After doing this week’s reading and viewings, I can’t help but notice how Gilmore Girls, though not a sitcom, has so many links to family situational comedies. I also have Gilmore Girls on my mind because I’ve been recently re-watching the Gilmore Girls series in high anticipation for this November’s Netflix reboot, A Year in the Life.
I think that Gilmore Girls can be thought of in conversation with family sitcoms because it comments on many norms that have been set in sitcoms, while in a drama format. For example, we see Lorelai raising her daughter Rory as a single parent. We also see that she has a rocky relationship with her own parents. Lorelai and Rory, though not the typical nuclear family, still present a view of a healthy and happy family on television. I think a lot of credit is due to Gilmore Girls for portraying a family unit that is not commonly seen on prime time TV. Another link that had me thinking of Gilmore Girls in relation to sitcoms was a particular episode “That Damn Donna Reed” that aired in 2001. Rory and Lorelai along with Rory’s boyfriend Dean have a movie night where they watch an episode of The Donna Reed Show, a 1950s family sitcom.
While Lorelai and Rory mock Donna Reed’s lifestyle , Dean shares that he thinks having a wife like Donna Reed would be nice. Including this allusion to The Donna Reed Show in this Gilmore Girls episodes allows Rory and Dean to explore and comment on the subject matter by having a larger conversation about the woman’s role in a household and relationship and how that has changed over time. Rory decides to surprise Dean and play Donna Reed the housewife for the night. As is typical from Gilmore Girls, allusions to other popular culture allow the show to create a larger discussion and create a strong dialogue about important topics such as relationship roles.
I find it fascinating that modern TV shows are still influenced by some of the earliest sitcom shows. All of these shows must always be considered in conversation with one another.