What I Noticed Watching Gilmore Girls For The First Time

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Somehow I’ve avoided the Gilmore Girls through my entire adolescent and adult life. I vaguely remember it as something that was on around about the time I was busy watching Charmed or Buffy. When the rumors of a new series started swirling around on my Facebook I literally had to hold my hands up and say, “What’s the deal, guys?” Because I’d never seen it.

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When my friends started telling me how jealous they were of me getting to watch it all for the first time, I realized I had to give it a go.

I got hooked after a few episodes of season one and brought my boyfriend along with me. When I get home from work now he usually has Gilmore Girls open on Netflix for me, and keeps telling me he wants to move to a small American town (as if Stars Hollow exists!). I’m onto season six now, close to the end (and the new episodes), so here are a few things I’ve learned so far.

1. You don’t have to be strong all the time

One thing I love about Lorelai is that she’s endlessly upbeat and strong. You rarely see her be affected by things to the point of tears, but you can absolutely tell when she’s upset – and you feel for her. When she broke up with Luke (the first time, I’m aware it happens again and I’m not happy about it) I almost wanted to cry for her.

I think Lorelai’s character teaches us that you don’t have to be strong all the time to have it all, the business, the family, the balance. The episode where Suki sent her home from work because she was being highly strung and stressed seriously resonated with me, too. It’s okay to realize where your weaknesses lie and embrace vulnerability sometimes.

2. Rory’s fall from grace is perfect

Now, I’m sure if I watched this when I was younger I would’ve empathized more with Rory’s character. As it is, for the first few seasons it annoyed me that she seemed to be this strange unattainably perfect version of a teenager. Everybody I know has done at least one ‘naughty’ thing, and yet, Rory had endless supplies of cute boyfriends fighting over her, amazing grades, everybody in the town loved her and she basically got anything she wanted.

That’s why I was actually glad to see her start to fall from grace. When she got arrested and dropped out I was actually smiling to myself. Ha! Nobody’s perfect, not even Rory. And I think it helped to develop her character.

3. We should all be a little more like Paris 

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Man, I love Paris. I know there are a lot of people who are annoyed by her – like seriously annoyed. But I love her direct way of speaking and how she knows exactly what she wants and how to get it. It’s never really hindered her, when she didn’t get into Harvard, although she was devastated, it’s not long before she puts all that aggression and drive into her studies at Yale. I really like her, I’d love to take some of that directness in the way I talk and do things. The key word being some, not all.

4. Everybody lives in a bubble

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One thing I absolutely loved about the show is that you see Emily, Lorelai and Rory all going through similar troubles at the same time. And they never talk about it fully with each other. There were so many times I was just basically shouting at the TV for Lorelai to just hug her mother. Watching Gilmore Girls as an adult, you can see how we all exist in our own little bubble. There are times when Emily, Lorelai and Rory can be incredibly selfish, but guys c’mon, we all are.

I think my frustrations with the show were mainly based around the fact that Lorelai and Emily are never 100% open and honest with each other. So I’m really hoping for some resolution between their characters.

5. It’s actually not about romance

Every female character in the show seemed to have one (or two or three!) male counterparts, which was slightly annoying to me as it’s supposed to be a feminist show. And although everyone is already talking about which of Rory’s boyfriends she should reunite with, and what happened with Luke and Lorelai – I don’t actually think it’s about the romance at all. None of the women in this show are helpless and feeble, and one of the great things about this show is that it shows us women who can be annoying, selfish and flawed as well as funny, successful, and smart.

Luke’s part, for example, was first written as a woman! Although I did get sucked in to the Luke/Lorelai storyline because I love a good romance, I think all along it’s more about how the town interacts with each other, and how the women support each other through whatever it is they’re going through.

6. Kirk is the best character on the show 

I look forward to his insane dialogue and odd jobs. He’s always helpful, funny without meaning to be and just some great comic relief for the show. Forget everyone who says Christopher is the best guy on the show – that is clearly untrue. It’s all about Kirk!

I’m really interested to see if he’s still an oddball in the new series!

7. Family is complicated 

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Oh god yes. There is no such thing as a perfect family, Emily and Richard have money and opportunity. But you can tell they aren’t a close family. Richard’s heart problems early on in the show didn’t shock Lorelai into being kinder to him, and somehow they never seem to forgive Lorelai for running away – even though Rory turned out perfectly fine.

Within Lorelai and Rory’s relationship you can see plenty of times when their closeness borders on unhealthy – especially when they fall out because Lorelai then treats Rory like a best friend, not a daughter, and cuts her out. I was begging Lorelai to intervene and play the mom card. To get the perfect family, you need to know you’re probably going to argue about something, but you need to drop your baggage at the door and pull together. The Gilmore family, made up of such driven, headstrong women, would be much stronger if they all pulled together and made allowances for each other.

Gilmore Girls A Year In The Life is out today on Netflix! Let me know what you learned from the show.


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Beth Macdonald

Managing Editor

I'm the Managing Editor of CGD. I'm a graduate of the Penguin Writer's Academy and have published a short story. I specialize in copywriting, digital marketing, and research.