The Gilmore Girls’ Inclusivity Problem

It’s okay to love a thing. It’s better to love it when you see all its flaws.

Yi Shun Lai
ZORA
Published in
8 min readJan 29, 2023

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An image of the characters Rory Gilmore and her mother, Lorelai Gilmore, from the show “Gilmore Girls.” They are both white women with longish brown hair and blue eyes. Rory on the left is wearing a red coat and her hair pulled back from her forehead. Lorelai is wearing a camel coat and a necklace and has her hair swept back. They are smiling at something to the left off-camera.
Image credit: Screenrant.com

(You can listen to me read this post to you here.)

(Here’s the much-shorter TikTok version of this post. )

In the early 2000s, Lorelai Gilmore came roaring onto the small screen in a jeep, and comedy was never quite the same for me. A lot on the show I didn’t find funny, because it was just too close to my real life for me to appreciate the absurdism, and then someone I knew fairly well told me I talked a lot like the characters on the show, and then I was simultaneously horrified that my inner thought processes were just out there like that and annoyed that I wasn’t writing for TV, since I apparently was already writing TV script.

Back then, I only watched three or four episodes.

I’ve been thinking a lot about mothers and daughters lately, so I thought I’d give this another go.

I am at the beginning of season 7 now, and there’s a lot I like about the show — and I’m looking forward to Netflix’s reboot, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, so I can see how all those characters turned out.

Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, a few decades older, both in black, now in more or less the same hairstyle and both wearing black, pose with big rounded white coffee mugs in front of the lower half of their faces. Lorelai is on the left. Text reads, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life: A Four-Part Event. 25 November. Netflix.”

(I know, I know, Dean went on to be a monster hunter.)

A much older Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester in Supernatural. A big guy in a chin-length haircut and a day-old scruff poses with a gun. He’s wearing a plaid shirt with a thermal top underneath it and is standing in front of some 1960s looking computery and now I can’t forget they called him “Moose” on the show.

But there are a number of things that made me want to turn off the show mid-episode. Oh, I always go back to it — for the camaraderie; for the outrageous things that get said; to find out what’s going to happen to Lane and her rock band — but a lot of it made me wince in pain.

Let me preface the rest of this by saying that this is a show from the early 2000s. That we were terrible at inclusivity back then, and that nearly every major network show back then could be critiqued on these same bases. I also want to say that it’s truly okay for us to have made these mistakes in the past, so long as we learn from them. So long as we can look at these things and just…

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Yi Shun Lai
ZORA
Writer for

Author: A SUFFRAGISTS’S GUIDE TO THE ANTARCTIC (2024), Pin Ups (2020). Columnist, The Writer. theGooddirt.org; @gooddirt. Psst: Say “yeeshun.” You can do it!