Recently, I started watching Gilmore Girls on a whim. I don't know why I started, I just thought maybe the coffee addicted Lorelei would make me feel less bad about my own addiction. As I started watching there were a few things that stood out to me, some more unsettling than others. I am only part way through the first season and I am already seeing some problematic themes to the relationship between Rory and her mom, Rory and her Grandmother, and just the family as a whole, but also some problems with Rory's relationship with Dean.
As a teen Rory has every right to want to start dating, and she has every right to kiss boys, however, sneaking around with Dean and not saying a word to her mother about it seemed a little out of character for her, considering their relationship is so close. Sneaking around is unacceptable, and it definitely was not okay for Lorelei either. After telling her mother about Dean and opening up about kissing him in the market, she begins hanging out more and more with him. She sees his every day before school and even ignores her friend in order to talk to him. Her semi-obsession with Dean is a little unsettling, especially after he caused a big scene at her school dance. He was violent, and clearly over protective of her, and she was still into him. This is something that is really relevant with kids and their first loves. Sometimes anything they do for them is heroic and frankly, he made people who were already wary of being her friend less likely to befriend her.
Lorelei's mother's relationship with her mother, Emily, is extremely strained, and is seemingly unfix-able. Rory and Emily's relationship was great, but then was strained after Rory yelled at her for throwing her a ridiculous birthday party and inviting all of the kids from her school without asking. Rory had every right to be upset, but Emily shut her out, called her rude, and even took some of it out on Lorelei. Emily is a selfish character who thinks what she thinks is best whether or not it actually is. She is toxic and is having a bad influence on Rory.
In the end the show is about a strong relationship between Rory and Lorelei, but problematic themes are distracting from the heartfelt intent. The themes of condemning sexual activity between teenagers, manipulation, and a young, unhealthy relationship definitely dates the show. Compared to shows now, the characters are very basic and have no real uniqueness, and I think that is very normal for the past decade.