Quo Vadimus

Monday, November 01, 2004


And then there's my path.

From Brian Montopoli's "Prime-time politics" in Salon:

It took me a long time to actually sit down and watch "Gilmore Girls," and for good reason: There seem to be more than enough reasons to avoid it, such as the beatific New England locale populated by seemingly stock "eccentrics" we've all seen on countless other shows and an intro that suggests a level of teenage chickiness most would find impossible to take. But "Gilmore Girls" is a pretty damn good show, with a built-in class critique more powerful, if less obvious, than its spiritual cousin on Fox, "The O.C." The back story is that Lorelai Gilmore ran away from home at age 16, abandoning her wealthy parents to raise her newborn daughter, Rory. Now Rory has become a teenager who lives with Lorelai in Stars Hollow, the same town where Lorelai's parents make their home.

If "Gilmore Girls" had a conservative slant, Lorelai would likely have spiraled downward after her teenage pregnancy, returning to the fold to find her way. But she went her own way, and after a bumpy road, she's actually doing pretty well -- and her daughter, who recently enrolled at Yale, is almost preternaturally well adjusted. Her parents, meanwhile, are a mess, emotionally distant ciphers insulated by their wealth and seemingly unable to maintain a real connection with anyone, including each other. The show, which is awash in clever, rapid-fire repartee, inverts the lessons built into the vast majority of conservative, family-centric shows, from "Leave It to Beaver" to "7th Heaven." The message of "Gilmore Girls" is that unconventional choices can add up to a better life than traditional ones. "The O.C." may have a more obvious wrong-side-of-the-tracks dynamic cribbed from "The Outsiders" and countless predecessors, but "Gilmore Girls"' message is ultimately much more subversive. (And just in case you're still not convinced, consider this: In the alternative America of Gilmore Girls, Al Gore occupies the White House.)

posted by Linus | 7:53 AM