After this traumatizing experience, Amy needed some coaxing to let her love for the Gilmore Girls see the light of day. She wrote this piece during the summer and is very happy the Gilmore Girls are back on the air.
I am not the type to spend time chatting with people online, in a darkened room lit only by the glowing light of my computer. But the season finale of my current favorite show aired last night and I need some feedback. For some reason, people my age are not enjoying the Gilmore Girls as much as they should be. I just know if people gave it a chance, they would love Lorelai (the sassy mom) and Rory (the ultra-smart and quietly confident teenage daughter). They are, respectively, the mom you want to be and the teenage girl you wish you had been. Not to mention their amazing taste in music and ability to wittily retort to any insult.
Unlike all the other shows that are popular right now, no one I know seems to watch it, particularly in the biggest arena for television talk -- the workplace. Sadly, there are no in-depth discussions about my show over coffee in the office kitchen or at the copy machine. At work, television becomes the big unifier. Whether you're an assistant or a vice-president, who doesn't like television? It's one of the only distracting topics that can sustain a conversation of epic proportions with people who have little else in common (it's certainly not politics anymore). I used to make fun of people who could only discuss television, thinking that once you become a working stiff, you lose interest in using your brain. But I get it now. Most people just need these conversations to last as long as they can because once they're finished, it's back to that desk. No more human contact.
Discussing television with work colleagues is more than a run-through of plot. We dissect in careful detail the motivation behind every second of the episode, analyze every character, and laugh over the best jokes. These shows surely inspire the biggest debates of our times. Who will win the million dollars? Who is the father of her baby?
So the day after the last episode of Gilmore Girls, I was at work and feeling a little sad that the season was over. I wanted to savor the last moments with these women as much as I could. No more shows until next fall and no one around for discussion in order to make the season last just a little bit longer. I felt a little lonely. I needed to find out what other people thought about the way the season ended. Would Lorelai really get married? Should Rory have gotten back together with her boyfriend? I resigned myself to look online, which was the only place where I was going to find people talking about this show.
People who regularly post on bulletin boards are fascinating. I only visit them in times like these, but have seen enough to know that all the regulars seem to know each other. They're these little communities (or big communities) linked together by a common love of a certain television show or Jane Austen or a little-known folk singer. They recommend other books and music and television shows and often refer to each other with the intimacy of a close-knit group of friends. I feel like an eavesdropper and slightly excluded, just wanting to hear what people have to say, but never fully immersing myself and contributing. I only want to look. The regulars would deem me a lurker.
So, I do a quick search for the television show and scan the list of sites that come up. Skip the network's page. That's not where the juicy discussions are and it's not even the place to get the good news. I spy someone's personal homepage dedicated to the show and scan through it for a moment. I decide it looks promising enough to check out the bulletin boards and head straight for the thread about the season finale. I don't exactly know what I'm looking for because it's not the kind of program that needs further explanation. I understand exactly what happened in last night's episode but I just have this gnawing curiosity to know what other people think. Just like you don't want to drink by yourself, knowing you're not alone in your love for a great show makes coming down from the thrill of watching it just a little bit easier.
The bulletin board offers exactly what I had hoped. In reference to the love triangle, there are those regular board visitors who call themselves the Trories (a combination of Rory and the sulky, prep school bad boy, Tristen) who are extremely disappointed because the episode ended with a passionate kiss between Rory and squeaky clean Dean. People moan about what will happen next year. There's an intense discussion about whether or not the girl did the right thing by going back to her ex-boyfriend. Someone wisely writes, There's this girl who I sit with at lunch who went through the same thing and it all worked out for her. Everyone involved just needs to have some patience.
Sits with at lunch? Wait a minute. I scan a few more posts and my worst suspicions are confirmed. I am reading the insights of people who do not have their high school diplomas yet. There's a post about missing the episode because of taking an SAT class. And another one says, I can't wait for my graduation from junior high next week! I look at a post about the girl who rushed home from her National Honor Society meeting to watch the episode her mom had taped for her because she wanted to make sure she could see the finale and still have time to do her homework. I think about last night when I stayed up late for my own viewing of the season finale, rushing home and popping the tape in after happy hour (National Honor Society, it's not).
My heart sinks a little bit. I pause and wonder if I should read on. Am I as young as I think I am because I love this show as much as these teenagers? Or am I a sad case, the web equivalent of a forty-five year old woman in Capri pants and a tube top, surfing the web in my office and hoping to find solace among these girls who still loved Barney when I was their age? My curiosity keeps me searching the bulletin board but now I am looking for something different. I need to know if I'm the only adult on this board, the only one on this site who can legally buy beer. I analyze post after post to see if each author is someone who wouldn't consider me a creepy interloper or simply someone old. I lean in closer to the screen and click away like it's my job, scanning what people have written for key words that give themselves away as someone who wasn't born in the 1980s. The rest of the world seems to fall away as I search.
And then I find it. A housewife with two kids who wants to be like the mom. She loves the show and watches it with her own girls. I brighten because at least I identify with the teenage daughter and not the mom. I realize I've been holding my breath and exhale in relief. I scan down to the next post. Hi. I'm a 42-year old man and I love The Gilmore Girls. It's my favorite show and yes, my wife and kids know that I'm obsessed with it. The poster goes on to explain in great detail what he loves about the show.
I recoil from the screen. What is he doing on here? I resist the urge to write him and ask. I picture the teenage girls, coming home from tennis practice and reading a post from someone old enough to be their father. Doesn't he feel weird to read about the lives of young girls who are the same age as his daughters? And then I see myself looking at the site under the fluorescent light of my office while most of the regulars sit in study hall. How should I feel liking the same thing as these teenage girls? This guy is probably in his office too. I try to imagine all of us sitting around a room having a discussion about the show and realize that some things are best left in cyberspace. And I decide I have some work to do and close the screen with a decisive click of the mouse. -- Amy Wan
Gilmore Girls photo is © The WB Television Network.