‘Gilmore Girls’ turns 21: life lessons I learnt from Lorelai and Rory Gilmore

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‘Gilmore Girls’ turns 21: life lessons I learnt from Lorelai and Rory Gilmore
7 min read

In the year 2000, a show titled Gilmore Girls made its way to national television in the USA. This unassuming, critically acclaimed series on the Warner Brothers channel went on to be listed under TIME magazine’s 100 best TV shows of all time.

But what is it that makes this show worth binge-watching over and over? Is it the charm of the townspeople of Stars Hollow? Is it the quippy, witty dialogues? Or is it the premise of the show, which was way ahead of its time?

‘Gilmore Girls’: a summary

Lorelai Gilmore and Rory Gilmore (played by Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel), a young mother-daughter duo, have an atypical relationship owing to their narrow age gap. Having had Rory at the age of 16, Lorelai ﹘ belonging to a wealthy, oppressive family ﹘  had fled home shortly after giving birth to start a life away from her stifling home environment.

Her efforts to keep her parents, Emily and Richard Gilmore out of her life come to a halt when the intelligent and gifted Rory is accepted into a prestigious private school, and Lorelai doesn’t have enough money to pay for it. She reaches out to them, who agree to fund her education under certain conditions. Needless to say, this unravels the pertinent issues, resentments, and pain points between them, and their attempts to resolve them.

With such few women-led films and series today, shows like these are testament to how successful women-oriented stories can be.

With its witty dialogues, forward storylines and a myriad of strong female characters, it comes as no surprise that Gilmore Girls has found itself another fan.

Here’s what I’ve learnt about life and work from Lorelai, Rory, and all the other women in Gilmore Girls.

Life lessons to learn from Lorelai Gilmore and Rory Gilmore

Your looks aren’t the most important thing about you

From Rory’s goal of getting into Harvard to Lorelai’s desire to open her own inn, it was their hunger to be the best in their careers that fuelled their journeys.

Their school and work-related achievements were met with massive celebrations, and sometimes, their goals even became central to the conflicts they faced.

Even the supporting characters ﹘ Lane Kim, Paris Geller, Sookie St. James, and April Nardini ﹘  are shown as passionate career-women who had interests outside of stereotypically feminine things.

The series emphasised the importance of knowledge, intelligence, and intellect. 

Career girls everywhere shed a tear when Rory got into Harvard (and Paris didn’t), when Lane got to tour with her band, and when Lorelai finally opened her own inn.

‘Gilmore Girls’ turns 21: life lessons I learnt from Lorelai and Rory Gilmore

Never settle for less, whether it’s a university or a man

Here’s where things get a little tricky. As much as I love the show, one cannot ignore some of the crummy things Lorelai and Rory did for their selfish interests (the world collectively felt for Max Medina and Dean Forester). But if we were to set this misjudgement aside, Gilmore Girls has always exemplified that one should not settle because it’s comfortable.

Though her dream of getting into Harvard came true, Rory chooses Yale after much deliberation. Lorelai dodges Christopher’s proposal multiple times ﹘ even though she loves him ﹘ because he didn’t have his life together.

Whether it was Rory and Jess, Rory and Dean, or Rory and Logan, problematic behaviours were called out and corrected.

No matter the situation, if you’ve worked hard to build a good life or career for yourself, you shouldn’t settle for something or someone out of fear.

‘Gilmore Girls’ turns 21: life lessons I learnt from Lorelai and Rory Gilmore

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It’s important to acknowledge all working women

When we think of Gilmore Girls, we think of Harvard, Yale, business school, and the Dragonfly Inn.

As much as the career women made the show what it is, it was helmed by Lorelai Gilmore’s mother, Emily Gilmore.

Throughout the series, Emily is seen as a busy bee, always planning fundraisers, hosting gatherings, and running the household. While Richard Gilmore took care of establishing and growing his business, Emily made sure people knew about it by throwing informal networking events. Her work was just as important as her husband’s.

The three generations of Gilmore women each had their roles cut out for them, and they did an incredible job.

‘Gilmore Girls’ turns 21: life lessons I learnt from Lorelai and Rory Gilmore

Don’t sleep on your dream project

Lorelai and Sookie had always wanted to open their own inn, but they often put it off for other things. Eventually, their dream came true because they decided to hold each other accountable and take the time to talk about the project. 

Lane wanted to start her own band the moment she set her eyes on a drum set in a music shop. She went out of her way to find her band members, which led to the establishment of Hep Alien, a band we know and love.

If you have a dream, don’t let it slip away!

Competition between women need not be fuelled by male approval

The equation between Rory and Paris Geller may be iconic in its own right, but it started in the form of intense competition between the two.

Both incredibly smart girls, their desire to rise to the top was often fuelled by their need to outperform each other, which led to them doing more and improving along the way. 

Given the common stereotype that women are always in competition with each other for male attention, their equation was important to showcase. Their fights ﹘ and there were many ﹘ never revolved around a man. Women need not always be friends, but they don’t necessarily have to see each other as competition only when there’s a man involved. 

‘Gilmore Girls’ turns 21: life lessons I learnt from Lorelai and Rory Gilmore

Lorelai Gilmore iconic quotes

No Gilmore Girls appreciation piece can end without some truly iconic quotes by Lorelai Gilmore. Here are some to get you acquainted:

  1. “There’s plenty to do tonight that we can be mortified about tomorrow.”
  2. “If you’re going to throw your life away, he’d better have a motorcycle.”
  3. “As long as everything is exactly the way I want it, I’m totally flexible.”
  4. “Did anyone ever think that maybe Sylvia Plath wasn’t crazy, she was just cold?”
  5. “When I think of blistering third degree burns, I also think of my mother.”
  6. “Everything in my life has something to do with coffee. I believe in a former life, I was coffee.”

As Gilmore Girls completes 21 years this month, I can’t help but go back to it, laughing, crying, hurting, and growing with Lorelai, Rory, and all of Stars Hollow. If you haven’t watched it yet, there’s no better time than fall to kickstart your obsession.

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