Gilmore Girls: In my defence, I love the fact that Lorelai Gilmore had a companion in her daughter Rory. What I don’t like is the fact that the sitcom characters never really discussed another possibility– not having kids.
A few television series have been able to explore this perfectly normal topic. The popular series Sex Education comes to mind. One of the lead characters Maeve (Emma Mackey) is shown going through the process. An emotional scene that added layers to the character also made several women around the globe felt understood.
Another series Little Fires Everywhere, which successfully depicted the difference between the struggles of a Black woman and a white woman, also included an important dialogue on the topic.
When Reese Witherspoon’s privileged white woman character Elena Richardson tells her mother that she doesn’t want to have a third child, her mother tells her that it’s not an option for someone like them. She meant a society that makes villains out of women who “kill little babies in their womb”.Elena Richardson’s daughter Lexie grows up in a somewhat similar society and is able to get rid of an unplanned pregnancy later.
As a matter of fact, even Rachel Greene (Jennifer Aniston) in FRIENDS decided that she is going to have a baby. And the series made its television debut way before Gilmore Girls. Although FRIENDS has different problematic issues.
Gilmore Girls and the unexpected babies:
The famous sitcom Gilmore Girls is a fan favourite for many right reasons. The two women being the centre of the show depict one of the most beautiful mother-daughter relationships on television.
Lorelai Gilmore ( Lauren Graham) builds her own path after leaving the privilege of her White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) parents, works as a maid, brings up her daughter all on her own and never really settles for anything less than she deserved. But let’s face it, her daughter Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) is able to go to college because of the money her WASP parents lend her. This is how she could invest her capital in her own motel.
While it’s perfectly okay for people to ask for help from parents, the sitcom doesn’t really give us the image of a self-made woman. Lorelai Gilmore was privileged and had an ample amount of social capital to grow.
Considering the ‘hardships’ she had to go through, it is in a way problematic that the makers of the show decided to completely rule out abortion. Lorelai Gilmore never had regrets? It only feels natural for a woman to love her child and also sometimes resent her pregnancy for some reasons.
Even when Lorelai’s best friend Sookie (Melissa McCarthy)has one unplanned pregnancy after another, the show not only ignores the topic of abortion instead persuades the character to have the kid no matter how uncomfortable it got for her.
In one of the episodes, Sookie finds out that her husband did not get a vasectomy despite her sending him to get one and on top of that lies to her about it and impregnates her. The show would have been ripped apart by social media users if it had something as problematic as that.
When Sookie tells this to Lorelai, her reaction is completely unexpected. While she does side with Sookie and criticises her husband (very cutely though), she makes her see how having an unexpected pregnancy is not so bad. Instead of talking to her friend about one of the most important medical and legal achievements for people with uterus, abortion, she tells her how babies smell good. Sookie is then convinced that she should have a third kid.
Before getting married to Jackson, Sookie had expressed concerns over his wish to have four children. But she is not able to put it plainly in front of Jackson and the weird part is that Jackson doesn’t ask her how many kids she wants.
Change of heart is natural, a woman can simply detest the idea of having kids and ending up having a bunch of them because she suddenly wanted to. But seriously, she has to want them.
As the debate of art just being there for entertainment and not for awareness and education goes, I find myself on the other side. Art is political, it has always been. Artists have their own ideology and it is reflected in their work. If hundreds and thousands of people are watching a piece of art and consuming it as entertainment, one can’t ignore that it is somehow influencing their thoughts too. Comedy should not get a free pass. The genre has been a big political tool for ages now. Shows like Gilmore Girls by ruling out abortion made their audience see only one perspective. That is just robbing people of important dialogue and a chance to grow.
But hey, who am I to cancel a fan-favourite? Gilmore Girls makes for a perfect sob-fest.