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Watching Gilmore Girls: Why I Love Lane Kim

I started watching Gilmore Girls a couple of years ago, thanks to its resurgence in popularity online. And to my surprise, I ended up watching the entire show within a month. Dubbed “the sweetest show on television” while on air, it's set in the small town of Stars Hollow, following the Gilmore Girls, mother Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) as they navigate life and its obstacles, whether it be boys or school or coffee.

Rory Gilmore is a protagonist that’s supposed to be relatable, with entire episodes dedicated to exploring her navigating first boyfriends, preparing for an important exam, or deciding what university to attend. And, despite this, Lane Kim became my favourite character.

Best friend to Rory, Lane (Keiko Agena) is Stars Hollows’ resident audiophile and aspiring musician. She and Rory are similar in many ways, both sharing a love for books and have similar tastes in music. But seeing puberty occasionally from Lane's point of view seemed refreshing.

Lane comes from a modest background, as opposed to Rory. She juggles being a diligent daughter to her Orthodox Christian and Korean mother whilst pursuing her true passion — music.

Eventually, she starts playing the drums in her band, Hep Alien. Her mother has dreams of Lane becoming a doctor but she ultimately chooses to prioritise her own happiness instead of her mother’s, moving out to further pursue a musical career with her band.

It was so refreshing to see a character of Asian descent that wasn’t pigeonholed into a particular stereotype, something prevalent in the 00s. Looking back on it now, the show was one of the first of its kind to have a fresh take on the representation of Asian Americans in popular media; perhaps this was because Lane was partly-based on the show’s co-creator Amy Sherman Palladino's real-life best friend, Helen Pei, who also served as a co-producer.

Lane was a character who was ahead of her time but was famously given a unsatisfying ending.

The spin-off, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, released in 2016 on Netflix followed what happened to Stars Hollows’ residents, nine years after the original show’s conclusion. This led to more and more people discovering the show, since re-entering the cultural zeitgeist and remaining in the public consciousness ever since

But, ever since the show ended, more and more Gen Z viewers are identifying with Lane rather than her comparatively more privileged best friend. Some are even petitioning that Lane Kim was the original downtown girl with her extensive (albeit secret) collection of CDs and Band-Tees.

After twenty-three years, Lane Kim is finally getting the attention she has been deserving all along.

Words by Aadya Paswan

Edited by Lucy Eaton


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