I like to think that I don’t watch television, but the truth is that I do. I just don’t have it constantly on, chattering away in the background.
When I do have it on, I’ll admit that I have some odd viewing tastes. The nerd in me goes for Star Trek: The Next Generation. The dude in me often goes for stuff on The Military Channel. Generally, cooking programs will draw my attention, as long as they don’t involve Rachel Ray.
But the literary part of my brain loves The Gilmore Girls.
If you’re not familiar with this show, it’s your loss. The show ran from 2000 to 2007 in the United States, and has been shown in the UK on E4. The show centers on the lives of the two “girls”: Lorelai (played by Lauren Graham), a single mom who ran away from her wealthy parents’ home after having a baby at 16, and her now teenage daughter Rory (played by Alexis Bledel).
The show is set in the fictional community of Stars Hollow, a small New England town so perfect it could not possibly exist. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone seems to care about everyone. No town is this close or this perfect. But in the great fictional construct of the show, it does, yielding much of what makes this show so funny.
Take, for example, this scene where the town’s two religious leaders have a sit-down with the town’s Selectman and general busybody Taylor, who wants to prohibit the first – ever recorded application for a protest permit in the town:
Quirky characters such as Taylor, a somewhat washed-up diva-cum-dance studio teacher known as Miss Patty, and a mildly creepy / quirky guy named Kirk who seems to have every small job in the town — these are some of the characters that make this show great.
But more than anything else, it’s the writing of this show that draws me in . Specifically, the dialogue. It moves like no other show on television. Coming at you with the rapid-fire pace of a Gatling Gun, you best pay attention. The show’s creator, Amy Sherman -Palladino, wrote scripts that averaged close to 80 pages in length — almost double the length of a typical hour-long show. Even the simplest exchange between characters shows wit:
LORELAI: We’ve got one of the two Petes from the nursery to mow.
LUKE: Big Pete?
LORELAI: Little Pete.
LUKE: He’s the better of the two Petes.
LORELAI: We’ve always thought so.
Moments in the show often revolve around elaborate exchanges between the mother and daughter, as in this clip where Rory takes her mother to task for starting projects she never finishes:
But in the end, it’s the relationship between the mother and the daughter that drives the show and gives it depth. Though there are numerous tear-jerking moments in the show, I prefer to remember the moments like this, when Lorelai and Rory argue over the change in Ashlee Simpson’s hair color in front of their mother:
The show’s still on in re-runs in the US on ABCFamily. Or you can pick up a DVD of the series. You might be surprised. I know I was.