Saturday, May 19, 2007

The 'Gilmore Girls' Are No More

After running successfully for seven seasons, the popular American TV series `Gilmore Girls` came to an end on May 15th 2007. Though it can't be termed as an early end to a still popular TV series as it was lucky to enjoy success for seven long years, it definitely was an abrupt end - mostly (I believe) because CW was all prepared to shoot the eighth season if they could work things out with Lauren Graham. The lack of momentum in the last few episodes to mark the end of the long series was duly compensated by a very deserving last episode, which brought back the memories of the better moments that the series had enjoyed and the reason why it had become so popular in the first place.

'Gilmore Girls' started when it had to compete against 'Friends' and 'Survivor' - two of the most popular TV shows ever, and it reached the peak of its success during its fifth season when 'LOST' had debuted and swept everyone off their feet. The TV show is said to be more popular among the family(read female) audiences with youngsters preferring action based dramas more, like LOST and Heroes. But it is difficult to underline the exact reasons behind the success of the series, against such stiff competition, hence I am going to speak just for myself. But first a confession: I started watching the series only in September last year(The first six seasons have been released on DVDs).

The first thing that had struck me about the series (in its pilot episode) was the freshness with which the beautiful atmosphere of the (fictional) town Stars Hollow was captured by the camera. But the strongest reason why I even bothered to watch the second episode was the unique style of humorous and fast-paced dialogue delivery that I had never witnessed before. Then there were numerous references to English literature, classic Hollywood movies, music of all genres, and food from all parts of the world(there is a reference to Indian food too, and gotta love their pronunciation of the name 'Bangalore' ;) ). The generous footage afforded to incorporate the various town festivals(Founders Firelight, Bid-a-basket, and my most favourite: Festival of Living Art) into the main story line is just another impressive aspect of the show. If a TV show can make someone buy and read Proust, go back to watching black & white movies and try out Thai food, it must be one of their favourite shows. While watching its second season, I did call it my most favourite show, ahead of LOST, Prison Break and the other "youth" oriented TV shows.

The TV show also boasts of creating so many memorable characters like Lorelai, Rory, Luke, Sukie, Taylor, Lane, Ms. Patty, Babette, Michelle, Mrs. Kim that got permanently etched in my memory(I personally didn't like the characters from outside of Stars Hollow so much - except Paris). One character called Kirk, played superbly by Sean Gunn, is the stuff of the classics. If nothing else, getting introduced to this extremely funny(quirky?) and likable character is worth watching at least a couple of seasons in my opinion, the character is that good. Here is a sample:

Kirk: This is not how it's supposed to go. I'm supposed to take her out, we're supposed to exhaust my prepared subjects immediately, and then the minute I get up and go to the bathroom, she is supposed to sneak out and leave me here humiliated. Now I have been to the bathroom three times, and I have to tell you, I did not have to go, and every time I came back to the table, she was there and she was smiling, and... hey, did you see her touch my arm? What the hell was that all about?
Luke: I think that means she likes you.
Kirk: Shut up! You take that back!

Lauren Graham, the actress who played the lead role or Lorelai Gilmore, is given most of the credit, besides the creator of the show Amy Sherman-Palladino, for making the TV show such a big success. She did bring in a refreshing perspective to what could have become another stereotypical role and it is hard to imagine anybody else playing that character. Fittingly enough, in recent rankings given by a website to actors brining most value to a character, she was ranked third, behind the inimitable Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House(House MD) and Kiefer Sutherland playing the iconic Jack Baur(24). The other two major characters of the show, Luke Danes and Rory Gilmore, were betrayed by the ordinary performances by the actors Scott Patterson and Alexis Bledel respectively. If these actors were honest to their characters, then they at least weren't charming enough. Rest of the characters were very colourful: Sukie and Michelle were immensely lovable in the first few episodes, Paris was hilarious from the fourth season onwards and Taylor and Kirk were always causing a riot.

All was not well with this series though. After the first few seasons, it kind of became repetitive; there was also a lot of filler material in the last couple of seasons. The entire feel of the show got changed in the seventh season after Amy Sherman parted from the series giving the reigns to David S Rosenthal. The real spirit of the show was finally visible once again, for one last time, luckily, in the very last episode of the series which ends with Lorelai and Rory at the Diner having coffee and Luke making Pancakes for them in the background - so reminiscent of the very first scene of the first episode of the series. I hope to watch the series again sometime in the far future, but irrespective of if that ever happens or not, the sweet memories of 'Gilmore Girls' and Stars Hollow and Kirk will be there with me forever.
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