Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Growing up with the Gilmore Girls

Kellyn Taylor
Illustration by Kellyn Taylor.

I am younger than Amy Sherman-Palladino’s show “Gilmore Girls,” which first premiered in October 2000. I did not grow up watching it on The WB (now The CW). I discovered it on Netflix when I was in middle school and fell in love with it. 

I watched all 153 episodes in the span of two months, and while I have never been anywhere in Connecticut resembling Stars Hollow—the fictional setting of the town—I felt at home in these episodes. The small town vibe of Stars Hollow set in the early 2000s was a place I could fold myself into and, for a moment, forget about the hustle and bustle of my hectic 2023 city life. Even though I grew up with a cell phone in the overexposed haze of social media, it feels nostalgic to live vicariously through Rory Gilmore without much modern day technology. 

Whether you’re Team Dean, Jess, or Logan, “Gilmore Girls” fans come back to the show every fall.

I tend to binge “Gilmore Girls” twice a year; first during the fall—I’m already on the third season for this rewatch—and the second in the spring. As I rewatch this show in different seasons of my life, both literal and figurative, I see it in new ways every time. 

My original middle school obsession with the show revolved entirely around Rory Gilmore. Rory was the first teenage girl I saw in a television series that I actually wanted to grow up to be—albeit without the boy-crazy tendencies, and penchant for bad decisions. 

I was obsessed with her, from her freckles, to the books she read, to her pursuit of journalism, to her unique form of feminism. Confession: I’ve compiled a reading list of every book she read in the show and have been gradually making my way through it, having only read 29 of her 339 books mentioned in the series. Rory was actually the reason I finally read JD Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye,” and hated it. But I did really enjoy “War and Peace.” 

I found acceptance in Rory. She messed up a lot—and I mean a lot—and yet she still always had boys chasing after her, her mother was still her best friend, and things just always worked out for her. 

I love my relationship with my mom, and I know in real life, a Lorelai-Rory mother-daughter relationship isn’t healthy. It’s fine to be friendly with your mom, even best friends, but there is something very disturbing about Lorelai being so close with her 15-year-old daughter. In real life, moms like this end up relating more to Regina George’s mom in “Mean Girls” (“I’m not like a regular mom, I’m a cool mom!”). 

Regardless, the idea is still appealing. Who wouldn’t want to have a mom that didn’t care when they failed a paper, drove their mother’s car and got hit by a deer, or gave them her own concert tickets? 

But it’s not practical. And after one of my rewatches of the show in high school, I realized how much I actually hated Lorelai and Rory—and how thankful I was that my mother was not Lorelai Gilmore. As someone who often pushed curfews or wanted to play video games all night, it was good to have a mothering mother, one who told me when I messed up rather than sugar coating it with ice cream and Luke’s coffee. 

In high school, I spent a month and a half of my senior year writing a research paper on “Gilmore Girls” for a symposium on female characters in the media. Students at my school had the opportunity to present their papers on women in the media at the symposium, a type of open forum panel with questions at the end. I chose to write a glorified hate piece about how feminism is portrayed poorly through the three generations of Gilmore girls, Rory, Lorelai, and Emily. 

Though I set out to criticize Amy Sherman-Palldino’s failed feminist manifesto, rewatching the show for academic purposes made me see it in yet another light. Instead of critiquing Lorelai and Rory’s actions, I saw them at face value. I sang along to the silly theme song, I crocheted while binge watching, and drank coffee while the Louisiana leaves outside my room kind of mimicked a New England autumn. 

“Gilmore Girls” has sustained its popularity over the years because it’s timeless. No matter how old you are, there is something for you within the show. If you watch it as a young teenage girl, you’ll want to be Rory Gilmore. You’ll love Jess Mariano and wish that Milo Ventimiglia was still 18 years old. 

I am still young, and haven’t watched the show as a mother, but I am starting to understand where Emily Gilmore was coming from. One benefit of growing up rewatching this show is watching your own opinion of the show and characters change over time. 

Whether you are a serious “Gilmore Girls” fan or a newcomer, you have a place in Stars Hollow. 

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About the Contributor
Merritt Hughes
Merritt Hughes, Opinion Co-Editor

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