“If you’re out on the road”, there’s a very good chance that you’ll run into the fastest, most nonsensical talking White women in the Whitest place on Earth. Starting its run in the beginning of the 21st century, Gilmore Girls was centered around the mother-daughter duo of Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and her daughter of the same name, better known as Rory (Alexis Bledel). Both fairly unknown actresses, Grhamn and Bledel became family television icons for their portrayal of a young mother making sacrifices to give her brilliant daughter all of the advantages that she herself left behind when she severed ties with her toxic, but wealthy parents.
At the show’s opening, we see how close Lorelai and Rory are, and how happy, until Rory is accepted into Chilton, the private school of her dreams, and one that her mother simply cannot to send her to. Lorelai is then forced to go to the only people who she knows both can and will help her pay: her parents, Richard (Edward Hermann) and Emily (Kelly Bishop). The quintessential silver spoon family, the Gilmores are totally loaded, and though Lorelai had left home with her infant daughter years ago without turning back, for the entire run of the series, she learns the hard way that White privilege is always best with a boost of money, and that the money that her parents provide, on the condition that she and Rory have dinner with them every Friday night, can be both advantageous and imprisoning.
Gilmore Girls follows the slow, stunted healing of the three generations of the Gilmore family, Lorelai and Rory’s relationship with one another and Rory’s absentee/deadbeat father, as well as the live they have built for themselves in the almost unbelievably quaint and comical town of Stars Hollow. Though our leads could be greatly annoying at times, the auxiliary cast, such as Rory’s best friend, Lane (Keiko Agena), her mother Mrs. Kim (Emily Kuroda), the town mechanic, Gypsy (Rose Abdoo), Rory’s competitive classmate, Paris (Liza Weil), her love interests Dean (Jared Padalecki) and Jess (Milo Ventimiglia), Lorelai’s co-workers and friends Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) and Michel (Yanic Truesdale), and her primary love interest, Luke (Scott Patterson) more than make up for the speedy banter and the often eye-rolling irritation caused by the title characters.
The series was groundbreaking maybe one or two ways (read: a series based around the lives of a former teen mom and her currently teenage daughter), but wildly formulaeic and predictable in other aspects. More than anything else, Gilmore Girls was dripping in White privilege, and this is never more obvious than in the handling and treatment of Lorelai, who is never talked down to by anyone (save her parents), or treated badly on account of being an unwed teen mother, as she surely would have been if she had been a woman of colour. Then there’s the fact that, as a teen runaway with a newborn baby, Lorelai had been able to find work and provide for herself and her child without having to resort to government aid, as nearly anyone who didn’t come from a wealthy White background would have.
No matter what financial problems arose in Gilmore Girls, we couldn’t ever get too worried, because Richard and Emily, despite whatever stipulations were attached, would always come to the rescue and keep their girls from struggle and destitution. As a result, these financial “issues” were only a distraction from the real issues: Lorelai’s toxic relationship with her parents and how they use her daughter as a mirror of her flaws, Rory’s father, and the idol worship that she and her grandparents bestow upon him (another glaring example of white privilege as well), and how both Lorelai’s upbringing and relationship with Rory’s father, Christopher (David Sutcliffe) cause many psychological roadblocks in her attempts to have romantic relationships.
Gilmore Girls ended in 2007, and we thought we’d seen the last of Lorelai and Rory, but in December 2016, Netflix released their original series Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life, based on the hit series, which follows the pair 10 years after Rory’s graduation of Yale University, and finds Lorelai discontent in her relationship, Rory going nowhere fast, and Emily in mourning. Though Rory intellect was projected as prodigious previously, in the new series, we see that brains without ambition and a clear goal are more or less wasted. Rory is wandering aimlessly through life, and although help, advice, and real resources surround her, it appears that all efforts made of Lorelai’s part to give her all the best and spare her any struggle only resulted in a woman who is incapable of managing her own life.
All three of the Gilmore women are at major crossroads in their lives, and during four seasons, they all come to their own epiphanies, their own choices, their own places of healing. Though the second season of Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life has yet to be announced by Netflix, and all the things that annoyed you about every character in the cast remains, this is precisely what makes it so charming. Creator Amy Sheman-Palladino is still very much at the helm and as a result, this does not feel like a half-assed reboot and truly pays homage to the original, memorable series.
Overall, I give all things Gilmore girls 3.5 stars.