“What have you done”?
There aren’t many words sitting around for the writer/executive producer of the ABC Original Series-turned Netflix Original Gilmore Girls. The story of single mom Lorelai and smart, but not street smart daughter Rory always brought me joy. Theirs was a tale of overcoming.
IF you are new to this saga, that has taken us through over 15 years of Rory’s life, you must understand that these girls have always been exceptional. They’ve never not won! In Star’s Hollow, where the two own every coffee pot, each sample basket at the farmer’s market, and even the dead air that never gets the chance to hang in any of the small, but garrulous town hall meetings, we walk each sidewalk with them. The series belongs to every college freshman who took the time to consider whether she wanted to be in Advertising Principles 240, or Business Accounting 201 in the early afternoons. Those who toiled with deciding if she should give up her time with the “girls on ABC” for a college education? College was far more important, but how could any girl miss coffee in the afternoon? Gilmore Girls was our dark roast.
We all secretly rooted more for Luke and Lorelai than for Rory and any of her dating interests… Rory’s misters were far too varying; each of them being poles apart from the former. Viewers like myself, who learned to love each of these guys only because Rory did, face the same ebbs and flows of emotions in our own dissecting types of love. Nothing is ever quite enough with the guys I know either; the heaviness of 2 or 3 amazing traits getting me tired enough to not consider the other many statistically accurate time-bombs that are sure to be the relationship’s demise. Luke however, Lorelai’s beau, was the stability we craved. The ever bitter, sarcastic, unshaven flannel-wearing Luke who drove the sexy pick-up truck and sometimes only poured great coffee was the man we all admired. He stood flat-footed and consistent, and to a girl in today’s crazy mixed up world, that stability is all any of us ever really need.
This weekend we find our girls back at it. Ten years later, the drama still continuing with Rory back at home struggling to find decent work. Lorelai’s never-ending challenges with mom Emily change and grow as often as the many thespian quotes we viewers laugh at but never really understand. Somehow it makes the banter much more worthy of our laughter; you realize you don’t have to catch each movie reference–another one-liner will be coming soon, Just keep up, it goads. It is the pulse of the show we have all grown to love.
You breathe with the characters of Gilmore Girls. We walked down sidewalks arm in arm, discussed books and movies as if we wrote each line; we crawled through upstairs windows, had sex in theater rooms, bungee jumped off wooden towers dressed in vaudeville gear and fiercely loved-to-hate the heartthrob who charmingly convinced us to climb up that tower the first place. At 19 we all forced ourselves to try black coffee and binged on whatever junk food we could find; we made sure our love for anything we set our hearts to stayed pure and untarnished even though Michele’s negativity did its best to bring us down. We fought to the end no matter what. As a true fan, I watched each of the episodes during A Year in the Life series and I found myself refusing to surrender to a family-sized bag of Lay’s Potato chips even after the Butter Pecan Ice Cream was gone. Why would I want the chips to feel they got the short end of the stick? They don’t really go with anything else in my fridge. Eat them dammit, I said to myself. I mean, how could I not?
As an avid viewer, you realize the fact that though no one ever agrees with Taylor he somehow always gets his way. You learn to appreciate Miss Patty and Babette for being our flighty, oddly-dressed Aunties who once had sex with Elvis, or used have the greatest legs back when cars were metal and boys knew that a soda shop milkshake didn’t constitute an engagement. Love was the BIG FINISH, but courtship was the script back in those days, they say. We know Kirk has an inner genius waiting to be found, no matter how minuscule the idea and that Lane’s back story is really just as odd as Paris’s but we somehow let the volume of the Paris character overtake any of our genuine dislike for the girl. She is as loud as she is complex, but over the years we’ve learned to ride the wave of her crazy.
Let’s just be clear: I am a fan. I too, have asked myself if Lorelai was too odd a name for a black girl because Rory was just too boy-ish sounding to get away with—as if naming my offspring after these ladies would somehow make them smarter, more charming. Yes, laugh, but I’m sure I am not the only one! They do life well and get to the end of every challenge victoriously, even if the Jeep needs painting, if Luke has a daughter, or if Sookie’s family-life is becoming more of a priority than the kitchen in the Dragonfly Inn.
We watched single-mom and daughter overcome what could have been a tragic tale. Lorelai un-gracefully hustles a secure future for her daughter through dinner dates with parents. Rory learns through literature what she could not possibly get during cinema film or eccentric less-than-10-character Stars Hollow stageplay adaptations of cinema film. We thought Richard was having an affair, and that Jess had all the makings, but not one mode of fortitude like his favorite uncle that we have grown to love. [Although I must point out that the 25lbs of pure muscle we get to now enjoy is much appreciated. Did you guys see his back and forearms in that black T-shirt? Jess just tipped the boy-toy scales!]
Anyway, as much as I love Amy for all that she did for my twenties; I have to give her hell for the rest of us #30Somethings who are trying to get our shit together. How could you do this to us? I thought we were friends? The nerve of you hitting on every applicable nuance of “post-university-post-entry-level-job-success-failures” that we have had to endure: the relationship drama, the workforce drama, the babies, the divorce, the struggle to determine if doing your passion is something attainable or simply a facade you’ve been sold… Isn’t the reality glum enough without you taking our sitcom heroine and having her experience the same demise? How could you carelessly throw her into the pit akin to my existence? Rory is supposed to win. Rory is supposed to make the mistakes but not suffer from the consequences. Rory is supposed to be the golden child. How does she fall from grace so quickly? Weren’t we moving past the Huntzberger manipulation? We spoke with Dean in the store without crying afterwards. We did shots with Jess at the EDITOR’s desk! Dammit Amy, we were winning! How could you do this to me? How could you do this to us?
You threw Rory into flames. Made her come crashing down as a transparent, saddening could-have-seen-it-coming-from-miles-away cliché and to be honest, I don’t think I can ever forgive you for it. What we’ve built these past years; all the way from bag boys who married the other girl, hundreds of Chilton coffee carts and the dark woodiness of Yale to menus featuring The New Yorker piece and the Gazette’s front-page poem fiasco… all the hard work, all the studying, the chats over cigar smoke in the study, the championing victories we took from Bledel’s blue eyes and Graham’s leprechaun dancing in a knit cap and a scarf; all the pizza and ice cream and tacos and donuts and fries we ate—this is what you end with? This effin’ real-life bull-ish…
(You set me up with that babysitting Paris’s kids scene; and you did it 2xs over!)
…I will never forgive you for this!