The ‘Gilmore Girls’ Relationship That’s Just ‘as Essential’ as Lorelai and Rory’s, According to Lauren Graham

There wouldn’t be Gilmore Girls without Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel). They’re the program’s namesake after all. However, according to Graham, there’s another relationship that’s equally as important to Gilmore Girls.

‘Gilmore Girls’ is, first and foremost, about Lorelai and Rory’s relationship 

Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham pose together at a WB Upfront event
Gilmore Girls stars Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham | Jim Spellman/WireImage

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It’s clear from the start Lorelai and Rory are the focus of the show. In the Gilmore Girls pilot episode it’s established they don’t have the typical mother-daughter relationship. They’re best friends first and mother and daughter second. 

Gilmore Girls is all about their lives in the small, fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut. They go to work and school, order take-out, and eat burgers at Luke’s Diner.

Lorelai and Rory go back and forth between BFF mode and mother-daughter mode depending on the situation. No matter what they’re there for each other. They’re what Rory describes on one occasion as “freakishly linked.” 

Emily and Lorelai’s relationship is just ‘as essential’ to ‘Gilmore Girls’ as Lorelai and Rory’s, according to Lauren Graham

'Gilmore Girls' cast members pose on set
The cast of Gilmore Girls | Getty Images / Handout

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The meaning behind the title of the show is two-fold. It most obviously applies to Lorelai and Rory. They’re the Gilmore girls and are even referred to as such a few times in the series. But there’s another Gilmore girl, Emily Gilmore, as played by Tony Award winner Kelly Bishop. She’s Lorelai’s mother and Rory’s grandmother. 

During a 2005 interview with TV Guide, Graham shared that the relationship between Lorelai and Emily is just as crucial to the show as Lorelai and Rory’s.  

“To me, the juiciest stuff, the scenes I love the most, are the ones within the family,” she said. “I love the relationship between Kelly Bishop (Emily) and Lorelai. That relationship is as essential as the Lorelai-Rory relationship. We have two mother-daughter stories and those are, to me, the core of the show.”

Lorelai’s strained relationship with Emily is in direct contrast to her and Rory’s. She and her mom have never been particularly close. Things only got worse when Lorelai left home as a teen to raise Rory on her own.

Lorelai and Emily worked on their relationship in ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’

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Gilmore Girls ended in 2007 with Lorelai telling her parents Friday night dinners would still happen despite Rory getting a job and moving away. Fast-forward to 2016’s Netflix revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, and things are different for the Gilmores.

In the revival, Emily’s husband, Richard Gilmore (Edward Herrmann), is dead. Lorelai and Emily are in therapy together. They argue about a cruel letter Emily thinks Lorelai wrote. And, although it doesn’t go particularly well, it’s a sign the mother and daughter are still working on their relationship.

Although their lives look different, some stuff is still the same. The Lorelai-Rory relationship is important and so is the Lorelai-Emily relationship.