For years I’ve been watching the Gilmore Girls (almost 15… holy crap, that is hard to believe) and I don’t believe I’ve ever really thought about why I loved (still love) that show so much. I always related to it, and something that I thought was funny about it was how Rory’s and my life seemed to always be in sync. We were the exact same age, so every grade in high school she went through was the same grade I was in during that season. We had nearly the same life events that happened at almost the same time. We went to college at the same time, we had boyfriends at the same time. The only thing she and I didn’t have in common were the grades.
One of the things that draws me to the show is the relationships between the characters, and how even though some of these relationships are fractured, the writers always find a way to turn the exchanges into a heartwarming display of how empathy always wins over the characters. Lorelai and I have the same type of problematic relationship with our mothers. Emily is just like my mother, except with money. Richard is JUST like my father (but again, rich). Lorelai has a very broken child-parent relationship with them that is quite evident throughout the series, and sometimes things get ugly… but the altruistic nature of the characters always comes through and saves the day. Watching the arguments between Lorelai and her parents always tugs at my heart strings because it reminds me of the same fights I’ve had with mine over the years. The show just knows how to recreate the small but powerful dramatics we all have in our family life, which makes it so easy to relate to.
I love how Emily is this pretentious, overbearing, particular and slightly materialistic woman who never admits that she’s wrong, but always finds a way to somehow show it when she knows she is. She’s portrayed as the type of person you’d never really want to know in real life, let alone have as your mother, until the show reveals her vulnerable side and you can’t help but love her. I ALWAYS cry when they show Emily silently grieving over feeling left out of Lorelai’s life and feeling like she isn’t wanted, and especially when she laments over how she and Lorelai don’t have the same relationship that Lorelai and Rory have. That hits home for me, because my mother has expressed to me numerous times throughout my life that she feels like I can’t stand her and wonders why we can’t be closer than we are. Emily and Mom both appear strong on the outside, but are broken on the inside over issues that have been bubbling for years.
I relate to Emily in a way because I see my mother, silently grieving in the same respect, and it reminds me of that guilt I always feel when I see her heartbroken. I relate to Lorelai, because I know how it feels to be that daughter. You hate Emily, but you love her more… and seeing her sad makes you forget about everything you were just thinking about 5 seconds ago – JUST like my mom. They have very aggressive exteriors, but their hearts are always in the right place. Sometimes Lorelai doesn’t know how to connect with her mother, but she does try, no matter how hurt or angry she is… much like me.
And Richard – he’s staunch, stubborn, hot-tempered, dignified, unable to adjust to change, conservative… but very proud, much like my dad. Entirely like my dad. My dad isn’t as eloquent as Richard is on the show, but I imagine if Richard and my dad ever met, they’d have a great conversation over brandy about what the best way to save money is, but they’d argue over whether or not insurance is a scam.
Richard is one of my favourite characters on the show. He, just like Emily, is vulnerable, but you only see that side of him with the women in his life… like when he got into a fight with Rory, and when Lorelai graduated college and looked out into the audience and saw him smiling with pride (and seeing Emily cry), and whenever Emily is upset and does her silent moping and Richard just can’t handle seeing her like that. I don’t know, there’s something very lovable about him behind his hard exterior. And when he’s happy, he’s jolly, cracking all sorts of corny jokes which are only funny because he’s making them.
It’s a good lesson that no matter how frustrating a person can be, they’re still a human being who feels… just like you do. And it serves as a wonderful reminder that we never really know what’s going on in someone’s head or heart.
As for the main characters, Lorelai and Rory… well sometimes they annoy me because Rory is just so goody-goody and Lorelai is too banter-y and in-your-face… but that didn’t bother me when I was 16. I love Lorelai’s story of rising from having nothing and nowhere to go, to becoming a 32-year-old mother of a 16-year-old who owns her own house and manages a business. She’s the ultimate beacon of strength and determination, and she’s very independent. She never lets a man rule her life, and she has the strength to back out of situations that she knows aren’t right. I like that she took a bohemian path to end up just where she wanted to be in a life she built herself, and how she came from this millionaires lifestyle only to create her own simple life.
And Rory is the girl I wish I would have been in high school. Rory is the girl I am now, without the annoying innocence. I never understood where she got her money from, like when she had the biggest pizza in Connecticut made for her mother’s birthday. She never held a job in the entire series, except for being an intern, which hardly counts.
As for the rest of the cast, I love the eccentric people who live in Star’s Hollow, like Kirk, Babette, Maury, Miss Patty, Taylor… even the town troubadour. I love the minor details that the writers have thrown in to the scripts that become so memorable just because they’re so odd – like Al’s Pancake World specializing in every foreign cuisine on the planet. Or Taylor Doosey’s cardigans with the elbow pads… or how Kirk has to work in every single business in town. The quirks are endless.
In fact, it’s a quirky show. I loved it from the pilot episode as soon as I heard the witty bantering, and as I got older I started to recognize more of the allusions in the script. You can tell the writers loved their jobs, because they put so much time and effort into the verbal exchanges between the characters. They took the time to be smart writers who could create such depth to the show.
And there were times, after I’d drank a whole pot of coffee, that I could re-enact the banter with people in my life. Long gone are those days, but I do miss this show. ❤