Last month, the Gilmore Guys podcast passed its one hundred episode mark. And in less than a year, two twenty-somethings with a fixation on a CW show that stopped airing in 2007, have redefined podcast fandom and the excitement of breathing second life into old media.
The show is based around veteran fan Kevin T. Porter introducing the Gilmores to newcomer Demi Adejuyigb. Production began in conjunction with the series’ introduction to the Netflix streaming service, which marked the first time the show had been available to a younger audience. This led to many first time viewers choosing to view the program on the same bi-weekly schedule as the podcast.
There would be some concern about listening to two dudes mansplain one of the most feminist programs to air on network television, but Kevin and Demi’s emotional investment, mixed with the rotating guest lineup, makes for a sincere celebration of every theme. For example, Kevin is a huge fan of the Gilmore matriarch Emily, and finds her to be one of the most powerful, complex female roles ever created.
With all these strengths and impeccable comedic insight, the show quickly secured a die-hard audience (even spawning a podcast The Gilmore Guys Girls where two girls review the podcast) and a series of live performances across the country.
To celebrate their centennial milestone, I sat down with The Guys to ask about their experience and why this means so much to them.
Brock: What was the show’s inception?
Demi: It started when Kevin put out a half-joking idea to talk about Gilmore Girls with another guy, and I got on board because it seemed like a fun thing to commit to, despite having never seen an episode of the show. I remember getting stressed once I realized how many episodes of the show there were, and I figured it would be like pulling teeth to get through 153 episodes if I decided early on that I didn’t like the show as much as Kevin did, but once that wasn’t the case, it was like having a weekly book club meeting. Our book just happens to be a turn-of-the-millenium TV show.
AN EXCERPT FROM EP 416 LIVE AT UCB FEATURING DC PIERSON
Kevin: Gilmore Girls is, in my opinion, an anomaly in the television world. It’s a show that was assumed to be only for women because of the title, it was on the WB which likely ghettoized it from a lot of wide recognition. It’s almost a weird secret how rich and amazing and complex and wonderful this show is, and those of us that know really want to share that secret! I grew up watching Gilmore Girls when I was a kid, it was one of my favorite shows. And so I’ve lived with the show for years and years. I knew that there were great depths to mine here. In addition to the built in richness of the content, there’s also a silly hook that I think intrigued a lot of people. “TWO DUDES TALKIN’ ABOUT A SHOW FOR CHICKS LOL” but we knew that would only be compelling on a surface level.It would be terribly obnoxious if we were flippant and cracking “women, right?” sort of jokes on the show. If we didn’t treat discussion of the story and the characters with gravity and nuance it wouldn’t be fun for anyone.
Brock: Kevin, you found Demi as a result of a random tweet. Now you two seem like blood brothers. Is there something inherent in making a podcast that brings people together?
Kevin: I think podcast hosting ends up becoming like a marriage. You spend 100+ hours doing anything with someone, you’re going to develop and shorthand and intimacy of communication with them. And we’re still learning, as the bulk of our relationship takes place on mic, how best to communicate with one another and love one another through doing this show. And even though we have similar upbringings and went to the same school, Demi and I are very different people with very different tastes that I think have grown to complement each other. I think in the course of doing the show Demi has made me a lot more sensitive to things I wouldn’t have considered before, and maybe I’ve taught him something dumb he didn’t know before. But I also value Demi’s sensitivity very much because there’s nothing he doesn’t approach with thoughtfulness and care and sometimes I can just bulldoze through stuff without giving second thought. But knowing I’m gonna be talking with Demi about it makes me want to consider everything thoroughly. I think we better one another too in that for a lot of this stuff, I approach it from a performance perspective and Demi approaches from a writer’s perspective and we oftentimes can meet in the middle of those viewpoints and improve each other’s perspective significantly. I think Key and Peele have a similar dynamic. And quote me on that, we’re the podcast equivalent of Key and Peele. Be sure to use that.
Brock: What’s an outcome of making a podcast about a dead TV show that you never saw coming?
Demi: One thing I never thought I’d experience with the show is our familiarity with the cast and crew. When we started, we kept making jokes about inviting Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham onto the show, but as we continued we realized that a lot of the show’s alumni were familiar with the podcast. Even as we gained some traction in the first season, I didn’t imagine in a million years that we’d ever talk to so many of the actors in the main cast. It’s so surreal and wonderful and nerve-wrecking and confidence-boosting all at the same time.
Brock: What’s your favorite part about Gilmore Girls?
