Sometimes when you switch telly on in the evening, you’re way too tired and grumpy to face the high-speed chases of a crime drama, or the subliminal lecturing of a doc. In those cases, what you need is a cosy classic, which requires minimum attention.
What you need is Gilmore Girls. The dramedy follows the lives of a mother daughter duo who are living in a small town in Connecticut called Stars Hollow. Lorelai is the thirty-something-year-old single mother to daughter Rory, who when the series starts is 16 and attending the local high school. However, turns out she’s a right smarty-pants, and her and her mum reckon she’d be better off attending a private school. But where are they going to get the dosh from? Well, luckily for them, Lorelai’s parents just so happen to be stinking rich, and they offer to pay for Rory’s schooling on one condition: mom and daughter must go to the grandparents’ house for dinner every Friday. From here we are thrown into a world of mother-daughter disputes, teen romances and bad parenting, as the pair flit between their small town and the fun – if completely weird – people that inhabit it, and the grand lives of Emily and Richard, catered by maids.
You may well question why we think you’d want to watch seven seasons of programming about two privileged women, whinging about their lives and picking fights daily, whilst going after men inherently wrong for them. But, as much as those things are true, this has got to be one of the cosiest shows out there. For starters, it’s got that classic, early 2000s feel to it, with the slightly fuzzy camera lens and the random singers who accompany scene transitions. And unlike most of our modern dramedies, there’s essentially no politics involved – unless you count their small town meetings which are reminiscent of the Handforth parish meeting that went viral earlier this year.
But more than this, it’s a really sweet story of a mother and her daughter who are more like best friends than family, and how their relationship changes and grows as Rory comes into adulthood. Essentially, it’s a coming-of-age story, just without the mental breakdowns and the drug experimentation that we’re used to these days.
This lack of distressing drama is what makes The Guardian’s Abigail Randor call it “perfect comfort TV.” She says: “It is sunny and safe here. There is no dramatic music to make you uncomfortable, only the beat of a soft snare to signify oncoming drama.” And Charlotte Runcie in The Telegraph loves the “warm, rich world of the show and its enormous cast.”
In a New York Times article celebrating the show, Saul Austerlitz calls it a “beloved memento of the Y2K era,” and says “Popular culture was the lifeblood of the series, and Rory and Lorelai’s conversations, speckled with rapid-fire allusions to bad television shows and great books and distant historical epochs, were the joyous center of the show, offering fans a utopian fantasy of familial love grounded in the deep appreciation of ‘Cop Rock.’”
First shown October 2000.