Growing up Gilmore.

27 August 2016

I know I'm not a special snowflake. (Though some would disagree and say I have yet to learn this.) I'm not the only twenty-something year old girl that spent her formative years studying Rory and Lorelai Gilmore, willing herself to be them. But when has being exactly like thousands of other people ever stopped me from talking about myself.

It was on ABC Family when I got home from school. I got the first and second seasons on boxset for Christmas. I would watch them when school had let out for summer until the discs wore out and I could hear birds announcing I had made it to 6am. I started a notebook detailing the plot of season one and where songs appeared in certain episodes (there's websites for this now that I would have killed for then). I was firmly in favour of the cookies and love and the Dean and the Rory and the cookies and the love

I wanted to work hard and set my eye on applying to Ivy League schools like Rory. I applied to one in the end. Got as far as a phone interview and blew it by talking nervously to the recruiter about Twilight. Oh, to be eighteen.

I idolised stubborn, sharp-tongued and reference-wielding Lorelai. I hated the way she sucked in her cheeks when she was looking at something or upset. And I pined for my mother to be more like her than an Emily. Which was not fair on my mom, as she was a far cry from either. 

Basically this is all to say that I am rewatching Gilmore girls again. And it's about as traumatic an experience as revisiting anything from your past when you've got a little more grown up life experience under your belt. 

This show is incredibly white. Like, let's be real. It's a show about white people problems. There's Lane but she's a very secondary character and always trying to squeeze herself into Rory's increasingly busy life. There's Michel but about all he serves is for comic relief. A gay man of colour living in conservative Connecticut in the early 2000s – I'd be grumpy too at the idiots I'd have to deal with every day. So like most things when you get older and are the byproduct of a liberal arts education, the things that you once loved and still comfort you, you also recognise as problematic. 

There is still loads of residual Rory that's melded itself into my personality. Jumping and screaming 'bah' when startled by someone talking to me. Feeling compelled to bring a book with me everywhere I go. And this guilty face from Lorelai when I ask for a cheeky favour.

So that's a little bit of what's it's been like to revisit my childhood this month. To see things I had hoped for in high school and how different a direction my life took. To realise my privilege in growing up watching faces that looked like mine. And despite this newfound discomfort in something so seminal in my teenage years, I'm trying to allow myself to enjoy it for what it was to me. An escape to a small town where women were smart, autonomous, hilarious, made mistakes, had ambitions and looked after each other.

Additional viewing:
Friends don't lie.
YouTube so white.
If you've been meaning to get started
Hey, I heard you had an impure thought about me.


  1. How fortuitous! I was just scrolling through the Gilmore Girls twitter feed and now I've logged in to blogger and read your post!
    As someone who is south-asian I find it interesting how your re-watching of GG has revealed its problematic-ness. For me, when I first encountered the show, I never noticed- which is sad because it reinforces how important diversity is; I accepted that a whitewashed programme was enough when now, as a 22 year old I can see it is not okay.
    Since watching GG the first time I have re-watched it as different points of my life and it has always meant something different. There is something so powerful about watching Rory and Lorelai live their life. I found (and still find) it vicariously empowering. Also, as I have gotten older and as I've watched different shows I have realised that I love fast paced dialogue because I'm someone who likes being witty and it's a skill which I wish I was better at. It's also interesting how my opinion about Rory's love life has changed over time. That's why I love re-watching GG. It's not about the plot as much as it is about their relationship and the characters on the show. Whenever I embark on a GG phase I am always confronting a past self of mine because I think context can never be separated from your experience of a show. As I go through life, GG will mean something new but it will inevitably invite nostalgia for days gone by. Not only that, having listened to some of the Gilmore Guys podcasts it is interesting to me how I ignored problematic elements of the show for the sake of my love of the characters: the issue of diversity as you mentioned; the fact that Loreali is actually quite a selfish mother at times in the show; Dean is a controlling boyfriend, arguably in an abusive way etc etc.
    Anyway, I am super excited to see the new series and your post has reminded me of all my GG memories!
    (sorry this comment is all over the place btw, had a lot of thoughts so I just decided to bleurgh :))

    1. Hey there. Thank you for your utterly awesome comment. I really enjoyed reading it. So fascinating to hear other people's relationship to the show. From this rewatch, I totally find myself emulating the witty fast talk IRL again, just as I did when I first watched the show as a teenager. Being able to speak that way always made me feel so smug and powerful and I love that a show could verbally empower me and still can unlock that confidence.

      I love the idea that rewatching GG is an exercise in confronting a past self. Well put.

  2. A very basic perspective, as compared to yours and sheloves...

    Male and so not the target audience, but thought girls were cute, so tried to watch. Pilot episode, I think.

    Rapid-fire-back-and-forth, cute for five minutes, but for whole show, relentless.
    I rapidly decided that I was happy to just see Lauren and Alexis occasionally on late night talk shows, promoting the show, instead..

    Bonus corgi, marionhoney, in case you've missed this one - many (sustained-cute) videos and little hound is just gorgeous -

  3. The most interesting part of GG for me was the way they spoke.
    There was clearly a lot of effort put into not just what the characters were saying but how it was said. The rhythm and interplay between characters was always engaging. It's almost Seussian.

    The only other show I've seen that comes close is Deadwood, but there it's much more formalised as the writer was aiming for iambic pentameter. Also they used a few more "COCKSUCKERS!"

  4. Are you implying that I should have watched more than five minutes, *here-and-there*, after that initial watch? ok :)

    Given that you gave me a nice reminder dig out my Squarepusher CD's - and very belatedly rip them... enjoy this track:
    Many, and even better tracks to discover, if you're keen.

    Happy haunting, Vic!