started off as the white bread kid that was mainly interested in blank glances, and then he got a second wind as a guy who got married too early, and felt trapped by his circumstances. Jess was this Death Cab For Cutie advertisement that liked books with more than four syllables in the title and got pissed off whenever Rory didn’t want to make out in public/at a party/behind buildings/anywhere. Then he got his act together, started a publishing company, and, well, he still wanted to make out with Rory but at least he wasn’t a jerk about it in the sixth season like he was in the third.

I can’t take Logan very seriously either. He’s too good. Knows too many references. I know that every Gilmore Girls character can quote Real Housewives just as quickly as they can quote Dostoevsky, but as soon as Logan started having battles of wit with Jess (God, I hope I’m remembering this right), he felt less like an actual character and more like someone from romance novel fan fiction. “He’s rich and he has quips and he has nice hair! He’s perfect.” I hope that he gets to come back as something a little different. Maybe he’ll have lost his hair. A bald Logan, still trying to be Bruce Wayne-lite, would be interesting.

Any predictions/wishes as to how they’ll treat Jess/Dean/Logan in the new “season?”

Chelsea:

The forced perfection of Logan was why he never appealed to me. He lacked substance. I kept waiting for some deep, dark secret to emerge, something to make him more likable or at least relatable, but no. He is just a spoiled rich boy who thinks he’s the shit. And Rory likes that. Rory likes that?! Ugh. I was never more excited than when she turned down his proposal. Please, no Logan in the new season. Pleeeease.

I don’t think I’ll get lucky enough to see a Jess/Rory whirlwind romance, unfortunately. But that’s okay. I let that ship sink when real life rumors of abuse arose. In a perfect world, Rory would end up with Paris, a contemporary Elizabeth Bennet to her Ms. Darcy. But she’ll probably settle for that loser Logan.

I can see it now. Rory will probably come back from reporting on the campaign trail and realize how special Logan was and how much she missed him and would never find anyone better or more compatible. She’ll get knocked up and live in sin, much to the chagrin of Emily. They’ll use Logan’s money to rescue the bankrupt Dragonfly Inn (the place tanked after Sookie went to Hollywood), and the happy couple will settle down to raise Lorelai Gilmore the third in Stars Hollow, with Grandpa Luke happily hammering away at a cradle in the yard.

But I hope not. Got a better alternative series ending?

Daniel:

Everything about that hurts my soul. If the last “season” of Gilmore Girls is inexplicably about a secret Stars Hollow curse, that paragraph is going to appear burned into someone’s arm. Either that, or it will be in the final page of a book that Kirk finds, and the whole plot deals with the Gilmore’s attempts to REWRITE THE FUTURE.

My Gilmore Girls/Carnivale crossover is going be tight.

I do feel like this season will deal with Rory moving back to Stars Hollow after the newspaper she was working at goes out of business (oooh, topical.) And rather than spend time figuring out who she can date, she’ll learn to adapt to the constantly changing world of journalism. Or maybe she’ll start a blog. If there’s not at least one mention of/joke about a blog in there, then it isn’t a modern TV show.

I think this is a good spot to wrap this up. Any final thoughts? And grand statements about The Gilmore Girls and their ultimate importance to you in your current life? Honestly, for me, that show kind of represents my willingness to give things that I don’t think that I’ll like a chance, only to discover that I love them. Gilmore Girls is the butternut squash soup of television. Thought I’d hate it, but I was so, so wrong. I doubt I could write this many paragraphs about butternut squash soup, though.

Chelsea:

If Ms. Patty is the ring master, I’m in!

For me, Gilmore Girls acts as a mirror. Every time I revisit the series, I see it slightly differently. The show was such a cornerstone of my adolescence. It’s difficult to know whether I’m a fan because it features so much of what I love, or if I love those things because of the show. It’s a conundrum I face with a lot of pop culture from that era of my life (the Harry Potter series, John Mayer’s “Continuum”, etc.)

Ultimately, Gilmore Girls has a lot to say about what it means to be independent. To be a friend. A daughter. A woman. One can argue that it’s not always saying the right things, but that’s almost besides the point. It’s the rare female-led comedy that showcases relationships – not just rivalries – between women. And as a feminist, I can’t deny its affect on me and how I view my fellow woman.

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