#GuiltyPleasureConfessional: My Addiction to Coffee, Wit, and Gilmore Girls

When your adolescence was rooted in the 90’s and you’re Black, there are several television shows that you likely set the kitchen timer for. Let’s see if I can name a few, hmmmmm? Family Matters? Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper? The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? Any of those ring a bell? Of course they do. If not for nostalgia, then quite possibly because syndication is both a gift and a curse. What about the other shows? You know, the ones where we were less represented or not represented at all, but you LOVED them. I had those shows, my guilty pleasure shows that either no one knew about or only a select few were in on it because they were fans as well.

Okay, let me name a few of those for you. Dawson’s Creek. Friends. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it’s spin-off Angel. Maybe you were a Felicity fan? I don’t know. I’m here to help you let go of the shame, though. Honestly, I’m here as one of very few Black people I know who own up to their love for a show that fits this category. A show that was a step off point for possibly one of the funniest actors of our time and another “scandalous” TV lawyer. I am here to profess my love for a TV show that got it’s start in 1999, lasted 7 amazing seasons and is now getting it’s full reunion/revial on with Netflix: Gilmore Girls!

Gilmore Girls

Just in case you’re all like “WTH is wrong with your Black ass right now? Gilmore Girls, really,” let me tell you that I don’t condone “show-shaming” and YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE! Okay… Here’s the premise. Coffee loving single mom, raising her daughter on her own, constantly checking her rich parents on their privilege while running a very successful bed and breakfast pre-Airbnb with her best friend Sookie {insert Melissa McCarthy here} and a fabulous Black Frenchman in a quirky small ass town in Connecticut. Got it? Whew… That run-on sentence would send my 9th grade English teacher into a red Sharpie frenzy. If you know the show, then you know the run-on sentence fits. The sentence fits because Gilmore Girls is full of witty, pop-culture heavy banter from some fast talking, precocious townsfolk. That may be because everyone is overly-caffeinated (which I love).

ggcoffeememe

Back to the 90’s, my adolescence, my journey into adulthood and how that all ties into The Gilmore Girls. I grew up with an overly caffeinated, witty single mom and this show was the first time I saw us on TV. Yeah, I’d seen single parents and single Black mothers on television before, but none that acted like we did. The portrayal of single women in the 90’s was rarely a good one. Let them be single mothers or single Black mothers and hell, you might as well get ready for an after school special. That wasn’t Lorelai & Rory and that wasn’t me & Benita, either. This mother-daughter duo was funny. They were friends who often crossed that thin line between parenting/daughtering and being one another’s home girls. Rory was an awkward bookworm who constantly followed the straight-n-narrow. Her mother, Lorelai was the rebellious teen mom with no filter and a low tolerance for B.S. Add to them many, many quirky characters.

Let’s start with Sookie. Sookie was Lorelai’s best friend and head chef of the Inn. Plus-sized, pleasant and clumsy. You know, the 90’s fat friend recipe (oh, how I wish we were past this phase, but alas… look at almost every movie Melissa has starred in since then). There was also, Ms. Patty who ran the dance studio on Stars Hollow. She was sexy, brash and whimsical with her nostalgic memories of her life among well-known celebrities. Lane Kim, Rory’s bff who was Korean and loved punk rock way more than helping out in her mother’s antique shop. Oh… but maybe my favorite character outside of “the girls” is Michel.

Michel was the ONLY Black person I can remember throughout 7 seasons and if he wasn’t the only Black person, he was most certainly the only one with a recurring role. Michel, the Black Frenchman, was pompous & arrogant, a lover of Celine Dion and his sexuality was ambiguous. He didn’t hold his tongue for anyone and threw more shade than an oak tree, honey. If you’re looking for the POCs of this show… well, there they are. Lane Kim, her mother, and Michel. Looking back on the show, I catch all the tiny microaggressions (you know… fat jokes & shit) that I didn’t pay attention to back then and it really does show how far we’ve come in representation and how far we still have to go.

Michel gif

All in all, I needed this show back then and I’m looking forward to the Netflix revival Of Gilmore Girls which is rumored to drop sometime in the near future. I needed a show that didn’t make single mothers and their mature daughters look like mistakes. I needed to see that kid with the awkward two sides of the family find and define herself. I needed to know that little White girls often didn’t see their daddies every day and that rich folks weren’t always very happy. I have no idea what I need from the revival, but hey, I didn’t know what I needed in a show back then either. I just knew that it drew me in and I’m hoping to be drawn in once again. I’m hoping to go back to the familiar and to see what we’ve accomplished. I don’t need validation, but a small reflection of today would be great. What 90’s TV show was your guilty pleasure? I’d love to know!

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  • Krystal

    My sources of entertainment were Star Trek TNG and DS9, Kindred and The X-files, Saved by the Bell and 90210. Except for my inner circle, I mostly got very strange looks for my choice of entertainment. Non-POC had looks of disbelief while POC had looks of disapproval. The pickings were slim for Black sci-if/fantasy girls looking for role models. So I chose all the bad-ass women I could relate to: Scully, Jadzia Dax and I chose the sideline gals too Lisa Turtle and Andrea (90210)!!

  • Jennice

    Mine was 7th Heaven…I’m not sure why

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