Gilmore Girls is in my top three televisions shows, pulling in a solid third as WKRP In Cincinnati and 30 Rock duke it out for first place. Two of these shows literally saved my life at different points in time, but Gilmore Girls was the first one to do it.
When Gilmore Girls premiered in 2000 I was in a pretty crappy place in my life and trying to find my way out of it. It was one of those situations that makes you question every decision you've ever made, and those situations SUUUUUUUUUCK. Any ray of light will do in those moments, and in this case the ray of light was created by Amy Sherman Palladino.
I remember seeing the ads for GG at the time and thinking "Oh great, another girly show on The WB." It looked like it was gonna be all flowers and boy problems and all the other cliches that go with such assumptions. Around that time I read a review on a movie website I visited, and the author was raving about how brilliant the writing and acting was, and that it was an intensely SMART show. I found a review by Herc on Aint It Cool News, where he declared Gilmore Girls the best show of the 2000-2001 season, and he writes stuff like:
"Credit creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, who rivals the likes of Joss Whedon, Aaron Sorkin, Jason Katims, Glenn Gordon Caron and David E. Kelley as a dramatist who can crank out superior serialized comedy.... She is major talent, one of those writers whose work, frankly, is way too good to be piped into our homes for free."
"Lauren Graham, who beguiles when she frowns, entrances when she smiles (I like her!), may have just inherited Lisa Kudrow’s crown as the funniest woman on North American television." (Remember, this was 2001. Gilmore Girls aired opposite Friends, which means NOBODY watched it.)
"Shows as good as “The Gilmore Girls” don’t come along every year."
I was intrigued enough to give GG a shot, and tuned in to see what the fuss was all about. And then I see this:
The clip I could find that illustrates what I wanted was only available in Spanish, but from the moment the title appeared set to The La's There She Goes, to the camera revealing an idyllic street scene, to the appearance of Lorelei Gilmore (Lauren Graham) who crosses the street to Luke's Diner and immediately asks for coffee... I was a goner.
Here's a clip in english from the very first time we see Lorelei and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) together. The dialogue is witty, their personalities are immediately established, and the show was instantly one of the funniest things I had seen in ages.
I pity that poor Kerouac wannabe, but I would consider myself lucky to get shot down in flames by a woman like Lorelei Gilmore. It's not an exaggeration to say I basically fell in love with her character, and every week I marveled at how strong and smart and stubborn and friggin' funny she was. Yep. I loved a fictional character. So much so that I actually kicked Shelley out of my apartment because I felt she was being disrespectful towards the show. Nobody messes with my Gilmore.
For Seven (mostly) perfect seasons I watched the show religiously. I'd tape every episode and watch it over and over again. I still have those tapes, despite my purchasing all the seasons on DVD. It was a weekly ritual on Shuffle Function, to the joy/chagrin of listeners, for me to recount the previous evening's episode, and rant and rave about what was going on. I still haven't gotten over the finale of Season Four. You guys know what I'm talking about, right? RIGHT?!!
Anyway, over the course of those seven seasons life got better for me, and I truly believe it was partly because of my weekly visit to Stars Hollow. Escaping into that world of eccentrics helped me forget about all the crap I was going through. Lorlei and Rory and the townsfolk all had their issues and their dramas and their messy relationships, but they got through it, and they were funny while doing it, too. I honestly can't think of another show that has hit me in such an emotional and personal way. Is that weird?
Gilmore Girls has now been off the air longer than it was on, but it's still important to me. I've become the Johnny Appleseed of Gilmore Girls to people I've worked with over the years, because I'd rave about the show and urge them to watch it. I'd even loan them my DVDs, and I'm not one to lend something so precious. More than one person from "back in the day" has told me that the very first thing I ever said to them was "Do you watch Gilmore Girls?" I'm not ashamed.
Do I think I actually influenced an episode of Gilmore Girls? Yes. Yes I do. Shelley and I sent a letter to Amy Sherman Palladino with a Music Geek shirt and a letter asking if she would do a station ID for us. We never did hear back from her, but in episode 10 of Season Five (the season after the letter) these words were uttered:
Paris: They're coming, Rory. They're coming, and they are going to keep on coming. Like the locusts descending on Mankato.
You need to know that we always identified Mankato as "The Big Town in Little House on the Prairie" because Little House was kind of a universally beloved show. Everybody that watched it knows Mankato.
Is this a coincidence? Maybe. Did our sending that letter plant a seed in Sherman Palladino's brain about Mankato and Little House? I INSIST YES!
Amy Sherman Palladino, Lauren Graham, and Alexis Bledel
What am I getting at? Well, this past weekend the (almost) entire cast of Gilmore Girls reunited for the very first time at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, TX. This was a big deal. I strongly considered going, but decided against it. Why? Because I'm an idiot. Still, I figured that somebody somewhere would post the event on YouTube, because internet. And they did. And here it is.
God I miss this show.
UPDATE: The reunion clips on YouTube have been removed, but CLICK HERE to watch it on the Entertainment Weekly site.
BONUS: Hep Alien played a reunion show during the festival!