Rory and Lorelai’s Study Session Junk Food

Take-out fried chicken and French fries (maybe from Al’s Pancake World); the Gilmore girls add horseradish sauce to the fries

Pepperidge Farm chocolate chunk cookies

Lay’s potato chips

Starburst soft candy

Rolo caramel-filled chocolates

… and more!

This may be the first time we see the Gilmore girls indulging in junk food: it will not be the last. The constant eating of junk food by the slender and healthy Lorelai and Rory is something which sticks in the craw of many fans, who either see it as a ridiculously unrealistic cheap gimmick, or an outright slap in the face to the audience.

But one of the themes of Gilmore Girls is a celebration of American culture. Rory reads classic American literature (like Moby Dick and Huck Finn), they watch classic American TV shows (like I Love Lucy and The Odd Couple), they watch classic American films (like The Shining and The Wizard of Oz), they reference American popular music (such as Elvis Presley and Barbra Streisand), so of course they eat classic American food – which is mostly junk. This in itself isn’t all that unrealistic – 25% of Americans eat junk food every day, just like Lorelai and Rory, and 80% of them eat junk food regularly (the numbers are even higher for children and teenagers, and Lorelai is stuck as a perpetual teen).

Yes it’s a joke, and not entirely a nice one – but there’s some real love there too.  The brand names of the food themselves are raised like totems, and can sound almost like poetry. If America means Mark Twain, Judy Garland, Jack Nicholson, and Lucille Ball, it also has to mean burgers, chili fries, Pop-Tarts and Jello-O.

Just as Rory can read an unbelievable number of book (six at once is normal for her), and she and Lorelai watch an unrealistic amount of TV and movies while still having plenty of time for work, school, and a social life, of course they can also eat insane amounts of junk food. It’s just that we tend to praise the first types of unreality as smart and savvy, and decry the last. In the Gilmore Girls universe, there is both not enough time to get everything done, and plenty of time for books and movies – and plenty of room for all the food you can eat.

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