Gilmore Girls & the challenge of TV authorship
An excellent article in the New York Times this morning explores how Gilmore Girls has been transformed (and not for the better) this season following the departure of creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. The article is notable for two reasons – first, it’s still gratifying for the flagship newspaper of High Culture to be discussing television in positive aesthetic terms, as the accumulation of criticism like this article help validate the medium and its academic study.
Second it raises some core questions for me as to how we study texts – will future scholarship of Gilmore Girls simply disregard or bracket off this season as not “core” to the show? By bracketing off such periods, like with the Sorkin-era West Wing or Northern Exposure under Brand & Falsey, do we assert a simplistic vision of authorship which is complicated by the inherently collaborative process of television production? Do we pretend that character transformations & events after such a switch are non-canonical to the text, or must any criticism of the text embrace its totality? No simple answers here, but I appreciate that a mainstream article about a mainstream program invites thinking through such methodological issues.
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