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Why Gilmore Girls is Still Enjoyable Two Decades Later

Gilmore Girls premiered on October 5th 2000, and it took off with sky-rocketing buzz that still continues  today, 21 years later. You have probably seen Gilmore Girls at least once on TV, or seen a compilation video or a meme on instagram. If not, I’m sure if you ask someone in your life about their thoughts on Gilmore Girls, they’ll give you a positive review. Gilmore Girls came out before I was even born, yet I still find it relevant and enjoy it as if it came out yesterday. With 7 seasons, 22 episodes each, it’s a classic – one that is extremely entertaining – one that I have yet to get bored of. The storyline revolves around the mother-daughter relationships between Lorelai and her daughter Rory, as well as Lorelai and her mother Emily. The show is not a super dramatic thriller, nor does it have suspense that will make you want to come back and watch it. Instead, it’s a comfort show; it’s reassuring vibes which keep you coming back for more. Two decades later, Gilmore Girls is still enjoyable and relevant and in this article I will give my take on why.

It’s a Comfort Show

Gilmore Girls is the ultimate comfort show. With a catchy and comforting theme song, the cute and cozy setting of Stars Hollow, the iconic 90’s fashion, and the nostalgic playlist; the show has a flawless vibe. It is implied that the show’s theme song is a mother’s words to her teenage daughter. The song literally goes “All you have to do is call my name and I’ll be there on the next train” and “If you need me to be with you I will follow.” It might be a little cheesy, but I think it’s so cute. The playlist for the show has many wistful classics such as, “There She Goes,” “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” among other nostalgic and heart-warming songs. Personally, the fashion is what I love to watch, specifically watching it evolve over the course of the seven seasons. It’s cool to see the fashion trends from season one still relevant today – such as shoulder bags, silk tops, baggy jeans, leather, and those cropped cardigans that almost every girl on instagram models.

The variety of mother daughter relationships 

The storyline of Gilmore Girls revolves around the mother-daughter relationship between Lorelai Gilmore, and her daughter Rory. With Lorelai having her daughter at age 16, they are both able to grow up and share a similar bond because Rory is going through things that Lorelai has just gone through. Because of their closeness in age, they develop a close trusting relationship that is very nice to watch. While Lorelai has a strong bond with her daughter Rory, her relationship with her own mother Emily, is strained. Emily is much older than Lorelai, and is very traditional. Her values contrast Lorelai’s and they seem to never see eye-to-eye on anything. Their relationship is further strained by their strong personalities and refusal to  settle, or come to a compromise. These dynamics lead to an extreme, where Lorelai had left her mother’s house while she was pregnant with Rory. On the bright side, as the show progresses and Rory grows up, their relationship begins to mend.

Another mother-daughter relationship is Lane and her mother. This is an immigrant family that has different customs than the average American family. Lane’s mother is quite strict on her teenage daughter. Lane has a strict curfew – she can’t hang out with friends past dark, talk to boys, or even be on the phone past 9pm (with certain exceptions for Rory). Lane starts out as a little girl scared of her strict mother, but later flourishes into an independent woman who makes her own decisions, and gets along with her mother. The variety of mother-daughter relationships represented in this show makes it easy for everyone who’s watching to relate and connect with the characters and storylines presented.

Pop-culture references that still apply today

Gilmore Girls is packed with references from literature, politics, and popular culture. Despite being centered around events that took place before the time it was filmed, many references are relevant to today. There are various references about American politicians such as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. In season two, there is one scene where Lorelai is asking her best friend Sookie in reference to a hotel: “. . . and guess who owns it,” to which Sookie replies, “Tell me it’s not that bastard Donald Trump.” Even 21 years later, this scene hit home. It’s the subtle pop-culture references by the quick-witted characters in the show, that make it interesting to watch. There are many more pop-culture references, however, this one seemed especially relevant and aged well. Not to mention, the show has also played a role in educating me on pop-culture from the past. 

The major life lesson: You can make it on your own

During the first two seasons of the show, we learn about Lorelai’s past and how she was able to leave her unfavorable home environment and create a life for herself from scratch. An unfavorable home situation can mean different things to everyone. For Lorelai, it meant walking away from parents who did not accept her and enforced a lifestyle that she did not see fit for herself. Lorelai was a Gilmore. A name which entitled her wealth and privilege, but she left all of that behind in favor of her own happiness.

It serves as a lesson that toxic environments do not have to be tolerated, and individuals have the power to leave. Lorelai got a job at a hotel as a maid, and worked her way up to manager, and later co-owner. She worked full-time while taking classes to get her business certificate, and raising her daughter Rory, all while she was still a teenager. Lorelai is the definition of a woman that can make it on her own independently, without relying on help from others. Her resiliance made her a highly successful co-owner of a hotel, with a successful daughter pursuing her dreams. 

Major Life Lesson: The value of working hard and priorities

As a young girl, Rory was incredibly academically-focused. She had dreams of going to Harvard, and to make her dreams into a reality, she set goals and worked hard. She put school before anything, even the relationships in her life, and she is seen working towards her goal in every episode. She is shown various times reading, doing homework, and studying from night ‘till morning. Rory’s work ethic embodies the idea that if there’s a goal that you’re passionate about; you will do anything to achieve it. In one scene, she refuses to hang out with her boyfriend Dean, and basically says “I don’t care. I am busy. I am 10 years behind on extra-curriculars.” This scene is both funny and relatable! Even though family, friends, and relationships are important – sometimes you just have things that need to get done. All the hard work pays off for Rory when she gets accepted int0 Chilton, is valedictorian of her graduating class and goes off to college. 

Gilmore Girls has made a profound impact on the culture of television and media. To understand it  – just watch the show! It’s definitely a classic; one that I recommend everyone to watch. It’s the perfect blend of happy, funny, hopeful, dramatic, suspenseful,  – everything that you want in a show. The all-round comforting environment of the show, the many pop-culture references, and the life lessons that Gilmore Girls teaches are just a few reasons why the show continues to be successful, even over 20 years later! 

Saleena is in her second year at York University. One day she hopes to become a school teacher and an author. Her passions include schooling the world for an equitable future and rethinking human exceptionalism. She spends her free time eating, reading, creative writing, or exercising.
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