Gilmore Girls remains a cherished early-2000s series, 20 years after its WB premiere.
A former writer on Gilmore Girls explained that the series was focused on one thing in particular.
‘Gilmore Girls’ writer explains how the episodes were written
When Jane Espenson, a writer on Gilmore Girls Season 4, joined the hosts of the podcast Gilmore Guys, she explained of the show’s writing process:
It was a show that didn’t have a lot of theme, coordinating the ‘A’ and ‘B’ stars. Generally, Lorelai would have something going on in her life, Rory would have something happening in her life. One didn’t stand metaphorically for the other.
Espenson, who also has written on Buffy, Game of Thrones, and Once Upon a Time, said this was a different creative process than the other shows she’s worked on.
Unlike many network shows, Gilmore Girls would also opt out of ending episodes on cliffhangers. Rather, the writers would play stories out as naturally as possible.
“I remember distinctly Dan Palladino going, ‘OkOK I think that’s enough story for this episode,’” Espenson said on Gilmore Guys. “… because he was seeing it as life.”
Staying away from overarching theme, and playing time more organically helped make Gilmore Girls more realistic, Espenson argued.
‘Gilmore Girls’ writer says the cast and crew ‘valued 1 thing above all other things’
“… this was serving the purpose of verisimilitude,” she explained. “You are surprised when things happen because the story didn’t set it up.”
Just like in the real world, things happen at random — or, they happen, just not directly to you, and you hear about them later.
“You’re surprised when the exciting moment happened between the seasons or off-screen or is being talked about on the phone, because that’s how life works,” the Gilmore Girls alum explained. “Stories don’t start and end with everything wrapped up.”
Thus, Espenson believes that the creative forces behind Gilmore Girls “valued one thing above all other things.”
“… that thing was realism,” the writer revealed. “More than any other show I’ve worked on, the rule was, ‘Does it feel like life? What would happen next?’”
The series remains ‘comforting’ in 2020
At the 2015 ATX Festival, the cast and creators of Gilmore Girls reunited for the anniversary. The creator of the beloved series, Amy Sherman-Palladino, explained that she pulled from her experience working on the sitcom Roseanne to create the realistic world on Gilmore.
“The motto on Roseanne was ‘make the small big, make the big small,’” the showrunner recalled. “I’ve kind of stuck to that my entire career, because I really do believe that’s the best storytelling. It’s in the small moments that lives change.”
Espenson believes that kind of storytelling is what makes Gilmore Girls so appealing.
“The show was very comforting,” she said on Gilmore Guys. “You were with people that you liked, talking about stuff. … There was something about it that made for a show that was a pleasure to watch and that felt like life.”
It also makes the characters onscreen more intimately relatable to the viewers.
“People identify with the Gilmore Girls in way more than any other show I’ve worked on,” Espenson explained. “… They feel like their lives feel like the lives they’re seeing on the screen.”
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