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Gilmore Girls

Season 1

By Alexandrea CallaghanPublished 4 days ago 15 min read

One of the most popular shows ever is irrefutably a character driven story, that said I think one of the best ways to study character driven stories is by studying their relationships. Now before we dive in I am going to point out now that I will also be giving my opinion on the things that happen in the show, some of the content did not age well and I will not pretend it did. Nothing is exempt from criticism and acting like the thing you like is beyond analysis is dense and useless so as an avid fan of the show I will be criticizing it and it's characters. Also since this show centers around the characters' relationships, I will be talking about each relationship as a whole as the season progresses which means we will keep bouncing back and forth throughout the season.

Now obviously the center of this show is the mother daughter relationships which means not just Lorelei and Rory but also Lorelei and Emily. So let's start there. Rory and Lorelei's relationship is set up more as friends than mother, daughter at least in the first scene we see them together in and this is sort of an ongoing theme. Lor felt like her mother was never someone she could relate to so she tries to be that for Rory. That said she does overcompensate a bit and goes too far in the other direction. However Lorelei wants better for Rory then she got and that is very clear. People give Lorelei a lot of shit and that's part of why I wanted to do this whole series but the reality is that she sacrificed a lot for Rory so that she could have better. Rory goes total teenager on her mom after her hormone fueled interaction with Dean. However Lorelei getting up and leaving the table midfight is in fact childish, she then finds her mom's instinct and tells her how stupid it is for her to not go to Chilton because of a boy. Of which she is correct. Okay the first day of Chilton. Was waking up late for her daughter's first day of school a massive mistake? absolutely but that alone does not make her a bad parent. Going dressed the way she was, was a questionable decision. Even wearing something dirty or wrinkled would have been better than denim and tie dye. But again doesn’t make her a bad parent, if anything going on even though it would embarrass her makes her a good parent. We see the first instance of Rory being unable to handle pressure, this major test comes up after her first bad grade. She absolutely loses it when she is too late to take the test and while I have problems with that fundamental concept as there are really no consequences in the adult world for being late once she loses it. and her outburst was in fact unacceptable. Lorelei once again blames herself for Rory's stress and she allows herself to be the problem and assures Rory that she will love her and be proud of her no matter what her future holds. This is really what people should be talking about when they question Lor’s parenting. By accepting blame she absolves her daughter of consequences and critical thought and that's not a great way to set her up to be a functioning adult. When Rory has to learn a sport and Emily offers up Richard to teach her golf, Lorelei is clearly struggling with Rory enjoying her experience at the club and honestly it's perfectly understandable. Rory connected with Richard in a way that Lorelei never could and never had and she really is doing her best to support Rory but you can see how hard it is for her. Even when Lorelei goes in on Rory for borrowing her sweater it starts off with her being a normal mom and Rory being a bitchy teenager in response to a full childish exchange. However, her apologizing in depth to Rory was a huge moment, Lorelei always apologizes even to Emily when Emily was the one that was wrong. When Rory and Lorelei have their first interaction about Max, Rory is most definitely (and rightfully) weirded out about her mom dating her teacher. Now Rory has her first kiss and she hasn’t told Lorelei she’s even been hanging out with a boy, but Lorelei saw them on Rory’s birthday. Lorelei stalking Dean is hilarious and it really carries that Lor was a teen mom trying to protect her daughter, Rory’s freak out about Dean coming over is classic teenage behavior. Lorelei tried to do something nice for her daughter, and Rory was super weird about it. Lets move on to a very mother-daughter heavy episode “Rory’s Dance” in this one we get to see a lot of residual effects from Lorelei getting pregnant young and leaving home. We will discuss the Emily and Lorelei part of this too but when Lorelei screams at Rory after Emily screams at her it's so clear that she is terrified and hurt and she has a really bad mom moment, not that there is any excuse for that your kids do not need to see your trauma. And teenagers screw up; it's like programmed into their DNA to do so. So yeah Rory effed up staying out all night but the response wasn’t warranted. I love Lorelei and I am an avid Lorelei defender but dating your kids teacher not cool already, kissing your kids teacher AT HER SCHOOL get a grip. You are a grown adult woman, yeah people make mistakes but as a parent you don’t get to make those kinds of mistakes. Learn to control yourself, have some basic situational awareness. It's not cute or funny or charming, it's not okay. Rory forgave her way too quickly honestly.

Now I am an avid Rory hater and I’ll die on this hill but I’m also going to record all the reasons why so lets start with the fact that She has the "not like other girls" vibe when in class and the other girls are painting their nails and she's doing the assignment, and in the subsequent making fun of them to Lane after the fact.

