February 13, 2014

TICE | Raised by the Gilmore Girls

Print More


Rory Gilmore helped me get to Cornell.

When I read that sentence, it sounds ridiculous, but it is nonetheless very true. As much as I hate admitting my life has been influenced by television, it would be a waste of time to deny the countless hours spent on the couch. I grew up with T.V. as a family activity, one that was very much mediated by my parents. They discouraged the viewing of Cartoon Network, and instead took the time to sit with my sister and me while we all suffered through Little House on the Prairie and various shows of substance all in the name of good values.

It was the summer before eighth grade that ABC family started showing re-runs of Gilmore Girls at 1 p.m. Alaska Standard Time. It took but one fatefully boring summer afternoon of channel flipping; one episode in and we were hooked. To this day, I’ve seen all seven seasons of the show over eight times, all in the company of my mother and sister. If you’re looking for zombies or a mobile meth lab, you won’t find them in this show, but what made Gilmore Girls more than your typical and cheesed out mother-daughter sitcom was a truly remarkable team of writers and incredible repertoire between Lauren Graham (Lorelai Gilmore) and Alexis Bledel (Rory Gilmore).

Chock full of dialogue in the form of quick, witty anecdotes and infinite cultural references to literature, music and film, Gilmore Girls managed to claim a script twice the length of your average hour-long show and incite a uniquely eclectic humor. Rory Gilmore, a small town teenager, and her mother Lorelai, a single mom, brought genuine struggles of the middle class family of 2001 to the screen in a whirlwind of practical drama. In Rory Gilmore, I found a role model. She made liking your parents okay, and being an intellectually forward bookworm and movie junkie acceptable, characteristics hard to find in a television teenager today.

Most importantly, Rory Gilmore wanted to go to college. And not just any college; she wanted to go to Harvard and she wanted to be a journalist. It was probably pure luck that I spent most of my imperatively impressionable adolescence watching a show where the teenage protagonist is concerned mostly with reading, furthering her education and hanging out with her mom in hilariously relatable situations. More than anything, the show never glamorized sex or frivolity. I wasn’t watching wealthy Beverly Hills teens hook up. I was watching topics such as relationships and drinking being dealt with realistically; actions had consequences and someone’s career or relationship was always on the line. Rory made it okay to be a virgin in high school, to study for exams and to be young without being reckless.

The first time we finished the series, I was a freshman in high school and I remember thinking, I want to do that, too. I want to go to a top notch college on the east coast and have a career like Rory’s.

It looks like I’m on the right track.