When Gilmore Girls debuted in the fall of 2000, I was 20 years old and too busy with life to watch. Two full seasons passed before I figured out that this show, written about a fast-talking, coffee-drinking single mom and her bookish teenage daughter, was something I needed to watch. And let me tell you, that was the single best binge of my life!
I was hooked from the moment Lorelai opened her mouth. No one I knew at the time spoke about books and movies like Rory and her mom did, and their general geekiness made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I don’t like coffee and I’ve never attended a fancy school, but I do read endlessly and watch old movies like I’m dependent on them to live. These fictitious women made me feel normal, plus I fell in love with Luke almost immediately.
While there are endless ways in which Gilmore Girls made me a better version of myself, here are 15 of those ways. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the Netflix release will make me an even better person.
I certainly can’t get any worse.
15. Jess Reads
Let’s face it, Jess was a first class jerk to Rory and to just about everyone else he met. He was an angry teenage boy who needed more love from his mom and who took out his angst on his gorgeous, sweet uncle (whom I wanted to someday marry).
But Jess read. He was like no boy I’d ever seen before, carrying around tomes and actually reading them. Even more, he had opinions on literary classics and passion for culture! I had no basis for Jess in reality.
So I found some guys who read and it changed my life. The day I joined my university’s English program was the day I found real men, passionate and intelligent. I spent a lot of time with guys like that and realized the world is much bigger than the little corner of it that I grew up in. And all of that because Jess was a voracious reader.
14. Sookie Didn’t Mention Losing Weight
Sookie St. James was portrayed in the first episode as a complete klutz. A genius in the kitchen and a great friend, but a complete klutz. Over the course of the show, though, they removed that aspect of her character and she became a stronger version of herself.
Played by Melissa McCarthy, who has since exploded into fame, Sookie was a plus-sized gal. But not once, not even one time in the entire course of the show, did she complain about her weight or say she needed to go on a diet. Sookie was perfect just the way she was and she found love and started a family without changing one thing about herself.
I have started a diet 7,451 times in my life (figures probably not right) and I’ve complained about my body, at least in my head, every single day since I can remember. Sookie never did. Whether or not that’s realistic, I don’t care, because she was an inspiration and I hope some of her awesome attitude rubbed off on me.
13. What Kind of Parent Do You Want to Be?
Unlike Lorelai, I didn’t have a child as a teenager. No, I waited until I was almost the age Lorelai was in the show to have my kids. Still, I absorbed every parenting choice she made and tucked them away for the day I, too, would get the chance to mold my offspring in the way she molded Rory.
What do you mean she molded Rory? That’s absurd! She let Rory grow up and make her own choices unlike how she was raised by Emily and Richard.
Calm down. Yes, Lorelai gave Rory as much free will as she possibly could but don’t be fooled. Any child is molded by the way he or she is raised, and Rory was no exception. Lorelai taught Rory to love old movies and classic novels. She taught her to drink too much coffee and speak really fast. She molded her in the way parents should mold their children.
12. Money Isn’t Everything
In my late teens, I met a man who came from money and, let me tell you, it was exciting! Having the freedom of fluid cash to grease palms and buy fun stuff was super exciting… for a while. There came a point, as there normally does, when the shiny money distractions wore off and I got to see who I was really dating. I decided there wasn’t enough money in the world to keep me shackled to that dude.
Fast forward half a lifetime and I’m happily married with two amazing kids. We aren’t rich, not poor either, but we’re happy and he’s a good man. He’s like Luke, grumpy and grumbly at times, but with a heart full of fairness and love for me and our kids.
11. How to Be a Kick Ass Feminist 101
Despite the fact that the word “feminist” is rarely used throughout the entirely of the show’s seven years, Lorelai’s unwavering belief in herself and Sookie was, indeed, as feminist as they come.
Feminism gets a bad rap from people who believe, incorrectly, that feminists demand to be treated better than men. Where that comes from, I don’t know, but the reality is that a feminist is simply someone who thinks that women should be treated equally, not better, and certainly not less than, men.