Let's add to this that in the Love & War & Snow episode Rory is being just the worst friend. That girl is so selfish, Lane is trying to talk to her and she is just entirely not listening. She is looking for her book, she is getting cookies for Dean, she is blowing her friend off for Dean. Totally not paying attention to her best friend.

Let's move on to Lorelei and Emily, Lorelei and her parents very obviously have a strained relationship, one of her sacrifices for Rory is going to her parents for money. Some people act like Lorelei cut them off for no reason and those people didn't grow up in abusive households, those are the "but their your family" people and we don't listen to those people because those people are fucking stupid. Emily uses the borrowing of money to manipulate her daughter, sure it comes from a place of just wanting to be in her daughter's life but the actual execution is manipulative and financial abuse. "Very smart man, your father, you must take after him" - what a horrendous thing to say to your granddaughter in front of your daughter. Emily being at Rory's first day was a major overstep, this goes back to money manipulation there was absolutely zero reason for her to be there. Forcing yourself where you don't belong is beyond inappropriate. That said the sentiment of her wanting to buy Rory things so she fits in is nice, that said Lorelei not being willing to let her spoil the hell out of her IS great parenting. Emily wanting to buy Rory a car is also overstepping and Lorelei is doing her best to keep Rory grounded. Emily trying to have the internet installed at Lorelei's house without her knowledge or permission is WAY overstepping, inappropriate and overbearing. When Lorelei talks about her parents trying to control everything, this is exactly what she's referring to. I love that Lorelei tells off her mom this early, Emily needs to back the F up. We start off episode 3 with establishing how often Emily fires her help as well as how she doesn't even see them as people. She doesn't even know her cook's name. “There upstairs gathering dust along with the rest of her potential..." Emily being smug is kind of ridiculous because yes, Rory ends up enjoying herself at the club but the only one reading the room was Lorelei, Rory didn't want to go and Richard did not want to take her. Now we get to Rory’s birthday party…Emily reaches out to Lorelei because she wants a relationship with Rory like Lorelei has, but then she really botches it with the party itself. Emily claims it like it's her right to do so and then she invites Rory’s classmates without asking her? How is that at all appropriate? That party was for her and no one else. Now I am not quite sure who to blame for the fact that Richard and Emily had never been to Rory and Lorelei’s house until the birthday party but I am going to put it on both of them. Now this next thing I want to talk about is built off a scene Lorelei isn’t even in, but when Rory gets stranded at her grandparents house because of the snowstorm and Rory is going through the photo album with them, they get to Lorelei’s debutante photo and it's so obvious that Emily and Richard are still so bitter and angry about Lorelei getting pregnant and ruining their life plan for her. And what I don’t understand is the cognitive dissonance that it takes to say that you love Rory and care about her while simultaneously being so angry at your daughter for getting pregnant in the first place. It's pathetic quite frankly, Lorelei built a great life for herself and her daughter and for them to still be upset or angry or whatever because someone else’s life didn’t go according to their plan is super overbearing and toxic and that doesn’t get better for a while. In fact we get to the school dance episode and first of all Emily bullies her way into being included, like i’m so sorry I understand that she wants to be a part of their lives but dances are a mother daughter thing, not a grandma grandaughter thing, you don’t need to be there, you don’t have right to be there and it's absolutely overstepping that she invites herself over to see Rory off. And then when Rory comes home the next morning she thinks she can parent her grown daughter? Like Emily has some serious entitlement issues, 1 semi-sweet night with your daughter doesn’t magically make you in charge of anything or anyone. Emily has no boundaries and it quite frankly doesn’t matter what her reasons are, her motivations are irrelevant. Basic human decency is respecting others' space. Especially as the mother of someone who got pregnant at 16 who are you to give parenting advice? Like you clearly don’t know what you are doing so why do you think your input matters? Then we have the Christmas Party episode, Emily is a bitter and petty bitch so she uninvites her daughter to their annual Christmas party and really ignores Rory trying to defend her mom it's really kind of hard to watch. How narcissistic do you have to be? The next real Emily outburst is when Richard’s mom comes to town and offers Rory her trust fund early. Emily is obviously just acting out of fear of losing her daughter and granddaughter again but I’ve said this 1000 times your personal fear and trauma does not give you the right to take that out on others. The minute you make your trauma affect other people is the minute you are an asshole. Emily gets overbearing again when Rory shows her around Stars Hollow and takes her to the Inn where they lived when Rory was a baby and Emily gets so offended that they would rather live there then with her that she runs off and redecorates a whole room at her house for Rory…though the intention was kind of sweet it was also really insulting to her daughter. Like look at me I can provide for Rory better than you can. This just shows really how delusional Emily is; she refuses to see how she was suffocating her daughter. Lorelei can’t possibly have her own space because that would mean Emily isn’t in control.

