The Guys Who Love Gilmore Girls

The podcast Gilmore Guys has drawn a devoted following by taking an affectionate but critical look at a beloved TV show.

Demi Adejuyigbe (left) and Kevin T. Porter host Gilmore Guys, a twice-weekly podcast examining Gilmore Girls episode by episode. (Taylor Hotter)

Kevin T. Porter and Demi Adejuyigbe aren't the first men to talk about Gilmore Girls. They're just the first two to make a well-received podcast about doing it.

Gilmore Guys, a twice-weekly podcast that debuted earlier this fall, is exactly what it says on the label: Two men, Porter (creator of the Sorkinisms viral video) and Adejuyigbe (known on Vine as Electrolemon) talking about Gilmore Girls every Monday and Wednesday, breaking it down episode by episode. Episodes follow a basic structure: ridiculing the often-terrible Netflix synopsis for the Gilmore Girls episode being covered, breaking down every pop-culture reference in the episode, talking about fashion moments in the show, going over all the major plot points in the episode, and giving it a rating.

Where the show goes between those landmarks, however, varies wildly from installment to installment. Sometimes guests drop by, while other times the two pilot the ship solo. Occasionally, listeners can even catch the odd impersonation of a Gilmore Girls actor or character, be it Porter's mic-shy Melissa McCarthy or Stars Hollow diva Miss Patty (whose season-one line "Try a plum, they're better than sex" is a show favorite). The common element, however, is an easygoing vibe and a casual sense of humor, Porter even citing Adam Scott and Scott Aukerman's chemistry in their podcast U Talking U2 to Me? as inspiration.

The podcast came about after Porter joked about it on social media, seeking a partner for a podcast about Gilmore Girls hosted by guys. Adejuyigbe expressed interest, and the two started recording in concert with the series's release on Netflix's Instant Stream service.

"I’d been wanting to start a podcast for a while, but I couldn’t think of anything that was a fresh enough angle," Porter said of his motivation to start the show. The show isn't totally groundbreaking—there are other "franchise shows" that cover one property exclusively, like Kumail Nanjiani's X-Files Files. But, as Porter put it, "I think our perspective as two guys talking about a show that primarily was intended for women, or was thought to be intended for women, felt fresh enough that it was worth it to do."

On its surface, this might sound a bit boorish—what insight can two men (and a rotating third chair for guests, a bit over 50 percent of whom are also male) really bring to a show that values its female friendships and relationships so strongly? But Porter and Adejuyigbe get emotionally invested in said connections, and they're skilled at fleshing out why they're important. Porter, for example, is a huge fan of series matriarch Emily Gilmore (as played by Kelly Bishop), going so far as to call her "one of the most compelling characters ever on TV." Additionally, whenever the show does have female guests, they often explain the complexities of the female relationships to the hosts—who are often in awe and are always respectful.

On the other hand, and perhaps surprisingly, Guys toes the line between being properly adoring of its subject and bringing a critical eye. Though Porter has watched the show in full before, Adejuyigbe is a newcomer. He enjoys most of the episodes—naming season two's "The Ins and Outs of Inns" as his favorite so far—but also isn't afraid to say what he doesn't enjoy. (He disliked the first season finale, for instance.)

Along with Adejuyigbe, many of the show's guests have never seen Gilmore Girls before, and several don't like the show. Some of the criticisms are lighter and easily explained by an off Gilmore episode here and there. Other points of complaint—including and especially a recurring criticism that creator/writer Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband/writer Daniel Palladino, included more than a few tone-deaf gay jokes—have quite a bit more validity. The evaluative discussion has proven a bit divisive for fans of the podcast, with some, according to Porter, wishing guests would be less critical.

"I know a lot of listeners disagree, but I think that having those dissenting opinions and having people who don’t know the show very well is probably one of the most fun things about it," Adejuyigbe said in defense of the show's guests. "It creates a discourse."

Porter often comes off as Gilmore Girls' defense attorney, largely borne of his previous knowledge and love of the show. "Subjectively, absolutely, I enjoy it as much as I did when I was first watching it. Objectively, it's fun to bring other people in," he said. "A lot of it is nostalgia, but that said, I would still stand by it and say it’s a quality show."

Still, even as a fan whose love of the show runs deep (his favorite episodes include season four entries "The Reigning Lorelai" and "Raincoats and Recipes," plus the exquisite season six episode "Friday Night's Alright for Fighting"), Porter appreciates the disagreement. "That's more natural," he added.

Gilmore Guys is produced "in a bubble" out in Los Angeles, as Porter describes it, but it's come around at a time when—haven't you heard?—podcasts are the hot "new" thing. The effect of Serial on the podcast world is clear: One look at the most downloaded podcast episodes list on iTunes boasts nothing but Serial until the 13th slot. The iTunes Store's podcast page loudly asks if one is "New to Podcasts?" as soon as it's opened. For those who've been fans of podcasts for some time—including Porter and Adejuyigbe—the enthusiasm about the form isn't new. But even Gilmore Guys is finding converts.

"We’ve had several tweets say, ‘Gilmore Guys turned me onto podcasting in general,'" Porter said. "That’s really cool to think about, that we’re turning someone onto not just a show, but an entire format."

Taylor Hotter

By comparison to Serial, Gilmore Guys's success is modest; it may be the most popular Gilmore Girls podcast (and there are a few), and it was featured among the top comedy shows on iTunes for sometime, but it's hardly burning up the charts. Of course, Serial also has the benefit of public radio, sponsorships, and listener donations. Gilmore Guys is a completely independent venture—everything is done by Porter, Adejuyigbe, and the guests they can pull in to gab Gilmore with them.

"We don’t have … the force of a crew, even if it’s one other person: an engineer in the room, someone who can do the uploading or clean up the show," Porter said. "The talent [of these other shows], all they do is come in—they prep, but they pretty much come in, get out, and that’s it. For us, we’re pretty much doing everything."

Additionally, Guys boasts strong listener participation relative to its size—the hosts record a bonus episode devoted just to going through their mail, and they rap about all those who leave reviews on iTunes.

"People email us these long, thought-out perspectives … talking about how they like the show on their commute, walking onto campus, all these things," Porter said, adding that the show's numbers were modest at first but grew quickly. "It was a complete shock to us."

The podcast is making its way through season two now, and will continue through the series's sixth. There's been some debate about whether or not to include the seventh season, produced by David S. Rosenthal instead of the Palladinos and widely considered the worst Gilmore Girls has to offer. Adejuyigbe is in favor of it—"the more that Kevin says its awful and the more people tell me it’s awful, the more I really want to [cover it]," he said—but he wants to end on a more positive note by covering the Palladinos' one-season-wonder Bunheads.

"I think it would be a disservice to the Palladinos to end this on the way [season 7] ruined [their] show," Adejuyigbe explained.

Past that, the hosts have discussed extending the show into the greater Gilmore universe, even potentially moving to covering movies featuring the show's stars once a week. No matter where Gilmore Guys ends up, however, Porter and Adejuyigbe can take pride that their podcast—an independent venture with no network support—has made as much of a splash as it has, with five-plus seasons of material to go.

"For us to build it from the ground floor without a built-in apparatus to help us promote, other than ourselves and word-of mouth," Porter said, "it’s been incredibly satisfying."