Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Gilmore, the Merrier

There's a report online indicating that this just might be the final season for Gilmore Girls--and even if it isn't, it just might be the final season for Amy Sherman Palladino's involvement with the series.

That's a real shame. Gilmore Girls should be essential viewing for any writer who (a) wants to get a better understanding of how to construct character-driven relationship-focused stories, and (b) admires and would like to create clever, witty dialogue that avoids crossing over into pure glibness.

The article refers to some wandering plotlines that have left some viewers dissatisfied--and while I can understand the concerns they mention, I never thought of those plotlines as being out of character. Contradiction is an inherent part of human nature, and the contradictions between the core relationship between mother and daughter and the diverging path that relationship took this season was, for me, fascinating. It creates a generational mirror in which the relationship between Lorelei & Rory reflects the relationship between Lorelei and Emily, her mother--and while the two relationships seemed exactly the opposite, the twists of this season have created disturbing parallels that reveal just how the Emily-Lorelei relationship might have gone awry.

Most of all, though, it's the strong writing that makes this series a delight to watch. Back in the day when Moonlighting was popular, one of the writer commented that the series demanded that writers create about 25% more script than usual, because the rapid-fire delivery and the overlapping dialogue meant that the cast burned through script pages in record time. I suspect that the very same thing is true here; Gilmore Girls burns through dialogue at an incredible pace, using words like staccato notes to create a delightful verbal symphony.

And while there could never be a town as personable, as quirky, and as interconnected as Stars Hollow, this is probably the most appealing fictional milieu since Mayberry went away. In reality, we'd probably never want to live in a town like Stars Hollow--but within the framework of this series, it seems like a modern Grover's Corners, a town where the Gibbs and the Webbs could live their Wilderesque lives in modern dress.

If you've never watched Gilmore Girls before, try an episode. It doesn't matter that you don't know what's going on plot-wise--let the words resonate, let the characters captivate, and prepare to enjoy an hour (or 44 minutes without commercials) of truly engaging television.

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