Lorelai and Emily’s Relationship


These disappointed faces are directed towards each other all too often.
Photo taken from Slavek Muller (photographer unknown)

Lorelai and her mother have had a strained relationship that was broken even more after Lorelai left at age sixteen.  While her parents were disappointed and embarrassed, their only daughter left them and cut off communication with them for a few years.  As parents, they were devastated.  Like most mothers and daughters they do love each other, but they have very different views and takes on life that cause them to have many arguments and feuds.  From her point of view, Emily was providing Lorelai with the best childhood and life that any girl could need, but Lorelai didn’t want a life filled with debutante balls, fancy dresses, and dinner parties.  She just wanted to be a kid, which caused her to be quite the rebel.  When she got pregnant at the age of sixteen, her parents wanted her to marry Christopher (who also came from money), but Lorelai wanted a different life for her child.  Her daughter was going to be raised away from all the politics and standards of the high class lifestyle in which she grew up.  Lorelai is a prime example of someone who believes that money isn’t everything.  This is an example that shows how parents need to do more than just solely provide for their children.  Obviously, the parent needs to be able to support their child financially and provide them with a home, clothes, food, etc., but they also need to love them.  They need to show that they love them by giving affection and care.

The video clip is a perfect example of how Emily and Lorelai’s perspectives on their relationship differ.  It shows how Lorelai’s childhood and relationship with her mother has affected the way she raised Rory. (stop watching at 41:40)  Emily views Lorelai as a screw up; she views her as someone who made a mistake and ruined her future.  Lorelai sees it differently.  Rory is the best thing that ever happened to Lorelai, and she claims that she would have left whether she got pregnant or not.

Gilmore Girls-S1 E9-Rory’s Dance by casual2

Annette Laureu from the University of Pennsylvania said, “…higher-income parents see their children as projects in need of careful cultivation…They try to develop their skills through close supervision and organized activities…”  She also said, “working-class parents, meanwhile, believe their children will naturally thrive, and give them far greater independence and time for free play” (Miller, 2015). These two different parenting styles directly relate to the way that Emily and Lorelai are as mothers.  In the video, when Lorelai says, “I had nothing in that house.  I had no life.  I had no air.  You suffocated me.” hints at the idea that Laureau was talking about with upper-class parents “hovering” over their kids and making them do certain activities.

Lorelai’s relationship with her own mother has drastically affected the kind of mother that she is to Rory.  She showed Rory every day that she loved her and that she would do anything that it took to give her a good life.  Lorelai recognizes her own flaws and desperately tries to avoid passing them on to Rory.  Rory is a completely opposite child from how Lorelai was, which is one possible reason as to why Emily tries so desperately to insert herself into their lives.  Emily doesn’t want to see her granddaughter make the same mistakes she allowed her daughter to make.

One thing that Gilmore Girls is very good at displaying is how past family relationships impact a person.  Some people may have horrible parents, and they end up turning out just like them. Their parents may be the only role models they have, and they have no other view of how relationships should be.  Others may recognize the harmful relationship that they have with their parents, or anyone else, and take initiative to change that with their own children.