Nearly 15 years after it first premiered on The WB, the cast and creators of Gilmore Girls reunited at the ATX Television Festival, where fans waited hours for the chance to see their favorite Stars Hollow residents and friends gather on stage. From the moment the reunion was announced, there was a sense of frenzied anticipation, as its countless fans prepared to revisit the series in a whole new way. The excitement over the reunion just proves that while Gilmore Girls ended eight years ago, time hasn't made us love it any less, and at the reunion, I asked some of the series' stars to explain just why they think the show has made such a lasting impact.
If anything, Gilmore Girls has only become more popular over time, with new fans finding it everyday thanks to Netflix streaming the series since last October. For diehards who have been there since the beginning, Netflix just made our lives a little easier, because now we don't have to haul the DVD sets around everywhere we go or wait for a cable marathon. A few of the actors behind Gilmore Girls' unforgettable characters do credit Netflix with some of its lasting success, but they all acknowledge that there's something much deeper to it as well. There's a reason so many people want to watch Gilmore Girls over and over again, and here's what the stars themselves had to say:
Liza Weil (Paris)
Paris Geller would certainly be proud of Weil's intelligent answer, as she explains that Gilmore Girls' legacy is all thanks to its creator and showrunner, Amy Sherman-Palladino. "I think that Amy is so smart and she’s such an amazing writer, I think it has all the ingredients," Weil says. "You have these two central characters that are just so engaging and lovely to watch, and you have all these eccentric people around them, and the snappy dialogue, and the pop culture references."
Weil also believes that Netflix played a part, helping a whole new generation find Sherman-Palladino's creation. "The fact that it’s had the chance to sort of re-enter the world through streaming media," she says of Gilmore Girls becoming available online. "It’s a new thing, so it got to have a whole second life."
Danny Strong (Doyle)
Considering that after his time as Doyle came to an end, Strong went on to write the Emmy-winning TV movies Recount and Game Change, as well as create the hit new series Empire, I think we can trust his opinion on Gilmore Girls' legacy.
"I think it just strikes a really honest chord with people, it’s really funny and has a huge heart, and is stylized in a really kind of clever way that is very unique for television then, but [also] television now," he says. "Stuff is not stylized in that way and able to sustain it, where it’s still organic and truthful, and yet have this energy and pace to it that’s really unique."
Liz Torres (Miss Patty)
For Miss Patty, it can be summed up in two words: "The writing." Torres then adds another two words: "real life." One more element she contributes to Gilmore Girls' lasting success? "It was written by a young woman, which is rare … so that was nice." It certainly was.
Yanic Truesdale (Michel)
Unlike his character Michel, Truesdale has a very positive outlook, which is especially apparent as he credits the show's long-lasting appeal to familial bonds. "The theme, family, single mothers," he says of what caused fans' intense love. "Everybody has a relationship with their mom, so everybody knows, and it wasn’t cynical, it had a lot of heart."
Jackson Douglas (Jackson)
For Douglas, the answer to why everyone still loves Gilmore Girls is simple. "Because everybody can relate to it," he says.
Matt Czuchry (Logan)
No matter how you feel about Logan Huntzberger as a partner for Rory, you have to agree with Czuchry's view of the show. "Just the world that they created, Stars Hollow," he says of what made Gilmore Girls such a beloved series. "In terms of the unique characters, the bits, the humor, the pace of the dialogue, it was so unique. All because of Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino."
John Cabrera (Brian)
Would you ever have guessed that of all the Gilmore Girls characters, Logan and Brian actually have the most in common? At least, the actors who play them do, as Cabrera also cites the Gilmores' hometown as the show's legacy. "I think it’s Stars Hollow. I just think that that town invoked a sort of nostalgia for people," he says. "I think people felt like the town either reminded them of a place from their childhood, maybe they were from a small town or maybe they weren’t from a small town but wished that they were. But there’s something about that town that made people want to escape to it, and I’ve always heard people say, ‘Oh, that’s my comfort place. I like to go back to Stars Hollow.’"
Keiko Agena (Lane)
The three core members of Hep Alien walked the red carpet together, and while Agena says that she agrees with Cabrera, she has a few other thoughts on the show's extended life span. "I also think there’s an underlying love in the show," she says. "I think there’s an innocence, and a genuine love, even when characters are having difficulties with each other. I think that’s what’s really addictive about it for me. Even though on the surface we have so many challenges with each other, you know that underneath it they have each other’s backs, and they really do care about each other." If you think about it, that's essentially the message of Gilmore Girls' iconic theme song too, ensuring fans feel that love every time they watch an episode.
Arielle Kebbel (Lindsay)
We may have never gotten to see a happy ending for Dean's wife Lindsay, but that doesn't stop Kebbel from reflecting on the show's importance. "It’s the messages, it’s the writing, it’s the characters," she says. "They found a way to deal with real-life issues, and show that love conquers all. It’s witty, it’s funny, and I just think that’s a recipe for success. So no matter how much time has gone by, success remains successful." See? She's still too good for Dean.
Milo Ventimiglia (Jess)
If you weren't already on Team Jess, prepare to be converted.
"I just think it’s kind of timeless," Ventimiglia says of Gilmore Girls. "Even though the show, when we were on the air, was very much ahead of its time with pop culture, could talk about the zeitgeist with everything happening at the moment, it was always dealing with things ... that we all go through. You know, life and love and friendship and happiness and sadness and coffee and everything. That was something that is always gonna make a show last longer than its initial run."
From the welcoming embrace of Stars Hollow to Sherman-Palladino's witty scripts to the Gilmores themselves, it seems that every single element of Gilmore Girls has played a part in the deep, lasting effect it's had on fans of all generations.
Images: Jack Plunkett (4); Lauren Reynolds (2); Samantha Rullo/Bustle (5)