Over 20 years since its premiere, Gilmore Girls is a show that remains in the hearts of so many. With its notoriously fast dialogue, abundance of pop-culture references and quirky characters - the show is irreplaceable (though arguably, shows like Ginny and Georgia have tried). For all super-fans of the show, it’s something to return to when happy, sad, or in-between. Passed down from my sister and then eventually shared with my mum, Stars Hollow is my home away from home, and after seven years of watching and rewatching continuously, I’m yet to tire of it.
The thing that, for me, makes Gilmore Girls so special, is its background characters. The residents of Stars Hollow pop up in every single episode and you are made to know and love them just like the titular duo. When the series finishes, we, like Rory, have to say goodbye to the wacky townsfolk and it is this which makes the show’s ending so bittersweet. Rory isn’t just saying goodbye to her mum and grandparents, she’s leaving behind a whole town of people love her like she’s their own.
Of course, the duo of Rory and Lorelai is crucial to the show’s success. Their relationship is so beautiful that I think everyone’s hearts were broken when they didn’t speak for half a season. Their witty discussions, arguments, movie nights and post-breakup wallowing is enough to remind anyone of their own mum or mother-figure. In fact, the show reminds me so much of my own mum now that I do struggle to watch it without her, though when I do, it feels a lot like a hug.
Rory’s grandparents, Richard and Emily, are also incredibly loved by fans of the show. I think there’s something very clever about how one minute you can hate them and the next minute be reminded of your own proud grandparents, something that also applies to Rory’s frenemy, Paris. Ultimately, the show is talented at character development and presents us with figures who, much like the people that watch them, are flawed but still lovable.
I’ll conclude my reasoning with a controversial confession: I am a Rory Gilmore defender. I always saw myself in Rory - I looked up to her studious behaviour and tended to match her taste in men (Jess Mariano, I’m looking at you). That being said, when she started to make questionable decisions, I was one of those people who turned against her. However, now I’m older, I’m a firm believer that we and the other characters in the show put Rory on a pedestal – her family are constantly telling her she’s the best so it’s completely realistic that when out in the real world, she takes a bit of a tumble. Rory is flawed, and unlike the male or older characters in the show, people branded her flaws as something that made her irredeemable. But for me, the fact that she falls and comes back stronger, eventually reporting on Obama’s campaign trail, is something that makes her just as inspirational to me as she was when I was 13.
I don’t think I can truly do justice to Gilmore Girls, and I think in order to find out how special it is, you’d have to watch it yourself. But I can tell you that, for me, it’s a home I can go to wherever I am and a family that I can have ‘Friday night dinner’ with when I’m too far away from my own.