As evidenced by the massive fan base that remains, Gilmore Girls stands as possibly one of the most nostalgic shows of the 2000s, with its influence on aesthetics, fashion, and society in general. And a large part of that was the universal appeal of the premise of the show, a sister like mother-daughter relationship, which solely failed in its barely veiled attempted recreation: Ginny and Georgia. The concept of teen motherhood is one that has captured a special place of intrigue in the public’s hearts, likely because of the scandalous quality of a literal child parent. But why then is the relationship of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, the envy of many, and remains relevant even to this day?
One of the more sweet qualities about the Lorelais’ relationship is their shopping and junk food addiction. With their superhuman metabolisms, and unstable financial security the two are seen frequently traversing Stars Hollow arms clad with shopping bags galore. This also translates into the two borrowing, and more often than not, stealing clothes from each other and then having a cute little argument about it. As such, the two have a very similar style, one that is, naturally, more aligned with the youth of the 2000s, low rise jeans, hoodies, cable knit sweaters, than the middle-aged women. While this might seem very surface level, that the two would have similar styles as being closer in age than most, it serves a very deep purpose in deconstructing one of the main barriers in mother daughter relationships: perception. The show utilizes how Lorelai and Rory are mistaken for the same age, in the opening scene in fact, at Luke’s, however this is mostly seen in their own interactions. Lest during an argument, Lorelai and Rory behave and treat each other as if they are the same age, which completely deconstructs the generational power dynamic in many child-parent relationships, one which was incredibly omnipresent in Lorelai’s upbringing.
In a similar vein, Lorelai’s immense distaste for her snobbish, pretentious, traditional parents contributes to her likability. Now, don’t get it twisted, I love Emily Gilmore. I think that she is one of the most complex, and well-crafted characters on the show. But she is no Lorelai Gilmore. And that, essentially, is her purpose. They are complete foils for each other, and the show is rarely framed to side with the elder. The crux of Lorelai’s problems with her parents is how she feels like they do not understand her at all, they don’t “see” her. And many a treat on the show features a heated argument at Friday Night Dinner. Even though Lorelai is the one who usually lights the match with her snarky repartee, no one could ever fault her, right? Due to the intense trauma built up over the 16 years she served under their ivory clad roof. And that is why the great Lorelai split of season 5 dished out such immense pain to the masses, including myself. Rory, quite literally, ups and leaves her mother for the very people that mistreated her so, and becomes one of them. This coinciding with her departure from Yale, and the ramp up of her relationship with Huntzberger, who Lorelai never approved of, sends Rory into a spiral away from her hardworking identity, that was cultivated by Lorelai. FDuring this fight, something to note is how much the age gap between the two is emphasized, with Lorelai calling Rory “kid” and kicking her out, it is one of the most “regular mom” like things she does on the entire show, and it represents the fracture in their relationship as the generational gap is more prominent than ever, something that is so similar to Lorelai and her parents.
Gilmore Girls delivered one of the most successful mother-daughter relationships to the screens of many, which has and will continue to remain relevant for the hole in many a girl’s heart that Lorelai filled with her almost childlike and understanding nature. Lorelai and Rory share almost everything with each other, a relationship that transcends friends, sisters, and most parental ones. This Mother’s day, I would recommend indulging in a treat down memory lane to pay homage to the masterfully crafted universal mother, Lorelai Gilmore.