So how did Lorelai teach me to be a feminist? She raised an amazing daughter all on her own through her own grit and determination. She moved up from a maid to manager to owner of an Inn. She decided if men fit into her life without bending over to change for them. She taught her daughter to be strong and make her own decisions.
10. Expand Your Music, Expand Your World
In 2002, when I discovered Gilmore Girls and binged the hell out of two seasons, I didn’t have that wide of a taste in music. My preferences included anything that was on the radio at the time and a few local bands that my friends and I frequently went to see in person.
Then there was Lane. For a little, supposedly demure Korea girl, she had amazing taste in music. I had never seen someone so knowledgeable about the origins and complexities of musical groups before, and it made me want to look up the bands and albums she talked about.
Lane became my compass when it came to indie rock and amazing bands that most people had never heard of. She gave me dark, moody, fun, silly, classic, and contemporary music and it expanded my world. Because of Lane, I discovered the Clash.
9. First Love Sometimes Ends
I loved Dean. I mean, I really loved Dean. That big, doe eyed adorable boy was so sweet that I wanted to take him home to my parents. His romance with Rory was the more adorable thing I’d ever seen, but it came to an end.
If you’ve ever been a part of a Gilmore Girls’ discussion, then you know it always leads with a fight about the men in Rory’s life. Some people go for Jess, citing their shared love of literature, and some go for Logan, saying theirs was the only real, grown up relationship Rory had ever experience, and he was gorgeous.
But you know what Dean and Rory had? First love. There’s nothing like a first love to break every inch of your heart and soul. Rory and Dean’s breakup taught me that it’s completely normal to always love the first person you gave your heart to, but that you have to move on to grow up.
8. Take a Step in Someone Else’s Jimmy Choo’s
No one is going to argue that Emily and Richard Gilmore made the right choices when Lorelai told them she was pregnant for Christopher. They didn’t. They had high expectations of their only daughter and she broke their hearts, first by ruining their dreams and then by shutting them out of her and Rory’s lives for a very long time.
But you know what? They weren’t trying to ruin her life, they loved Lorelai. That’s evident throughout the entire show, even when Emily is being so childish and petty you want to strangle her. You can see Lorelai realizing it too, as the seasons go by and parenting Rory gets harder. As a parent you don’t always agree with what your children do. Lorelai certainly didn’t agree with Rory’s rekindled romance with Dean when he was a married man. But that didn’t mean she wanted Rory to break ties with her for years, which is what she did to Emily and Richard.
7. Sometimes Little Boys Grow Up
Sometimes, when we know someone for a very long time, it’s almost impossible to think that they can actually change. Sometimes it is impossible, but sometimes it’s not. Most people have the capacity for self-actualization and change if they have the will to do so, but it’s not always so easy to accept.
Christopher wasn’t ready to be a father at 16 but he offered to marry Lorelai and make a family anyway. No, it probably wasn’t the best offer in the world, but he tried. After that he went off the rails a bit and took around ten years to figure out that the one thing he didn’t want in life was to be like his parents. So he changed.
The Christopher at the end of the show isn’t the same Christopher that walked away from Lorelai and Rory. He’s a different man, a grown man who’s a father to a little girl and an almost grown woman.
6. Witty Banter is Life
To be fair, Gilmore Girls didn’t introduce me to the concept of quick witted banter… Buffy the Vampire Slayer did. Thank you, Joss Whedon!
But Buffy, while the pinnacle of television excellence, exists in a make-believe world of vampires and Gilmore Girls exists in a somewhat realistic version of small town USA. Listening to Lorelai and Rory discuss everything from Rory wearing a pink pet collar to them using their combined mental powers to move half a city block closer to them was so comical that it never got old. Lorelai is absolutely ridiculous in such a sweet and lovely way that it just makes you love her.
Sometimes it makes Luke want to strangle her, but it also made him love her.
