A Guy's Explanation Of The Gilmore Girls

After a holiday trip to the rainy north of Scotland left writer Thomas Quinn forced to watch a Gilmore Girls marathon with his sister , little did he know he'd stumbled upon one of the greatest shows of all time... kind of.

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Gilmore Girls opening credits | ELLE UK
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When I was about fifteen years old, I had a family holiday in the East Neuk of Fife. We were there for a week. It rained for a week. Our family gender balance was shifting; my two eldest sisters had aged out of the programme of family trips leaving my poor older sister Hannah to fight me and my brother Dan for control of the remote.

On the Wednesday evening Liverpool played Standard Liege in a Champions League qualifier. Years earlier this would not have been prime time viewing but times had changed and Dan and I got our way. The game was terrible and, worse, went to extra time.

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To Hannah, this was a personal affront. Looking back, we should have spotted the steam coming from her ears, but we were complacent and busy celebrating Dirk Kuyt's 118th minute alehouse winner. You can find the goal on YouTube, it really isn't great. Now imagine that's the best thing you see in over two hours of telly. You'd be fuming too.

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The following day, Hannah was first out of bed and in the remote control priority queue. In a brave last stand for the Quinn women, she set an early alarm and posted up in front of the telly. Her response to the night before's showing was to settle on E4's marathon showing of Gilmore Girls.

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I managed to pretend to hate it for the first episode, but it wasn't long before I was quietly sold on a combination of the Carole King theme song and a host of some of the strangest small-town characters on screen. Miss Patty, the sexually deviant Broadway legend. Babette, the walking, talking Marlboro Red. Taylor Doose, the family-values likely Trump supporter. Kirk, just Kirk.

These people account for so much of the shows attraction because when considering Gilmore Girls, the first thing to acknowledge is that the titular characters are garbage people. They're great characters and we love them and root for them. But they're trash.

Lorelai and her daughter Rory are entitled, self-satisfied bags of 'oh no.' I'm sorry you had to find out like this, but we are where we are. I know people like them: people who talk about themselves as though they are faintly legendary characters, as though we should fawn over their quirks and find them utterly charming, as though we should find them as endlessly fascinating as they find themselves. These people are dreadful.

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In the years since the show stopped airing one of the biggest points of contention amongst fans has been which of her ex-boyfriends Rory should end up with. There are three runners:

  • Dean is a wet mop who cheated on his wife and usually looks like the boy in class who hasn't read the book and is hoping teacher won't notice.
  • Jess is a pound-shop Jack Kerouac who, inconveniently for members of Team Jess, tried to sexually assault Rory.
  • Logan is a banknote with a haircut.
  • There is a fourth option in Marty, Rory's well meaning college friend. I will avoid describing his shortcomings as I am afraid that I may share them. In short, he is a Lame Boy Advance and shouldn't really be considered.

These dumb boys are a distraction from the show's real charm.

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The true heart of the show and the source of its most touching moments are found in the parallel relationships between Lorelai and her mother Emily, and Rory and her friend Paris. Paris begins life as a Type A nightmare and antagonist to Rory's Precocious Lil' Angel schtick.

The show's most gratifying development to date is the arc of her relationship with Rory which is long and storied but bends inexorably towards friendship. She is often sad, often confused, often hurt, always brilliant.

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It was an honest-to-god pleasure watching her grow from a one-dimensional Mean Girl into a nuanced, rounded and loveable woman. If the show has one outstanding character then it is unquestionably her.

If the show has a hero, I would point to Paris.

It's certainly difficult to argue that Emily isn't the villain of the original run. She is self-centred, snobby and often cruel. But there have been moments, brief moments, where the mask slips and she reveals an underlying vulnerability.

The show's most affecting moments are the moments in which it becomes clear that, more than anything, Emily yearns for a friendship with the daughter she cannot help but alienate. In discussions of what fans want to see in the revival series, too much time is devoted to who we want the girls to partner with.

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The most rewarding thing I think we could be given is a moment of spoken tenderness between Lorelai and Emily. People may want a Luke and Lorelai wedding but personally I will be doing laps of the room with my shirt over my head finishing with a big wedding disco knee-slide if Emily tells her daughter that she loves her and is proud of her.

There will always be people who scoff at shows like Gilmore Girls. The fast-paced, reference-heavy dialogue puts a lot of people off. There will be others who simply are not interested in a show that is largely about female familial relationships. There will be even more who will not be convinced by their triumphant 2004 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Makeup - Series (Non-Prosthetic).

But that is their loss because, at its peak, Gilmore Girls is that best thing a show can be: a good story, lovingly told. There are no real enemies here, just bad communication.

It is always only a show about people who love each other.

Watch the new trailer for 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life'

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