Thirty-four days of nothing but ‘Gilmore Girls’ can change a woman.
Thanks to the wonders of Netflix, my patient husband, and oodles of coffee, I binged the entirety of Gilmore Girls in a single month. From October 22nd to November 26th, every single moment of my free time was spent basking in the glorious weirdness of Stars Hollow.
As soon as I hit play on the first episode, I was hooked. Immediately I could tell that the series would be a refreshing change of pace from my usual TV diet. In an age where even comedies are veering into serious territory (Bojack Horseman, You’re the Worst, Transparent, etc, etc, etc) Gilmore Girls was a throwback to a time when things were simpler. Sure, the show has an element of realistic drama, but it’s all couched in a celebration of feelgoodery and togetherness that drives the narrative and keeps viewers coming back for a comforting sense of family and home.
In retrospect, it’s somewhat odd that it took me so long to start watching the series. I’m basically Rory’s age (33 to her 32) and I grew up in a small town in Connecticut. My husband – also a current 30-something who grew up in our town – graduated as high school valedictorian, went on to attend Yale, and then took a bit of time off before returning to complete his degree. (#ProudWifey) During my journey through Gilmore Girls seasons 3 – 6, I mercilessly teased him that he was basically Rory without a Logan. He didn’t really get my jokes, but he did fact check all of the Yale hot spots in the show. They’re legit, guys.
I’m somewhat happy that I didn’t discover Gilmore Girls until now. Looking back on the episodes was akin to playing a Where’s Waldo version of ‘This is Your Life’. In Season 4, Rory had a Lite-Brite lamp on her college desk that I also had on my college desk (I believe it was from Target). In Season 3, Sookie donned a coat from Express that I wore constantly and still have stored in my parents attic. Ultimately, my intense Gilmore Girls binge gave me a much-needed break from reality during this brutal election cycle. The show wrapped me in a blanket of wonderful and hasn’t let go; I’m super thankful for that.
So, what did I learn after a month long visit to the Gilmore-verse? So much.
Warning: Spoilers for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life follow.
* Heavy breathing * pic.twitter.com/fQVlu4HsAl
— Gilmore Girls (@GilmoreGirls) November 26, 2016
Talking Fast Is Awesome
When I was a teenager, I talked so fast that occasionally people couldn’t understand what I was saying. My mind worked a mile a minute, and my mouth could barely keep up. While my friends totally understood me, teachers and acquaintances would constantly ask me to slow down. I couldn’t. It was just how I was built.
The witty, pop-culture laden, and fast-paced repartee of Gilmore Girls validated my life long motor mouth, and I thank Lorelai for being a role model for babblers everywhere.
Always Listen to Your Inner Sixteen Year-Old
One aspect of Gilmore Girls that I never really hear anyone talk about is Lorelai’s arrested development. Perhaps it was from taking the entire series in all at once, but it was clear to me that Lorelai never fully matured past the age when she left home. Even though this immaturity causes problems in Lorelai’s family dynamic with Emily and Richard, as well as her romantic relationships, it benefits her in many ways.
Lorelai’s teenage spirit keeps her quirky and spirited. Her fondness for furry alarm clocks, junk food, glossy magazines, and shopping are all wonderful hallmarks of being a teenager. In addition, Lorelai’s relationship advice to Rory is quite frequently modeled on advice that one teen might give to another, only through the eyes of experience. Lorelai is a walking example of how we all need to let our teen flag fly every now and again.
Finally binging #GilmoreGirls, and the thing I like best so far is the enthusiastic validation of coffee dependency as a lifestyle.
— Erin Qualey (@miffedcupcake) October 22, 2016
Coffee is the Best
Coffee is my favorite. I’m fully dependent on coffee, and I don’t care who knows it. From beginning to end, Lorelai’s passion for the stuff is prevalent throughout the entirety of the series, and, as you can see above, I am an avid fan of this lifestyle.
Coffee coffee coffee!Photo Credit: Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life/Netflix, Acquired From Netflix Media Center
Listen to Your Heart
Okay, but really, Gilmore Girls conveys the strong message that you need to trust in yourself to make the right decisions. Lorelai is frequently at her best when she’s giving advice to Rory. She provides support and a sounding board, but she tries not to let her own emotions or opinions influence her daughter’s final decision.
In that respect, Lorelai is the opposite of the modern “helicopter parent.” Perhaps it’s that teen spirit of hers, but she knows that no one likes to be told what to do. Even back when Rory wanted to drop out of Yale, Lorelai didn’t want to force or bribe her back into going if that wasn’t Rory’s personal choice. We all have to take responsibility for our side of the street, and Gilmore Girls reinforces the message that we’re the ones who hold the keys to our own happiness.
Confidence is Key…
Both Lorelai and Rory walk around like they’re god’s gifts to the world. Perhaps it’s because the world of the show treats them both like revered princesses of Stars Hollow, but a healthy dose of confidence is helpful for anyone. No matter how wacky, selfish, or kooky, the entire Gilmore family – and many denizens of Stars Hollow – walk around completely comfortable in their own skin.
Gilmore Girls encourages viewers to march to the beat of their own drummer, and frequently serves up confidence with a side of coffee.Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Photo: Netflix
…but Doubts Are Okay
For all its flaws, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life predominantly focuses on pivotal moments for all the Gilmore girls. Catalyzed by Richard’s death, Emily (Kelly Bishop) wrestles to redefine her life as a widow, Rory finds herself restless and directionless, and Lorelai… well, Lorelai is Lorelai. But, when she goes off to “do Wild” and find her own path, she’s finds out that she’s not alone in her discontent.
No life is free of doubts or change, and ultimately Gilmore Girls illustrates that what truly matters is love, laughter, and family.
The core concept of Gilmore Girls is a sweet and enduring one – family above all. All the Gilmores are proud to have the family name, and why wouldn’t they be? In their world it stands for strength, tenacity, and respect. And even though there are conflicts, the Gilmores are always there for one another when push comes to shove.
The closeness of family is underscored in the revival as much of the character development from the three Gilmore girls comes as a direct response to their grief over the loss of Richard (Edward Herrmann). While other shows may have given a nod to the death of one of their principle characters, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life weaves the absence of the Gilmore patriarch into a tapestry of emotions that propels the majority of the narrative.
It’s no surprise that we all want to be honorary members of the Gilmore clan. Like most families, the Gilmores are flawed, but they’re connected with an enduring love that can never be broken. And even after my binge I’m not sick of them. Not at all. I’m now a full-fledged fan that’s cheering for a family reunion down the line. In fact, I hear there’s a baby on the way.
‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ and Seasons 1 – 7 of ‘Gilmore Girls’ are currently available for streaming on Netflix.