It's the rare dramatic series that takes on a life of its own, growing in depth, breadth and strength as the seasons pass. But this description is undeniably true of Gilmore Girls, the charming, cheeky, chatter-licious WB gem (Tuesdays, 8pm/ET) that makes for quality mother-daughter viewing. Few series have treated the parent-child relationship with such wit, intelligence and pathos.
I realize that for some the hook of the show -- a glib, best-buddies bond between a mother and teen daughter -- can be problematic. "A teenager needs an adult as an authority figure, not just as a best friend," says Elayne Rapping, a University of Buffalo professor of women's studies and an unabashed Gilmore Girls fan.
Rapping believes that it is both a strength and a weakness of the series that Rory (Alexis Bledel), the wise-beyond-her-years Yale freshman, is on equal terms with her free spirit mother Lorelai (Lauren Graham). But what mitigates this for Rapping -- and for me -- is that Lorelai's home life with Rory is characterized by unconditional love, acceptance and respect.
Rory reads Flaubert, gives back to the town of Stars Hollow and is ever respectful to Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop), her grande dame of a grandmother who never forgave Lorelai for getting pregnant as a teen and going her own way. Emily is the piquant sauce that provides tartness to the show.
"Emily is incapable of approving of her daughter, contrasted with Lorelai, who is noncompetitive," Rapping says. "Lorelai really wants Rory to do things she hasn't, and it's a wonderful thing to see two women want the best for each other."
Credit: TV Guide Magazine
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