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While The Gilmore Girls is a timeless show, there are some aspects (like any show from the 90s) that just did not age well. Love lives, careers, and family drama might not change, but thankfully fashion does. However, Lorelai’s leopard-print shirts aren’t alone in the list of things that painfully date Gilmore Girls. Here are 10 things that date the girls as relics of the 90s—and three aspects that have stood the test of time.
We might be living in the age of instant gratification, but in season one Lorelai refuses to get DSL because she likes her internet slow. It allows her to get up and make a sandwich. She was expressing her independence from her mother’s wealth—and you can tell, because absolutely nobody fondly remembers dial-up internet’s slow speeds and that terrible noise.
Doctors don’t even use pagers anymore. When was the last time you saw a pager? I’m pretty sure they’ve gone the way of anvils. Rory rocked pagers for a long time in the show. Maybe the Hollow is super low-tech, but it wasn’t until the introduction of the Sidekick (another product of a bygone age) that the pagers vanished.
When Rory fractures her wrist in the car accident, Lorelai decrees that the doctors must run every conceivable test to ensure she’s totally okay. While her worry about her daughter is admirable, every time I watch that scene it makes my wallet hurt. Medical costs have ballooned since that episode originally aired, but that’s still a lot of money in frivolous medical testing.
During her early days at Chilton, Rory uses a tried and true method to block out the world: headphones. Unfortunately this was back in the days before cell phones and iPods, which means that Rory rocked the Discman. The only way it could get more vintage was if she had Starlord’s cassette tape deck.
Rory: Scholar, star student, aspiring Harvard student. It’s right that for her sixteenth birthday she should get a laptop. But holy early days of Apple, Batman! That iBook is a candy-colored beauty, but man is it clunky and huge. Thank God technology keeps getting smaller.
Before texting made voice mail obsolete, answering machines were the way you let someone know just how badly you needed to have a word. With answering machines came cutesy messages. The girls always had something quick and quippy on their machines, and the messages they received were as eloquent as the ones we all received in real life weren’t.
Once upon a time, Blockbuster was the place movie junkies haunted the way ghosts populate Victorian houses. These days, VHS has become a symbol of another lifetime, or a hidden treasure worth serious money to collectors. Every time the girls rent a movie from their local video shop, they’re showing their age, like grey roots in need of a touch-up.
Christopher’s Music Collection
Some music is timeless. Other music is Rammstein. Chris and Lore bicker about his terrible taste in music, and she is not wrong. His taste in music is shallow, representative of Chris’s similar personality.
A music collection that has stood the test of time? Lane’s. As shallow as Chris’s music collection is, Lane’s will always be impeccable. Of course, Lane’s music collection is kind of like Rory’s reading list: It’s a shotgun spread across all the greats, designed to appease every kind of purist and elitist. Still, her taste is great, and her music list, while synonymous with every “best hits of rock” list ever made, is timeless.
While the fourth estate is far from dead, it is taking a beating. Rory wants to use journalism the way that people used to use the peace corps: to see the world, have experiences, and collect great dinner party stories. Journalism, at its heart, is a romantic profession. It’s romantic because of the level of service required. Rory doesn’t see it as anything other than a service to herself—a sign not only of narcissism, but the days of journalism before the internet destroyed paper sales and the president encouraged violence against members of the press.
One career that has stood the test of time? Richard’s. Richard is a company man, through and through. Beyond that, though, he’s an insurance man. As odd as it sounds, one of the lasting takeaways from The Gilmore Girls is the importance of insurance. We see Emily and Richard preach on the subject repeatedly. We see Lorelai coping with the value of good business insurance as a business owner. The girls teach us many life lessons, and while the audience learns about love and forgiveness, we also learn about insurance.
Rory’s Paper Waste
Speaking of our gal Friday, environmental awareness and recycling has been a thing for ages. Over the last decade or so, paper waste has become more than a point of bad etiquette—it’s not really heard of. Everything is paperless these days, so every time Rory busts out a ridiculous stack of papers she printed out casually studying the career of Donna Reed, it’s pretty gross. And old.
Timeless: Coffee, Hamburgers, and Pizza
Chris likes chai lattes and Al likes everything but pancakes. At the heart of the food of the show—beyond canapés, crab puffs, and stuffed squash blossoms—coffee, hamburgers and pizza reign supreme. Comfort food is less about starch and more about grease here; it is the food that frames some of the sweetest moments on the show, from Lorelai and Emily bonding in a food court to Rory cooking for Emily and Richard while looking through old pictures of her mom. Like gluten, it is the glue that holds together the girls, and their extended friends and family. Bonding over a hamburger will never go out of style.