If you’re out on the road,
Feeling lonely and so cold (Sing along if you know the rest!)
All you have to do is call my name
And I’ll be there on the next train.
Where you lead, I will follow
Anywhere that you tell me to
If you need, you need me to be with you,
I will follow where you lead.
If this Carole King song brings back memories of Doose’s Market, The Dragonfly Inn, and of course, Luke’s Diner, you are likely a fellow Gilmore Girls fan. We said goodbye to the quirky town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut nine years ago, assuming the only hijinks and heartbreaks experienced by our beloved fast-talking ladies, Lorelai and Rory, would be the same ones on repeat, continuing on in a syndicated loop. Netflix thought better, resurrecting this warm-hearted favorite as a series of four two-hour movies, collectively titled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, following our favorite characters through Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall (Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall / All you have to do is call…). This new installment will be available to stream beginning the day after Thanksgiving, November 25th, the perfect time to get together with your family or friends and feel nostalgic and cozy). (WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!)
There are so many reasons to love Gilmore Girls. I’m speaking from personal experience, as a faithful fan (except for the last couple of seasons…more on that later). First, there’s the folksy small-town setting. Although there is no Stars Hollow, Connecticut, there is a Washington, Connecticut, said to be the inspiration for the eccentric small-screen locale. There is no town that I can think of, real or imagined, that celebrates as many off-the-wall, one-of-a-kind festivals and special events as Stars Hollow. What other town hosts a 24-hour dance marathon that inspires the residents to dress in 1940s attire, as shown in the aptly titled “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?,” a clear homage to the Jane Fonda film, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? My favorite Stars Hollow event was “The Festival of Living Art.” The production level was just astronomical and gorgeous. The makeup and costuming were mind-blowing; you literally thought that you were looking at real paintings, not flesh and blood people. I mean, take a look at these stills from the show:
I thought for sure that this was a concept invented by the brilliant creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. It turns out that perhaps the greatest Stars Hollow event (in my opinion) was actually inspired by The Pageant of the Masters, a ninety-minute stage show that happens each year as part of the Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach. Although Gilmore Girls was repeatedly shut out of the major Emmy categories, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it did win the 2004 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Makeup for this episode.
GG fans know that these wacky and wonderful events, from The Night of Living Art to the Bid on a Basket Auction (Jess causing trouble, as usual!), come from the zany mind of Taylor Doose, local proprietor, town Selectman, and all-around Stars Hollow control freak. Taylor is one of many secondary characters who populate Stars Hollow and add to its warmth, charm, and humor. If we’re talking about humor, we cannot ignore Kirk, the ultimate Stars Hollow eccentric. Whether he’s running a real estate business from the lobby of the Dragonfly Inn or poorly driving a pedicab (just a couple of the 62 odd jobs he held over the show’s run), Kirk always seemed to get into the fray, usually making things more difficult along the way. Miss Patty and Babette (RIP Cinnamon the Cat) are Gilmore legends, usually leading the charge on town gossip. Also, didn’t we love how Miss Patty was always able to put Taylor in his place? Speaking of strong women, Mrs. Kim was always an imposing figure…except when her mother visited from Korea and her tough facade crumbled. The list goes on and on: lovable Sookie, passionate Jackson, enraged Paris, pompous Michel, dignified Richard (RIP), (also) dignified Emily, and rebellious Lane. I can’t think of another show with such a diverse, well-fleshed out group of supporting characters, each with a distinct and recognizable personality. There’s even a town troubadour!
There’s a lot of talk of romance swirling around this reboot. Everyone wants to know if Lorelai and Luke are married or having a child, and we all want to know who will win Rory’s heart. Last we left her, Rory was an independent and single journalist. She turned down Logan’s proposal and hit the campaign trail to cover Barack Obama’s run for President. Will she be drawn back to her most recent love, Logan, or will reformed bad boy Jess win back her heart? Maybe a new character will be introduced? Of course, I’m interested in the answers, too. Since news broke of the new episodes, I’ve taken a renewed interest in GG, especially the latter episodes. When the show first ran, my interest dwindled along the way. I can’t quite pinpoint the why of it, but I imagine it had something to do with the change in showrunners when Gilmore Girls moved from The WB network to the newly formed CW network. Am I the only one who feels that things got a little too “soap opera” at a certain point? A little too focused on the Rory/Logan relationship and the Lorelai/Luke/Christopher love triangle? Don’t even get me started on April Nardini. Enraged fans have been writing and yelling for years about April Nardini, blaming her for the breakup of Luke and Lorelai. Look, I blamed her, too. But, I think it’s time, after a decade, to give April a second chance. Yes, she was annoying. However, I think that if we reassess through fresh eyes, we’ll realize that actually Luke was the real problem in that situation. Honestly, the problem wasn’t April, the problem was that Luke lied about April. I’m sorry Anti-April contingent, but you know I’m right!
