Gilmore Girls (2000 – 2007) is the story of a single mother and her daughter and their great relationship.

It’s serious without being depressing, it’s funny without being too light, and there’s such a variety of supporting characters that there must be at least one you like, I dare you to prove me wrong.

It was directed by Lee Shallat Chemel (Spin City, Murphy Brown), created by Amy Sherman-Palladino (Roseanne) and co-written by Palladino and David S Rosenthal (90210, Hope & Faith)

The length of this review is just in the spirit of how much they talk.  That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

The Characters

Lauren Graham is Lorelai Gilmore, single mother extraordinaire.  After getting pregnant in high school, she decided to leave home and ended up in Stars Hollow; a small, friendly community that becomes an extended family as she raises her daughter, moves up professionally and, of course, handles the men in her life.   At least, that’s when she’s not dealing with her mother, who is (naturally) hurt at being left, but secretly proud under her tough exterior.

Alexis Bledel is Rory Gilmore (short for Lorelai); a great student and a great friend, she’s good at just about anything she sets her mind to.  Except perhaps in the romance department and the real world, the first times we start to see her falter – not that that’s a bad thing, it adds a touch of realism to someone who is otherwise almost too perfect.

Kelly Bishop is Emily Gilmore, mother to Lorelai and grandmother to Rory.  A desperate Lorelai asking for a loan is her opportunity to get back into their lives, instituting the series-long Friday Night Dinners.  Despite their differences, she can (occasionally) admit when Lorelai has the best ideas and when she’s meddled that little bit too much.

Edward Herrmann is Richard Gilmore, father to Lorelai and grandfather to Rory.  The jovial and friendly to Emily’s authoritative and strict, he often defends them to his wife, and vice versa, acting as a buffer when things get tricky – which sometimes works. He starts out as rather more interested in his business deals than getting too involved, but that doesn’t last.

These are the four main characters ahead of a big group of supporters, most noticeably Luke (Scott Patterson), Sookie (Melissa McCarthy), Lane (Keiko Agena), Michel (Yanic Truesdale), Kirk (Sean Gunn) and Taylor (Michael Winters.)

You might be interested in hearing that this is the place to see Jared Padalecki in something that isn’t gory – he’s in seasons 1 to 5.  Playing a character called Dean, just to confuse you.

Relatable

These are characters that you grow to know and to love – or love to hate – and it’s sad to say goodbye to.  I was upset enough after watching it in three years, I can’t imagine if I had been watching while it aired. (Though there’s always the movie to look forward to! No, not really.  Bad joke.)

Of course there are exceptions to it being totally realistic, but you don’t watch a show for an exact representation of real life.  Taylor, I would hope, was exaggerated; Kirk created as a stereotypical village idiot.  Rory’s father not only reappearing, but – I won’t spoil it, but let’s say he has more to offer than just reconnect.  I would say Richard and Emily being really rich, but if anything only them having money is more realistic than some of what’s on now.

That isn’t to say that it’s completely unrealistic, either.  Things, for the most part, don’t just fall into their laps – they work for what they want and deserve it.  Rory does have a bit of an easy time at school (and while in high school, generally), but it’s made up for later.

There are moments where it pulls you in and hits pretty close to home; for me, it’s very much me and my mother, who (with the exception of sending me to a Yale equivalent, but that was Rory’s doing) has done all the same things for me.

The final season (possible spoilers)

The final season mostly concerns Rory finishing college and looking for a job, alongside Lorelai’s love life and Lane’s family life.

I’d advise not watching it if you happen to currently be finishing college yourself; it was so true to what I’m going through right now that it actually terrified me: “if Rory’s that smart and outgoing and having trouble, what chance do I stand?”

Of course, for her, it needed to be neatly wrapped up by the end of the season, which was not only fair for her but the right way to end it.  If only my life was a TV show.

I’m not saying that being an only child with a single mother will necessarily make you appreciate it more, but I know that’s part of why it got to me so much.  There’s a line in the last episode, when Lorelai’s wondering if there’s anything else she can do to help Rory on her way, to which the response is “you’ve given me everything I need.” Which can apparently still make me cry.

Conclusion

This is an awesome show and I can’t recommend it enough; not for you if you prefer monsters and bloodshed, but it you like family dramas with a lot of funny, a lot of talking (and pop culture references), I think you’ll love it.

Warning: it’ll probably make you wish you had the same relationship with your mother.

Seven seasons is plenty of time to move along with these characters.  We see Lorelai take charge of her life, deal with her singleness and fix her relationship with her mother – at least as much as is possible, it’s not an easy fix – but most noticeably, Rory’s progress.

We see her move to a new high school, graduate, start college – and then almost drop out – and graduate again.  We see her struggle with boyfriends, with the fact that her best friend is ahead of her in life, and finally see her get her dream job and fly the nest, fully prepared by her mother and her supporters.

Where are they now?

Lauren Graham can be seen in Parenthood (which sounds similar)

Jared Padalecki is in Supernatural

Alexis Bledel apparently made quite an impression in Mad Men recently.

Melissa McCarthy is in Mike & Molly. (And was in Bridesmaids)

Palladino has executive produced Bunheads, which premieres in the US today, and stars Kelly Bishop.

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