Mommie Dearest: The Crawfords and The Gilmores

The core relationship of Gilmore Girls is that of Lorelai and her daughter Rory. Critics of the show state that Lorelai is a bad mother due to her strong friendship with Rory. Therefore, it seems fitting that the first post in this blog discusses a famous mother-daughter relationship that was toxic, to say the least.

After Rory exclaims that she doesn’t want to go to Chilton, the pair get into a fight which causes Lorelai to say “Aw, you’re not going to give me the ‘Mommie Dearest‘ treatment forever, are ya?”

Mommie Dearest is the autobiographical book by Christina Crawford which was later adapted into a cult classic film of the same name. Christina is the adopted daughter of iconic film actress, Joan Crawford.

After her mother’s death, Christina published her novel which outlines the abuse her mother inflicted on her. The most well-known example of this abuse involved a wire coat hanger. Christina describes one evening when Joan barged into her room while she was asleep and threw open her closet doors. Upon finding a finding a wire hanger Joan went into a booze-filled rage, then beat her daughter with said hanger.

The film inspired by Christina’s book was intended to be a serious biopic, starring Faye Dunaway. But, the film became a campy hit, due to the overly acted scenes which lead the audience to laughter rather than the intended tears.

Since Christina released her novel a year after her mother’s death these reports were never verified. Christina succeeded in tarnishing her Joan’s image, at least to the younger generation more familiar with “Mommie Dearest” than with the woman who inspired it all. However, Joan got the last laugh, in her will she left nothing for Christina and her son Christopher “for reasons that are known to them.”

All Gilmore Girls episodes are available to stream on Netflix.

Research material was found in part from the podcast, You Must Remember This.

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