Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What Now, Rory Gilmore?

I was a fan of Gilmore Girls. I picked up it up somewhere around season 4 though so I can't claim to be a die-hard fan or a fan from the beginning. Back in Season 2, when I was living in L.A., I went on a tour of Warner Bros. and they let us wander around the soundstage that doubled as Emily and Richard's fancy Hartford Mansion. I did not appreciate that because I was irritated that there wasn't more Buffy or Angel stuff included in the tour or more movie-type stuff. At the time, "Stars Hollow" (the centre of the backlot tour at Warners) was decorated with 'a thousand yellow daisies.' At the time, I had no idea what that meant. I was bored. Bring on the Buffy.

And then, on a whim, I decided to try renting the seasons from Netflix, just to see what the fuss was about. It didn't take much to get me hooked. It was a good show and Lauren Graham's portrayal of Lorelie was amazing. I loved the relationship between Lorelei and Rory. I loved Luke. I fell under the spell of Stars Hollow and, like so many others, I wanted to move there. It was a quirky little place, full of charm and personality. I never could figure out how that store that just sold cat-stuff managed to stay there without going out of business and how no-one pelted popcorn at Lorelie and Rory when they insisted on being loud at the Read, White and Blue bookstore's movie nights but it was a wistful place that helped me escape for an hour on Tuesdays.

I liked how the show never went for the pretty, polished happy ending. Lorelei never could get it together with Luke enough to live happily ever after, at least during the run of the show. Rory made mistakes and didn't take the easy path. Emily and Richard, Lorelei's rich, upper-class parents, never had that moment of revelation where they truly forgave Lorelei for getting pregnant at 16 and running away from home to raise Rory alone.

There were flaws during the run of the show, flaws which increased as the seasons went on. Jess, played by Milo Ventimiglia (pre-Heroes) was irritating and annoying. His Rebel Without a Cause was just a plot device to help Rory grow during season 2 though, in later seasons, he did pop up to provide some much needed, blunt advice to Rory when she most needed a slap in later seasons.

When the creators of the show, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, decided to leave, something to do with contact disputes, during season 6, the show took a dip. In my opinion, season 6 was the worst (though I'm sure there are MANY who would disagree). Season 6, to me, was the Palladino's way of saying, "think you can do this without us, huh? Well, let's screw up the story as much as possible." And so the season ended with Luke and Lorelei having a fight, and Lorelei hopping into bed with her former flame, ruining the absolute best non-mother-daughter relationship on the show.

I hated season 6. I hated that suddenly Luke had a secret daughter who was irritatingly like Rory had been as a child. I hated that Rory went from being a sweet girl to being a prize brat to being a sweet girl again in the same season. The boat-stealing incident was a stupid plot device though it did its job in driving the mother/daughter apart for a few episodes. Most of all I hated that Luke became a wimp, terrified of Lorelei and unable to be honest. I hated that Lorelei and Luke couldn't have a normal conversation anymore.

You get the idea. So, by season 7, there wasn't much to be done. I actually enjoyed that season because it quietly tried to undo all of the damage the Palladino's had recently done. It ended with the hope of Luke and Lorelei. It ended with Rory taking a stand, not settling into the easy life but trying to make her path.

Her path is one that I couldn't help ponder last night after the election. You see, Rory went to join Barack Obama in the beginning of his campaign to run for president. It was before he was the Democratic nominee, when the hope of a historic change in regime was just a dream.

And now Barack Obama will be president. And though it's happening in the real world, as a fan of the fictional, I'm curious to know what Rory is doing now. Is she still staying with Obama? Was he so impressed with her journalism skills he took her along for the entire campaign? Is she going to help him now he's in the White House?

Did she decide to continue her quest to become the next Christiane Amanpour, an international news correspondent?

Did she leave half-way through and move back to Stars Hollow? Are she and Lorelei grabbing daily coffee at Luke's Diner?

I know it doesn't matter. I know it's fiction. I know the show is over. Yet, it was the kind of show that crawled under my skin and became part of my life. It's been a couple of years since it ended and I still miss the Gilmore women and the charm of Stars Hollow. I would love to know what they're doing now, not the actors but the characters.

And I know the election will have a big impact on history and that the country is about to change. Yet at the moment, I can't help but think of Rory Gilmore and wonder what she and Lorelei did on Election Night. When McCain conceded and Obama spoke, would she have been there?

It was a whimsical world but it was a good one.

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