Is there any other TV show as heartwarmingly iconic than Gilmore Girls? There’s just something about this show that makes me comforted and happy. At least until I start to dig deeper into the characters.
When I was a teenager, I loved Lorelai. I thought she was a bit mean to her mother, but that she, herself, was a great mother. She was fun and always knew what Rory needed. Pizzas and movies, late night chats, a calm, cool and collected type of attitude. Of course a teenager would love her. While I thought it was weird Lorelai and her daughter were so close and absolute best friends, I still enjoyed the laissez-faire attitude of Lorelai as a mother and wondered what it would be like to have someone who decided that take-out was the best option and home cooking was only meant for when Sookie came over.
Fast forward to watching this show as an adult and I’m confused as all fuck and now lean towards absolutely hating Lorelai. While she, obviously, appeals to younger audiences as the best mother in the world, once a fully grown adult watches the show that thought flies right out of the window. She acts more like a spoiled brat than a grown-ass woman. Maybe it has to do with the fact that she had to grow up a little earlier than others, taking on responsibility of a child before she was done being one herself. Maybe it’s because the writers needed to show viewers how different teenagers and adults think. Maybe she’s just a horrible person. Who knows. The one thing I do know is how much it grinds my gears how easily she spends her money. Like the Carrie Bradshaw of a small town community.
Constantly ordering out all the time takes money. I know it, you know it, anyone who orders from Skip the Dishes/DoorDash/UberEats knows it. For a woman who has had to (and by had to I mean has refused any kind of help, monetary or otherwise, from her parents) pay and make her own way, Lorelai seems to have A LOT of expendable income. You know, for things that are the most important. Like, coffee. And, breakfasts that never seem to be actually eaten. And, piles of magazines stacked up in every corner. And, pizza for supper, but also chinese because what if they’re in the mood for both? And, movie rentals. But, don’t forget the treats. Maybe Stars Hollow is located in an alternate universe where these things don’t cost money. Really, it’s the only answer that makes sense to me.
As a teenager I didn’t really think about their living habits. I, too, spent money on take-out and clothes and magazines. Except, I was living at home with my parents, my only bill to take care of was my cell phone. As an adult I had to think a little harder about these habits Lorelai had created, and was now teaching and passing down to her child. I was amazed by how much money she had to be blowing through every single day. I cringed each time she bought a coffee (though she didn’t seem to actually pay Luke every single time), or when she just up and walked away from a table full of food that she just ordered. For two women who, supposedly, ate a lot, I didn’t see them actually eat much. I wondered how a woman could own lots of clothes, order out constantly, and still have a roof over her head and a daughter to look after. Do they keep this magical world well hidden away? Is she staring in live sex cams at night? Did she win the lottery and somehow manage to keep it a secret, living a little in excess, but not enough to arouse suspicion?
Instead of saving money for things like her daughter’s tuition, she squandered it on stupidly showing her offspring how to live like a rich bitch who has the worst eating habits. The fact that they — allegedly — ate so much, hated exercise, and yet stayed pin-thin skinny? Yeah, roll your eyes with me, too. I’m surprised Rory didn’t have a heart attack at age 22 from all of the coffee, burgers, fries, and pizza that they consumed, vegetables never within sight.
Ignoring her bad spending and eating habits, you could learn to like Lorelai. She’s a nice enough person, people seem to love her. This loving her part was something I couldn’t wrap my head around as it slowly dawned on me that she wasn’t as likeable and wonderful as Stars Hollow creepily made her out to seem. Instead, you narrow your eyes each time she treats everyone as if they owe her the world, everytime she opens her mouth in the vicinity of her mother.
The mother-daughter relationship is the show’s bread and butter, of course. Three generations all smushed together to lay it out just how different each woman is. The differences between Lorelai’s parenting and Emily’s is glaringly obvious throughout the entire show, as each Friday Night looms ever closer. I, for one, don’t have any qualms with Emily. Sure, she’s a little over the top and incredibly overbearing, much like most mothers are. Yes, she uses money as a way into her daughter’s heart from time to time, but who could blame her when it’s the only thing that gets her ungrateful brat calling? The horror we hear about Emily, time and time again, is how she — watch out, this is a shocker — wanted her daughter to wear a dress and heels to cotillion, didn’t want her to get pregnant at 16, and wanted her to graduate from a good college.
Well, fuck, what an complete monster Emily Gilmore was. I’ll give you a second to compose yourself from the absolute abuse and neglect you just read about.
Watching Emily make a deal to see her daughter and grand-daughter is heartbreaking. Seeing how little Lorelai cared for her mother, how she wouldn’t even entertain the idea of sitting through a tight-lipped meal every so often, letting those stupid comments that mothers make roll off her back, had me realizing that I was a complete idiot as a kid to think that Lorelai was a great mother, fun person, and a heartfelt friend. Both women use anger and quick wit to deal with the situation, Lorelai just does it with far more sass and flair.
Don’t we all roll our eyes at our parents, sit through awkward dinners, ignore comments that could’ve been well enough left alone? Parents, no matter how old you are, can be a pain in the ass. But, we love them. Because they’re our parents. They — usually and hopefully — just love you and want you to have the best life you can, even if the best life in their mind isn’t what you think a best life looks like.
And, that’s fine. That’s where those awkward dinners come in. That’s where communication needs to be had, problems worked out and solved. Lorelai went as far opposite as her parents in the way she raised Rory and that ended up as a good thing — at times. We only have to fast-forward to Rory going off to college and not being able to make it through the night without her mom. The obsession these two have for each other is vomit-inducing. Again, like most parents, she just wants the best for her daughter, even if the best isn’t what the daughter thinks the best life looks like.
The blame, at least front and center, is placed mainly on Emily throughout the entire show. But, we as viewers need to see through that thin veil and see that these two women are both at fault in their tumultuous relationship. Both could have tried harder to understand one another. Both could’ve sat down and had true heart-to-heart conversations, perhaps with a mediator to keep things straight — because let’s be honest, those two need a mediator — and figured out where they went wrong. Both could’ve tried harder to see how different they are from one another and how it’s okay. While we’re quick to blame the overbearing mothers, perhaps we need to realize that sometimes people just have shitty kids and Lorelai Gilmore is one of those kids.