Like practically everyone else I have been re-watching Gilmore Girls prior to watching the reboot and have just finished the original series. On one hand it’s a bit odd watching a show that makes flippant gay jokes and has as protagonists a bunch of rich, entitled white people and even more odd to realise that this show only ended 10 years ago. How far we’ve come…and how far we have to go. On the other this show impacted television in a lot of ways and Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) Gilmore are influential characters for many of us. In any case I have mostly enjoyed watching this show again even if it did leave me with the following questions.
1.) Why doesn’t anyone question Dean’s wedding?
At the end of Season 3 Dean (Jared Padelecki), Rory’s high-school boyfriend of 2 years, declares that he is getting married. Dean is 18 and has been going out with his girlfriend for less than a year so why does everyone accept this as a normal thing to happen? Dean’s family aren’t painted as particularly conservative or religious. Dean doesn’t seem like he’s caught up in a whirlwind romance and furthermore doesn’t seem to have a lot of money to get married. You don’t need to be rich to get married but the wedding that is shown later looks pretty expensive and Dean has always been portrayed as kind of poor and like he needed that part time job at Doose’s market so how and why has he decided to have a big wedding? I know in late 90’s/early 2000’s television characters were constantly getting spontaneously married and divorced but this is very strange to watch from my lofty seat in 2016.
2.) How do economics work on this show?
Okay so Lorelai is a single mom who works as a manager (and later, owner) of an inn, undoubtedly a good job but is it one that allows her to pay for her massive house and take-out several times a day? That seems unlikely but we’ll allow it. The mystifying thing is that Lorelai, an adult woman who ostensibly manages money as at least part of her job has no idea how money or, in fact, life works. In the pilot episode she is thrilled when Rory gets into an exclusive private school but then stunned that she needs to pay a large deposit and sizable tuition. Does she not know what a private school is? Did she and Rory somehow go through the whole application process without once looking at fees? I know that this plot device is there to set up the weekly dinners with Lorelai’s parents but this makes no sense at all. Worse, it happens again when Rory gets into Yale. Lorelai is stunned again that despite having extremely wealthy grandparents and her mother having just received $75,000 that Rory is ineligible for student aid. In another episode Lorelai is unable to get a loan which means she must have the worlds worst credit or at some point in her life declared bankruptcy. Look my credit is terrible (I’m working on it!) and the bank still routinely offers me more credit. Lorelai is supposed to own a home or at least have a mortgage on it so how is it possible that she can’t get loan? How come she hasn’t thought of getting a co-signer? Mysteries. In Season 4 Lorelai and Sookie are finally able to buy the Dragonfly Inn which they’ve been eyeing for years. Now Sookie isn’t rich as is established earlier on, and Lorelai can’t get a loan and obviously doesn’t have any savings so how are they funding this inn? We finally learn that they are out of money but where did the money come from in the first place? Money occupies a weird place in this show where it causes and fixes all problems and everyone has, or has access to, seemingly limitless funds.
3.Why is anyone friends with Rory?
Look I love this show but Rory is kind of horrible. Lorelai is horrible too, let’s be clear. She’s petulant and childish and selfish and tries to get the world to bend to her will. She is a thirty something woman who has no idea what she wants or who she is. She’s a fair-weather friend and a bit of a user. Still, it’s Rory’s doe-eyed “who-me?” routine that is particularly grating. In University she expects to get a good grade on a paper not because she’s worked hard or has been doing well or is passionate but because she is Rory.She shows no interest in Paris’s relationship with the professor she (Paris) is dating not because she disapproves in any meaningful way but because it simply doesn’t matter to her. She sleeps with her married ex-boyfriend and after breaking up his marriage leaves him again. She takes over Paris’ job as editor and then is befuddled as to why Paris would be annoyed. She accepts over-the-top gifts, sizable tuition cheques and rent free living but doesn’t want to admit that she’s wealthy and privileged. Rory expects everything to be about her and then spits in the face of the people who enable her to live an easy and lavish lifestyle.
4.) How does Rory not know what a Birkin bag is?
When Logan rolled up to Rory’s house at her grandparents with a Hermes bag I immediately knew what was in there and I’m a (relatively) poor person. When Rory sees it she still doesn’t know what it is and when Logan tells her what it is she STILL doesn’t know. I know this is nitpicky but are we supposed to believe that Rory, who has spent the last 4 years in some of the most elite and expensive schools in the country (or world even) and with some of the wealthiest people around has never even heard of a Birkin bag?? Are we meant to believe that Emily never sat her down and told her what to do if she receives a Birkin bag as a gift (ie: not throw it on the floor)?
5.)Do the writers hate Lane?
Lane (Keiko Agena) is Rory’s best friend and like Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) is to Lorelai her main role is to be a prop to Rory and an ear for her trials and triumphs. She does however get her own plot from time to time, she is a music lover who hides CDs in her floorboards so her religious mother won’t find them. She eats french fries and has secret boyfriends and the show often portrays her relationship with her conservative, immigrant mother in a nuanced and careful way. Still the show refuses to let her have success. When Lane secretly saves up all the money from their band tour in the hopes of recording an album the other band members steal it and that’s that, never mentioned again. When a recording company representative is present at one of their gigs and the guitarist/Lane’s boyfriend throws a fit and ruins their chances at success all is quickly forgiven and forgotten. When Lane gets pregnant with twins after having sex one time (and hating it),we, like Lane are supposed to put our dreams for this character on hold indefinitely. It’s a strange choice to constantly punish a main character and keep her from success and to present it at such face value instead of commenting on the unfairness of life or even ever resolving the issues.
Overall the main problem I have with this show is that so much of the plot and even the arcs of the secondary characters exist solely to prop up, provide contrast to or be a vehicle for our main characters’ development or characterization. The show is well-written and delightful to watch, don’t get me wrong but the lack of self-awareness is sometimes frustrating.
Now, on to the revival!