I remember when “Gilmore Girls” was in its last few seasons on the CW. I was in high school at the time, and it was one of the first shows that I ever watched weekly as it aired. Eventually I gave up on watching it back then, because of the terrible plot directions of the sixth season. I never had seen all of the earlier episodes in order, just some of them as re-runs. So years later, when I found that it was on Netflix, I decided to give it a proper watch.
In case you have somehow never heard of this gem, let me describe it: A young-looking, fast-quipping, independent single mom raises a super bookishly smart teenage daughter to adulthood. And they have drama with boys, drama with grandparents/parents, and drama with their tiny storybook New England town neighbors.
It might not sound that spectacular, but…
Oh the witty banter!
The dialogue in this show is absolutely top-notch. Sometimes, their jokes are so quick you almost miss them; and occasionally, it’s a joke based on some pop culture reference you don’t connect with. But mostly, their conversations are hilarious, fun, and feel very real.
And the characters…
These people are just fun. From the quirky neighbors, to the stuffy-rich grandparents/parents, to the two lovable main women themselves, all are well-developed and real.
One of the main core conflicts of the show is centered around the opposition between the nature of Lorelai (the mom) and her stuffy, rich parents. She wants to be nothing like them, hates that she should ever need them for anything… and is suddenly beholden to them for Rory’s (the daughter) smarty-pants private school tuition. And thus begins seven seasons of fun.
So, I do definitely remember that part of the reason I gave up on the show when it was airing weekly was that both Lorelai and Rory were becoming kind of slutty. After watching the series in its entirety, I see that it wasn’t a problem that started in that sixth season but actually much earlier. Are they really terrible? No. But there are definitely times where sex and sleeping around are treated pretty casually. Conversely, though, there are at least some instances in this show (such as when Rory eventually loses her virginity and Lorelai is surprisingly disturbed, for example) where the issue is actually treated kind of seriously and, while not necessarily given the weight that we as Catholics might like to see, it’s at least not always just portrayed as some casual everyday thing.
What troubled me a bit more is actually an issue inherent in one of the show’s main conflicts. It’s kind of subtle, but the conflict between Lorelai and her parents is often at its core a conflict between conservatism and an “anything goes” mentality, with Lorelai being the “anything goes” and her stuffy parents being conservatism. It’s not always that cut and dry, but sometimes it’s what their conflicts amount to. And of course, we can’t help but love the character of Lorelai, while her parents are often absurd in their quest to keep up proper appearances; so here we are, kind of rooting against the people with conservative moral values… But again, this is only a subtle undercurrent of the show and not necessarily a huge component.
So the moral issues to be aware of are: some occasional language, perhaps the rare sexual dialogue, some (mostly implied) sexual encounters, and then that kind of troubling underlying bent toward moral looseness.
This show really is quite fun. For the most part, it’s pretty clean, though it definitely becomes more risque in the later seasons. But by and large it is a fairly good option for a light, girl-centric watch.
Now, for the somewhat unsatisfying mini-series continuation… Review coming soon!