It is with a sad heart that Cultural Learnings must say good-bye to Gilmore Girls today, May 15th. While its health has been ailing in past years and the writing was on the wall, it was still with some level of shock that its finale was announced a week and a half ago. Tonight, at 8pm EST, The CW will air its final episode, appropriately entitled “Bon Voyage”, and the era of the two Lorelais will come to an end.
The show came into being in the year 2000, ushering in a new century with a speed of dialogue befitting such a milestone. Amy Sherman-Palladino had worked on the writing staffs of Roseanne and Veronica’s Closet before creating Gilmore Girls, and it was clear that her own creation would have a decidedly different tone. It was youthful, it was vibrant, and yet most importantly it was FAST. The speed at which Lorelai, a single mother, and her teenage daughter, Rory, talk has been one of the series’ most divisive qualities, and yet it’s what gave it its charm. And, just as fast as the show’s dialogue, it is disappearing from the airwaves.
It is survived by fond memories of the people and places around Stars Hollow, even those we found hideously annoying half the time like Taylor. The eccentric townspeople gave the show much of its unique qualities; after the show leaves, there is no small town like Stars Hollow left on television.
However, the show is also survived by memories of a family who struggled through hard times. Lorelai’s strained relationship with her parents, specifically her mother, has been one of the show’s strongest qualities, a constant reminder of their past. It is regrettable that this rushed conclusion will not allow for their relationship to be reconciled, but perhaps it is best this way.
And yet, we would be remiss in discussing the passing of this drama to ignore its romantic overtones. As young Rory bounced from her puppy love Dean, to her badboy rebel Jess, back to her adulterous ex Dean (Part Two), and then into the arms of her mature (But not THAT mature) reformed badboy Logan, she was emotionally drained, struggling with a great deal of inner turmoil. It is perhaps fitting, then, that she finds herself not with a romantic conclusion but with an empowering one. Tonight, she does not need to have a boyfriend to succeed, but rather a future of any form.
However, perhaps most beloved of all, the relationship between Luke and Lorelai has been going on for seven seasons and reaches its conclusion this evening. Romantic tension finally turned into real romance two seasons ago, and after Amy Sherman-Palladino left their relationship in scrambles it has taken 22 episodes to get it back. Tonight, for better or for worse, their saga comes to an end but their romance is unlikely to die in the hearts of the world’s shippers.
As we say goodbye to this drama, I would suggest that in lieu of cards and flowers that people begin sending letters to members of the Academy of Television in support of Lauren Graham and Kelly Bishop. In what is technically a very weak year for female-led dramas, Lauren Graham might well have a chance at achieving what she has yet to achieve: a lead actress in a comedy Emmy nomination. With three SAG noms and a Golden Globe nomination earlier in the series’ run, Graham has still gone unrecognized amongst the Academy, and I think she deserves it. Even as the show has fallen in terms of ratings and quality, she has nonetheless remained the show’s heart and soul. Similarly, Emily Bishop’s performance as Emily is biting and powerful, and as a veteran actress she should have been recognized by now. I can imagine a no better send off than to have these two actresses finally get their due.
Saying goodbye is never easy, but we lost Gilmore Girls too soon. With a show with so many characters, so many memories, it’s hard to just let go without proper time to cope. Although this season was somewhat of a swan song thanks to the depature of Sherman-Palladino over contract terms, it’s still not easy to say goodbye to these characters she created. Tonight, as Lorelai and Luke head towards a reconciliation and Rory plans her future, fans could cry, or weep, or become angry at it all. However, for the sake of moving on, I shall simply say: