Gilmore Girls Rants

There is a lot of good things in Gilmore Girls, and a lot of problematic stuff to unpack. These rants about neither.

Gilmore Girls and Buffy are the same show

The similarities are not accidental. Buffy invented “the WB formula”: 3 years of high-school, followed by four years of college. A lot of the Buffy staff, particularly influential Jane Espenson, worked on Gilmore Girls.

Rory, like Buffy, is a single daughter to a single mom with a complicated relationship with her father: she blames him for abandoning them, but still dreams of her parents getting together. Rory, like Buffy, lives in a small city not far from the “canonical” big city: Star Hollow and Hartford, Sunnydale and Los Angeles.

The mayor is an extreme character, somehow staying in his position forever despite being really bad at it. Rory is torn between the “good guy” Dean, paralleling Angel, and “bad boy rebel” Jess, paralleling Spike.

Towards the end of the show, as Rory and Buffy start aging out of the core teen/tween demographic, a viewer-identification character is forced into the show to be the protagnonist’s foil: Dawn is deus-ex-machina’ed by the monks, and April is rides into town with an even less believable backstory.

The best friend is a member of a model minority. She has an overbearing mother, a nigh-invisible father, and a crush on guitar-playing cool guy.

The frenemy is a rich girl. However, her parents cheat the IRS, and she becomes poor and has to do menial work to get nice things.

The show reaches a crisis at the end of Season 5: Buffy dies, and Rory quits college. Season 6 deals with the ramifications of coming back from the dead, and season 7 sets up the series finale, in which the protagnoist finally leaves the small city.

But not everything is wrapped up by the finale: to truly achieve closure for the fans, an alternative media (comics, Netflix mini-series) closes out the show with a nice bow-tie. The alternative media also has a much different “mood” than the rest of the show: a lot more location hopping, for one.

Gilmore Girls in an unreliable narrator show

“Lose the ‘the’.” – Lorelai, Gilmore Girls a Year in the Life

After losing the “the”, Rory’s book that is partially written at the end of GG:aYitL, has the same title as the TV show. This is an explicit choice on the part of the writers. It might make sense to consider that the show is not based on “reality” but on Rory’s book.

Rory tells Dean, “I’m changing the names, but you’ll know it’s you.” This seems to mean she will be playing a bit loose with reality: this is not a strictly biographical memoir. Considered in this late, many things in the show make more sense.

Kirk is not one person. The reason he has so many jobs is because there are many people who all get amalgamated into “Kirk”. Lorelai’s sex scenes tend to be quite a bit less detailed than Rory’s. This, again, makes more sense considering they come from Rory’s book: she’s probably uncomfortably imagining just enough details to make a believable scene.

The extreme charactes in Star Hollow also make more sense. Rory is exaggerating for comic effect. The incredible wit and quick repartee of Lorelai and Rory also makes more sense: she is reimagining scenarios with l’esprit d’escalier, adding a witty retort when it would be funny or interesting.