I have one friendship in my life that contains this type of witty banter and, let me tell you, there’s nothing like having someone so in tune with you that they can have strangely fast conversations with you about nothing and follow alone every step of the way.
5. Being a Good Mom Doesn’t Mean You’re a Good Housekeeper
I am a good mom. I love my kids, I play with them, I even let them spit food they don’t like out into my hand. What I don’t do, very well at least, is cook and clean.
Lorelai sucked at cooking and keeping a refrigerator filled with nutritious food. I, at least, buy fruit and vegetables, which I sometimes forget about until they go rotten. Still, I make sure my kids have protein, dairy, carbs, and the rest of those important food groups before they move onto the chocolate and sugar food groups.
These are not food groups you say? According to Lorelai and Rory they most certainly are, as are left over Chinese and pizza. Rory might be short but I doubt you can blame that on her food choices, since, you know, the actress that plays her, Alexis Bledel, is just short.
Lorelai was a pretty good cleaner though. Not tidy, but her house always seemed clean.
4. Follow My Dreams
Right from the first episode we know that Lorelai and Sookie have big plans to buy their own Inn and run it with Sookie as the culinary talent and Lorelai as the business mastermind. Lorelai is supposed to be 33 by that point and already she’s the manager of a beautifully run Inn. Emily and Richard might not think she’s reaching her full potential, but it’s pretty clear to the rest of us, you know, the ones who have to work for a living, that she’s done pretty darn good for herself in a very short amount of time.
Lorelai and Sookie don’t give up, even when it looks like there’s no way they’re going to be able to buy the Inn of their dreams and finally open their own business. But they do it. They open the Dragonfly Inn and make it the place of their dreams.
3. Even the Weirdest People Can Find Love
If there was one relationship in the entire show that really showed what love can do, it was between Paris and Doyle. Paris is the most narcissistic, emotionally overwrought woman in existence and Doyle a strange, funny, smart nerd who loves her with all his heart. They shouldn’t work but they do and it’s perfect.
Doyle understands Paris like no one, not even Rory, has ever understood her before and isn’t that what true love it all about? Really knowing someone and loving them anyway. When Paris ends her relationship with Doyle because she doesn’t want to choose her next education path based on his decisions, he chooses to follow her in a total role reversal that doesn’t emasculate him in the least. Paris is a strong woman and Doyle believes in her enough to let her follow her dreams first.
2. Sometimes You Need to Take a Step Back to See the Whole Picture
By her second year at Yale Rory had found her place, working at the newspaper and securing a coveted internship with Mitchum Huntzburger, king of newspapers. Only, he’s a bit of a jerk and tells her after a few weeks that he knows a good reporter when he sees one and she doesn’t have it.
So what does Rory do? Buck up and work harder? Ignore his soulless words and make her dream happen anyway? Nope. She quits Yale, goes to live in her Grandparent’s pool house, and joins the Daughters of the American Revolution. She gives up.
Or does she? Sometimes it takes a step back to really see what’s important and what’s not. I think a lot of people power on through life without taking the time to see life from another angle. Yes, Rory was hiding, especially from her mom, but in a way Lorelai was acting just like Emily and Richard when she refused to accept Rory’s dropping out of Yale. Rory came to her own conclusion in her own time.
1. There’s Always Kindness in the World
When Lorelai ran away from home with a tiny Rory in her arms, she ended up on Mia’s door step (and thank God she did). Mia was everything Emily was not; warm, inviting, and non-judgmental. Lorelai looked to her as the mother she never had.
Lorelai grew up to be just like Mia, despite her frigid and proper childhood in the Gilmore house, and so did Rory. Kindness is the foundation for pretty much the entire town of Star’s Hallow, with most of its residents being friends or friendly with one another. Their kindness is so complete, that when the abrupt and moody Jess shows up, he sticks out like a sore thumb.
Mia’s legacy is a happy, whole family and the fact that Lorelai is kind and generous enough to eventually make up with her own mother.