Opinion

The Gilmore Girls and The Lens of Time

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My friend Maegan got me hooked on the Gilmore Girls.

It’s honestly pretty incredible that I somehow went through the 00’s and never watched it.

Like, NEVER. Never, ever, ever.

There are two reasons why I never watched it:

  1. The spacing between Lauren Graham’s nose and mouth bothered me
  2. I didn’t like the font used for the “Gilmore Girls” title

Plus, in the early 00’s, I was in Japan, then I moved back to the US and was taking care of the man who had Alzheimer’s , recovering from my two-packs of cigarettes a day (and heavy drinking) habits. I wasn’t watching much of anything (except maybe my future, by way of trying to change).

But I digress.

My friend Maegan got me hooked on the Gilmore Girls.

It’s the perfect show in a lot of ways for me to put on and then do the more time-consuming but not brain-consuming pieces of blogging, like making the Pinterest pins, or graphics work. Maybe research for a post.

It’s not a particularly deep show, so paying half-attention to it while doing something else works perfectly.

The thing that strikes me as I watch it – like, strikes me in that, HOLY COW! DID SHE REALLY JUST SAY THAT?!! Kind of way is all the negatives on disability.

I mean, “I have to find a retarded kid to help,” or “I wake up in the morning and look like that kid from Mask,” or “I’m the biggest spaz in the world,” “I don’t think I have all my chromosomes,” and stuff like that.

I feel like a rubber-necking-accident-watcher sometimes, because I’m sort of horrified and fascinated at the same time.

Horrified, because: this show was so popular.

Fascinated, because: this show was so popular.

Both of these give a real glimpse into what has been acceptable to say about disability.

More importantly, it’s a glimpse into what admired, popular people in our media culture strive to be, do, say. And that is, to distance oneself as much as possible from disability.

We’re supposed to want to be like Lorelai, Rory, right?

Thin bodies, unfreckled skin, pretty in a white-girl way.

“Starving” all the time, consuming massive amounts of junk food and remaining slender.

Fiercely independent in (what seems to me to be) a totally unnecessary way.

gilmore girls and the lens of time

and WHITE, oh my God, SO WHITE!

Is there even a person of color in this series?? Oh wait. Right.

Michel, the bitchy black French guy. Okay, other than him? Anyone?

The token not-white person seems to be Rory’s Korean-American friend. It seems like so much in that is a parody of “Asian-ness” and a mocking of Korean Christianity.

Living in Hawaii as I do, it’s kind of eyebrow-raising.

The Lens of Time

The lens of time is the part that I find great.

Yes, so much about the Gilmore Girls sucks. The lack of diversity, the stereotypes, the horrible things about disability that are consistently woven into the punchlines.

It’s appalling that this was normal 19 years ago, that it was perfectly fine for a popular show to say or do these things.

But look at what our popular shows have evolved to!

We have Special now, Born This Way.

We have Deaf Out Loud.

We have #BlackLivesMatter and we have an awareness of how things should be, will be with racial equality, justice, appreciation.

A show like Gilmore Girls would never, ever fly in this here and now.

Or rather, the lack of diversity in it would not fly, nor would the comments on disability.

I’m glad about that, and I find it encouraging, because it shows me how much can – and HAS – changed even in the course of my life.

 

What are YOU watching now? Any awesome disability/diversity strong series or movies?

Be a FLUFFMEISTER!!!

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Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor, teacher and blogger. Single mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E), she is also a cat-loving Trekkie who likes her coffee hot and black.
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