(My idea of a good night, circa freshman year of college.)
I’m sure I could speak for a lot of us when I say I’m incredibly relieved that we survived this past week. In the midst of many tears, marathon complaint sessions with family and friends, and incredible doubt for the future, I’ve been able to hang on to a huge ray of sunlight; the new “Gilmore Girls” revival premieres on Netflix in ten (10!) days!
My first text to my best friend this morning had to do with our collective excitement for the revival. We have been planning a huge marathon of the show for ages, complete with Lorelai and Rory style amounts of junk food. We’ve been struggling to find a mutual time to with the Stars Hollow homies for a long time, but somehow, we’ve been okay with that. Having Gilmore Girls to share over our separate collegiate and post-collegiate years has been of great importance to our long distance relationship. Shortly before Ashley graduated college, she completed the series. We’ve texted one another back and forth several times to squeal over how easy it’s been to relate to Rory Gilmore’s anxieties after her Yale graduation in the show’s final season.
“Gilmore Girls” has been a constant companion for me during many “firsts” in my life. I discovered the show at an incredibly young age while watching it on ABC Family after my daily double dose of “Full House” reruns. I was much younger than Rory, but I was really excited to relate to a TV character on a strong level. I was quiet and starting to form my incredibly introverted personality. I was completely sure that I would probably face many of the same situations Rory did once I got into high school.
The first episode of the show I ever saw was the episode with The Bangles. I was a huge Bangles fan at twelve, and I became obsessed with Lorelai and Rory’s unique tastes and the quirky cast of characters living in Stars Hollow. I watched the episode in my grandparents’ living room; once the episode was over, I went to the bathroom and shaved my legs for the first time. I don’t know if there was any connection between the show and my impulse to shave my legs, but I’d like to think I was verging on a badass womanhood or something.
I don’t remember how, but my Mom became a fan of the show soon after. I remember how happy I was that she no longer hesitated over me enjoying an “adult” show, once she watched an episode for the first time. It became a ritual for us to watch episodes together. I was so excited over how much Mom laughed over it. We soon collected all of the seasons on DVD, and they began to play in regular rotation in the house.
I remember having an ad for the fourth season DVD box set torn from a J-14 magazine taped on my locker door in sixth grade. I became even more obsessed with the show as I progressed through middle school; I was bullied on a regular basis, and I became reliant on my Gilmore Girls DVD’s as a security blanket. I somehow knew that there would be better days for ~quirky~ people like me, because Lorelai and Rory told me so.
The show’s soundtrack CD was a staple for my mix tapes in high school. My biggest high school crush reminded me so much of Jess, and I made him my fair share of tapes complete with songs from the show on them (I don’t think he watched the show, but he told me recently that he still had my mixes. Thanks!)
When I got to college, my seven seasons of Gilmore Girls traveled from one dorm to the next. My neatly stacked box sets always had their own shelves, and I would often bring a television set for the sole purpose of watching episodes of GG after classes. My roommates always had my Gilmore shelf to break the ice over. “Oh! So, you really like Gilmore Girls, huh?” was a question I heard many times.
“Gilmore Girls” has always served as endless entertainment for me, but also serves as a bandage for me as well. When I got to college, I met a b-o-y who quickly became my boyfriend, and he was sucked into my pop culture fueled world as a result. I remember PLEADING to him to watch an episode with me. I remember getting through the first two episodes with him, and he didn’t really seem interested. I propped the first season box set on his TV; Lorelai and Rory would now always be watching him disapprovingly.
After two years together, life slapped us both around, and Nate had to move back home and go to school there. Even after two additional years of being in a long distance relationship, there’s not a subject that will reduce me to tears faster than how much I miss seeing him on a daily basis (I’m blinking now.) Somewhere along the way, Nate discovered the show on Netflix. It didn’t take long before our text conversations were constantly laced with “oy with the poodles already!”
My best friend, Ashley, had a similar relationship with the show. She always made fun of me for loving a show that ran heavily on ABC Family! I somehow knew that she would eventually catch on; she is an incredible mix of Lorelai and Rory… it was only a matter of time. On a hazy Summer morning in Bowling Green, I finally got my chance to show Ashley the pilot episode of the show. As soon as she told me that she liked it, I was done for.
Having Ashley watch the series seemed like a full-fledged charge into adulthood. Somehow I realized that she and I were now the same age as Rory during the later seasons, and suddenly the show became extremely therapeutic. Not only would we lay on her apartment floor surrounded by Taco Bell and hummus while watching the show, we would find comfort in our new life transitions through Rory’s transformation into adulthood.
I’m now a second year senior in college. I’m not happy about it. I have days where I’m angry at myself for delaying my transition into the real world. I’m in the midst of a major transition as I prepare to move back to Nashville full-time next semester, and I have a ton of unknown life aspects to sort out. Watching the trailer for “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” had me in tears by the umpteenth viewing. I’ve hesitated to make any predictions over the course of Rory’s life in the last eight years, but I was incredibly moved by the fact that she’s at a crossroads and seems to have NO IDEA what to do.
(Possible spoilers about the trailer ahead)
That scene with Rory and Jess where he promises her that she’s always been a “contender” mirrors many conversations I’ve had lately. I’m really not sure what’s next, and I’m upset about it sometimes, but I know that I’ll always have episodes of “Gilmore Girls” to consult when the going gets tough.
Oy with the poodles already!