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Fantasy in 'Gilmore Girls': A natural human escape

Updated: Oct 10, 2022

Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) in "Gilmore Girls." Photo obtained via

Coffee addiction, unstable but remarkable romances, food disorder, family drama, obsession with classical movies, snow as a sign of magic in the city that praises Lorelai and Rory and, of course, the perfect girl who learned to read before she learned to walk.

Well, by now you already know it's “Gilmore Girls” that I am describing—a TV-production that was easily one of the most significant milestones of the early 2000s for television influence, especially because of the female voice in the show's writing and its plot: a story about a single mom (Lorelai Gilmore) that raises a daughter (Rory Gilmore) to be a strong and independent woman.

Since the beginning, “Gilmore Girls” has been regarded as a noteworthy show from its time, called “an amusing, highly promising light drama from the WB about mother-daughter bonding that is tender, warm and loving” by The Los Angeles Times.

It’s interesting to notice that the evolution of the TV show, however, followed a controversial path, according to the fans.

They usually state that the very first season of "Gilmore Girls" was so much more magical, uplifting and lighthearted. The fans argue about such things because the plot of the show was a human fantasy.

Essentially, what the fans always wanted to express is that they genuinely like watching the show mainly because it often promoted unrealistic scenarios and attitudes not only from the main characters but also from the rest of the cast.

It used to be ridiculous to see every guy falling in love with Lorelai and Rory just because they are the stars of the series.

It used to be chaotic to see Rory as the most special girl even with all of her flaws, like her selfishness and immaturity in some decision-making situations, especially related to her academics at Yale and her professional career in the field of journalism.

It used to be hilarious to see both mother and daughter affording and digesting a huge amount of unhealthy food and coffee without being worried about it or even warned by others.

It used to be those appealing elements that painted a colorful rainbow of this fantasy in the first seasons. Besides, according to the ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, the first three seasons received a score of 93% of approval from the audience. You can now clearly understand the positive impact of fantasy tones in the TV show.

Nonetheless, as a potential contrast to this beneficial fabulation, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” was a complete downfall for the show's reputation.

The before cozy, warm, and poetic narrative became a documentary of real people living real life.

As a result, you can easily imagine how the fans reacted to this unpleasant recreation of their own lives - not something they wanted to see on their screens. Rotten Tomatoes also initiated the survey about this negative reaction, which resulted in a score of 73% of approval—not only did the numbers decline, but the fantastic dialogues and the photography, as well, became less colorful and diverse.

All of this phenomenon surrounding “Gilmore Girls” is just one example of fantasy indeed being what every human being is looking for.

In his dissertation, "Human Rights and Literature," the Brazilian sociologist, literary critic and university professor Antonio Candido argued that fantasy is, or at least should be, a basic human right, since fabulation acts on the character and formation of subjects.

Fantasy is “the waking dream of civilization," and just as it is impossible to have psychic balance without dreaming during sleep, “perhaps there is no social balance without this tool." The imagination, therefore, can be used to transcend reality and cope with certain traumas of real life.

Gilmore Girl’s fans were not the only ones that saw fantasy as a source of refuge from their boring and tough lives. A vivid illustration of this is in one of the most influential British books in classic literature, Charlotte Brontë’s novel “Jane Eyre," which is probably one of Rory’s favorites.

“Throughout the novel, Jane uses her mind to frequently enter into fantasies that enable her to overcome the adversity she faces, by redirecting her attention, which prevents her from being psychologically impaired by traumatic experiences, such as abuse from her family and boarding school leadership”, Eden Conwell said in her article "Fantasy as Psychological Protection and a Coping Mechanism."

It’s more than clear to understand the uniqueness of fantasy as a form of art that enables our brains to be alive, active and nourished. The consumption of fantasy is the most genuine proof that the human race cannot be in proper function without the presence of art as their fuel for survival.

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