Have you ever thought about living in Stars Hollow? You are certainly not alone. Gilmore Girls is a classic that never seems to lose popularity years after its series ended. And, Gilmore Girls just wouldn’t Gilmore Girls without the town where it all happens: Stars Hollow. So what about Lorelai (Lawrence Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) beloved hometown that makes it so special?
Gilmore Girls has many traits that make it unique and lovable, but one thing that stands out is the series’ unusual world-building. When you think of “world building,” you probably think of science fiction or fantasy. It’s about creating a world out of nothing that feels real, visceral, and somehow familiar. Corn, Gilmore Girls makes the interesting choice of applying that same tool to a realistic, light-hearted family drama. In fact, they do it so well that the world they build becomes a mainstay of the series and a character in their own right.
Stars Hollow is the quintessential small town. It’s a fictional town in Connecticut that represents everything you can think of when you idealize the idea of coming from a small town where everything is steeped in tradition and everyone knows each other. There are a few things compounded to make Stars Hollow feel like a proper small town. The positioning of Stars Hollow in the real world is frequently referenced and incorporated into its lore. Stars Hollow is near Hartford; it’s near Yale. There’s even actual nature footage in the opening sequence that’s supposed to show Stars Hollow. It takes Stars Hollow’s vibe from adorable and ambitious to seemingly attainable. It makes this place feel like a real existing somewhere else.
Besides its placement in the real world, the Stars Hollow setup, itself, is established and retconned. In Season 1 Episode 7 (The Breakup Part 2), Rory desperately tries to avoid running into Dean (Jared Padalecki.) In doing so, she must carve a circuitous route to get to Lukeis dinner. As the titular girls of Gilmore discuss how to get to Luke’s house, they discuss how close and interconnected the city’s landmarks are. This is frequently reinstated as the series progresses and the various landmarks become known. Viewers come to have a vague idea of where Lorelai and Rory live in relation to Kim’s antique shop, Miss Patty’s dance studio, the gazebo, Luke’s Diner, and more. minds as the series progresses in a way that is uniquely detailed for a show working in realism.
Stars Hollow’s layout, of course, isn’t its only important feature. The shows position the characters in multiple ways to be more or less forced together on a day-to-day basis. Often it is in a workplace, as in Office Where Parks and recreation or school like Community Where Gossip Girl. Sometimes it’s a family tie like Full house. And, sometimes it’s about where the characters live or frequent like Central Perk in Friends or the attic in new girl. Making sure the characters are always in the same place builds drama and adds to the storylines. This makes the fights more serious; it makes romances more awkward, forbidden or tense; the drama is greater. The proximity of Stars Hollow raises the temperature of any scenario. All of these characters are sure to meet; everyone is sure to know the latest gossip. Even when Rory is away at Chilton or Yale or Lorelai is visiting her parents in Hartford, home base is still Stars Hollow, and there are still stories that live there.
But, Stars Hollow is more than a setting or home base. It’s a well fleshed out world that makes Gilmore Girls feel like a place viewers know and have actually been. There is Gypsy (Rose Abdou,) the town mechanic; Taylor Doose (Michael Winters), the city selector and owner of Doose’s Market and Taylor’s Olde Fashioned Soda Shoppe; Luke (Scott Patterson) is the owner of the restaurant; Miss Patty (Liz Torres) owns the dance studio and takes care of the town; Babette (Sally Struther) is the curious neighbor par excellence. Jackson (Jackson Douglas) is the vegetable guy. And Kirk (Sean Gunn) has just about every job that wasn’t already accounted for. Viewers come to know all of the characters and who will reappear for what purpose. But the magic of Stars Hollow is not fair about viewers knowing who the local “veggie guy” is. It’s about stepping back to a time it’s easy to imagine where there was a local ‘veggie guy’. The characters exist in modern times, but there’s an old-fashioned weirdness to the way they live their lives.
Gilmore Girls even has a town troubadour (singer-composer-performer, Grant Lee Phillips); a crooner perched on the corner of the street singing with his acoustic guitar; another nod to a simpler time or even something you’d imagine in a storybook. And it’s not just the existence of the town troubadour that’s a mainstay of Stars Hollow. It is also his music. The music of Stars Hollow is particular and reinforces the simple and cozy atmosphere of the place. singer-songwriter, Sam Phillipscomposed the unique and familiar Gilmore Girls Goal. It is often an instrument accompanied by a woman’s voice which sings softly, the lyrics being replaced by frequent hums or “la-la”. Stars Hollow has a specific, unwavering look, feel and even sound.
And, as you would expect from a place – not frozen, but pleasantly and deliberately remaining – in the past, traditions are important in this city. As seven seasons (and the ultimate reboot, A year in the life) passes, viewers are becoming more and more familiar with the myriad lore of Stars Hollow. There’s the Winter Carnival, Founders Firelight Festival, Revolutionary War Reenactment, Living Art Festival, Bid-a-Basket Festival and, of course, the 24-Hour Dance-A-Thon. , among many others. Stars Hollow’s many annual events are the kind of things viewers know would roll their eyes if they were truly held in their own city, but it’s hard not to want to attend Stars Hollow. Events are the kind of thing the community can count on and look forward to. And, these events are always welcome for the tightly intertwined stories of the series to unfold.
And, if all else fails, town members can still attend the frequent, lively, and unexpected town meetings. In Stars Hollow, all the good things of the past live on: the community, the fun of yesteryear, and true democracy. The falls of the past seem to have been washed away by the tide. Stars Hollow is a utopia in some ways and the kind of place we know couldn’t really exist, at all. But, even so, when viewers close their eyes after watching a few episodes of Gilmore Girls, it’s easy to imagine you could take a long drive and turn left just before you reach Hartford, Connecticut, and you’ll hear the town minstrel strumming in the background. And it gives new meaning to the “comfort watch”.
We all love the Gilmore Girls, but how do they taste in men? Not really.
About the Author