How often do you hear the name Lorelai? Outside of (one of my favourite films)Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, hardly ever. It’s just not a Top 100 kind of name, is it? Which makes it all the more awesome that both of the titular Gilmore Girls are called Lorelai. And that’s just the tip of the awesome iceberg.
Gilmore Girls is about a single mum Lorelai (the brilliant Lauren Graham), and her daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) who live in a sleepy New England town filled with a full cast of sleepy town TV staples – kooky older blonde with a possibly scandalous past, camp gay man, chubby best friend, gruff but sincere diner guy/possible love interest, power crazed busybody, cutesy town event calendar… I could go on, but I think you get it. The real feat of achievement here is that while it all flirts dangerously with the twee side of the street, it’s done with such panache that you forgive it, like it, and then move swiftly onto loving it.
Much has been made of the unlikelihood of the central relationship – to be fair, their closeness, believable here, stills falls into the ’slightly weird’ camp. Then again, they’re only 16 years apart, and have lived in each other’s pockets forever. Somewhat annoyingly though, they are of that exclusive-to-TV tribe; y’know the one: they eat mountains of junk food and coffee-based drinks without ever going to the gym and yet remain curiously svelte. I mean, there’s good genes… and then there’s telly genes. The one true consequence of their consumption habits is the speed of their speech. It’s frantic – packed to the rafters with wit, pop culture and political references, social commentary and the occasional gibberish.
GG is often disparaged as being “women’s television”, but I fail to see the insult here. I see Lorelai and Rory as (privileged, sure) feminists, making their way through life – making decisions, unbeholden to men (much) and trying to do the right thing. They are not in competition, they have a relationship that is based on love, support and honesty. In a world where Girls of the Playboy Mansion is aspirational viewing, honestly, we could do far, far worse.