(Please, forgive this foray into pop-culture prose. My work involves writing galore, which often leaves little energy for this blog. Returning to Stars Hollow filled me with inspiration to remedy that! P.S. Obviously, spoilers below.)
I willingly admit: I am a devotee of all things Gilmore. A fan since high school, I grew up right alongside young heroine Rory. I often found myself envying her rose-colored, valedictorian winning, charmed small-town existence. Honestly, what wasn’t worthy of coveting? Rory’s beauty, brilliance, and benevolence were all endlessly affirmed. Every adult in her world showered her with a steady stream of praise! (The Hunztberger clan being the notable exception.) And when challenges did arise? An entire town of people came to her aid! Even if her given task was something mundane as throwing her mom’s birthday party, they helped her succeed.
Rory’s love life was also something any average, awkward teen would aspire to. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t find myself the center of too many love triangles during my adolescence. Let alone with two drop dead gorgeous suitors that seemed infatuated with my every move. What power these women, both Rory and her mother, Lorelei, possessed over the men they encountered. Every guy they met proved helpless to their siren call!
No wonder me and my friends were captivated by this show, it portrayed the pinnacle of teenage wish fulfillment. It captured our optimistic ambitions and PG-rated fantasies. Much like many, though, I’ll cop to finishing the series with a sour taste in my mouth. The seventh season lacked the original magic. When rumblings of a full-fledged revival sent the internet into a frenzy, I was right there cheering along. Upon official confirmation, I lost my shiz. The slow leaking of images, teasers, and trailers buoyed my ongoing enthusiasm. However, I remained nervous that no new season could meet my expectations. Now on the other side of that anticipated release, my feelings are resoundingly mixed.
I loved returning to Stars Hollow, to the weird little world that’s been my pop-culture comfort food. Conversely, some of the characters I was greeted by left a lot to be desired. My chief complaint? One teen protagonist herself, miss Rory Gilmore, had evolved into a shadow of her former self. Or to put it more bluntly, she hadn’t developed at all. She repeated mistakes and carried on an affair with an engaged former flame. She faltered and moved aimlessly through her once promising career. She felt entitled and void of her youthful passion and conviction. Surely this wasn’t the adult version of the character I had followed for seven seasons?!
You might assume this revelation left me purely disappointed, but that’s where I’ve been pleasantly surprised. As the days have passed since the premiere, the real highlight for me has been talking to my fellow Gilmore obsessed friends. Pop-culture connections are potent; they’re a catalyst for community. Since Friday I’ve shared Facebook messages, Twitter chats, phone conversations, and face to face discussions over this beloved series. Friends and family from all parts of my life have emerged to vent frustrations and pour over meaningful moments. It’s been a blast. I’ve savored every chance to connect with my people!
After all, this is fandom at its best. It’s individuals fostering relationships over mutual passion. Sure, sometimes we get in heated debates over Team Jess vs. Team Logan (#teamjess). In the end, though, all we want is to bond over the stories that matter to us. What happens from here is up in the air – that cliffhanger ending felt far from final! Who knows if we’ll get to follow the gals for more fast-talking, french fries, and Friday night dinners? I know one thing for certain, I can’t wait to chat with all of you about it!