30 Pilots in 30 Days: Gilmore Girls

gilmore girlsHad I seen it before: One of my college roommates was a diehard fan who owned the whole series on DVD so it was playing in the common room a lot. So I’ve been present in rooms while it was playing but have never really watched it.

Why I picked it: Gilmore Girls was on for seven seasons, the last of which aired a decade ago. After that, ABC Family/Freeform syndicated the hell out of it. Then Netflix rebooted it last year, and you know what? Fans still can’t get enough of it. That, my friends, is what you call a legacy.

What’s particularly intriguing to me is that Gilmore Girls left a rather huge mark on tv despite a shockingly ordinary premise. A mom and a daughter are best friends with each other. That’s it. How did that pitch meeting go? I’m genuinely curious. How well-written did this pilot have to be to get anyone to greenlight such a bland concept? I needed to know and so I picked it.

What I liked: Uhhh…. Hm. There was probably something. Rory and Lorelai are both reasonably likable people that I can root for. That’s something.

What I didn’t like: Ok, if you’ve read more than two books, blog posts, magazine clippings, milk cartons or cocktail napkins about screenwriting you’ve read about the importance of revealing information through action rather than dialogue. “Show, don’t tell” as the saying goes. I’m not sure I fully understood the importance of this before watching the Gilmore Girls pilot. There are several cases of “people don’t actually talk like this, they’re only saying stuff because the writer thinks it’s important for me to know.”

  • We learn Lorelai is a coffee addict because Luke says so.
  • We learn Sookie is a klutz because her and Lorelai have a conversation about it, which is funny because there’s actually a really good scene revealing how klutzy she is after it was revealed to us through dialogue.
  • Rory literally says “I love being a private school kid” to demonstrate her excitement at being a private school kid. Not that we ever got any insight into why she wanted to go to private school before she got into Chilton but whatever.
  • We know Rory’s creepy love interest is creepy because he told Rory he was being creepy. We didn’t really get to watch him being creepy.
  • Then there’s the scene where Lorelai gives us a detailed narrative of how she got pregnant at 16, didn’t marry the father, and now lives a life she is content with despite the judgment of her parents. It’s not that the story isn’t interesting, it’s just that we don’t see any of this interesting story. We just get Lorelai screaming it at the end of the episode because the writers knew we would be wondering about Rory’s father and so they felt the need to tack an explanation on at the last minute.

In addition to dialogue heaviness, there’s also the fact that the biggest conflict established in this episode, i.e. how will Lorelai pay for her daughter to attend a private school, is resolved too easily. Yes, she has to ask her parents who she doesn’t like for money, but all she has to do is sit through a dinner once a week with them to get said money. If awkward family dinners is the most you can promise in terms of future conflicts to come, it’s not enough to make me salivate for more episodes.

There’s also presumably gonna be some plotline with Rory and the creepy boy but I don’t really care about it. He likes her. She appears to like him. Neither appears to have any interest in anyone else. Lorelai doesn’t have any kinds of problems with Rory dating. They’ll go to different schools, sure, but Rory will still live in Stars Hollow so there’s no real obstacles to this relationship. Give me Jim and Pam, who clearly like each other but couldn’t date because they work together and Pam was engaged. Give me Buffy and Angel, who had great chemistry but couldn’t be together because he was dark and mysterious and she was destined to kill dark and mysterious things. Hell, even give me Meredith fucking Grey and Dr. McDreamy.

Do I want to watch Ep. 2: Look, I’m sure it gets better. It has to get better if it was able to stay alive for seven seasons. I kinda want to see how long it takes to become as good as everyone says it is. But am I in a rush to do it? Nope.

4 thoughts on “30 Pilots in 30 Days: Gilmore Girls

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