The gazebo that stands in the center of Stars Hollow decked out for fall. Photo courtesy of Netflix.
KYRIE PIERSON | STAFF REPORTER | email@example.com
Just as the leaves are beginning their annual change from greens to reds, many may find themselves changing channels along with the temperamental trees. There is something to be said about what people choose to watch once the breeze chills. Many of the shows or movies consumed after the cool seasonal shift are often enjoyed under the hug of a thematic blanket with a seasonal drink in hand to fully round out the experience. One of the most popular shows to revisit or start once the temperature plunges from summer into fall is the 2000s classic “Gilmore Girls.”
The show focuses on the unique relationship of a pair of best friends who happen to be mother and daughter. Lorelai and Rory have a bond unlike most conventional mothers and daughters seeing as their age gap is only 16 years. Lorelai gave birth to Rory in her teens and is still maturing as a single working mother. The two share music tastes, an addiction to coffee, each other’s heartbreaks, triumphs and striking blue eyes.
The duo builds a pleasant life for themselves with the aid of financial support from complex family members, the support of nosy neighbors, beautiful friendships and each other. “Gilmore Girls” is a witty comedy, yet it grounds itself at pinpointed times through well-crafted characters. While the series does naturally follow the progression of calendar seasons as it trails the lives of the two, many fans of “Gilmore Girls” nearly unanimously attribute its aesthetics to fall.
Nikki Foster, sophomore English and multilingual double major, experienced this established relationship firsthand.
“I was going to an event, and I told someone that my favorite season was fall,” Foster said. “And they’re like, so you like ‘Gilmore Girls’ then. It inspired me to watch it.”
“Gilmore Girls” is a series that fizzled out in 2007, not due to lack of fan engagement, but from a lack of studio funds. Regardless of it not having new episodes — besides a follow-up series that many fans disregard to engage a fresh fanbase — and the now lackluster references, there are still current young generations who are keeping the show relevant.
What exactly about “Gilmore Girls” has made it stand the test of time, remain enticing to the young adults of today and have such a strong bond with fall?
Belle Echeverria, a sophomore international business major, spoke on the relatability of the characters and show in general.
“The small-town aspect is definitely huge [in its relatability], because I am from a small town, and theirs is definitely a way better small town,” Echeverria said. “For me, going to Butler and the fact that Rory goes to Chilton, they are both prestigious and deemed more difficult … and just her silly little boy issues. Those are always so relatable, aren’t they?”
The fictitious town of Stars Hollow, where the majority of the episodes are set, is a place where the streets are paved with charm, every food is for the soul, the bookstores are stuffy in a way that lulls and a group of eccentric yet loveable characters will greet you around every corner. There are many strange town-centered events held or meetings to discuss the goings-on in Stars Hollow nearly every episode. Everybody knows everybody. The town is so intimate that when Rory attends an esteemed high school called Chilton, which is outside of the circle, it proves to be a cultural shift. The sense of tight-knit community and timelessness that the primary set of “Gilmore Girls” creates gives the show the feeling of familiarity and comfort. The viewers are temporarily a part of Stars Hollow.
As the younger generations are rediscovering this gem of the 2000s, the personability of the characters is still ageless. Butler students may find themselves relating to Rory as she stumbles through adolescence and eventually college. Due to the fact that the main character is made to be a very studious person, those who are watching amidst a sea of midterms, essays and lab reports may find her school-induced meltdowns reassuring.
Echeverria added that the representation of the dynamic between Rory and Lorelai is also something that can be deeply impactful. She commented on how having the single mother-daughter relationship herself made the show that much more homelike.
“Me and my mom are exactly like Rory and Lorelai,” Echeverria said. “My mom is my best friend. I tell her absolutely everything. We banter and bicker, back and forth. It’s just like looking in a mirror.”
The bond between the two female leads is something that separates “Gilmore Girls” from a large number of other media. Within the show, there is a strenuous relationship between Lorelai and her own mother Emily due to the fact Lorelai got pregnant at such a young age and chose to be self-sufficient afterward. The comparison between the two relationships could not be more contradictory. However, the underlying love that is threaded throughout the entire show by every character’s own personal means of expression, is another component of what makes “Gilmore Girls” such a comforting watch.
Foster also spoke to the idea of the show transcending the screen and being a source of real-world comfort.
“It’s just so ‘feel good,’” Foster said. “There’s usually a happy ending but [the characters] are real people facing real things. Watching Rory go through school is really comforting as a college student to be like, ‘I can do this.’”
Not only does the serene content of the series add to the cozy feel, but the visuals do as well. There is distinctive yellow staining of the entire series that could be credited to dated technology, but the added warmth of the filtering further marks “Gilmore Girls” as synonymous with autumn.
Many of the iconic locations visited within the series, such as the gazebo or Miss Patty’s, often find themselves adorned with fall-themed décor, pumpkins and a general earthy palette. Everything fits a set fall aesthetic, including the background characters who are often seen carrying a cup of coffee or bundled up while decorating the streets.
The two main characters, the mother and daughter duo, typically wear a variety of sweaters, leather jackets, blazers and long sleeves. They tend to adhere to a muted color scheme of mainly browns, grays, some reds, blacks and blues to complement their piercing eye color. The fashion is peak 2000s with many accessories such as newsboy hats, boldly patterned scarves and statement boots. Rarely were characters ever seen dressed in short sleeves, let alone a tank top, unless of course it was laundry day. Even when the show has clearly transitioned to winter, the characters dress in more traditional fall attire despite the reality that Stars Hollow exists in Massachusetts where winters are a bit more extreme than a cute button-up.
Riley Harvill, a sophomore health science major, relates the seasonal feel of “Gilmore Girls” to the tradition of watching a romance or Hallmark movie around Christmas.
“Any rom-com or Hallmark movie, that’s definitely also [a] ‘curl up with a book and a blanket’ kind of vibe, and some hot chocolate on the couch,” Harvill said. “Me and my mom when we were watching this [Gilmore Girls], we would almost bounce between long kinds of Hallmark movies and then an episode of ‘Gilmore Girls.’”
As the season of autumn officially hits Indy, perhaps Stars Hollow will meet Butler as both long standing fans of the show and newcomers grab their blankets and favorite pumpkin drinks in order to transition into the fall aesthetic.