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Gilmore Girls walking through Fall Festival
Warner Bros. Television
Entertainment

Why Gilmore Girls is the Ultimate Comfort Show

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Autumn has fallen among us and so has our search for warm drinks, cozy blankets, and comforting candles. There’s nothing more comforting than a warm cup of coffee, a fresh hot meal, and curling up on the couch to watch a movie and gorge on sweets as the weather chills outside and the school year gets busy once again.

Every time fall comes around, I find myself craving those comforting moments personified: school’s busy, midterms are well on their way, and being away from home can get stressful and lonely sometimes. Lorelai and Rory Gilmore in their small, picturesque town of Stars Hollow give me those doses of warm comfort on a gloomy and rainy day.

For those who haven’t watched the show (and you should!), it follows the mother-daughter duo of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, a single mom and her daughter who ran away from a life of luxury in Hartford, Connecticut when pregnant at 16. As Rory gets accepted to a prestigious private school called Chilton, her mother returns to her parents to ask for financial aid – resulting in weekly Friday night dinners in exchange for Rory’s tuition. We watch as both Lorelai and Rory navigate the troubled relationship with Lorelai’s parents, boyfriends, friends, and enemies, all to come together at the end of each episode as the well-loved mother-daughter duo they are.

Maybe it’s that each season picks up at the start of a new school year, or that we watch the seasons change from late summer to the first snowfall and then early summer. Maybe it’s Sookie, the ever-talented cook at the Dragonfly Inn and best friend of Lorelai, and her clumsy efforts to make the best food as she falls in love with the produce guy. Or it could be Luke, the slightly socially aware diner-owner who serves the best coffee as he awaits a certain someone to return his unrequited love. It could be Emily Gilmore and her attempts to reconnect with her too-far-gone daughter and granddaughter in the only ways she knows how. Jess or Paris as they attempt to figure out how to express their emotions in a healthy way and figure out how to navigate teenager-dome, after being shut down and labelled bad, or annoying, for far too long. All while Lane Kim tries to navigate her strict and religious mother as a boy reads the entire Bible just to take her to prom, or Rory navigating the first “I love you” with her first boyfriend.

I know for me, whether I went to a preppy private school or not, I couldn’t help but deeply relate to Paris’ power struggle with Rory over the title of valedictorian or head of the school newspaper. While valedictorian is never a status I quite achieved, the pressure and impact of academic excellence have followed me throughout my first two years at Carleton as I attempt to “prove” myself for the entry-scholarship I achieved, or the ever-growing impostor syndrome I face within my programs as I remain (what feels like) far-removed from the key interests of the journalism and history peers I meet.

As I navigate new friendships with girls and relationships with boys, I feel comforted by Paris’ presence in Rory’s life – a presence of a slightly awkward, socially anxious girl who finds it hard to create peace in a relationship while having feelings of insecurity of some girls having it all – the grades, the boys, the friends. The jealousy I had felt over other girls seemingly able to find that balance – how to make lifelong friends, how to flirt, how to be so undoubtedly sure in their interests, the opposite of over-bearing – unlike myself and Paris. Her presence was comforting, I was not alone in these feelings, and as Paris grew, and figured it all out, I did too. It was nice to know, especially as a young teen (during my first watch – looking back, I’ve come a long way since then) that in the end, everything is going to be okay.

The fact is, each character is deeply relatable as you watch them grow up. They are so easily identifiable, and you watch real people make real mistakes – mistakes that aren’t so far removed from reality that you may have made them yourself. It’s easy to relate to Paris’ stress of not being good enough, Lane’s worries that her parents might never understand, Rory stumbling through boyfriends and a new school, or even Luke’s hesitancy toward the changing world.

At the same time, the show retains some sort of snow globe magical feeling: these characters are safe to make mistakes; and at the end of the day, Rory and Lorelai always find their way back to each other, whether it be curled up on their couch after ordering Chinese food or bothering Luke for their sixth coffee.

Ashley Hermalin is in her third year at Carleton University studying Journalism and History. She spends her time reading, watching romcoms and listening to Taylor Swift.
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