Last winter I abandoned the housemate life to move in on my own and while it’s probably the best thing I ever did, it was also a little lonely, so I turned to Amy Sherman-Palladino’s dreamy hour-long comedy drama Gilmore Girls, which was just the right amount fairy lights, humour and comfort. I never got into it the first time round – it was just too quaint for teenage me, and perhaps too sophisticated in some of its humour and references, but now it’s absolute perfection.
The news emerged yesterday that Netflix may well commission a reboot, eight years after that last episode (best finale ever) originally aired. It’s so rare that TV excited me, but this is one of those occasions. Don’t do that thing that people do and decide it’s probably rubbish on the basis of little more than a guess. Here are five reasons to binge-watch it ASAP.
It’s almost literally all about the women
Gilmore Girls is one of the only TV shows I’ve seen that pretty much flips on the traditional male-to-female character ratio and role. The men in the show are mostly there as supporting characters, mere love interests for the women, and although the family patriarch Richard Gilmore is a notable exception, this sets a subconscious tone for each episode, which promises great things from great women.
It’s the women who rule the roost, who get the funniest lines, the quirkiest characteristics and the most interesting storylines, without being relegated to the ubiquitous personality of neurotic fashion-obsessed airheads who care only about their appearance and relationships with men.
Individuality is praised, not punished
Lorelai and Rory have a permanent foot-in-mouth issue; Lane has a Korean, Seventh-day Adventist church-obsessed mother, yet spends her time secretly drumming with a band of outcasts; Luke is one of the most naturally awkward characters you’ll ever see on TV; Sookie and Jackson worship food more than each other; Paris is so highly strung she’d make Christina Yang look like a slacker; and the town oddball Kirk becomes positively absurd in order to stand out amongst so much cookiness. It’s endearing, and incredibly unusual.
This array of characters is complemented perfectly by the underlying value of the show: that Lorelai left her background of wealth and social conformity to make it on her own, and as a result is a happier, more rounded person who has raised her daughter to be unapologetically herself.
No one is good, no one is evil
This is one of the only mainstream US family shows I’ve seen that doesn’t succumb to the seemingly inevitable good-bad dichotomy. Rory is so revered by everyone that you would be unphased if a halo started floating above her head, yet she is not without fault, and often reveals herself to be selfish, impulsive and lacking in perspective and judgement. The deadbeat dad Christopher is in equal measures funny, intelligent, generous and kind; the stuffy manipulative grandparents are shown to be both vulnerable and loving.
All the characters have both positive and negative traits, and they are loved not despite – but because – of this.
The lightning-speed dialogue and constant pop culture referencing
When Lorelai shows Pretty in Pink to a bunch of teenage girls before the 80s were ironically cool again she says in one half-a-second breath: “Her name was Molly Ringwald, now I know you don’t know who that is, but suffice to say she is my generation’s Audrey Hepburn. And I know you don’t know who that is either but trust me, you’re gonna love her. And yes, that is the guy from Two And A Half Men.” This is compounded in its meta-references by the fact that Lauren Graham acted opposite Ringwald in the short-lived Townies.
This is how every conversation goes, it’s a miracle they can actually get a storyline in there but worth it. Each episode has the rich and layered script of a Sundance feature film.
The main character: Stars Hollow
The town is a character in and of itself. In the same way that SATC brought the vibrancy and excitement of Manhattan into your living room, Gilmore Girls gives us the cozy glowy feel of living in a tiny town with a two-century history, a brightly lit gazebo, zero crime and a community so kind hearted it makes you want to move to the suburbs, open an inn and find a diner with a grumpy owner who will know your breakfast order and let you pour your own coffee.
For The Babysitters’ Club fans out there, Stars Hollow is exactly what I imagine my second favourite fictional Connecticut town, Stoneybrook, to look like, and it’s just delightful (for an hour)