Tuesday 6 December 2016

Quietly obsessed with the Gilmore Girls

Women love it because it's about accepting who you are and who you love, warts and all

Aibhe Reilly

Published 20/11/2016 | 02:30

BACK: Lauren Graham (left) stars as Lorelai and Alexis Bledel plays her daughter Rory in ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’
BACK: Lauren Graham (left) stars as Lorelai and Alexis Bledel plays her daughter Rory in ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’

I got an email from my mother. The subject title was: "Date night with mammy!" Inside was a link to the teaser trailer for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, and a single sentence: "DO NOT WATCH WITHOUT ME!"

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For me, and practically all of the women in my life, the past year has been a countdown, ticking off the days until the new four-part series kicks off on Friday.

It has become an event. It's been meticulously planned with Gilmore-themed drinks, junk food to rival the most gluttonous of the Gilmores' own movie nights, and music inspired by the practically encyclopaedic audiophile character Lane Kim.

In the last two months, Netflix has streamed all the original seasons, to lay the ground for the much-anticipated reboot, nine years on from the original.

Bad Babs in Temple Bar decided to run a Gilmore Girls-themed party night earlier this month just to see if there was an appetite. It sold out in less than a day and tickets, as rare as hen's teeth, were being touted on social media. The bar had to run another event. That too sold out. It was an evening of cocktails, Lane Kim-guaranteed tunes and coffee.

But why the fuss? Well, this isn't just a show. "It's a lifestyle, it's a religion" (that's a quote from the show, Dad). It is, at its heart, a show about family - the kind you choose and the kind you're born with.

Yes, it is a woman thing, but not exclusively - the US chat show host Jimmy Fallon is a late convert. He's still on Season 4 and is "really worried" about Rory.

The story is simple enough. Lorelai Gilmore, pregnant at 16, runs from a claustrophobic life of privilege and wealth to raise her daughter her own way in the close-knit village of Stars Hollow. The weirdo denizens of this village become her family and, in a way, ours too. We watch Lorelai's daughter Rory navigate her teenage years, from changing schools, to becoming interested in boys and ultimately winning a place at Harvard (then Yale), all under the watchful eye of the people of Stars Hollow.

This is a show about looking after each other, accepting who you are, and accepting the people you love, warts and all.

It's about strong women with something to say It's about witty, razor-sharp dialogue, and fantastic three-dimensional female characters, their relationships, and their love for each other.

It also passes the Bechdel test - fiction featuring at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.

What more do you want?

The story of Lorelai - stubborn, clever, flirty and proud - walking away from everything familiar to live life on her own terms is empowering. Her daughter Rory is the ultimate brainiac. She's verbose, thoughtful, softly spoken but competitive.

And then there is the matriarch Emily Gilmore, whose exacting standards drove Lorelai to run. She is iconic and it is her strained relationship with her daughter that is a key plot.

The hilarity of their squabbles is punctuated with heartbreaking moments during which the emotional walls almost come down - those fleeting moments in which Emily and Lorelai almost bridge the 16 years of distance.

Trailers for the new episodes look promising. The Gilmores have grown up and have to deal with adult problems. Rory is 32 and realises her plans are falling apart.

Lads, Friday night is going to be quiet in town.

The girls will be at home watching the Gilmore Girls, sipping cocktails and coffee under a duvet, with their hankies at the ready.

Sunday Independent

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