Anyway, back to Rory’s love life. Let me state for the record that I have always been Team Dean. Unfortunately, I do not see a Rory and Dean Happily Ever After scenario taking place. For as long as I have been Pro-Dean, I have been Anti-Jess. When I say Anti-Jess, I mean really Anti-Jess. Like, audibly gagging when Jess enters a scene, with his grungy swagger and in-your-face angst. I have hated that I even share a name with him! The great thing about re-watching a show like Gilmore Girls, especially the episodes you might have missed or forgotten about, is that you begin to see certain characters differently. Jess is one of those characters. Don’t misunderstand me: high school Jess was and is a nightmare. Adult Jess, the Jess that makes a strong comeback in “The Real Paul Anka” (season 6, episode 18) is actually…mature! This Jess has channelled his pent-up anger into something far more soulful and poetic than his formerly surly demeanor.
Finally, there’s Logan. Oh, Logan. Is it wrong that my biggest gripe with Logan is that he represents everything Richard and Emily expected from and for Lorelai? Maybe that’s a petty reason to dislike Logan. Thankfully, I have other reasons! For starters, Logan is spoiled and selfish. Also, I keep coming back to that episode when he stole Emily’s antique sewing box as part of a mission for that stupid Life and Death Brigade. Let’s go over this: In “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” Jess is branded a criminal when he is accused of stealing Rory’s bracelet (which he did not steal), while Logan is a high-class “golden boy,” despite actually stealing a family heirloom belonging to his girlfriend’s grandmother, not to mention stealing a whole yacht?! For these reasons, I am emphatically anti-Logan and a late convert to Team Jess (as long as he is still the season 6, episode 18 version of Jess).
It’s fun to talk about romances and love triangles. But, the real heart of the show is the relationship between mother and daughter. Lorelai and Rory are the ultimate pair. The darkest point of the entire series was when they stopped speaking. I think that I had blocked out these episodes. When I rewatched them earlier this year, I was struck by the heaviness of it all. How could Lorelai and Luke become engaged without Rory knowing? How could Rory quit Yale to become a “lady who lunches?” Theirs is the connection that tugs at our hearts the most. For many of us, we are especially fond of Gilmore Girls because it was a show we watched with our moms. We probably loved it so much because we shared a bond with our mothers similar to the bond that Lorelai and Rory shared. We might not be as close in age or mutually share their passion for coffee (or maybe we do), but we understand what it means to have a mom who is also a friend.
There is a generation of us, women in our late-twenties and early-thirties, who know the Gilmore lingo and have a propensity to talk at hyper speed. Maybe we occasionally yell “Copper Boom,” casually reference the amazingness of Pippi Longstocking, and show off some serious Gilmore swag, like this awesome “Gilmore Girls and Coffee” sweatshirt worn by a library patron who recently visited the Children’s Room and caught my eye (Thank you, Miss. You and your keen fashion sense inspired this post!). All of us were at the perfect age when Gilmore Girls began, finishing up middle school or in the midst of high school. We saw in Rory Gilmore the ideal “everyday, thinking teenage girl,” a true role model with no aspirations for role modeling. She valued her education, successfully attended a prep school without picking up even a whiff of snobbery, and always carried a book with her. Rory Gilmore’s reading history is epic, legendary. Websites far and wide have created “Rory Gilmore Reading Lists,” challenging fans and non-fans to read all of the 339 books referenced in the show. The show presents reading as a virtue; Rory is the person she is–confident, well-informed, empathetic, and curious–because she is a reader. That’s an important message to send for a show that’s geared towards young women.
Our YA Department will be celebrating the return of Gilmore Girls on Saturday, December 3rd, with a Gilmore Girls Craft & Chat from 2:00-3:00. Contact the Department at 516-731-5728 for more information or to register for the program.
I know it might be hard to believe, but not everyone has a streaming service. If this is the case for you, don’t forget that the LPL has all seven seasons available for loan. If you haven’t started watching Gilmore Girls for the first time, or rewatching it for the second or third time, start now! Hurry! Get ready for it all to begin again.
Happy Reading and Watching,