Nonfiction | Goodbye to All That

Goodbye to All That Reflecting Light

Thoughts on the Gilmore Girls Revival

I started watching Gilmore Girls when I was 12 years old. I’m 24 now, so that means that half of my life has been spent with this show, and these characters. I did a fair amount of living in between those years, as they were the turbid, foundational, adolescent ones. I had first-times, and last-times, and momentous things happened, and even more ordinary things happened.Interspersed between them all, I watched Gilmore Girls.

I’ve dedicated hours upon hours to watching the episodes on my boxed set, thumbing through their accompanying trivia booklets, happily funneling my afternoons into Stars Hollow time. No matter what was really happening to me, I took great comfort in the fact that I could retreat into a world that was warm and safe. With a click of a few buttons, I could revive any Gilmore event I so chose; Luke and Lorelai’s first date, or Jess and Rory sitting on a bridge talking about Hemingway and Ayn Rand. No matter how many years went by, I could delve right back in.

There was a period in my life where I could recite every episode of every season in order from memory. As a lifelong Connecticut resident, I can’t help but feel an extra-special kinship to Gilmore Girls – sometimes, given all those hours spent watching, there will be a brief, flickering moment where I genuinely can’t remember if something happened to me, or just in the show. So much of it has become ingrained in me; my own most poignant moments have been internally scored by Sam Phillips’ perfect and iconic “la-la”s. Rory and Lorelai’s coming-of-age went hand and hand with my own.

In some ways, I suppose I’ve outgrown the show – plus, I’ve watched the episodes so many times, cracks tend to show through (continuity was never the show’s strongest suit). But I’ll never love another show quite the same way, as completely and wholeheartedly – similar to my feelings on my favorite band, Death Cab for Cutie, which I got into around the same period. Gilmore Girls came into my life at that integral time, when things still had the power to completely consume me and shape who I was, when I was looking for things to define me, and of course, when I still had the time to devote to simply loving things. And I’m grateful for that. I’m glad I didn’t have to wait to discover it at some later time in life, when we can’t help but consume things with a more critical, hardened eye, when after years and years of viewing and reading and seeing things, it all seems to blend together. Plus we live in a different time than we did when Gilmore Girls first aired – in this gratification culture of bottomless excess, when we don’t have time to let things linger as long as they should, because it’s always on to the next.

I love this show not so much for its “witty banter,” and certainly not for the cutesy, overzealous bits – and anyone who watches the show knows exactly what I’m talking about. I love it for how well it could handle and present human relationships, how they build and grow and collapse, and then rebuild. The Palladinos knew that the best drama was inherent in the day-to-day life of families. There’s moments in the show that can still cut me to the core: Lorelai’s tearful, “Way We Were”-infused phone call to Luke, Richard sitting alone in his study after being laid off, and telling Lorelai he hopes she never knows what it feels like to become obsolete, and the entire episode of “Say Goodnight Gracie.” These moments have stuck with me and guided me through my own life.

So I’m not really even kidding when I say that November 25th, the day of the revival, was a big day for me.

My whole life, I’ve struggled with letting moments go, with getting stuck in certain golden ages and wishing I could live some days on repeat; as Rory says in some of the final moments of the revival, “I want to remember it all, every moment.” It gave me comfort I could do that with Gilmore Girls (I could do it with any TV show really, but Gilmore Girls was the one I chose). And now, my greatest source of solace faces the same challenges I do in my real life- Rory and Lorelai and Emily are facing growing pains, a little bit stuck in the past that defined them, when the really important things happened.