I remember the very first scene of Gilmore Girls I ever watched. I was seven-years-old, lying in my mother's bed, flipping channels, and the show came on - it was Season 1, Episode 3, and Lorelai and Sookie were standing in the kitchen, talking about the wedding they were throwing at the inn.
My mother said, "Oh, I know that show! I've watched it a few times, it's hilarious!"
And so a lifelong obsession began.
These were pre-Netflix days, so the boxed seasons began showing up on days when my mother came home from the store. She would call out, "Girls! They had season 3 today!" or "Season 5!" and we would all gather round and excitedly put on the DVD. We collected them periodically, adding to our collection as we consumed hours upon hours of this television show. We picked through the special features until we had them memorized. We acted out our favorite scenes in the backyard, fighting over who got to play Lorelai; we picked our favorite boyfriends on the show and stood by them staunchly, even as the relationship statuses changed. (For the record, I was an original Dean supporter, although I have since been converted to Team Jess.)
If this is ringing any bells, any "hey, that's exactly how it was with the last show I binge-watched" bells, please remember: this was not an obsession over a course of a few weeks. This was years in the making. I have Gilmore Girls quotes which run so easily off my lips I can no longer remember that they came from a TV show and not from me. Every year on Thanksgiving morning, while we are baking and stirring and scurrying, we put on the Gilmore Girls Thanksgiving episode in the background. At my sleepover birthday party, when my mom asked what movie I wanted to watch, I instead requested an episode of Gilmore Girls.
While it may be possible for any child (and their siblings) to be inundated by a TV show if they watch it enough growing up, I think there's a reason that we got so extreme. Gilmore Girls isn't really like any other TV show - it's like the TV equivalent of a warm hug. It's set in a town where there are still town kooks, where there are town hall meetings, where the solution to street gangs is an ice cream parlor. Even more welcoming is the Gilmore's home, framed by trees and snow, where the front door stays unlocked so that anyone can walk in and start yelling about the problem they have; inevitably, someone will start yelling movie references back. Every week there is movie night, laden with junk food and welcome to only those most worthy. This is a signal to the audience - just by watching, you're there with them. You got invited to movie night.
So of course, having spent birthdays, holidays, and every day in between with these characters, they got to be sort of like family. The secret we had at our house, these brilliant and beautiful women that I knew so personally.
And then something strange happened: in 2014, my little set of mythology got put on Netflix. And suddenly it was everywhere - people everywhere I went could be heard discussing what season they were on, whether or not they liked Emily, were they Team Jess or Team Logan? The internet exploded with discussion, talking about the show that 'you should have been watching this whole time'. I felt like someone had discovered my family secrets.
After the initial shock, it turned out to be a good thing. Watching everyone else see the show for the first time helped me realize that it really was just a show. Amy Sherman Palladino didn't control the rules of universe. I remember hearing somebody say they hated that Rory and Jess broke up in the third season, and it was baffling to me. What do you mean, they shouldn't have broken up? That was the way things happened! Since the beginning of time, Rory and Jess have been in a constant cycle, forever getting together and breaking up in the third season.
But no. These things can be discussed. It was oddly freeing, rewatching episodes years after the fact and finding things that I didn't like. Saying, out loud, that Rory Gilmore is spoiled. This is wonderful to me because I have never been the sort to just watch a show - I must devour it, analyze it, pick it apart, and start all over. My childhood show is no longer off-limits to my brain; I can review and dissect as much as I want without desecrating any family monuments.
Gilmore Girls is a good show. A really good show, a funny show. But not faultless, not perfect, as I once believed. Stories are powerful, powerful things - the most powerful, in my biased opinion - and it's hard to think that someone could just collapse my memories by putting a new season up on Netflix that was definitely not perfect. But now there are hours and hours of new material to discuss and dissect and go crazy over.
So, as someone who has a bit of a history here, tell me, what do you think of the show?