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Archive for June 22nd, 2018

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An appreciation by Brian E. Wilson

When we first meet Lorelai Gilmore (played by the divine Lauren Graham), the effervescent fast-talking heroine of this wondrous dramedy that ran 154 episodes over 7 seasons, she enters Luke’s Diner and orders, no, begs the grumpy, perpetually stubbled Luke (an enjoyable gruff Scott Patterson) for, of course, coffee. He sees that this java junkie has already downed several cups, and wants to deny her, like a good bartender cutting off one who has had too many drinks. But she needs an even stronger caffeine fix. His coffee rocks. He grumbles as she charms him into surrender. Fueled by The La’s unforgettable power pop song “There She Goes,” this opening sequence beautifully sets the tone for what would be one of the most captivating and unique network series ever to air.

Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who (for the first 6 seasons; David S. Rosenthal was show runner during the 7th season) would work with her husband Daniel on the series along with many extremely talented writers, directors, and a remarkably gifted technical crew, this zippy show gives the viewer that feeling of a coffee high. The characters speak as if in a 1930s screwball comedy, whipping from one witty quip to the next. I myself quit coffee cold turkey in 2010, but almost felt the need to grab a mug of the strongest coffee I could find to write this blog post about what makes this show special. Instead I revisited a few episodes (the “Pilot,” season 2’s “I Can’t Get Started,” and season 3’s beyond great “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?”) to get that Gilmore feeling again. Better than coffee! I arrived late to the party, didn’t start watching the show until the mid-00s on DVD, and finished just a few years ago. So unlike a lot of older shows I wrote about for this epic countdown of TV’s best, this creation is still relatively fresh in my pop culture stuffed brain.

I mentioned screwball comedies in the last paragraph, but I can easily compare Gilmore Girls to other TV shows of the ’90s, ’00s, and 2010s that move with amazing celerity. Lorelai Gilmore, her brilliant bookish daughter Rory (played with wide-eyed charm by Alexis Bledel), and all of the others dwelling in and around the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut could easily keep up with the fast talkers populating Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, The Simpsons, 30 Rock, Arrested Development, Veep, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The West Wing, Community, The Good Place, and others. This is TV that requires the viewer to keep up. Tune out for one second and you miss a key line of dialogue. Instead of exhausting, the show exhilarates.

Gilmore Girls is known for its pop culture references, and wow, they are ever eclectic. The Pilot has verbal references to Jack Kerouac, Officer Krupke, RuPaul, Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” video, Ruth Gordon’s character in Rosemary’s Baby, Moby-Dick, FloJo, Mommie Dearest, “The Little Match Girl,” Madame Bovary, Eminem, and others. Another episode (“They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?”) mentions Riverdance, Tiny Tim from Dickens, the Who’s Quadrophenia, Jennifer Lynch’s obscure cult film Boxing Helena (its star Sherilyn Fenn would later appear as a guest star), Bobby Brady, the Rocky theme, Tommy Tune, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. (more…)

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