Why Gilmore Girls is the Best TV Show Ever!


I am often told that my love of and devotion to Gilmore Girls is surprising. First, I am a man, and it’s a “girly” show full of drama about family and romantic relationships. Second, I have a seemingly contradictory love of watching and participating in the “manly” disciplines of martial arts. Apparently it doesn’t square that I find beauty in an emotionally wrought TV show as well as displays of physical violence like those featured in UFC events.

However, both shows display the depth and beauty of art. Just as two fighters step into a ring or cage to test their years of training and talent in a fluid, competitive contest, a well written and performed TV show integrates the same focus, discipline, and love of technique into its visual and auditory creation.

I’ve maintained a whole website devoted to the challenge and beauty of martial arts. Here are some words about why my favorite show, and all art, really, can and should be appreciated by everyone–no matter his or her background or profile of other interests.  With the reboot coming this fall to Netflix, there’s no better time to sing the praises of the best show ever to be on the small screen.

Gilmore Girls reminds us the life is imbued with real magic.

First love, first read of a good book, first snow…all of these–and the potential disappointments they can bring–are romantic in the most open, accepting, and adventurous sense of the word. It’s easy to forget that, without the properly timed musical cues or the soft lighting, that real life is full of these same moments, too. Gilmore Girls reminds us of this with every visit to Stars Hollow and keeps us coming back. At the end of each episode, we return to our lives reminded of the richness of experience and primed to feel more a part of the world around us.

Gilmore Girls shares a love of language and culture with which Shakespeare would be proud.

Like Shakespeare, Gilmore Girls isn’t perfect. After all, Will works his way out of a plot hole in Hamlet by having his hero get rescued from exile by pirates! Gilmore Girls is no different. There are plot arcs that meander from Hartford to New Haven much in the way Woodbridge isn’t really anywhere near Washington Depot (Stars Hollow) in real life. Seasons Six and Seven are perfect examples of this–though still fun.

But the rapid language–interwoven with humor, gravity, and allusion–drives the plot in such a way that would make The Bard proud. It’s a delight and makes us smarter. Sure, in real life few people talk that fast or that eloquently and even fewer have seen Duck Soup and read Proust. But the characters’ poetic dialog connects us with culture and encourages us to participate–to read more books, to listen to new music, to watch new movies–a high art that calls us to seek out more of the art around us. Shakespeare did the same with his dramatized iambic pentameter that Amy Sherman Paladino does with caffeinated banter in a local diner.

Gilmore Girls proves to us the quirkiness, wit, and sass make life worth living.

Making an effective joke is a uniquely human talent. Computers may never be advanced enough to master the timing, word choice, and delivery that a person must sense intuitively before making a funny. We love being around funny people because they’ve mastered this talent to entertain us, but there’s more to it than that. Funny people must, within nanoseconds, process an other’s own unique view of the world and comment on it in such away that reaches out and invites laughter. Being funny–truly funny–is one of the richest, most generous, and most profound ways to honor someone else’s humanity. To be funny on screen is sublime, as it moves beyond improvisation and seeks to reach out to us over time and distance to make us laugh, think, and feel. At its best, Gilmore Girls does this like no other show. If you’re a fan, you know this already. If you’ve yet to join us, I leave you with a metaphor for the entire Gilmore Girls experience. Pop-Tarts.

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