When Gilmore Girls makes its valiant return to television, Rory will be 31 and Lorelai will be 47. We will all be excited, but I won’t need them to give me life advice.
When I discovered Gilmore Girls, around season 5, I was in middle school. Young and impressionable, Gilmore Girls felt like escapism television after school, every afternoon on Fox Family (and then ABC Family) and then weekly on WB (before shifting to the newly formed CW.)
Rory and Lorelai Gilmore were more than inspirational to me. They were aspirational. Their idyllic Connecticut perennially-autumn town was the setting for many of my ‘dream vacation’ fantasies (I’m not one for beaches.) Their Jeep Wrangler was my dream car — a fact my mother would laugh off every time I brought it up to her.
The Lorelai’s loved drinking coffee, so I started drinking coffee. They were witty and fast talkers, so I became a witty and fast talker, throwing as many cultural references into a conversation as I could. Rory read a lot, and I, always a ferocious reader, began to read the classics she’d mention in passing, mustering as much enthusiasm as she did about them. Over the years, this emulation evolved into who I genuinely am today — I consist of 40% coffee, 40% pop culture knowledge and 20% miscellaneous vitamins.
Throughout the years, during binge-watching sessions with girlfriends in college, we’d discuss the merits and downfalls to this show. Rory was kind of whiny, Dean was definitely a jerk, and the Gilmore family certainly has their fair share of drama.
We’d marvel about how we were Rory’s age in season 6 (juniors in college). We couldn’t fathom stealing a boat with our boyfriend, or taking a semester off, or opening an Inn with our best friend. By the time graduation rolled around, we were hit with a gut-punching reality: we were the same age as Rory in the final Gilmore Girls season 7 episodes. This was the end of our road with her as our guiding light. Going forward, our ‘what would Rory do’ questions would be answered in purely hypothetical circumstances.
When Logan proposed to Rory during the penultimate episode, at her Yale graduation, I (keep in mind, 14 years old) was dismayed at Rory’s decision. They were in love! Of course they should get engaged. Perfect. Now, I (22 years old) want to throw a shoe at Logan’s head. You ninny! How could you possibly propose to your on-again-off-again girlfriend of all of two years at her college graduation! Neither of you are old enough to rent a car!
Their relationship was tumultuous, one that millions of people have endured, and yes maybe they could have eventually gotten married, but Logan’s need to lock it down so quickly is disarming to someone who is on the other side of that milestone event (graduation.)
Time is a funny thing. Nine years ago, being 21 felt mysterious and Rory seemed sophisticated and brilliant. But now, I realize that that’s all pretty much bull. When you’re in your twenties, you’re usually meandering around. Dating different people, moving to different cities, trying out different jobs, getting haircuts you regret. But, hair grows back and the good guys will stick around. I know that, but every once in a while I wonder, WWRD? How would she respond to my present-day crises, as a post-grad living in a major city? We may find out when the four new episodes premiere, but I don’t think I’ll need to measure my twenties to whatever happened in Rory’s twenties. Thanks to the Gilmore girls, I’m empowered enough to answer my own questions.
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