Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Tribute to Great Television: Gilmore Girls

About a week ago I started re-watching Gilmore Girls for probably the seventh or eighth time, and continued my love affair with Lorelai and Rory.  After watching Amy Sherman-Palladino's (the creator/writer/director) latest creation Bunheads, I decided I needed to head back to Stars Hallow.  This small town had all the charm and wit, and fast talking of an old school movie.  One of my other favorite parts of this show is the massive amounts of pop culture references ranging from obscure films like Pippi Longstocking to political references like effectiveness of Jimmy Carter's presidency.  While I did not watch this show from the start the end surely made me incredibly emotional.

The show started in 2000 on the fledgling WB network and was the first show funded completely by Family Friendly Programming Fund, which involves most of the countries leading advertisers.  The reason I never started watching the show during the first season was because it was on opposite my favorite show at the time Friends, in the Thursday at 8 pm time slot.  In the second season the show moved to Tuesday at 8pm replacing Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Buffy moved to UPN.  I started to fall in love with the series when ABC Family started to rerun the show.

Throughout the years creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband Daniel Palladino ran the show with quick witted dialogue, until they left after the fifth season.  The show launched the careers of Lauren Graham (Lorelai) and Alexis Bledel (Rory).  Lorelai had Rory at 16 and the premise relates to the concept of this great mother daughter relationship, where their relationship is more like friendship.  The show highlights a different relationship with Lorelai and her parents specifically her mother Emily played by the amazing Kelly Bishop.  Throughout the show tenure I always felt as though the Palladino's not only understand unique family dynamics, but the could tackle so many humourous, and and dramatic moments beautifully.  

Although the show lost some of its spark within the last two years with new show runner Phillip Rosenthal the Gilmore Girls remained a steadfast treat.  Watching Lorelai stumble through her love life, the way I often feel as though I stumble through mine.  Although I wish there were a guy like Luke (who owned a diner) pining after me.  The show had heart, and has many similar characteristics to Aaron Sorkin, which is another reason for my obsession.  The show's quick dialogue mixed with the style of shooting that allows the viewer to follow the characters as they walk shows that "walk and talk" style.  This style is fairly unique to a small number of shows, but highlights some of the great elements within the Gilmore world.

One of the the other truly Gilmore elements is the use of "la-la" music transition, and the music within the show.  Sam Phillips composed the music throughout the entire run of the shows seven seasons using her own voice to create the transitional music for the show.  Music was an important of this show, and Sherman-Palladino using Sam Phillips as her musical guide was a telling venture the musical world of Stars Hallow.  Phillips had several of her own songs play throughout the the shows history, and in fact played over some of the most emotional moments of the shows history.  One of my favorite moments was the use of Phillip's "Reflecting Light" when Luke and Lorelai first dance, simply beautiful.

I can't forget one of the other great musical connections with singer/songwriter Carole King who wrote the original theme song.  An interesting fact about this song is that King stopped playing this song because she got a lot of flack during its release because of it's "anti-feminist tones" the song came back for this show when King sang with her daughter and focuses the "following" to the connection between the mother daughter relationship.  I love this story and it shows just how much of an impact this show had on popular culture, and how much popular culture affected this show.

While I am not a daughter this show speaks to me on so many levels, and as I watch Lauren Graham I see myself in Lorelai, her humor and realistic sarcasm makes me smile.  The show was never an Emmy magnet, but is a true classic.  The Palladino's created a great world with amazing characters.  I want to take a journey to the fake Stars Hallow drink coffee at Luke's and have fun teasing Kirk.

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