The Gilmore Girls and community

For Christmas, I gave my wife the first four seasons of Gilmore Girls.

We’ve already seen all of the episodes on DVD, but the wife has talked for a couple years about buying the series for background candy while she’s knitting or crocheting. And, as emasculating as it may be to admit this, I’m O.K. with owning the show too. Really, it’s darn good television.

Over the past week we’ve watched quite a few of the episodes already, as part of a regimen to recuperate from our trip (I’m still not completely over that evil mega-cold). Seeing the shows again reminds me of the incredible sense of community portrayed in Stars Hollow.

Stars Hollow, the small fictional town of 10,000 people 30 minutes outside of Hartford, Connecticut, was loosely based on the community of Washington, Connecticut. The Hollow is a tight little ville centered around a square with a gazebo. Most — if not all — of the businesses in the show are on the town square, and pedestrianism seems to be a way of life for the program’s characters. Lorelai and Rory, the two main characters, are rarely seen driving around town. They walk to Doose’s Market. They walk to the Luke’s diner. They walk to the bookstore to watch old films in the evening.

What an enviable lifestyle in so many ways.

It’s difficult for me to imagine a modern town of 10,000 (roughly the population of Siloam Springs when I moved here almost six years ago) actually functioning like this. Particularly, it’s hard to believe that there would be such a variety of useful businesses on the town square. Wouldn’t there be a Walmart along a highway that runs through town? (There is a Walmart in Stars Hollow per a third season show.) How could Doose’s Market, a tiny little corner grocer, compete with that? (There are ways, I know, for small businesses to survive in the midst of grossly large chains. I’m speaking in stereotypes here, as well as from my own experience.)

However, Stars Hollow apparently depicts a fairly typical small New England community, at least according to a Hartford Courant writer in 2002 (quote from Wikipedia):

    Unlike the Hartford depicted on Judging Amy, the Stars Hollow of The Gilmore Girls rings true. The town’s antiques shops, small businesses, schools, government and infrastructure look the part. But where Sherman-Palladino has truly excelled, despite her Clueless origins, is in her drawing of colorful Connecticut characters. The populace of Stars Hollow, from the town busybody to the town troubadour, is familiar to any Nutmegger who ever attended a town meeting.

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About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at pcNielsen.com.

4 Responses to The Gilmore Girls and community

  1. Tim J. says:

    I really don’t follow any television shows regularly, but I’ve seen a few episodes of Gilmore Girls are recognized right off that the writing is really crisp. Very sharp, rapid-fire and dialogue-rich. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I guess, but it happens to be the kind of thing I go for.

    Plus the Mom’s really cute.

    Monk is also a great show, in terms of writing (as well as acting, etc…).

    Yes, I’m up late, and yes, I’ve had a few glasses of wine.

    😉

  2. pNielsen says:

    I think I saw your FB status before I went to bed which included breaking out the good stuff. How was it?

    We watch Monk as well. My wife is more the TV connoisseur than I though, and I only get into about half of the shows she starts watching. However, winter is more watching season anyway, especially when you’re under the weather. The only new shows I really like are probably Monk, House and The Office. And the only one I’m really into is The Office.

  3. Tim J. says:

    I never did crack open that bottle of decent red winef. The boxed wine needed emptying, so I had a few glasses while I worked on setting up my Etsy store (which isn’t finished yet).

    The Office is truly funny. I also like to watch Scrubs with my son, but the humor there is more off the wall and unreal. The Office, it seems to me, draws its humor from life (if it is highly exaggerated). Even based on my own fairly mild exposure to cubicle life, I recognize certain types, certain kinds of personalities that The Office makes use of. I watch and say to myself, “Oh… I’ve BEEN to meetings like that!”.

  4. pNielsen says:

    I agree with your assessment of The Office; it’s believable characters and scenarios are aid in its appeal.

    And, someday, I’m going to encase someone’s stapler in jello . . .

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