Where You Lead, I Will Follow: Gilmore Girls, 20 Years Later

Image Courtesy of Vox

By Emily Regan

After two decades, Amy Sherman-Palladino’s beloved series Gilmore Girls continues to touch fans across the world with its family-oriented story, romantic sub plots, and tongue-in-cheek comedy. And with the 20th anniversary here, it’s time to look back to when we were first introduced to the mother-daughter duo, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, and the other residents of fictional town Stars Hollow, Connecticut.

Sherman-Palladino was inspired to create Gilmore Girls after visiting a rural town in New England, not unlike Stars Hollow. Having only one idea for the series, that 32-years-old Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and 16-years-old Rory (Alexis Bledel) acted more like sisters than mother and daughter, she drew inspiration from Washington, Connecticut and the people living there.

One of the greater strengths of Gilmore Girls was that it let younger audiences feel represented through characters they hadn’t seen on television before. Sherman-Palladino stated in an interview with Vogue that Rory’s character was meant to represent young girls who, “weren’t talking about boys or trying to be popular”. Indeed, Rory’s arc in the series about growing up from adolescence into adulthood is timeless, and something everyone can relate to.

The show ran for seven seasons from 5 October 2000 until 15 May 2007. The series ended with Rory graduating top of her class at Yale, ready to take on the real world as a journalist, and Lorelai reuniting with her on-again-off-again love interest, Luke Danes (Scott Patterson). Once a remastered version of Gilmore Girls was available to stream on Netflix, the series gained a whole new generation of viewers, and it wasn’t long after the 15th anniversary that the streaming serviced announced a revival that dropped in November 2015.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was a four-part limited series that reunited Lorelai and Rory through four seasons of change - winter, spring, summer and autumn, a clever nod to Carole King, who composed the original series’ theme song. Each movie length episode saw much of the original cast returning, with the noticeable absence of beloved actor Edward Herrmann, who played Lorelai’s father, Richard. Herrmann passed away in 2014, and the revival was essentially a tribute to not only his character, but the man himself.

Without giving away spoilers, A Year in the Life ended on a huge cliff hanger, with the “final four words” that Sherman-Palladino had teased for years. This has left fans of the show speculating another series was in the works but nothing has been confirmed by Netflix, and after four years without a word on the matter, it seems unlikely.

Still, Gilmore Girls remains a huge part of a lot of people’s lives. Those that grew up identifying with Rory during the series’ original airing have the chance to binge watch the show on Netflix, now at Lorelai’s age, giving a whole new perspective on the show’s depiction of love, family, and growing up.

All seven seasons of Gilmore Girls and the limited revival series Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life are available to stream on Netflix.