‘Gilmore Girls’ and Its Unlikely South Asian Fanbase

The intergenerational television series had some real “log kya kahenge?” vibes.

Sadaf Ahsan

September 12, 2022

‘Gilmore Girls’ and Its Unlikely South Asian Fanbase
Rory and Lorelai (Gilmore Girls)

Lorelai: It was amazing. Seeing Rory [at Harvard], in a dorm room, in a classroom…She fit. Luke: So, how are you taking that? Lorelai: Taking what? Luke: Seeing her fit. Lorelai: I loved it…and I hated it.

That dialogue between Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and the friendly neighborhood diner owner (and scruffy love interest) Luke Danes (Scott Patterson) comes toward the end of one of my favorite episodes of Gilmore Girls, Season 2’s “Road Trip to Harvard.” Lorelai and teenage daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) have taken a spontaneous trip to the Ivy League school Rory has long dreamed of — since she could barely talk, allegedly — leaving her mother both proud and wistful. All Lorelai wants is a better life for her brilliant daughter, one where she can be anything she wants to be, but she realizes that the family she built is about to leave the nest.

Gilmore Girls, which premiered in October 2000, follows the mother and daughter pair as they live their lives in their small town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, and as they reconnect with Lorelai’s mother, Emily (Kelly Bishop), and father, Richard (Edward Herrmann). The show was the second-most-popular WB series among young female viewers, pulling in 4 to 5 million viewers per episode in its original seven-season run. Meanwhile, its 2016 revival season on Netflix hauled in a whopping 5 million viewers in the first three days after release. 

For years, Gilmore Girls has remained an essential part of my life — as inspiration but also as comfort, partly because it is a cozy sweater in television form. But I’m not alone. Despite its white and sometimes problematic cast of characters, Gilmore Girls also won over a seemingly unlikely fan base — South Asians — for whom the series’ family dynamics and social values hit very close to home.