A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Healthy family relationships, female empowerment, learning how to make positive choices, being true to yourself, acceptance, and tolerance. Issues around class distinctions, and indiscipline are sometimes addressed. Additional themes include communication, gratitude, and integrity.
Positive Role Models
Lorelai is independent, strong, a committed parent; Rory is smart, responsible, self-assured. Luke is compassionate and caring, always looking out for people in his town.
The series was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and centers women as well as a nontraditional family unit. Examines socioeconomic differences. Michel, who works with Lorelai, is Black. Lane, Rory's best friend, is Korean American, but her relationship with her mother, Mrs. Kim, often perpetuates stereotypes of strict/overbearing Asian parents. Across the entire series there are no disabled or queer characters in recurring roles. (Michel is queer-coded but the series gives him "straight" behavior like dates with women. The Netflix revival addresses Michel's sexuality by giving him a male spouse.) Fat-shaming includes Rory describing a ballerina as "hippo-like"; she and Lorelai nickname their neighbor "Back Fat Pat." Characters of color are seen in the background, but overall cast is almost entirely White.
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Violence & Scariness
Occasional strong arguments, both verbal and physical. A building burns down, but there are no deaths. In Season 3, a character attempts to force sex with his girlfriend despite her protests -- she has to physically get out from under him to escape. (It's problematically underplayed as a misunderstanding.)
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing, suggestive language; sex is implied, couples are shown in bed. A scene takes place in a strip club; no nudity is shown.
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Words like "ass," "bastard," "hell," "bitch," "damn," "retarded."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink cocktails, wine; underage drinking addressed. Characters smoke cigars and cigarettes, mentions of marijuana.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gilmore Girls features a single mother (Lauren Graham) raising the daughter (Alexis Bledel) she had as a teenager and has since had a revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Family dynamics, romance, relationship problems, and coming-of-age issues are frequent themes. The series is set in a fictional Connecticut town with almost no diversity. The show tackles mature topics including underage drinking and divorce. There's also strong language ("bitch," "ass," etc.), verbal and physical fights, and sexual innuendo. But the show's empowered women and positive messages they offer -- including strengths like communication, gratitude, and integrity -- outweigh the iffy episode-to-episode content. Parents may want to watch with their older tweens and teens, since many of the events can serve as a starting point for important conversations.
Is It Any Good?
The often moving, quirky series mixes drama and comedy as it follows the mother-daughter duo negotiating friendship, romance, and family. The titular Gilmore Girls Lorelai and Rory have deep conversations that make their complex relationship seem more sister-like than parental, but the fiercely independent Lorelai never wavers in her commitment to her daughter regardless of her own romantic entanglements. While Rory is a typical teenager, her love of learning, her maturity, and her overall decision-making process consistently make her a positive role model.
Part of what makes the seven seasons (and Netflix revival) of Gilmore Girls so successful is the clever writing, which mixes pop culture and literary references and includes fast-talking conversations that are delivered with artful ease. The show has its share of melodramatic moments, but it also delivers a lot of insight about growing up and dealing with the complications of life without being preachy. It's a TV show that doesn't shy away from difficult issues but approaches them in ways that can be relatable and empowering.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.