BINGE DIARIES: THE ‘GILMORE GIRLS’ PHENOMENON

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By David Oliver

Let me preface this by saying I know many of you probably won’t read past these first few graphs. “Gilmore Girls” certainly isn’t for everyone. Not for my roommates, not for my mother, not for anyone.

But I don’t really care, because I think it’s brilliant.

“Gilmore Girls,” GIF courtesy http://www.authorajpalm.wordpress.com

My fondest memories of watching “Gilmore Girls” were with my sister on days we didn’t have school or in the summer, weekdays at 11 a.m. on ABC Family. It was just the earlier seasons, but even out of order, the pop culture zings and trials and tribulations of the two titular Lorelai Gilmores were a pleasure to watch.

I didn’t even understand all of the grown-up decisions the characters had to make, or half the sexual references, or really any of the more mature pop culture nods, but it didn’t matter at all. I laughed, I cried, I understood in my own way.

So when the series came on Netflix Oct. 1, my heart raced with excitement. I’m not even joking, and I realize that’s super embarrassing that I would care so much about a TV series, but the idea of finally getting to watch the show in its entirety was a thrilling prospect.

The cast of “Gilmore Girls,” photo courtesy http://www.tv.com

For five weeks straight, I Gilmore’d my way through life. And by that, I mean I watched about a few episodes every day, some more than others, immersing myself in the world of Stars Hollow, Conn. and getting to know these characters all over again. Watching it chronologically made me appreciate some of the most stalwart moments of the series. Rory and Dean’s first kiss; Lorelai and Christopher’s beleaguered trysts; Emily and Richard’s sadness over losing the daughter they raised to a world they knew nothing of.

Not to mention the ins and outs of Rory and Lorelai’s beloved mother-daughter relationship, one that is both endearing and a little too personal, but all the more critical for the series’ success. Their brief time apart during season six showed just how much the two needed each other.

I hadn’t seen any of the end of season six and saw none of season seven, though I did know what happened, but that didn’t matter to me. I needed to see “Gilmore Girls through.”

And I’m so glad I did.

Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel), “Gilmore Girls,” GIF courtesy http://www.lovewokemeupthismorning.com

Watching Rory go through college at Yale – as a journalism major no less – through the latter half of the series was way more appropriate for me to watch and appreciate now as a recent graduate and journalist.

I didn’t write much for my college newspaper like Rory did, but I did intern frequently and sympathized with Rory’s struggles to see herself beyond what others tried to limit her to. Journalism is often a cutthroat business, and you need to have a thick skin in order to succeed. That doesn’t mean you can’t be vulnerable or upset when things don’t go your way, but it does mean getting back up when you fall and letting the bad roll off your back.

Another glaring piece about the show: the state of journalism was in a major flux then, and it’s even more so now. Rory was applying for jobs at daily newspapers, and her (ex)-boyfriend Logan was attempting to invest in media startups. The case is still the same today, with daily newspapers struggling and digital the new norm.

Rory not getting a fellowship at The New York Times paralleled my own experiences of not getting fellowships and jobs I wanted. But it all works out in one way or another, and is even better than she or I could have imagined, as it did for Rory landing a job at an online magazine, and my own experiences working at the Asbury Park Press and now at Industry Dive.

Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and Luke Danes (Scott Patterson), “Gilmore Girls,” GIF courtesy http://www.whatchandlerwrites.blogspot.com

So, to all you “Gilmore Girls” haters, let me be clear: the show certainly has its flaws, and without its original creators at the helm, the final season could have been better, but in my opinion the series finale stuck the landing and culminated a poignant series about life, love and laughter in a small town. Between boy drama, family complications and meaningful friendships, “Gilmore Girls” served its purpose on The WB and The CW as the show that challenged viewers to dive into a compelling and not so easy world. Life isn’t always perfect, and our stories don’t always work out the way we want, but that hardly matters. What’s really important is the people we have surrounding us and the memories we make.

Wow, cheese-fest aside, I hope you catch my drift here. Thanks for the memories, “Gilmore Girls,” and here’s hoping there’s actually a movie in the works.

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