Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gilmore Girls has male fans too!

To all male fans of Gilmore Girls: I am one of you!

In the past few weeks, the internet has had a mobgasm over the fact that Gilmore Girls is coming to Netflix. A library's worth of articles and tweets have been created to commemorate this historic event. But speaking of tweets, here is a blatantly prejudiced one:

Hey! Levels of testosterone and Gilmore Girls fandom are not an inversely proportional relationship! Just because I'm a guy doesn't mean that I can't fall in love with impossibly charming mother-daughter duos, encyclopedic carpet bombardments of cultural references, and heartwarming Carole King theme songs played over images of sepia-toned foliage.

And I'm not some bandwagon jumper. Starting way back in my early high school years, I've been telling people that I like this show. Yes, some people snickered at me. Some even outright laughed. But I just had to be true to myself. Plus, I had some covert allies around the school as word was that my 10th grade English teacher, who was an ex-football player and looked like a nose tackle, watched it religiously.

Yet I never watched the show regularly. In fact, I barely followed any shows at that age, even though I watched a fair amount of TV. Perhaps being deprived of cable for most of my childhood and thus having to live off of syndicated reruns on basic channels made me afraid of commitment when it came to TV shows.

Syndicated Simpsons reruns... Where would I be without you?

Anyway, so I would just catch Gilmore Girls reruns whenever I stumbled upon them, which meant my chronological grasp of the show was often messed up. Look at Rory making out with some guy named Dean. Now, she's in college and wondering what to do with her life. Oh wait, now she's back in prep school and fighting with Paris while her mom is going out with her English teacher. And where did this Jess guy come from all of a sudden?

But I still really liked the show, even though there were significant gaps in my understanding of the overall narrative. Why? Well, there were lots of other reasons. Okay okay, let's the obvious out of the way and say that Lorelai Gilmore is the MILF to end all MILFs. She's funny, she's irreverent, she's got an attitude that'll cut you down while she has the sweetest smile on her face, and yeah, she's really hot too.

♫ And here's to you, Ms. Gilmore... 

All right, requisite fanboying over. The show can also be very educational because of its mad index of references. I learned who Nikolai Gogol was because of an episode I watched! It's amazing what TV can teach you. For example, you can get a Ebertesque level of film knowledge just by learning many of the movie references in The Simpsons.

The show is also funny in way that's more subtle than a traditional sitcom but not as cynically smug as modern non-sitcom-coms. There are so many crazy people in town who would be murder-inducing in real life but are great comic relief in little morsels, like Michel and Taylor and Miss Patty. Also, in retrospect, it's really funny watching Melissa McCarthy play all nice and sweet as the adorable chef, Sookie.

The show's location was also a main factor. Stars Hollow makes small New England towns seem like the coolest place ever. And why not? The trees are colourful, the townsfolk are earthy and quirky (and not in a forced Zach Braffian kind of way), and it's so cozy that it's like living in a little Lego set full of factory-inked smiles. Okay, maybe in real life, that town would be a drab grey for 10 months out of the year, the townsfolk may be provincial and possibly racist, and the small community may get suffocatingly gossipy a la The Scarlet Letter. But it looked so good on TV!

Stage 4 bibliophilia

And then there was Rory. I thought that she was the kind of girl I would want for a girlfriend. By "kind of girl," I don't mean in terms of looks. Rather, I mean someone who was bookish and smart, but also full of heart and feelings. Rory was an academic superstar, but she also had romantic persuasions too, like when she stopped wanting to go to Chilton because she met Dean. Plus, her character was just a few years older than me, so when she was fretting about college admissions, that was something I could immediately relate to. Maybe I too would get to study in New England and meet someone like her in class...

So many other reasons too! The whole Gilmore family reconciliation saga that slowly developed throughout the series was wonderful, and I think everybody (especially young people) can relate to having to not only deal with parents' expectations but also coming to terms with their point of view. Hey, maybe mom and dad aren't that way just because they're jerks who want to sabotage you. Maybe they're human too and they're the way they are because they have had their own disappointments and unfulfilled desires to deal with.

Oh she could be so mean. Or so sweet.

Seven seasons is a daunting challenge for any TV viewer to try to tackle, and perhaps that's why I have been reluctant to go from start to finish with Gilmore Girls. But this could be the perfect opportunity to catch up on a show that I've really liked and admired but never properly watched.

So let's all of us guy fans of this show NOT sit on the sidelines on this joyous occasion. Proclaim your love too!