The Multidimensional Mrs. Kim
More than a year after Gilmore Girls ended, Emily Kuroda still has a hard time realizing just how popular her portrayal of Mrs. Kim was. She gets reminded frequently, whether it’s becoming the sudden focus of attention for a group of young people at the Smithsonian museum or being found a table at the occasional filled-to-capacity restaurant.
Speaking with her yesterday for the book, I was struck by two facts that I had already known, but never really appreciated before that moment.
First, Emily is one of the few people who was actually there when the very first episode of Gilmore Girls was filmed, and saw the entire story take shape from beginning to the very end.
Second, few people could’ve given us the multidimensional Mrs. Kim that she did. Study a transcript of your typical Mrs. Kim scene and you realize that, on paper, she is a strict, uncompromising person, and one unlikely to gain your sympathies — very much like Emily Gilmore in that regard. But very early on Emily invested this character with a unique vulnerability, giving us the distinct impression that she was a loving parent (even as she dealt with an absentee husband by the looks of things) trying to adapt to a world far different from the one in which she was raised.
There have been a lot of lamentations over the years about how Gilmore Girls cast members were snubbed at the Emmys, and it is indeed hard not to take offense on the actors’ behalf. But watching the performances of Emily Kuroda, Lauren Graham and all the rest, it’s also difficult not to see that, award back-slapping aside, when you’re good, you’re good, and nobody can take that away from any one of them.