Demi: Save for a disappointing first season, Gilmore Girls’ finales have all been pretty excellent high marks of the show. The show’s creator definitely knew what made the show special, and she capitalized on all of those things each year. Gilmore Girls gets a bad rep, being lumped into a heap of other WB-era, bleeding-heart-teen shows but the finales often set the show up to a standard that all ages can appreciate. My favorite non-finale episode is probably The Bracebridge Dinner from season 2, because it’s an episode composed entirely of small moments from the show’s background players. It’s like Gilmore Girls’s version of “22 Short Stories About Springfield.”
Brock: What’s your favorite episode of Gilmore Guys?
Kevin: I love love love 307 (“They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They”) and 210 (“The Bracebridge Dinner”). Those are huge highlights for me. Additionally 307 was one of my favorite episodes of the podcast we’ve ever done because our guest was Jason Mantzoukas. Jason was a perfect guest in that he was invested in the show, earnest, and deeply hilarious. He was even funnier when he came back for 422, the Season 4 finale which may be my favorite episode of the entire series. One of the most encouraging things we’ve seen in the way of feedback for the show is that people cite wildly different episodes as their favorite episode of all time. So many people said 307 was their favorite episode of all time of the podcast, but then so so many people said 222, or 209, or 322. That’s so lovely to hear because that means that maybe we’re doing something interesting as a whole but unique enough on a per episode basis that we’re catering to the wide variety of tastes our listeners have.
AN EXCERPT FROM EP 422 LIVE AT UCB FEATURING JASON MANTZOUKAS
Brock: You have an intimidating fandom that sprung up quickly. What’s that like?
Demi: Probably the most surprising fan things have been the amount of fan art we get sent to us. People have sent in custom posters, custom crochets, drawings, signed portraits of cast members, Gilmore memorabilia- all in appreciation of this ridiculous show we put on. It’s incredibly heartwarming and lovely, and it blows me away every time.
Kevin: Pretty much any time any fan does something for our show, big or small, it’s a huge surprise to me! On one of our early episodes we made an off-hand joke about a Gilmore Guys cross-stitch, and since then we’ve received so so many in the mail, like over a dozen. The live shows have been extraordinarily rewarding in that sense too, just meeting our listeners face to face is such a surreal moment “oh hey, you’re that person from Twitter!” We’ve received a shocking amount of fan art, including some gorgeous posters and pencil drawings. One listener even went as far as to write us a song all about the podcast, we eventually asked her to open our Austin TX shows with that song so there was a nice symmetry to that exchange. And truthfully one of the best parts is getting emails from people who have been genuinely touched by the show. We get so many emails from people talking about how the show is comfort to them in hard times, and people have been so generous and earnest about their life and sharing it with us that it’s very overwhelming. I think that’s the secret key to this show is sincerity. As much as we’re dumb and goofy talking about the show, the engine for the conversation is always a sincere desire to communicate and nerd out over something we both like in a genuine way.
THE ENTIRE EPISODE 507 LIVE AT UCB FEAT PAUL F TOMPKINS
Brock: As someone who also makes a TV recap podcast (Laughing At Archaeologists: A Doctor Who Podcast), I know that talking on a non-visual medium about episodes of serialized television can sometimes feel… stagnant. How do you keep this show so fresh?
Demi: I think my favorite thing about doing the podcast is how much comedy we get to bring into it. It’s hard to do a recap show and respect the source material (especially when I haven’t seen the source material) but it becomes easy once the focus turns to just creating an entertaining show. I think that’s been crucial to our success, as an encyclopedic recap of a show like Gilmore Girls can be fascinating, but probably not something to write home about. Creating a comedy world around this wonderful show makes it fun for us and for the listeners while prompting them to engage more as fans rather than scholars, and I don’t think it’d be as exciting to do this if it weren’t for them.
Brock: As the only dude I know who owns the Gilmore Girls DVD box set AND FEELS COMPLETELY COMFORTABLE WITH THAT AND ALWAYS HAVE, you don’t have to sell me on Gilmore Girls. But, to someone who has never watched the show, do you have a sales pitch?
Demi: I can’t think of a reason why someone wouldn’t want to get into Gilmore Girls. Maybe you’re a dude with a fragile ego and a fear of the “G” sound. Maybe you’re mystified by the idea that there are people in a glowing box in your living room and they just won’t stop drinking coffee! Regardless, I think Gilmore Girls is a show that shines in its small-town storytelling charm, and I’d recommend it to anybody who appreciates good television.
Brock: Is episode 410 with special guest Brock Wilbur your favorite episode of all time?
Kevin & Demi together in frightening Satanic child unison: Yes, of course. This is the information we relate to everyone. We love you and think you are the best at Gilmore Girls.
You can subscribe to the Gilmore Guys podcast on iTunes.