Entertainment

Why ‘Gilmore Girls’ Matters So Much

The beloved TV show is getting a reboot; should you care?

It has been nearly 16 years since the drama, “Gilmore Girls,” made its television debut, and fans are still raving. The reason: The show is being reincarnated for four new mega-episodes to air later this year on Netflix. The very idea of it, let alone the steady drip of news tidbits leaking out about the production, have thrown “Gilmore Girls” acolytes into near hysteria.

Wondering why?

For starters, the show, centered around Lorelai Gilmore (played by Lauren Graham) and her daughter Rory (actress Alexis Bledel) in a small Connecticut town, resonates with almost anyone, and certainly almost anyone who’s female.

Teenagers can relate to high-school-aged Rory, with her classroom rivalries and first love; students see themselves in college-aged Rory, with her dorm room drama and quarter-life crises; and twenty-somethings connect with both Rory and Lorelai as the characters further their careers, fall in love, and suffer heartbreak.

Original fans of the show have stuck by Lorelai and Rory since day one. They watched new episodes on the WB, then the CW; then they watched reruns on ABC Family — they even watched all those same episodes again when the show hit Netflix. A wave of new fans fell in love with ‘Gilmore Girls’ thanks to the show’s premiere (of reruns) on Netflix. And now fans are anxiously awaiting the reboot, set to air also on Netflix.

Amy Sherman-Palladino created complex characters that are both lovable and infuriating at the same time, and it’s that complexity that keeps viewers coming back for more. It’s almost like participating in an inkblot test; viewers see something different each time around.

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“Gilmore Girls” is a classic for a reason. It is not just a binge-worthy show for the weekends, but rather a series with broader importance and cultural impact:

‘Gilmore Girls’ delves deep into the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship.
Sherman-Palladino wrote the characters of Lorelai and Rory with every mother-daughter duo in mind. The show does not feed into the illusion that the mother-daughter dynamic must be either authority figure and subordinate or equals, with no in-between. Rather, Lorelai strikes the perfect balance of being both Rory’s protective mother and goofy best friend.

Rory is a realistic role model for young women.
Rory has made her fair share of mistakes along the way to success and happiness, but that is what makes her relatable. Viewers of the show are not presented with a flawless female lead who skates through life and lives happily ever after. Rory made some poor decisions and some great decisions, and she learned from them. Rory’s journey through her teenage and young adult years has a realness to it that inspires young girls to persevere.

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Lorelai’s success proves hope is never lost.
Lorelai got pregnant with Rory at age 16. Being a single mom while she herself was basically still a child forced Lorelai to miss out on a standard college education. However, this did not stop Lorelai from putting in the long hours to receive an education and achieve her dream of opening her own inn. Instead of letting a teenage pregnancy derail her life plans, Lorelai used it as motivation to work harder to reach her goals.

‘Gilmore Girls’ served as a conversation-starter for those difficult topics.
Nothing is worse than listening to a parent carefully try to explain the birds and the bees in an appropriate manner, especially if said parent has no idea where to even begin. Thankfully, “Gilmore Girls” was there to start that conversation for parents everywhere. Lorelai and Rory had a famously huge fight about when and to whom Rory lost her virginity. So for mothers and daughters watching the show, that episode opens the door to an incredibly important conversation.

‘Gilmore Girls’ shows women supporting other women.
Lorelai and Sookie Saint James (Melissa McCarthy) joined forces to open and operate a wildly successful inn. Rory and her pal Paris Geller (Liza Weil) push each other to be the best possible students through friendly competition. Both are examples of how the show promotes strong female friendships. Lorelai and Sookie may have fought a handful of times over the logistics of opening and running the inn, but in the end, they always had each other’s backs and wanted the other to thrive. Rory and Paris had a strange way of supporting one another — through competition. However, it was good-natured competition that only made each girl strive to succeed.

The male leads provide a lesson in love.
Fans of the show distinguish themselves by which male love interest they want to end up with Lorelei (Chris vs. Max vs. Luke) and Rory (Dean vs. Jess vs. Logan). No matter what team fans are on, each potential romantic partner taught viewers about what love looks like and does not look like. All the men went through phases of treating Lorelai and Rory more poorly than they deserved to be treated, and this gave viewers an idea of actions that are not tolerable in a relationship. Conversely, the men all had their redeeming qualities that served as examples for how women ought to be treated.

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Fans hope and expect these themes will extend through the “Gilmore Girls” revival, set to pick up a number of years after where the show left off. No doubt we’ll see more mature, established versions of Rory and Lorelai. Some of the more pressing issues for fans are: What men are in Lorelai and Rory’s lives nowadays? What does Rory’s career as a journalist look like? Are Lorelai and Emily (her mom) on better terms?

The revival will hopefully wrap up some of the loose ends left untied when the show had its finale in 2007. True fans know that Sherman-Palladino did not get the chance to end the show the way she wanted because she left after Season 6 amid contract disputes. The show ended after Season 7.

Even truer fans will know that all this time Sherman-Palladino has known the last four words on which she wants to end the show. So it’s safe to say that with Sherman-Palladino on board for the Netflix revival, fans will finally get the answers to some of their burning questions.

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