The turn of the century was quite an optimistic time for television. While shows like The Sopranos and The West Wing were making history with clever writing and rich characters, sitcoms like Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond were still finding takers. In the midst of all this, Amy Sherman-Palladino debuted her series Gilmore Girls, and though no one knew it then, this was another gem that made a significant dent in pop culture.
Gilmore Girls was the story of a mother-daughter, who are more like friends to each other. The relationship shared between Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) soon became so aspirational that viewers started tuning in just to live through the fantasy of having a near-perfect relationship with your mother.
What is Gilmore Girls all about?
Just as the name suggests, Gilmore Girls is about the Gilmore Girls – Lorelai and Rory who live in a little town called Stars Hollow. Lorelai had Rory when she was still a teenager, and since she is still single, the two have their ups and downs whilst also dealing with the fractured relationship between Lorelai and her parents – Richard (Edward Herrmann) and Emily (Kelly Bishop).
The show takes off from the point when the two units reunite for financial reasons and soon build a relationship that’s just like any other family – loving but chaotic.
Now, it’s not just the storyline that brings you back for more but also the setting and the characters. Since the show is set in a small town, it goes all the way when it comes to exploring the tropes. Apart from the significant lead characters, the town people (Michelle, Taylor, Gypsy, Kirk and others) make for a great ensemble cast.
The central relationship of the show is the one shared by Lorelai and Rory. The opening theme – “Where You Lead” by Carole King and Louise Goffin, was quite fitting to showcase the special bond that they shared. The two have, in many ways, grown up together and so the ‘mom-daughter’ thing is often overshadowed by the ‘friend’ thing.
Over the course of the seven seasons – we see them love each other unconditionally until they hit a bump in the sixth season and are separated for the most part. Another important relationship here is the one between Lorelai and her parents. They often hit a rocky patch which is usually smoothened by Rory.
Rory’s romantic relationships – Dean (Jared Padalecki), Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) and Logan (Matt Czuchry) – divided teams back in the day and true fans are still cheering for one of them (I still vote for Team Dean).
Lorelai and Luke’s (Scott Patterson) relationship had a lot to offer and for the most part, the makers made the most out of it, until that awful last season arrived.
The best and worst bits
Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has often spoken about the fact that the scripts of Gilmore Girls were longer than other shows because the characters spoke at a faster pace. The influence of pop-culture here was strong and was often integrated as the characters spoke about books and movies. The music chosen for the series fit right in as well.
For the most part, Gilmore Girls stuck to its guns as they delivered one great episode after another. The best ones are The Bracebridge Dinner, Those Are Strings Pinocchio, They Shoot Gilmores Don’t They?, The Lorelais’ First Day at Yale, Wedding Bell Blues and Friday Night Alright For Fighting among more.
But then there are a few that stand out in terms of being the show’s worst episodes. It is to be noted here that the last season of the show was moved from The WB to The CW and along with losing its home network, the show also lost its original creators, and that’s how the downfall began.
That’s What You Get Folks for Makin’ Whoopee, Knit People Knit!, Introducing Lorelai Planetarium, Go Bulldogs! and French Twist were some of the most unbearable episodes of the otherwise lovely series. The character arcs established in the first six seasons were all undercut, and it was heartbreaking to see Lane (Keiko Agena) getting stuck in her worst nightmare – and it was even worse to witness how the show treated it like comedy.
The Lorelai-Luke-Chris love triangle was messy from the start. After six seasons, we had come to accept that Lorelai and Chris (David Sutcliffe) were never going to work out. So to witness them being pushed together was painful, to say the least.
The legacy and the eventual Netflix reboot
Gilmore Girls certainly did not receive its due while it was on air, but in the subsequent years, the show developed a cult following. The relationships, pop culture, characters and the vibe of the show was unique and quite timeless, and so the show was rebooted by Netflix, but this time, the original creator Amy Sherman-Palladino was back in the driver’s seat.
The makers did four episodes, and while it was emotional to see the cast get back together, the show suffered because of its legacy. The nostalgia here was so consuming that some parts just didn’t feel right. Rory’s lack of ambition and career, Lorelai and Luke trying to have a baby, and the Logan track were so forced in the show that fans immediately wanted to get back to the original episodes. Nevertheless, just watching them back together was nostalgic.
What’s ahead for Gilmore Girls?
Amy Sherman-Palladino has previously revealed that the last four words of the reboot by Rory, “Mom, I’m pregnant” were what she had in mind for the original series finale. So when she got a chance to send-off the characters in her own way, she did it right.
But since the series ended on a cliffhanger, fans have been wanting another season of the reboot. The makers have not said anything about it yet but looks like they know when to bid adieu, just the right way.
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Gilmore Girls is streaming on Netflix.
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