Monday, December 6, 2010

Gilmore Girls

Time to start those TV reviews I promised! I've decided to go in chronological order, starting with the show I got into first. Which is, of course, the brilliant, sparkling and witty,

Gilmore Girls.

The premise of the show is the close friendship between single-mother Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and her daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel). Best friends, confidants, and full of hilarious comments for every occasion, they are the heart and soul of the show.

Rory is shy, bookish, very smart, and not always sure of how to handle herself socially. Lorelai is vivacious, mischievous, and can talk anyone into anything. The two of them create a walking encyclopedia of every movie ever made.

The series begins with Rory's acceptance to Chilton, an elite private school. In order to pay for tuition, Lorelai must go to her estranged parents, Emily and Richard, and ask for assistance. Having had minimal contact with their daughter since she ran away as a teenager, the senior Gilmores agree to pay for Chilton only if Lorelai and Rory commit to attending dinner at the Gilmore residence every Friday night. This sets up an ongoing battle of understanding between the class and socially conscious (but not always very sensitive) Emily and Richard, and the easy-going, fun-loving Lorelai and Rory.

Meanwhile Rory has to deal with the pressures of Chilton, which include the bossy, controlling Paris Geller, and Tristan, an ego-centric guy who finds Rory's disinterest far too intriguing. Things get complicated back at home in Stars Hollow where Rory gets her first boyfriend, the clean-cut, adoring Dean.

Lorelai's works as a manager at the Independance Inn, along with her best friend the klutzy but oh-so-sweet Sookie, and the prissy-but-hilarious French manager, Michael. Daily life revolves also around Stars Hollow, the tiny town that serves as Lorelai and Rory's extended family. The hub of the town is Luke's Diner, owned by the gruff plaid-wearing but extremely cute Luke Danes, who supplies coffee and friendship to Lorelai, functions at time as a surrogate father to Rory, and never fails to help out in a crisis. And maybe, just maybe, there's something more going on...

There are far too many awesome personalities in this cast to name. Lane (Rory's best friend), Christopher (Rory's father), Taylor Doose (Town Selectman), Kirk (man of all jobs), and of course Rory's second and third boyfriends, Jess and Logan.

The show spans seven seasons, which is long enough to see Rory venture through high school and college. Babies, weddings and funerals mark the pass of time, but what holds the show together is its believable, enjoyable and lasting relationships. I've even know a few guys to enjoy sitting down and watching a few episodes of the show...

In some ways I think it's a modern equivalent of Jane Austen. The relationships, witty banter, social commentary... there's definitely some sort of genetic link.

What isn't Austen and may worry some people is the sexual innuendo and morals. Lorelai is, after all, a single parent, and seems to have few qualms about jumping into bed with her boyfriends. After reaching adulthood, Rory shows these same tendencies.

So why is this show still worth watching? Because when the Gilmore Girls make mistakes, they face consequences. And although there are a few sex scenes, they are not gratuitous. Swearing is kept to a minimum, and while some sexual innuendo keeps the show to a PG-13 rating, it is still done in a fairly classy manner that chick flicks in general would do well to imitate. Mom Lorelai is a regular watchdog when it comes to her daughter's relationships, and although she may not always make the best choices herself, she does everything possible to keep her daughter safe and wise.
Overall the show is far more wholesome, enjoyable and full of depth than just about anything else on TV.

Of worth noting --- the show "grows up" with Rory, so early seasons are more appropriate than later ones. When I showed the show to my teenage sister, we only watched through the fifth season. For a morally upright young woman with her head screwed on straight, there shouldn't be any problems with enjoying this show. I think it's a great series for sisters or mothers and daughters to enjoy together. It's clearly made to be enjoyed by girls together, and any difficult subjects can make great conversations afterwards.

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