When I began watching Gilmore Girls several years ago, it was in response to my girlfriend saying, “it’s my favourite show, but you don’t have to watch it with me.” This meant, of course, that I’d better sit my butt down right quick and get to know the Lorelais.
Well, my girlfriend became my wife, and Gilmore Girls has now made it to season six on DVD. I’ll admit that I’ve taken a liking to the show. It’s not the best thing on TV, but it’s far better than the worst. My biggest complaint about Gilmore Girls also happens to be my favourite thing about it – the dialogue. Spend 10 minutes with this show, and you’ll get a taste of why this aspect is my favourite. Watch several episodes, and you’ll begin to see why I protest.
I enjoy the dialogue because it’s fast, smart and funny. The characters frequently launch into exaggerated tirades on any topic under the sun, throwing in pop (and not-so-pop) culture references aplenty, and these are generally quite amusing. The problem is, unfortunately, a raging case of ‘Too Much of a Good Thing’.
When I say the “characters” launch into tirades, the emphasis is on plurality. Nearly all of the leading and supporting characters speak in the same style, so much so that you could switch lines around all over their scripts and I doubt viewers would notice. And there’s also the fact that Stars Hollow, where most of the characters live, is a quirky-and-quaint small town. Do a lot of people in small town USA reference the likes of Shakespeare, Descartes and Hunter S. Thompson in their daily conversation? How about in the same sentence? I think not.
As I said, though, I like the show, despite this flaw. Gilmore Girls certainly isn’t the first series to bank on an unrealistic level of dialogue. The West Wing, for example, really thrived on Aaron Sorkin’s knack for fast and smart wordplay. The difference between these two shows is, however, that Sorkin’s characters are supposed to be some of the country’s most brilliant people, and the White House isn’t exactly down the street from Stars Hollow.
It all comes down to one fact: just like with many works of fiction, you have to suspend disbelief a bit to really like the Gilmore Girls.
Now as for season six, it may be the most frustrating yet for fans of the show. It picks up right where season five left off, with Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) not speaking to each other, a rift that resulted from the events surrounding Rory’s uncharacteristic decision to take some time off from Yale. If you like this show, then you probably value the incredible mother-daughter relationship the Gilmore girls share, which is why you’ll be frustrated at just how long they can stay fighting.
Another major plot element at work in this season is, of course, Lorelai and Luke’s relationship. Lorelai popped the question in the final moments of season five, and while season six begins in the very same scene with Luke’s “yes”, their engagement takes a back seat to Lorelai and Rory’s spat for a good portion of the episodes.
I won’t spoil the ending here, so I’ll wrap up with a reassurance that despite an increase in melodrama and some frustrating out-of-character moments, most everything you either like or hate about Gilmore Girls is alive and kicking in season six; the quirky cast, picturesque settings, Amy Sherman’s dialogue, and solid overall production values.
Enjoy it while it lasts, because season six of Gilmore Girls is the last one helmed by the creative team of Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, and most fans have low expectations for the series’ future.
The Gilmore Girls – The Complete Sixth Season is presented on six discs, with all 22 episodes in 4:3 full-screen format. I have no real complaints or praise for the video transfer. It falls right smack in the perfectly acceptable category, for a TV series. The colours, black levels and level of detail are all fine, with only minor presence of soft picture and a grainy film quality.
The menus are also business as usual. They’re animated and easy to use, but it’s tough for first-time viewers to avoid spoilers when selecting an episode to play brings up a sub-menu showing chapter titles and thumbnail screenshots. I know it’s standard practice to offer this type of scene selection, but I’m not a fan.
Like the video, this set’s audio is nothing special. The only mix offered is standard Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. It does the job, which in this case just means clearly presenting the show’s signature dialogue, and its generally entertaining and complementary music. As you might expect, the rear channels seldom get off the bench.
Audio is English only, with French and Spanish subtitles available.
Unless you count a promo disc advertising other series on the CW network – and I most certainly don’t – this set offers zero bonus material.
Gilmore Girls – The Complete Sixth Season is only an average TV-on-DVD set, but the fact is the episodes are generally as touching and entertaining as those in the show’s previous five seasons. The complete lack of bonus features is a disappointment, but this set is still deserving of a home in any fan’s collection.