If you’re a regular reader, and you pay attention, you’ll know that I tend to blog about a few specific interests: writing, managing, grilling, running, and heavy metaling (which should be a word). That’s not to say I don’t have any other interests. For example, you may have picked up on the fact that I am a science fiction fan, but you may not have guessed that I am, in fact, a Gilmore girl.
No, this is not another reference to my habit of stealing my friend Jill’s identity to enter running events. This is a confession: I am a fan of Gilmore Girls, the TV comedy-drama that ran from 2000 to 2007 and was recently revived on Netflix for a four-part mini-series. There are few things less metal than Gilmore Girls, but I love it nonetheless.
I have been a fan since the first season, but it took me a few weeks after the premier to start watching. I had seen the trailers, and they were intriguing, but it seemed a bit too “chick flick,” so I resisted. It’s like my hesitation to wear a pink shirt. It might look good, but the cultural norms I grew up with tell me it’s wrong. Granted, I’ve never been entirely comfortable with the traditional masculine tropes – I don’t know what a “snip” is, snails are only good sautéed in garlic, and the implication of playing with puppy dog tails, presumably detached from the puppy, seems horrific – but the idea of watching a “girl show” was troubling. Despite my reluctance, the weekly previews, filled with quick wit and cleverness, drew me in. I’m a sucker for smart and fast talkers, and I quickly became a devotee. The series was as much a feat in terms of writing as it was in acting, directing, and production. While I appreciated the art and craft, the simple fact is those girls made me laugh, a lot, and cry, from time to time. When it ended after seven seasons, I was sad to see it go.
Imagine my excitement when I learned Netflix was bringing it back for a brief run. Returning to Stars Hollow – the fictional uber-quaint Connecticut town where Gilmore Girls is set – was a delight. Given my somewhat poor memory for plot details, I didn’t have any particular expectations, as I couldn’t remember exactly how things were left when the series ended. I was happy just to be in the room with Lorelai and Rory and hear their highly-caffeinated banter again. In addition to the girls, I wanted to know how Luke was doing. I related to the character of Luke, the hard-working but not particularly ambitious male lead. He is a bit – and by “bit” I mean a lot – more hunky than me, but I saw him as a kindred spirit. He was the guy who loved the beautiful girl but had little hope of ever being in a relationship with her. I was lucky enough to find my own beautiful girl, but I have been accused of tricking her into it. I remembered that Luke and Lorelai got together at the end of the old series, but I didn’t know if the relationship lasted. I was thrilled that it had, though not without its ups and downs.
There were some disappointments to be found in the mini-series. Notably, the the musical about the history of Stars Hollow in the “Summer” episode. Seriously, did we need ten-plus minutes of bad musical theater? In the original series, this would have been a two-minute scene followed by five minutes of a verbal recounting of exactly how bad it was. Instead we got both, and I found it a bit tedious. I also struggled with Lorelai’s supposedly poignant line that her decision to go Wild, Reese Witherspoon-style, and head out on the Pacific Crest Trail to find herself was a case of “never or now.” I was, as my friend Kurt would say, “removed from the narrative” by that line. It was an unnecessary phrasal flip. She could, of course, have said it was “now or never” and, aside from being cliche, would have been a grammatically equivalent expression of desperation, and grammar is important. There were other directorial choices I didn’t care for, but that is unnecessary picking of nits (which is a much better phrasal flip, if I do say so myself). In total, it was a deeply satisfying visit with old friends.
As long as I’m confessing, I should note that I also loved The Bridges of Madison County (the book, not the Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep movie) and Twilight series (books, mostly, but the movies were fun, too). I could try to make an argument that Twilight shouldn’t affect my metal cred, since it’s about vampires, and vampires are metal, but I know I’m kidding myself. I wan’t in it for the violence, I just wanted Bella to find love (Team Edward!). I say I “loved” Bridges and Twilight, past tense, because I don’t return to them again and again. But, like a great metal record, I’m always happy to be back in Stars Hollow, drinking coffee and listening to the Gilmore girls talk and talk and talk.
Mostly what I recognized while watching that this was, while perhaps – almost certainly – not cool, it was something I like, and therefore perfectly acceptable to wallow in. Never be afraid, or embarrassed, to like what you like. Be proud of it. And listen to some heavy metal to maintain your cred.