Gilmore Girls: Escapism in Uncertain Times
It's a lifestyle. It's a religion.
Originally formatted & published on Pixel Pulse Radio.
If ever there was a time for using media as escapism, 2016 sure would be that time. Here at Pixel Pulse Radio, we talk about pop-culture. One of the key pillars of that discussion is video games. I know many friends who use video games as a means of escape when times get tough. I used to as well, but at some point it stopped helping me; perhaps because I’ve spent recent years trying to dissect video games critically. Regardless, I miss the ability to throw myself at a game like Dynasty Warriors to forget my troubles – even if only for a few minutes.
Another topic we cover here at Pixel Pulse Radio is Gilmore Girls. It’s a topic that’s often brought up by one of the podcast’s two hosts and is welcomed begrudgingly by the other. It’s a fun bit, but I often wonder how many visitors and listeners of Pixel Pulse Radio have ever given Gilmore Girls a shot. Because it’s not just a goof, Gilmore Girls is great, and it’s a comforting and sincere show. One that I recently have been able to turn to whenever I need something to bring my spirits up.
For those who are uninformed, Gilmore Girls is about the lives of single mother Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter who shares the same name but goes by Rory. They reside in the small, fictional town of Stars Hollow, nestled in a postcard-perfect forested area of Connecticut. And really, that pretty much sums up what the show is about. It’s a narrative that appears to be, and in many ways is, very simple. But it’s depiction of a tight, rural community and the relationship between a single-mother and her daughter turns out to be very human.
I’m new to Gilmore Girls. I actually completely forgot about the show until it re-appeared on Netflix. After getting the elevator pitch, the fact that the show is about a single-mother struck a chord with me. I myself was raised by a single-mother. Granted, I’m Latino, so my experiences are incredibly different from those of the Gilmores, but we share similarities that prove to be incredibly cathartic.
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When we’re introduced to Lorelai she has a management job at the Independence Inn, a local inn in Stars Hollow, but we are told that she didn’t start there. She got her professional start as a maid when she was a teenager, pregnant with Rory. During this tumultuous time, Lorelai and her child-to-be resided in a spacious shed which was nestled in the backyard of the very inn that she now works at. While it’s quite apparent that they’ve been through the ringer, the Gilmore girls possess a tenacity that continually pushes them forward towards better days.
The sentiment that good things happen to good people can easily come off as boring or trite when used in television or film; but the Gilmores really do seem like genuine good people who put out positive energy in their small town – and you know what? I think most people want to believe that good things really do happen to good people, and while I can only speak for my experiences, as someone who grew up with a hardworking, single-mother, I would have loved to have had a show like Gilmore Girls when I was growing up.
The quaint, fictional community of Stars Hollow is a town made to evoke a sense of Americana. Independent shops can be found on each block, the local dinner is always busy with friendly faces, and its red oak trees shine bright-green in the Summer while maintaining a cozy orange glow in the Fall. It’s a town so perfect that it would appear to be eerie were it not for the kind characters who inhabit it.
Many sitcoms and dramas struggle to find the right balance between personal character quirks and that which can be discerned as recognizable humanity within their characters; but Gilmore Girls walks the line near perfectly. Characters like Sookie St. James, a cook at the Independence Inn, or Luke Danes, the owner of a local coffee shop, all have the usual supporting character eccentricities, but their kindness and goodness always shine through. It sounds sappy, I know, and I will admit that the show can come off as too clean and as lacking in diversity; but sometimes we need the comforting reminder that kindness does in fact exist within our world. Even though Gilmore Girls is entirely fiction, it really does carry a sense of genuine altruism.
While it’s easy and sometimes fair to dismiss it as a silly or inflated early 2000’s television series, Gilmore Girls provides a comfort and warmth that’s hard to find elsewhere. This is my rallying cry. Give Gilmore Girls a chance, please. If you’re no stranger to Stars Hollow, then I encourage you to revisit the show before binge-watching the upcoming Netflix revival. You deserve it.
Editor’s Note: Gilmore Girls: Escapism in Uncertain Times was written by Jurge Cruz-Alvarez on behalf of Pixel Pulse Radio. Jurge writes, talks and sometimes creates videos about video games and film (who doesn’t, right?). You can usually find his byline at Irrational Passions, but he has written for other sites, as well. Jurge hosts the movie podcast, Movies Are Reel; as well as a video game podcast called Jurge, Ryan, Video Games. Keep up with Jurge’s shenanigans by following him on Twitter.