Why Gilmore Girls is not just a religion, but a lifestyle
‘If you need me to be with you, I will follow where you lead.’
Earlier this year, something really exciting happened. Gilmore Girls was streamed on Netflix.
Now, for some people this will have meant nothing. For some, it may have been something they watched on a whim, trying to see what all the fuss is about. And then for the rest of us it was an opportunity to finally watch a show that has been a part of our lives for nearly 16 years in its glorious HD entirety. It’s been my means of escaping what has been a pretty terrible year; when Bowie died, during Brexit and in my sleep-deprived fug last Wednesday it was something to laugh at and to pretend that it was all ok.
I hold Gilmore Girls entirely responsible for my youthful addiction to caffeine, Pop Tarts and interest in Paul Anka. I still have the Rory Gilmore reading list pinned to my wall – I’m yet to tick off the Proust – and it made me want to watch Casablanca.
There is something beyond the myriad of pop culture references that makes it so appealing however; it hits the perfect balance between humour and mushiness. It’s not sickeningly sentimental, but still makes you cry at all the right moments, sometimes with laughter, sometimes with sadness and sometimes because it’s all just too much.
The beauty of Gilmore Girls is that there is something everyone can relate to.
Whether that is being the new kid at school, a supremely awkward first kiss, a fight with your parents, getting over a breakup, teaching your grandma how to eat pizza, heading off on a road trip with your best friend/mother or finally ending up with the guy you’ve been destined to be with for seven seasons, it’s all in there. As a teenage girl going through the awkward gawky growing up stage, a show with some, let’s face it, kick-ass female characters was the perfect thing.
Coming back to it, I appreciate it so much more.
I understand the pop culture references. I’ve read the same things as Rory and I find it much easier to keep up with the insanely fast paced dialogue. There are also resonances with current political developments; Rory’s admiration of Hillary and the ‘Trump is a Bastard’ moments are particularly painful, but also kind of great when it comes from Melissa McCarthy. It’s also re-cemented my love of Lauren Graham; I used to think of myself as more of a Rory, the geeky new girl at the back of the class with her book, dreaming of going to Oxford and following her idols’ every move, determined to be like them, and although I still see some of her in me, I was told the other day that I was ‘just so Lorelai’, which made my day.
We all wanted to be her daughter/best friend at some point, don’t try and deny it. Who doesn’t love someone who invents the phrase ‘Oy with the poodles already?’
Gilmore Girls has helped me through some difficult moments.
When I was struggling with university, I just had to remind myself that Rory took time out of Yale and still did ok. When all my friends were looking as though their lives were perfect and off to do masters or start jobs and I was at home, I channelled my inner Lorelai and got myself sorted, with a few of Rory’s lists and Paris’ diagrams to help along the way. That’s probably why I’m now a Lorelai; sadly I’m not quite as quick fire with comebacks as her, nor can I look that good in cowboy boots and shorts, but I’ve got some experience and, for some reason, people seem to think that I’ve got my life together and I am the font of all knowledge.
I’m the Mumma of the university family, the one who people turn to for advice, who tries to support them and hold their hair back when they’re puking on a Saturday night and is there with water and painkillers in the morning, but who will still drink tequila with them and embarrass herself when singing karaoke, as well as giggling at anything that sounds remotely dirty. (Also providing gallons of coffee when it is needed!)
Watching Gilmore Girls from beginning to end means that I have got very emotionally invested in the characters all over again. I’ve seen them at their best and their worst, been involved in all their major life decisions and borne witness to every one of their relationships, whether they ended well or badly.
It’s the characters that make the show; people are still debating who Rory should end up with (obviously Jess), the moments in series six when Rory and Lorelai are fighting are agony, I don’t know how I’m going to deal with Richard’s funeral in the revival, and I still make ridiculous noises every time I see a cute picture of Luke and Lorelai…
Gilmore Girls: it’s not just a religion; it’s a lifestyle.