We can’t round out the mothers and daughters without talking about Lane and Mrs. Kim, so here we go. Mrs. Kim is portrayed as overbearing and unreasonable but she asks about her daughter's day, genuinely listens to the answer and just wants her to be healthy and safe.

The next main relationships to focus on are the Gilmore Girls romantic ones, Max for Lorelei and Dean for Rory. Rory and Dean; First of all baby Jared was such a bad actor he really didn't find it till season 4 of Supernatural. Rory has from the beginning not really know how to handle herself around boys, it's probably the most realistic part of the show thus far. She's so nervous and babbely. Rory is the most awkward little nugget in season 1, she clearly has a thing for Dean but she has absolutely no idea how to handle it. They actually start dating and it's all hormone charged and overemotional, we get to the Donna Reed episode and I have so many comments the core of which being that the audacity Dean had to say that's the kind of wife he would want and the audacity Rory had to dress up as Donna Reed like girl stick to your principles PLEASE. “She was actually an uncredited producer on much of the series…” Why was she uncredited Rory, why might that be? And then the condescension when he says “well I’m glad this was such an educational experience for you”, the bitch slap that would immediately occur. And then they break up just because Rory wasn’t ready to say I Love You back? Y'all are children…babies, infants, fetuses and we are just casually throwing the L word around and getting super butthurt when we don’t hear it back…no.

We see the beginning of Max and Lorelei in episode 4, at the parent teacher conference. and what we really see is Lorelei's immediate mother instinct when she finds out about Rory's grade. Max asks out Lorelei at the bake sale, and she really struggles with the fact that he is Rory's teacher. But she decides to let him see her outside of the school anyway. She fights dating him so hard which shows that she is a good mom, she wants what's best for her daughter and she knows that dating her teacher probably isn't that. That said, we all know what happens next. Max and Lorelei finally have their first date in the Love & War & Snow episode, which is episode 8. When Max gets stranded in Stars Hollow, Lorelei finally takes him out.

Next we have the Girl’s best friends, Lorelei and Sukie and Rory and Lane. Rory and Lane are both quickly established as "not like other girls" with not wanting to go to the hayride. And they bond over making fun of the other girls. This stays constant for Rory but not so much for Lane.

Lorelei and Sookie, Sookie is classic comic relief and Lorelei is the calm, professional, level headed one. Sookie tries to calm Lorelei down and that seems like it's a trend in their relationship. In episode 2 Lorelei comes in and immediately starts ranting at Sookie about how bad her morning was, this is now the 3rd interaction that's all about Lorelei where she doesn't even really acknowledge Sookie but rather talks at her. By episode 3 we have the 4th and 5th interaction between Lor and Sookie that is all about Lorelei. Never once in the course of this show has Lorelei asked Sookie a single question about herself. In episode 4 Sookie is obviously upset and it still takes Lorelei babbling about herself for 2 minutes before she even asks about her. And we once again have interactions where Sookie only exists to serve Lorelei. The bake sale and the diner scene after agreeing to go out with Max, it's still all about her. I will say Lorelei’s biggest flaw is that she does get very caught up in herself. I wouldn’t exactly call her selfish because she sacrifices a lot to be a good mom and there are plenty of great friend moments between her and Sookie and her and Luke but especially early on she is very focused on herself.

We have two more rather important relationships for each of the girls, Rory and Paris and Lorelei and Luke. Rory and Paris start their journey very early and Paris comes at her hard and Rory being, at this point, a very shy wispy person doesn't at all know how to handle it. After Rory breaks Paris' diorama however ALL of Paris' hostility is justified.

Lorelei and Luke having a sweet, playful friendship pre-dating perfectly foreshadows their relationship very well. Luke bringing ice to Rory’s party and Lorelei clearly very happy about it says a lot, I think at the beginning they laid the Luke and Lorelei thing on super thick.

The last relationship I want to talk about is Rory and Richard. Richard teaching her how to play golf not only jumpstarts her relationship with her grandfather but it also starts to open Richard up to Lorelei and how she felt about being pregnant at 16.

Sidenote Luke and Rory, him baking her coffee cake, blowing up balloons and decorating a table just for her is the sweetest thing ever.

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About the Creator

Alexandrea Callaghan

Certified nerd, super geek and very proud fangirl.

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